California:

Surf, desert, moun­tains, for­est and cities by road

Selling Travel - - Contents -

What bet­ter way to truly em­brace the spirit of California’s state motto ‘eu­reka!’ than by em­bark­ing on a mem­o­rable road trip of dis­cov­ery?

Here are four sug­gested itin­er­ar­ies – fea­tur­ing both iconic sites and at­trac­tions and a few ‘un­known’ in­sider tips – that will keep your clients re­turn­ing to the Golden State time and time again.

Sea­side to Desert Oa­sis: San Diego to Palm Springs

Start in San Diego, with a two-night stay.

Ex­plore the water­front, in­clud­ing a visit to the USS Mid­way, with its decks laden with fighter planes.

Visit the world-fa­mous San Diego

Zoo and Sa­fari Park to ex­pe­ri­ence wild crea­tures up close. Hang out for a while in the huge (1,200 acres) and beau­ti­ful Bal­boa Park, be­fore hit­ting the lively Gaslamp Quar­ter for an evening of food, drink and en­ter­tain­ment.

Then head east, on High­way 78, and wend your way to Ju­lian, an alpine anom­aly in warm South­ern California.

Here, at the north­ern end of the Cuya­maca Range, it gets cold enough to grow flavour­ful ap­ples and the town (en­tirely a Recog­nised His­toric Dis­trict) cel­e­brates with a pop­u­lar Ap­ple Fes­ti­val each Oc­to­ber, when a whop­ping 10,000 ap­ple pies are baked each week.

Be­fore ar­riv­ing in Ju­lian for your onenight stay, make a lunch pit­stop in Ra­mona, and then check out Oa­sis Camel Dairy, the only one of its kind in Amer­ica.

Ride a camel, pet some farm an­i­mals, shop for rare camel’s milk-based prod­ucts – in short, en­joy a Cal­i­for­nian ex­pe­ri­ence with a dif­fer­ence!

From Ju­lian, take a northerly tack on High­way 79, ad­mir­ing the eastern flank of Palo­mar Moun­tain on your left, then hit High­way 371. Keep an eye out for Par­adise Val­ley Café, at the junc­tion of 371 and High­way 74, also called the ‘Palms to Pines High­way’ – it’s the per­fect spot for an­other of those lunch stops.

From here, the high­way winds through the San Bernardino Na­tional For­est be­fore dropping down into Palm Desert to meet High­way 111. Be ready with your cam­era, as there are some spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas along the way!

The Liv­ing Deserts: The com­mu­ni­ties of the Greater Palm Springs area pep­per High­way 111, pro­vid­ing a va­ri­ety of ac­com­mo­da­tion, dining and en­ter­tain­ment. Spend a few nights in any one of them and en­joy all the area has to of­fer.

Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (the world’s largest ro­tat­ing tram car) to the top of San Jac­into Peak, where you can en­joy a bite to eat, take in ex­pan­sive views and even do some hik­ing.

Al­ter­na­tively, ex­plore The Liv­ing Desert, a botan­i­cal gar­den and zoo where the desert flora and fauna truly come alive, hit the links on one (or more) of the area’s fab­u­lous golf cour­ses, or sim­ply re­lax by a sparkling pool, soak­ing up the sun for which Greater Palm Springs is fa­mous as you wind down this leg of your California ad­ven­ture.

The Icon: Down­town Los An­ge­les to the Cen­tral Coast

Spend a night in down­town Los An­ge­les to see the ur­ban re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion that’s well un­der­way. Un­til re­cently, DTLA had lit­tle to of­fer tourists, but that is chang­ing fast with the list of dining, art, and en­ter­tain­ment

op­tions now an im­pres­sive one. For ex­am­ple, check out the Grand Cen­tral Mar­ket, a hip, multi-restau­rant des­ti­na­tion at LA’s old­est farm­ers’ mar­ket for din­ner, break­fast… or both.

From here, head north to Bur­bank, home of fa­bled movie stu­dios like Dis­ney, Univer­sal and Warner Broth­ers.

Em­brace your ad­ven­tur­ous side with an af­ter­noon at Univer­sal Stu­dios, where you can raise your heart rate on ex­cit­ing coast­ers and ex­plore the back­lot with a be­hind-the-scenes tour.

For a mel­lower peek be­hind the cur­tain of movie magic, con­sider a stu­dio tour at Dis­ney or Warner Broth­ers or a visit to NBC’s broad­cast stu­dios, be­fore mov­ing on to West Hol­ly­wood for a night.

This trendy, LGBTQ-friendly area is known for its vi­brant nightlife and the en­ergy is in­fec­tious.

‘WeHo’ is home to fa­mous hot spots like the celebrity hide­away Chateau Mar­mont, Whisky a Go-Go and The Viper Room night clubs, plus sev­eral live com­edy venues.

Take your pick of fa­mous streets to stroll: Sun­set Boule­vard, Melrose Av­enue, Santa Mon­ica Blvd… they all run through West Hol­ly­wood and all are lined with in­ter­est­ing shops and restau­rants.

On your way out of town, roll west to Santa Mon­ica, where you can roam the iconic Santa Mon­ica Pier, with its clas­sic sea­side fun­fair. Get a bite by the beach be­fore jump­ing on the fa­bled Pa­cific Coast High­way (High­way 1, or PCH to the lo­cals) and head north to­ward Mal­ibu.

Though this area sus­tained con­sid­er­able dam­age in last Novem­ber’s ter­ri­ble Woolsey Fire, re­cov­ery is pro­gress­ing well and the spec­tac­u­lar coast­line scenery re­mains un­spoiled. Con­tinue north along the coast to High­way 101 west and Ven­tura, with its jaw-dropping beaches.

Make a lunch stop here on Ven­tura’s bustling Main Street, where you’ll also find a piece of California his­tory: Mis­sion San Bue­naven­tura, founded in 1782.

Amer­i­can Riviera: Ahead of you lies lovely Santa Bar­bara, which war­rants a two-night stay.

Known as the Amer­i­can Riviera, this Mediter­ranean-style city, with its white stucco build­ings with their red-tile roofs, is set against the dra­matic back­drop of the Santa Ynez Moun­tains. With a vibe of re­laxed el­e­gance, Santa Bar­bara boasts up­scale shop­ping, great dining, wel­com­ing beaches and loads of out­door pur­suits.

Depart Santa Bar­bara be­fore break­fast, be­cause you’ll want to en­joy that in the pic­turesque vil­lage of Solvang.

Full of Dan­ish flavour, you’ll find clas­sic half-tim­bered build­ings hous­ing shops car­ry­ing Dan­ish wares and restau­rants fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional Dan­ish de­lights – from her­ring to ebel­skivers.

From here, fol­low High­way 101 back to the coast, where you will ar­rive in Pismo Beach, your last stop on this Los An­ge­les to the Cen­tral Coast ad­ven­ture.

En­joy the re­lax­ing, small town feel, visit the Monarch But­ter­fly Grove, dis­cover a fa­vorite bot­tle at one of the many winer­ies, and walk the scenic beaches –“chill” is def­i­nitely the watch­word here.

Drive the Golden Chain

Start in the state cap­i­tal, Sacra­mento, where two nights will al­low enough time to tour the Capi­tol build­ing, dis­cover his­toric Old Sacra­mento, the State Rail­road Mu­seum, en­joy a peace­ful river cruise and savour the tasty fare of the na­tion’s farmto-fork dining cap­i­tal.

“What bet­ter way to truly em­brace the spirit of California’s state motto ‘Eu­reka!’ than by em­bark­ing on a mem­o­rable road trip of dis­cov­ery?”

Then, head east on High­way 50 to Plac­erville, with a stop in Fol­som to take in the new Johnny Cash Trail, around the pri­son he made fa­mous in his song.

In Plac­erville, ex­plore his­toric Main Street, visit the Gold Bug Park and Mine and, if it’s fall, don’t miss Ap­ple Hill, a har­vest sea­son heaven filled with ap­ple treats of all kinds.

Take a turn to the south and set out on High­way 49, California’s Golden Chain High­way, link­ing the towns of the Gold Coun­try. Your des­ti­na­tion is the quaint ham­let of Mur­phys, where you’ll spend a night (try the name­sake Mur­phys ho­tel).

Stop off along the way in Sut­ter Creek, in the heart of Sierra Foothills Wine Coun­try, to wan­der his­toric Main Street, which re­tains it Gold Rush fa­cade.

In Mur­phys, you’ll find a de­light­ful main street, with eclec­tic shop­ping and delicious dining. Just out­side town is Iron­stone Vine­yards, a pop­u­lar win­ery com­plex with a tast­ing room, west­ern his­tory mu­seum, per­for­mance venue and, the piece de

re­sis­tance, the world’s largest crys­talline gold nugget, weigh­ing in at 16.4kg!

A stone’s throw from Mur­phys on High­way 4 is Calav­eras Big Trees State Park, founded to pre­serve a large stand of tow­er­ing gi­ant se­quoias. Lace up your walk­ing shoes, take a stroll through these an­cient won­ders, and feel dwarfed by the majesty of na­ture.

Make your way back to High­way 49 and con­tinue south, stop­ping in the clas­sic Gold Rush town of Sonora, known as ‘The Queen of the South­ern Mines’ for lunch and a peek at its his­toric opera house be­fore head­ing for Mari­posa for a onenight stay.

Gear up for some en­gag­ing, clas­sic moun­tain driv­ing and breath­tak­ing views along the way!

While there, don’t miss the Mari­posa Mu­seum and His­tory Cen­ter, of­fer­ing a look at ev­ery­day life in the gold rush era, along with a func­tion­ing stamp mill.

“Spend a day in the City by the Bay, rid­ing the ca­ble cars, climb­ing Lom­bard Street, ex­plor­ing Golden Gate Park, and filling up on fresh seafood at Fish­er­man’s

Wharf”

Na­tional parks: From Mari­posa, fol­low High­way 49 south to the well-equipped town of Oakhurst, where you’ll make a left on High­way 41 to get to Yosemite Na­tional Park. Yosemite shouldn’t be rushed so spend at least two nights in the park or sur­round­ing area.

If a self-cater­ing stay is planned, sug­gest a rental home at The Red­woods in Yosemite. Once in Yosemite, ex­plore its spec­tac­u­lar nat­u­ral at­tributes, from the heights of Glacier Point and Half Dome to the re­cently re-opened Mari­posa Grove of gi­ant se­quoias and the val­ley’s many en­chant­ing wa­ter­falls.

For clients with ad­di­tional time and a taste for more na­ture, from Yosemite take High­ways 41 and 99 south to Visalia, gate­way to the beau­ti­ful and un­crowded Se­quoia and Kings Canyon Na­tional Parks.

San Fran­cisco to Davis: the Long Way ‘Round

From San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port, take High­way 101 north, by­pass­ing down­town San Fran­cisco (for now) and head­ing to nearby Berke­ley for two nights. Skip the com­mute crowds and hop on a tran­quil 25-minute ferry ride to spend a day in the City by the Bay, rid­ing the ca­ble cars, climb­ing Lom­bard Street, ex­plor­ing Golden Gate Park, and filling up on fresh seafood on Fish­er­man’s Wharf.

On the sec­ond day dis­cover the eclec­tic style of Berke­ley, on the eastern shores of San Fran­cisco Bay.

Home to the well-re­spected Univer­sity of California at Berke­ley, this youth­ful town with a cos­mopoli­tan spirit has great shop­ping (Fourth Street), out­door ad­ven­ture (Tilden Park), botan­i­cal gar­dens (on cam­pus at UC Berke­ley), a wealth of art and cul­ture, and the fa­mous Tele­graph Av­enue, a bustling ex­ten­sion of col­le­giate life fea­tur­ing quirky shops and restau­rants.

Next, hop on High­way 80 north, to High­way 29 north. Napa is the des­ti­na­tion for night three. Here clients can wine

“Through­out the re­gion known as ‘Yolo’, vis­i­tors will find high-qual­ity, lo­cally pro­duced fruit, nuts, honey, wines, and spe­cial­ity cheeses - the per­fect road trip snacks!”

and dine to their heart’s de­light at a plethora of pro­vi­sion­ers, then sim­ply revel in the beau­ti­ful coun­try­side as they make their way from Napa, through Yountville and Ruther­ford to High­way 128.

Hang a right and fol­low High­way 128 east, into the undis­cov­ered gem of Yolo County and on to the charm­ing town of Win­ters.

Then spend two nights at the im­pec­ca­bly ren­o­vated Inn at Park Win­ters, one of the area’s orig­i­nal Vic­to­rian man­sions.

From this com­fort­able base, ex­plore the greater area, in­clud­ing Cache Creek Casino Re­sort, home to a new win­ery (Seka Hills) and tast­ing room as well as fine olive oils pressed on-prop­erty.

Through­out this re­gion – known as

‘Yolo’, vis­i­tors will find high-qual­ity, lo­cally pro­duced fruit, nuts, honey, wines, and spe­cial­ity cheeses - the per­fect road trip snacks and meal ac­com­pa­ni­ments!

Upon de­part­ing the Inn, swing north on High­way 505 and east on 16 to Wood­land. A warm and wel­com­ing small town, Wood­land has some in­ter­est­ing at­trac­tions, like Reiff’s Gas Sta­tion Mu­seum, an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of car cul­ture and ga­so­line mem­o­ra­bilia, and the California Agri­cul­tural Mu­seum, full of fas­ci­nat­ing im­ple­ments and his­tory.

Con­tinue from Wood­land south on High­way 113 to Davis, for a one-night stay in the home of the renowned Univer­sity of California at Davis. A bi­cy­clist’s haven, Davis is full of fun dining spots, in­ter­est­ing bou­tiques, and en­gag­ing night life.

It’s an­other youth­ful California town with a vi­brant, lively, can-do at­ti­tude.

Golden mem­o­ries : Wher­ever your clients’ California dream­ing takes them, they will find beau­ti­ful (and di­verse) scenery, spec­taular vis­tas, friendly, laid-back lo­cals liv­ing the good life; fab­u­lous food, drink, and di­ver­sions aplenty. So set them free on those high­ways and by­ways, just wait­ing to guide them to those Golden State mem­o­ries.

Where to book it

Premier Hol­i­days – 08444 937 531 A five-night North California and Red­wood Na­tional Park self-drive that in­cludes two nights in Eu­reka, two nights in Redding and one night in Sacra­mento starts from £469pp. Based on two adults shar­ing, with ac­com­mo­da­tion and car hire (but not in­ter­na­tional flights), the deal is for travel in Fe­bru­ary 2019. Premier also has an 11-night Golden California self-drive, with stays in San Fran­cisco, Mon­terey, Cen­tral Coast, LA, Las Ve­gas and San Diego, priced from £1,449pp for travel on April 1, 2019.

Fun­way Hol­i­days – 0208 290 9754 The 14-day 'Com­pletely California' self-drive hol­i­day in­cludes flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion (with an overnight in Bak­ers­field), two nights in Cam­bria, San Diego and Yosemite Na­tional Park and three nights in San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les. It is priced from £2,479pp, based on two adults shar­ing.

Above: Bal­boa Park’s lily pond, San Diego

Op­po­site page, clock­wise from top: Napa’s river­front; hik­ing in the Golden State; San Diego’s Gaslamp Quar­ter. This page, from top: a Sacra­mento panorama; San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

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