California: The Best Family Itinerary...Ever!

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Best time to go: May to September

15 Nights | from £4,500pp

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Holiday type: Tailor-made

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  • Help sail an America's Cup Yacht around San Francisco harbour
  • Get up close and personal with dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island
  • Visit a giant redwood forest, home to 800 year old trees
  • Take a golf lesson at one of the most difficult courses in the country and learn the arts of stand up paddle boarding and surfing
  • Experience Universal Studios behind the scenes as a VIP

Day 1 San Francisco
A member of the A&K team will meet you as you arrive in San Francisco and drive you to your hotel for the next three nights, The St. Regis San Francisco. The rest of the day is yours to relax and explore as you wish.
St. Regis San Francisco

Day 2 San Francisco City Tour & Redwoods
Meet your guide in the morning for a full day tour of San Francisco's many idiosyncratic neighbourhoods, including Chinatown, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury and Lombard Street. You'll be driven over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito to enjoy a leisurely lunch before a hike through Muir Woods, home to a redwood forest with trees ranging from 600 - 800 years old.
St. Regis San Francisco | Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 America's Cup Yacht Sail and SF Giants
Make your way down to the marina for an afternoon aboard San Francisco's only America's Cup racing yacht. You'll be helping the crew to raise the huge, 200m² mainsail and the jib sail after leaving the marina, and then you're off! You'll rotate through the different roles on the yacht, giving you the chance to try your hand at the helm or on the grinders. Your route takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge, past Alcatraz Island and other nearby San Francisco landmarks. Back on dry land, Head down to the nearby AT&T Park for an evening of exhilarating action.
St. Regis San Francisco | Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 San Francisco to Yosemite National Park
It’s time to hit the road: pick up your hire car and head east towards Yosemite National Park, best known for its waterfalls and stunning natural beauty. Your home for the next two nights is the charming Tenaya Lodge, and once you've settled in, the rest of the day is yours to relax in your surroundings or get out and about to explore the Park.
Tenaya Lodge | Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Yosemite National Park
Meet your nature guide in the morning for an action-packed tour of Yosemite National Park. You'll visit the major highlights including Glacier Point, Tunnel View, El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls and Swinging Bridge.
Tenaya Lodge | Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Yosemite National Park to Carmel
It's time to leave Yosemite and head back to the California to coast to Carmel, and your next hotel, Carmel Valley Ranch. Here you can enjoy a private nature walk through the hotel's expansive grounds, including 200 hectares of forest at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Carmel Valley Ranch | Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula
After breakfast, set off to the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Club Regarded as one of the toughest - and most picturesque - golf courses in the US, you'll be teeing off in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in golf. In the afternoon, all aboard! Explore the marine life of the coast by eco-raft. This smaller, open vessel means you are closer to the water, all the better for viewing the humpback whales, orcas, blue whales, dolphins, seabirds and seals that call the area home and the beautiful coastline of Monterey Bay, Point Lobos or Elkorn Slough.
Carmel Valley Ranch | Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Carmel to Santa Barbara
After breakfast, head south to Santa Barbara along the iconic Route 1, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, as it follows the spectacular Pacific coastline in a series of looping curves and stunning bridges. Spend the night in charismatic Santa Barbara at Belmond El Encanto.
Belmond El Encanto | Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Santa Barbara to Santa Monica
Your day begins with an exhilarating two hour bike ride atop the Santa Barbara bluffs with your own private guide, when you'll cycle along trails flanked by Eucalyptus trees and incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s then time to head south towards Los Angeles. Your hotel for the next three nights will be the Oceana Santa Monica, the lovely beach town famous for its pier and boardwalk, only a stone's throw from downtown LA.
Oceana Beach Club Hotel | Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 Universal Studios Hollywood
Today you'll be treated like an A-lister with a VIP experience at Universal Studios Hollywood, starting with drinks in the VIP lounge. You’ll tour the movie industry's busiest sets in a special trolley, where you can explore areas not open to the general public, such as sound stages where blockbuster movies and television shows are filmed. You'll explore Universal's award-winning sound department and prop warehouse followed by lunch in a private dining room, cooked by Universal's executive chef. Afterwards visit Universal's theme park, accompanied by a VIP guide who will escort you to the best seats in the house and front of the line access to all rides and attractions.
Oceana Beach Club Hotel | Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Marina del Rey
Take to the waters of Marina del Rey as you learn the art of stand-up paddle boarding, known as SUP - an excellent workout and a unique perspective on the calm waters of SoCal. After your lesson you'll have bikes available for cruising the boardwalk amongst the eclectic mix of locals and tourists, stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many beachfront restaurants.
Oceana Beach Club Hotel | Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Santa Monica to San Diego
After breakfast drive south to San Diego, where you'll spend your final three nights at the US Grant, located in the Gaslamp Quarter.
US Grant | Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 San Diego
With SUP lessons already mastered, you'll have the chance to spend the morning with a surfing pro, learning the art of becoming a Californian surfer. The rest of the day is yours to relax and explore.
US Grant | Meals: Breakfast

Day 14 Catalina Island
A fitting finale to your holiday, spend your final day exploring Catalina Island's diverse and beautiful landscape. Aboard your privately chartered sailing vessel you'll have the opportunity to visit remote beaches and spot a variety of marine life, including whales, dolphins, orcas and bald eagles. Back on land visit the charming island town of Avalon, before taking the return ferry back to Dana Point for your final evening in California.
US Grant | Meals: Breakfast

Day 15 San Diego to UK
Drive the short distance to San Diego airport where you'll leave your hire car and board your flight back to the UK.
Meals: Breakfast

At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 15 day suggested holiday will cost from £4,500 per adult and £3,700 per child (under 12) sharing one room or suite, including international flights and SUV rental.

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Useful info


Best time to be there

At 38 times the size of the UK, there is always a part of the country having great weather. The peak season is from June to September.

Fly to

British Airways fly to all the major cities in the States.

Flying time

7-12 hours

Time difference

From -5 to -10 hours behind GMT


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