- Take your teenagers on a great road trip along California's legendary coast hugging Route One.
- Then Yosemite National Park, another Western American myth, by land
- San Francisco and L.A. with colourful locals, bike rides, vintage car, Universal Studios: all included
- Clued-up local concierge and all the usual additional services
Contact one of our USA specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
CALIFORNIA, A TEENAGE DREAM
CALIFORNIAN LIFESTYLEBecause this trip is for a specific age of children, we have added activities to the itinerary that are specially designed so you can share exceptional moments with your teenagers. In San Francisco, after a walk in the footsteps of hippies accompanied by a local who helps you discover their city, leave by bike for a ride along an ocean front cycle lane that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge and to Sausalito. In Monterey, Santa Barbara and along the way, you are free to add highlights to your schedule such as kayaking, buggy rides, extra nights and more. Speak to our Concierge. Lastly, in Los Angeles, you can pretend to be true Californians: cruise the highlights in a vintage car, pedal along the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice on a Californian bike (beach cruiser), follow the footsteps of a local for a big urban stroll to Runyon Canyon , tick off attractions and relive cult scenes at Universal Studios The addresses along the route have been selected for their ideal locations: in the heart of San Francisco, by the ocean along the coast, a short walk from Universal Studios in L.A. Finally, you have the contact details of our Concierge team, who can be reached at any time to make any last minute plans.
Flight to San Francisco
Private transfer and three nights' accommodation in the heart of San Francisco, two blocks from Union Square on the edge of SoMA (South Market), an increasingly popular neighbourhood filled with theatres, restaurants and bars. Today's temples to retail are at the foot of the hotel (fashion, technology), as is the cable car. The interiors are contemporary and arty.
Included in the itinerary – A stroll with a San Francisco local, who can share his/her experience and knowledge of the city and the bay. These few hours allow you to follow in the footsteps of thousands of young hippies who rushed to the 'City by the Bay' in the early summer of 1967. Walk through the Victorian era district of Haight-Ashbury, which became the epicentre of the Summer of '67 movement, the origins of the hippie revolution.
Do it, live it – An afternoon shopping in the shopping district of Union Square and your hotel – a visit to Alcatraz at dusk – the serpentine Lombard Street – meeting local artisans and chefs – having brunch in the authentic Mission district, then browsing Clarion Alley and its many street art works...
Optional – Entry tickets for Alcatraz Prison Island.
Tour: San Francisco by bike . At nearly two-miles long, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the largest bridges in the world and also one of the most recognisable... The bike ride offers fantastic views of the bay. The walk, a little over six miles, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, goes along the beach, and then crosses the bridge to arrive in Sausalito. This former fishing village has become a chic seaside resort with a French restaurant decorated like a garage, with views of the Port de Plaisance. with a relaxed atmosphere and food that's to die for. It is a beautiful place, from which you will return by ferry.
Optional – A day in the high-tech Silicon Valley region.
San Francisco – El Portal (Yosemite)
Pick up the 4x4 rental and road to El Portal (4h), in the heart of Sierra Nevada, a few miles from Yosemite Park. Leaving behind the sometimes foggy bay, scenic Route 140 takes you through small towns like Merced – there is an impressive collection of planes on display at the Castle Air Museum. Two nights' accommodation in the hotel closest to the park entrance. In this lovely setting, your room overlooks the river...
Yosemite National Park
This national park - the world's first - has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984 and features spectacular alpine landscapes, granite domes, stunning cliffs, majestic lakes, rivers and waterfalls, giant redwood forests and hundreds of species of birds and mammals, including the park's iconic brown bear. The scenic Tioga Road runs west to east across the park.
Yosemite – Monterey
Road to Monterey (4h). Leave the pine forests and rocky domes behind, as you reach the Pacific West Coast. Panoramic Route 140, shadowed by the Merced River, runs through small western towns such as Mariposa. Pass through several small towns on the way to Monterey Bay. Stay for two nights in the only property on the beach, protected from the swell by a sea wall. The rooms are low key and comfortable; yours is extended by a terrace opening out towards the ocean.
Monterey, a former fishing port that went on to become California's first capital and later a busy seaside resort, is popular for its gentle way of life by the sea. The city's centre and docks are a reminder of the important role the sardine industry played in the region's heyday. Surrounding areas: beaches, nature reserves and vineyards.
Optional – A kayak trip on Monterey Bay. A visit to the world's largest and most famous aquarium, home to thousands of fish.
Monterey - Santa Barbara
Continue south to Santa Barbara, along panoramic Highway 1 (approximately four hours). Follow the tides, revealing stunning scenery all along the coastline.
Optional, en route – A beach buggy ride through the Pismo Beach dunes.
Santa Barbara, a mission founded by the Spaniards at the end of the 18th century and set on a coastal ledge stretching over the hills between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, has become a popular spot to relax. Its white-washed stucco houses with red-tile roofs and palm-lined beaches give the city a Mediterranean feel. In fact, the California Riviera always seems to be on holiday. Spend the night at an address facing the Pacific Ocean, a stone's throw from the pier. The comfortable pastel-toned rooms have views of the ocean and bikes are available for guests.
Santa Barbara - Los Angeles
There's still the last stretch of Highway 1, just an hour and a half along the beaches of the Pacific to Malibu. Next is L.A. with its sprawling network of avenues and the famous Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel in the distance. Spend four nights in a mission-style hotel with retro details that blend in beautifully with the friendly, Californian vibe. Even the hotel owner is a film star and her name can be found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. As an added bonus, Universal Studios is just around the corner.
Los Angeles is a clash of cultures where everything is supersized and a car is a must... Sunset Boulevard alone is over 20 miles long! The city's beauty lies in its prime location. Greater Los Angeles, with its sparkling waters and never-ending beaches bathed in glorious sunshine, stretches for over 62 miles along the coast. The city lies on a coastal plain at the base of hills. To the west is Hollywood, and Hollywood Boulevard runs through these hills and Beverly Hills.
In the itinerary – Get to know L.A. in a classic car and cruise through the city's iconic neighbourhoods, just like in a road movie. After seeing the main sights by car, delve deeper and explore popular spots further, such as the legendary beaches of Santa Monica and Venice on fun beach cruiser bikes. For an original experience, join a local artist on a sporty adventure in the Hollywood Hills neighbourhood, then visit Wattles Garden Park, with its beautiful mansion and panoramic views, and end up at Runyon Canyon for superb views of L.A., from the Pacific Ocean to the iconic Hollywood sign. Finally, enjoy Express Passes for Universal Studios and explore the studios (still regularly used for filming) and theme park.
Optional - A surf lesson at Manhattan Beach, a highlight of the California trip. A day exploring the most famous sets of American movies and TV shows.
Lost Angeles - Return Flight
Return your hire car to the airport and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
A la carte
SAN FRANCISCO – ALCATRAZ ISLAND
In San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, also known as 'The Rock', was the most famous federal high security prison in the United States between 1933 and 1963 – partly because Al Capone was detained there. IT was said this was the jail from which it was impossible to escape, due to the cold water and strong currents in the bay.
A DAY IN SILICON VALLEY
Accompanied by a private expert guide, set off for a day to the heart of the high-tech region of Silicon Valley, home to the internet's greatest successes. In the itinerary: Visit the famous Google campus and the Android building before visiting the offices of the tech giants Facebook and Apple. The day continues with a detour to the garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created their first Apple prototype before joining one of America's top universities: Stanford.
Optional – From San Francisco
KAYAK IN MONTEREY BAY
The bay, located between Santa Cruz and Monterey, is home to a marine reserve inhabited by sea otters, seals, sea birds, fish and turtles. Kayaking through this reserve allows you to get close to marine mammals and other species living nearby, and also to enjoy superb views of the harbour, the famous aquarium and the famous Cannery Row, once home to sardine processing warehouses and now a gentrified residential area with several tourist attractions.
BUGGY IN THE PISMO BEACH DUNES
What better way to roam the Oceano Dunes than in a dune buggy? After the initial vehicle briefing, the two-hour practice trip to a public beach on the Pacific coast begins. There is sensational scenery at the meeting point.
LOS ANGELES OF FILMS AND SHOWS
A private tour designed specifically to appeal to teenagers and introduce them to the iconic places of Los Angeles by visiting the most popular locations in some of the best American TV shows and films. The day begins at the Griffith Observatory, which offers a superb overview of the city, before heading to the Walk of Fame, the legendary avenue and tribute to American cinema. Continue with a tour of celebrity homes before wandering around the UCLA campus, a small town where you can see students coming out of the library featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or cheerleaders training for an upcoming American football game. Then head to Santa Monica's Pier for its small amusement park and Ferris wheel, seen in the film Iron Man and the show NCIS Los Angeles, and to Venice Beach for its famous canals and colourful architectural houses, the back drop for Hank Moody's escapades in Californication.
AT THE END OF THE ROAD... SAN DIEGO
Fancy extending your seaside trip for a few more days? San Diego, in southern California, awaits. Expect well-known surf beaches, the Gaslamp Quarter with its vibrant bustle, Balboa Park with its museums and the authenticity of the Old Town.
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