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Classic California

Private Travel | Self-drive 16 Days & 14 Nights Lead-in price: £3495

Experience the highlights of California on this suggested self-drive tour from San Diego to San Francisco. Beginning on the laid-back, history-steeped waterfront of San Diego, continue to the oasis resort of Palm Springs, before exploring Los Angeles city. Travel out of state to sample the bright lights of Las Vegas and the natural phenomenon of the Grand Canyon. Back in California, enjoy the spectacular scenery of Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park. Finish with a stunning Pacific coast drive followed by several nights in cosmopolitan San Francisco. Experience the ‘Golden City’ in all its glory, and sample the world-renowned wine of nearby Napa Valley – among the greatest American Viticultural Areas.

The Cox & Kings signature experiences

  • Spend a day exploring the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park
  • Tour estates and sample wine on a full-day tour of the award-winning Napa Valley region
  • Drive along California's picturesque Pacific coast, including the famously scenic 17-Mile Drive
  • Stay in the iconic cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, enjoying ample to explore
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Superior Private Tour in brief

Day 1: Fly to San Diego

On arrival, pick up your hire car and drive to the Hotel del Coronado for 2 nights. (N)

Day 2: San Diego

Your day is at leisure to explore this waterfront city known for its ocean-sprayed vistas, high-quality restaurants and culture-rich neighbourhoods. Take an optional two-hour tram tour, riding the ‘trolley’ between points of interest as a narrator provides local insight. (N)

Days 3-4: Palm Springs

Drive to Palm Springs, a desert-bound resort once the exclusive playground of the rich and famous. Stay two nights at Hilton Palm Springs, with your second day at leisure. You may wish to take a 4×4 tour through the heart of the San Andreas Fault, go on a narrated walking food-tour of Palm Springs, or browse the 12,000 works on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum. (N)

Day 5: Los Angeles

Drive to Los Angeles and stay two nights at The Westin Bonaventure. Located in the heart of downtown, this elegant property provides a great base for exploring the city. (N)

Day 6: Los Angeles

Today, you may wish to explore some of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks and neighbourhoods, such as Sunset Boulevard, Beverley Hills, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Perhaps book a hop-on hop-off bus tour for a showcase of the highlights of this glamorous city. (N)

Day 7: Las Vegas

Return your hire car at the airport and fly to Las Vegas. On arrival, collect your new hire car and drive to MGM Grand Resort for a two-night stay. (N)

Day 8: The Grand Canyon

Today, we recommend driving to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, with entrance to the Grand Canyon Skywalk included. Alternatively, take to the skies with a helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon’s West Rim – less frequented than its southern counterpart. This area of the canyon is situated in the Hualapai Nation and features magnificent natural rock formations. (N)

Day 9: Death Valley & Mammoth Lakes

Travel through the stark, sun-baked Death Valley with an overnight stay at Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa. If time permits, then discover the Mammoth Lakes area, known for its crystal-clear lakes, expansive valleys and picture-perfect scenery.

Day 10: Yosemite

Drive to Yosemite National Park for a full day exploring this famously beautiful valley, before a night at Tenaya Lodge. First protected in 1864, Yosemite covers an area of 3,074 square kilometres and is full of deep valleys, sweeping meadows and ancient giant sequoias. For full appreciation of this wilderness, we highly recommend extending your stay here. (N)

Day 11: Monterey

Travel to Monterey, whose attractions such as Cannery Row so inspired author and Nobel Prize-winner, John Steinbeck. Other popular draws include Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where there is a focus on local marine habitats. In the afternoon, travel along the scenic 17-Mile Drive, which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes mansions and famous golf courses, before stopping at the quaint town of Carmel. Visit the pretty beach, go shopping, or relax at an Ocean Avenue park. Overnight at Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay. (N)

Day 12: San Francisco

This morning, take an optional whale-watching cruise around Monterey Bay. Depending on the season, you may spot gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales and orcas, as well as a range of dolphins and other marine animals. Later, drive to San Francisco, drop off your hire car and stay three nights at InterContinental Mark Hopkins – conveniently located in Nob Hill, where there are many museums, restaurants and boutiques. (N)

Day 13: San Francisco

Explore the ‘Golden City’ using the provided hop-on, hop-off pass. Admire many of the city’s highlights, including the Downtown area, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park. There will also be the opportunity to visit the infamous former prison of Alcatraz by ferry, complete with an award-winning, self-guided audio tour. (N)

Day 14: Napa Valley

Today, join a small group excursion for a tour and tasting experience in California’s wine country. Head north into the world-famous Napa Valley, where you will have exclusive estate tours and tastings at three of the region’s best wineries. Return to your hotel for the night. (N)

Days 15-16: Fly to the UK

Transfer to the airport and catch your overnight flight home, arriving the next morning. (N)

Superior private tour accommodation

  • Hotel del Coronado
    Hotel del Coronado

    First opened in 1888, Hotel del Coronado has played host to celebrities, royalty and US presidents through the years - not to mention the generations of beach-loving guests. San Diego's only true beachfront hotel, 'The Del' is spread across 28 oceanfront acres on Coronado Island, just across the bay from downtown. Split into four distinct 'neighbourhoods', accommodation ranges from characterful rooms in the original Victorian hotel to beachfront villas and luxurious cabanas with private terraces and pristine lounge areas. There are multiple dining options, all boasting expert chefs using locally sourced ingredients. Features: 757 rooms & suites, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, outdoor swimming pool, spa, gym, fitness classes, evening entertainment, shops. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, minibar, tea & coffee facilities, Wi-Fi.

  • Hilton Palm Springs
    Hilton Palm Springs

    The Hilton Palm Springs is located in the downtown area, just a few streets from the main strip. A choice of restaurants, theatres and attractions are all within easy walking distance. At the on-site restaurant, guests can choose between the stylish dining room or the outside patio overlooking the pool courtyard. The property features an excellent spa, an outdoor pool deck, and offers great views of the nearby San Jacinto mountains. Several championship golf courses are nearby, as well as tennis courts and bicycle renting facilities. Features: 257 rooms, restaurant, 2 bars, outdoor swimming pool, gym, spa. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, tea & coffee facilities, hairdryer, iron, Wi-Fi.

  • Westin Bonaventure
    Westin Bonaventure

    The gleaming glass towers of Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites Los Angeles have hosted US presidents, dignitaries and film stars since it opened in 1976. Set in the heart of the downtown area, its striking architecture has featured in several films and TV shows. Guestrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the skyline views; however, the 34th-floor lounge offers some of the best views in the entire city. There is a lovely pool terrace and the fitness centre is excellent. Features: 1,219 rooms & 139 suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, cafe, gym, outdoor swimming pool, salon, laundry service. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, minibar, bathrobes, iron, hairdryer, Wi-Fi.

  • MGM Grand
    MGM Grand

    Located on the southern end of the Strip, the MGM Grand offers everything guests could look for in a Las Vegas resort, including a casino, evening entertainments, and an elaborate swimming pool complex. With no less than 5,000 guestrooms and suites, there are a range of room categories on offer. Even the entry-level categories are well-equipped and of a good size. Despite the large number of guests, the check-in procedure is friendly and efficient. There are host of on-site dining options, ranging from triple-Michelin-starred formal dining to relaxed, New Orleans-style seafood.

  • Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa
    Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa

    The family-owned Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa is located in Mammoth Lakes and is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. In winter the area offers over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, while the warmer months brings world-class fishing and hiking opportunities. The property is located 65 kilometres from the Tioga Pass, entrance to Yosemite National Park. A number of room categories are available, and facilities include a spa, mini golf and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Features: 148 rooms, 3 restaurants, swimming pool, jacuzzi, spa, mini golf, ski rental, laundry facilities. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, minibar, hairdryer, Wi-Fi.

  • Tenaya Lodge
    Tenaya Lodge

    Situated in the Sierra National Forest, Tenaya Lodge is minutes from Yosemite National Park's southern gate. Lodging is in comfortable, warmly decorated rooms in the main lodge or inviting cottages and cabins nestled among towering pines and cedars. The facilities are excellent, while the warm, earth-toned decor complements the alpine grandeur that surrounds the resort. All rooms offer views of the beautiful pine-covered forest. The nearby Mariposa Grove contains about 500 mature giant sequoia trees - perhaps the largest living things on the planet. Features: 352 rooms & suites, 4 swimming pools, gym, spa, hot tubs. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, Wi-Fi.

  • Portola Hotel & Spa
    Portola Hotel & Spa

    The waterfront Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay is well-located for exploring Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Carmel Valley, many nearby vineyards, and the scenic 17-Mile Drive. It also provides easy access to Monterey's most popular attractions, being mere steps away from Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. The classy guestrooms feature luxurious bedding and modern amenities. Facilities at the hotel include an expansive, award-winning spa and an excellent seafood restaurant. Features: 379 rooms, restaurants, pub, cafe, swimming pool, gym, spa. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, minibar, tea & coffee facilities, bathrobes, safe, hairdryer, iron, Wi-Fi.

  • InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, an IHG Hotel
    InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, an IHG Hotel

    The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco is one of the city's architectural gems. Its grand exteriors combine French Chateau and Spanish Renaissance styles, while its interiors feature original murals by Maynard Dixon and Frank Van Sloun. Located in Nob Hill amidst excellent museums, chic restaurants and boutiques, the hotel offers elegant accommodation and faultless customer service. The 'Top of the Mark', the hotel's 19th-floor sky lounge, has been a neighbourhood fixture since it opened in 1939. It serves creative cocktails and delicious appetisers while offering superb views of city skyline, the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The Nob Hill Club is a farm-to-table restaurant serving local California cuisine sourced from the Bay Area and Northern California growers and purveyors. Features: 383 rooms, restaurant, bar, gym. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, minibar, bathrobes, safe, Wi-Fi.

Superior private tour extensions

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Dates & prices


Guideline Prices

Low season from £3495 per person

High season from £3495 per person


Vaccination Travel Policy
All clients must be fully vaccinated before travelling with us on a Cox & Kings (C&K) group tour. This means that a customer must have received their full two doses of the COVID‑19 vaccination at least 14 days before travelling with us. This does not apply to our private tours or tailor-made travel. If you have any questions please call us or visit our FAQs page on our website here

Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or send an email enquiry

Guaranteed Departures Where a tour date has ‘yes’ listed, this tour is guaranteed to run.

For all other departure dates, once the minimum number of people booked has been reached, this tour is also guaranteed to run. Our sales consultants will be able to advise how many people are booked for your chosen date at the time of enquiry, giving you the confidence to book safe in the knowledge your tour will go ahead.

Terms & Conditions Guaranteed departures will run except in the circumstances where travel to the destination is advised against by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or entry restrictions relating to COVID-19 preclude travel.

Additional Information

Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.

Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.