There's no better way to explore the USA than by car. The driving is easy with inexpensive fuel and excellent roads that link vibrant cities with wide-open spaces, spectacular countryside and breathtaking coastlines. This journey will bring you south from the bright lights of Hollywood to the laid-back beaches of San Diego and back north, through the desert, to Palm Springs. Then, returning to the coast, you'll explore Santa Barbara – its coastline often referred to as the American Riviera – before soaking up the sun in the millionaires' playgrounds of Malibu and Santa Monica.
Days 1-2: UK to Los Angeles
Relax in your included VIP airport lounge before a daytime flight to Los Angeles. On arrival, make your way to your chosen hotel before heading out to explore the city's many attractions. There's the golden sands of Long Beach and Venice, the glamour of Beverley Hills and the millionaires' mansions and sweeping city views from the Hollywood Hills. Or, for some unapologetic fun in the sun, perhaps spend a day at the theme parks of Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Stay: Luxe Sunset Boulevard (Superior) or Sixty Beverley Hills (Superior)
Day 3: Laguna Beach
Collect your hire car and derive south out of Los Angeles along the coast to Laguna Beach in Orange County, home to a mix of opulent mansions and quaint cottages that line the bluffs above sandy coves. The town is also well known as an artist’s colony with more than 100 art galleries and boutiques. There's a choice of accommodation: the Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach itself, or the Hyatt Regency in nearby Newport Beach. Just a couple of kilometres up the coast, Newport offers easy access to all the same attractions as its Laguna Beach counterpart.
Stay: Hyatt Regency, Newport Beach (Superior) or Surf and Sand, Laguna Beach (Superior)
Days 4-5: San Diego
Continue your journey south to the quintessential Californian beach city of San Diego with its near-perfect climate, Spanish architecture and myriad of attractions including a number of theme parks and it’s world-renowned zoo. A hop-on, hop-off sightseeing trolley tour is one of the best ways to see the city, perhaps visiting its Balboa Park Spanish-era Old Town and Little Italy.
Stay: Andaz San Diego (Superior) or The US Grant (Deluxe)
Days 6-7: Palm Springs
Mountain scenery, 350 days of sunshine a year and some of the most acclaimed spas in the world make Palm Springs an irresistible retreat. Its lush greenery is thanks to its thermal wells, which not only produce some of the purest mineral water on earth but also help water the myriad of golf courses that you’re welcome to take a swing on.
Days 8-9: Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara or ‘America’s Riviera’ as it’s also known is filled with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, bubbling fountains, towering palms and cascading bougainvillea. Within an hour of Santa Barbara is the Saint Ynez Valley (made famous by the film ‘Sideways’) – there are numerous wineries open for tastings.
Stay: Kimpton Goodland (Superior) or Canary Hotel (Deluxe)
Day 10: Santa Monica
It’s a short drive back towards Los Angeles passing Malibu along the way for your final stop in Santa Monica. Drop off your hire car and then head out to explore the famous pier, the famous farmers market and 3rd Street Promenade for some last-minute shopping.
Stay: Georgian Hotel (Standard) or Viceroy Santa Monica (Superior)
Day 11: Departure
Make your own way to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK.
Day 12: Arrive UK
Arrive back in the UK after overnight flight and continue your onward journey home.
High season: Jul-Aug
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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