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California Fly Drives – What to See and Do

Lauren Curd

There is no better way to discover California than with a road trip, allowing you to explore the great open roads of America’s west at your own pace. Highway One offers a captivating road trip through the Golden State; a land of complete contrasts, from scenic National Parks to glittering cities. The Pacific Coastal Highway, as Route 1 is often referred to as, stretches from San Fran down to LA, taking in Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. There is much more to California than just eclectic San Francisco and celeb watching in Hollywood, and we’ve rounded up some of our favourite things to do and see...

Napa & Sonoma Wine Country

The world-famous wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma Wine Country lie an hour north of San Francisco. Cruise along the country roads of the Silverado Trail to explore the vineyards and rolling hills, sampling the local wines as you go.

Napa Valley vineyard at sunset

Alcatraz from San Francisco

Learn all about the grim history of some of America’s most notorious prisoners with a visit to the prison isle of Alcatraz during your time in San Francisco. Take an audio tour around the prison cells and listen to recorded interviews from old inmates.

View of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay

Yosemite National Park

Head to beautiful Yosemite and immerse yourself in the great outdoors as you admire dramatic mountain scenery, meadows, forests and waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America at 2,450 feet. Adrenaline junkies can attempt to scale the 3,500 foot granite rock face of El Capitan on a climbing challenge.

The Upper Falls in Yosemite National Park, California

Death Valley National Park

The hottest, lowest and driest region in the USA; Death Valley encompasses three million acres of wilderness. If you’re heading out to Las Vegas from California, plan your route to incorporate this other-worldly area but explore with caution between May and September as the heat is so fierce. Visit Dante’s View for incredible vistas, hike wilderness trails and admire unique rock formations. Scotty’s Castle in the far north is also well worth a stop at.

Surreal landscapes of Death Valley, California

Big Sur

Nestled between the Santa Lucia Range and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur welcomes travellers cruising along Route 1 from Carmel. One of the journey’s most iconic landmarks can be found here – historic Bixby Bridge. Be sure to stop for a photograph and to admire the dramatic scenery.

The Lone Cypress beside the Pacific Ocean on 17 Mile Drive, California

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, two hours south of San Francisco, is home to a world-famous aquarium with several amazing displays. Exhibits, feedings, shows and tours are offered regularly and promise a fun-filled day for all ages.

Sealions on a rock in Monterey Bay, California

Universal Studios, Hollywood

Step into the set of your favourite blockbuster and spend a thrilling day riding rollercoasters. Get behind the scenes and learn the moviemaking secrets with a studio tour and send your adrenaline pumping on one of the many rides and experiences. Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates its 50th birthday this year and is pulling out all the stops so you can be sure of an unforgettable time here.

Iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles

 

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**

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