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With a stunning coastline, laidback surfer vibes, rolling vineyards and celebrity culture, California has always been a favourite with our customers. Here’s how to make the most of this incredible destination.
SOAK UP PALM SPRINGS.
With fantastic shopping from great labels and local creatives alike — not to mention museums, gardens and mid-century modern architecture — Palm Springs is a customer favourite. You’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants too, with everything from elegant dining to drag show brunches powered by bottomless mimosas. The nearby nature is stunning too: Joshua Tree National Park, Indian and Tahquitz Canyons await. If you haven’t hired a car, Amtrak train travel to Palm Springs is a quirky alternative and offers service direct from Los Angeles.
DRIVE THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY.
This spectacular coastline drive is one of the USA’s most famous and we recommend seven days to really soak it in. Begin in sunny San Diego, a waterfront city brimming with great dining, craft beer and beautiful beaches, before heading to Huntington Beach and its landmark pier. Santa Barbara is often called “The American Riviera”: Head to The Funk Zone, a neighborhood of rehabbed warehouses devoted to wine tasting, art and incredible shopping. Visit historic Hearst Castle and take in the sights of Carmel and beautiful Monterey.
Between Sonoma County and the Napa Valley, California is heaven for wine lovers. Sample the goods in open air markets and tasting rooms — or head straight to the wineries for decadent lunches and seriously impressive tastings. The famous Wine Road in Sonoma County passes plenty of award-winning wineries (not to mention some stunning scenery). To really indulge, ask us about wine tours by bike or the Napa Valley Wine Train (and ditch those car keys)! Craft beer or small batch spirits more your style? You’ll find plenty — especially in Petaluma.
GO GREEN IN YOSEMITE.
For dramatic waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, awe-inspiring cliffs and plenty of tramping tracks, look no further than Yosemite National Park. Cast your eyes over jaw-dropping rock formations like El Capitan or tackle the challenging hike to the top. Iconic Mirror Lake sits at the end of an easy hour-long ramble — maybe the world’s most perfect picnic spot. We recommend hiring bikes to explore further into the park, which is easily reached by day or overnight tour from San Francisco.
Go beyond the gateways and explore more of the USA. Start planning with our best USA holiday deals.
Better yet, come in-store and chat with one of our friendly travel experts. We love pairing Kiwis with their perfect holiday!
Eat your way around California.
Gear up for a USA road trip.
9 reasons to visit Disneyland Resort in California.
California is a year-round destination and the best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do. Much of California enjoys warm, dry summers
and mild winters.
California is reknowned for farm-to-table dining, but we also recommend the cheap and cheerful Mexican food, delicious especially from trucks like Los Angeles institution Leo’s Tacos (locations throughout the city).
To really explore the best of this huge state, a car is ideal. Visit picturesque small towns, search for the perfect photo spot or stop for a picnic. You can’t go wrong with the stunning coastal drive on Route 101.
Beautiful Joshua Tree National Park — just out of Palm Springs — which straddles the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. Gaze out over the Coachella Valley, site of the namesake music festival.
For an unforgettable picnic spot, head to the cliffs overlooking “Glass Beach” in MacKerricher State Park, a little gem along the Pacific Coast Highway. Mother Nature’s handiwork with sea glass has resulted in the stunning strands of coloured glass pieces that sparkle in the sun.
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