Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

01892 515 966

What to Do and See In California

Author: 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 in America's most famous state.

1. 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, California
Napa Valley
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco

2. 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.

Upper Falls Yosemite National Park California
Yosemite National Park

3. 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 and those looking for a USA self-drive adventure can continue through America's western states.

Death Valley National Park California
Death Valley National Park

4. 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.

SS The Lone Cypress 17 Mile Drive Pebble Beach California
Big Sur

5. Big Sur

Nestled between the Santa Lucia Range and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur welcomes travellers cruising along Highway 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.

Contact Us Today

6. Monterey Bay Aquarium

The charming Californian town of 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.

SS Monterey California USA

7. Universal Studios, Hollywood

Step into the set of your favourite blockbuster and spend a thrilling day riding LA's 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.

Hollywood sign Los Angeles
Hollywood Hills

Holiday Suggestions

Keep In Touch With Pettitts Travel

Sign up for our weekly travel ideas by email, keeping you up to date and inspiring you with ideas, information and suggestions for your next holiday.

Sign Up

Follow Us

Head Office: 8-9 Orchard Business Centre, North Farm Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent, TN2 3XF

Contact Us

Contact Us

01892 515 966


Speak to one of our Travel Consultants (* fields are required)

I would like to receive news and special offers