Santa Monica pier

California Dreamin’ 

From £2,399
14 night fly drive includes flights, car and hotels.

Travelling next year? Book now for an early discount.

14 night fly drive holiday to California, visiting San Francisco, Sacremento, the less visited Lake Tahoe and awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park before returning to the California Coast to visit Monterey, Big Sur and Santa Monica as you drive south along the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles. 

Travel period : Year round with minor adjustments for winter conditions in Yosemite & Lake Tahoe


Value package from: £2399
Standard package from: £2809
Superior packages from: £3385

You can mix and match hotels from our value, standard and superior options – call for package price.

Day 1
San Francisco Arrival

Non-stop flights from the UK mean you will arrive mid-afternoon, taking just under 11 hours.

On arrival we recommend that you do not collect your car as you will be tired and will only pay high fees to park the vehicle during your 3 days in the city. Either take a convenient metred cab from the airport terminal or we can arrange a shuttle transfer for you for a small fee. If you do prefer to collect your vehicle upon arrival into San Francisco, this can be done for an additional cost.

Value: King George Hotel
Standard: Hotel Adagio
Superior: Argonaut Hotel

Day 2
San Francisco
Suggested activities (Not included in pre-paid cost)

This morning we suggest you take a city tour – especially if this is your first time to this fabulous city as it will allow you to get your bearings.

Enjoy a quick 10-minute ferry ride to the centre of the San Francisco harbour to the infamous former prison island – Alcatraz. The visit includes a taped tour of the prison (once home to such famous criminals as gangster Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly”). Note: We strongly suggest that you pre-book this very popular Alcatraz tour which in our opinion is not to be missed – let us know at time of booking. Do book early to avoid disappointment!

Seafood dinner at one of many restaurants along the waterfront or at one of the trendy restaurants in the SoMa (South of Market) area! After dinner, enjoy a musical show, an American Conservatory Theatre performance or a comedy club, and a nightcap in one of the many rooftop cocktail lounges.

Value: King George Hotel
Standard: Hotel Adagio
Superior: Argonaut Hotel

Day 3
San Francisco
Suggested activities

Take a tour to Muir Woods, a forest of giant California redwood trees – some of the biggest trees in the world. On the way back, stop for lunch and shopping in the beautiful little town of Sausalito. Return to San Francisco by ferry or by bus; or take a walking tour of Chinatown with a dim sum lunch.

Free afternoon to shop! Explore Union Square’s department stores, small boutiques and art galleries; visit the neighbourhood shopping areas South of Market or Union Street; take a five-minute walk from downtown to the Embarcadero Centre, a three-level, four-building complex of 150 shops. Shop at the many complexes in the Fisherman’s Wharf area such as PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square and The Cannery and enjoy the musicians and street performers. Take a jeep tour of the area, or rent a bike and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and ferry back to San Francisco.

San Francisco has over 3,000 restaurants! Take your choice: For instance, an authentic Chinese banquet in Chinatown – the largest Asian settlement outside of mainland China, an elaborate Korean barbecue or an Italian feast in The City’s Italian section, called “North Beach” or how about a dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay. Enjoy dinner and dancing to a live band as you cruise past The City’s famous skyline at sunset.

San Francisco is one of our favourite cities in the whole of North America & we would not recommend you spending any less than 3 nights in the city if this is your first visit. None of the tours or attractions mentioned in our suggested itinerary are included in your tour price, however, we would be very happy to make these arrangements on your behalf (subject to availability). In particular, as we have mentioned above, your visit to Alcatraz – as the ferry to the island can often be booked up days, or even weeks, in advance during the height of the season.  

There are numerous festivals going on throughout the year in San Francisco, art, film and dance festivals and this is in addition to a packed sport scene, which includes the world famous San Francisco 49’ers. We are happy to help our customers with purchasing tickets and advising on events taking place during your stay, please ask for details.

Value: King George Hotel
Standard: Hotel Adagio
Superior: Argonaut Hotel

Day 4
San Francisco – Sacramento
87 miles

Today is a short drive (1.5 – 2 hours) to Sacramento, the capitol of California. Often overlooked by U.K. travellers to California, Sacramento is a city of history as the epicenter of the California Gold Rush of 1849 and the last stop on the Pony Express. Sacramento’s Old Town takes you back in time with its wooden sidewalks false front buildings and old west charm. It’s well worth a visit to the state capitol building surrounded by the Capital Park with trees from around the world, beautiful flowers and walking/jogging paths.

Value: Best Western Plus Sutter House
Standard: Sacremento Hilton
Superior: Kimpton Sawyer Hotel

Day 5
Sacramento – South Lake Tahoe
110 miles

Today is a short scenic drive through the Eldorado National Forest to beautiful South Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe is located on the Stateline of Nevada and California with casinos on one side (Nevada) and everything else you would want in a vacation destination on the other side (California). Located on the shores of the largest Alpine Lake in North America you’ll enjoy stunning views of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, groves of pines, clean mountain air and beautiful sunsets! Plenty of time over the next two days to enjoy summer outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, boating or relaxing in the hotel spa.

Value: Montbleau Casino Resort
Standard: Beach Retreat and Lodge
Superior: Grand Residences by Marriott

Day 6
Lake Tahoe

The first thing you realise when you arrive at Lake Tahoe is just how big it is. So whilst everyone is different and you may wish to indulge in or more of the many activities available to you in this summer playground we’d suggest using the first day to get some perspective.

Start the day with a trip onto the water aboard one of the beautiful paddle steamers, Tahoe Queen of M.S. Dixie II. In the afternoon ride the Heavenly Gondola up into the Sierra Mountains for some quite stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains, it’s not unusual to see snow on some of the peaks year round.

Perhaps finish the day off with a carriage ride around South Lake Tahoe followed by dinner as the sun sets at Beacons Bar & Grill where live music plays most evenings.

Value: Montbleau Casino Resort
Standard: Beach Retreat and Lodge
Superior: Grand Residences by Marriott

Day 7
Lake Tahoe

Today we’d suggest jumping in your rental car for a day of exploring as you drive around the lake. It is so incredibly beautiful with so many stunning beaches that you can pretty much stop anywhere, but a few highlights we’d pick out are shown below:

Spooner Lake – A popular spot for hikers, fisherman, wildflower fans and birdwatchers. This spot gives you a great opportunity to get out and stretch your legs with a 2 mile loop walk to the lake and back – listen to the breeze whispering through the aspens as you enjoy these beautiful surroundings.

Sand Harbor – One of the most popular beach locations on the lake. With summer festivals and live performers at the fine sandy beach it is a great place to relax. The crystal clear blue waters will tempt you in for a paddle at the very least.

Emerald Bay – Consider parking at the Vikingsholm trailhead, the 1 mile walk down the road to the Vikingsholm mansion will allow you to enjoy waterfalls and lake views en-route. The tour of the Scandinavian-style castle built in the 1920s is worth it to learn about Tahoe’s history. For the slightly more adventurous there is a real treat at Emerald Bay. If you are game take the Eagle Falls trail which leads you on a short but strenuous loop that includes a spectacular vista point and waterfalls roaring beneath a lookout bridge.

If you are looking for somewhere spectacular to finish off your stay in South Lake Tahoe, why not head for 19 Kitchen Bar, located on the 19th floor of Harveys Lake Tahoe? This fine dining destination offers wonderful lake view from all tables.

Value: Montbleau Casino Resort
Standard: Beach Retreat and Lodge
Superior: Grand Residences by Marriott

Day 8
South Lake Tahoe to Yosemite
180 miles

Today you move on to the next California experience as you travel across the Sierra Nevada Mountains and beautiful Tioga Pass as you make your way to Yosemite National Park. Just before turning onto the Tioga Pass we suggest a stop at Mono Lake, a majestic body of salt water over 700,000 years old and saltier than seawater. Continue over Tioga Pass with its spectacular scenery into the Yosemite Valley.

Value: Miners Inn (Mariposa)
Standard: Yosemite View Lodge (Mountain View)
Superior: Yosemite View Lodge (River View)

Day 9
Yosemite National Park

Head out early to the west entrance to the park to buy your tickets and enter the Valley Floor, which is the most famous 7 square miles in the park well-known for its incredible views of Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. This area is relatively flat which makes it ideal to walk all year round or you can rent cruiser bikes.  If you aren’t up to a hike or bike ride, you can also jump on the Valley Floor Tour. The tour departs several times daily and provides a good overview of the main sights of the Valley Floor including Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall. This is the shortest way to take in the major Valley sights, taking about two hours. A walk will take longer, especially as you will most likely want to linger awhile at each location.

There are also free shuttle buses that traverse the Valley Floor that you can hop on and hop off at your leisure. While the tour is convenient we do recommend taking in a short hike at some point, perhaps an easy walk or bike ride to Mirror Lake would be a great finish to your first day in Yosemite!

You should also check out the Yosemite Guide to see what free ranger programs are happening during your visit. Young children should join a Junior Ranger program during their stay to learn more about the park’s ecology and stewardship.

Once you have taken your initial shots of Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls (seasonally March – June or sometimes in the late fall) you can head back to Yosemite Village to explore a little more. Visit the Yosemite Museum to experience Native American cultural including massive hand-woven baskets. You might even see a cultural demonstrator who can teach about Miwok and Paiute Native American traditions in Yosemite. Wander around the replica village by the Museum or head down to the nearby cemetery to see the headstones of Native Americans and pioneers.

Stop by the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. This hotel was built in 1927 and has been the lodging for queens and presidents alike. It’s beautiful Art Noveau architecture and intricate Native American motifs, make this opulent hotel a must-see for any trip to Yosemite. Completely open to the public, feel free to lounge in the Great Hall or join one of the many culinary festivals such as the Grand Grape Celebration that take place each year during the autumn and winter seasons.

Value: Miners Inn (Mariposa)
Standard: Yosemite View Lodge (Mountain View)
Superior: Yosemite View Lodge (River View)

Day 10
Yosemite National Park

The best way to experience Yosemite is to get on the trail. With more than 800 miles of world-class trails, Yosemite is truly a paradise for any hiker, But you don’t have to be amazingly fit to enjoy Yosemite’s Trails.

Explore easy trails such as Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall if you are looking for a short walk that will bring you close to these wonders. Both trails are fully paved, and wheel-chair accessible, so they truly are perfect for anyone. If you are looking for more of an adventure, seek out the Mist Trail.

One of Yosemite’s most popular trails is a little more difficult, but has several options depending on the length of hiking you want to do. Hike to the base of Vernal Fall (about 2 miles round trip) or bring a picnic and continue on to the top of Vernal Fall. A little more difficult but worth it for the views of rainbows and the refreshing spray you feel as you wander up beside this waterfall. The trail is usually fully accessible starting in early spring and offers some of the best views in the Valley.

Other good options for a first time visitor would be (in order of difficulty): Lower Yosemite Fall, Vernal Fall, or Four Mile Trail (great options year round, typically) or Panorama Trail (late spring – fall). Lower Yosemite Fall is the easiest, even for those who require wheel-chair assistance, but the other three offer more sweeping views of Yosemite’s iconic valley that can only be viewed by hiking.

These are just a few of the many trails to explore. You may want to stop by a visitor center on your way into Yosemite to enquire what the best trails are during your visit depending on your interest level, fitness, and the season.

Your last night in Yosemite should definitely find you trying to find a prime spot for sunset. Check ahead of time to see when it is and head up to Glacier Point or Sentinel Dome. Check to see if there is a full moon and if yes, catch the lunar rainbow.

Value: Miners Inn (Mariposa)
Standard: Yosemite View Lodge (Mountain View)
Superior: Yosemite View Lodge (River View)

Day 11
Yosemite to Monterey
188 miles

Heading back to the Pacific Coast, travel across the San Joaquin Valley, known as California’s breadbasket. We suggest a stop in San Juan Bautista at their historical fruit stand to buy fresh fruit and local specialties and a visit to the Old Mission San Juan Bautista, one of the original Spanish Missions. Continue to Monterey, your home for the next two nights.

Value: Comfort Inn Monterey by the Sea
Standard: Monterey Tides – Inland View
Superior: Monterey Tides – Deluxe Ocean View

Day 12

A full day to explore the Monterey Peninsula, Pacific Grove and Carmel area famous for Cannery Row, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pebble Beach and more. We suggest an afternoon visit to the world-famous 17-mile Drive, home to the Lone Cypress and Pebble Beach Golf Course. The 17-mile drive connects with the quaint village of Carmel where you can stroll down Ocean Avenue to explore the eclectic shops and cafes.

Value: Comfort Inn Monterey by the Sea
Standard: Monterey Tides – Inland View
Superior: Monterey Tides – Deluxe Ocean View

Day 13
Monterey to Santa Monica
318 miles

Start at sunrise for an opportunity to travel the famous and spectacular Highway 1 winding through countless state parks and picturesque small towns south along the California coast. Though the route looks short we suggest an early start to accommodate the curvy roads and multiple stops. Leaving Monterey, the stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway leading through Big Sur is one of the most famous roads in America, carved into cliffs where 1000 meter high redwood covered mountains plunge down into the sea. Continue south to Santa Barbara, one of California’s most beautiful cities with spectacular Mediterranean architecture.

Eventually arrive during the evening into Santa Monica the world famous coastal town west of downtown Los Angeles.

Value: Hotel Carmel by the Sea
Standard: Gateway Hotel
Superior: Shore Hotel

Day 14
Santa Monica at Leisure

Given it’s close proximity to everything in Los Angles you have a choice to explore the city, visit Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Disneyland or any number of other world famous attractions, or soak up the world famous lively beach scene and city atmosphere. National Geographic described Santa Monica’s beach as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Highlights include the pier, where Route 66 finishes, the beachfront pathway which actually runs for 25 miles and the farmers market, every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Value: Hotel Carmel by the Sea
Standard: Gateway Hotel
Superior: Shore Hotel

Day 15
Depart Los Angeles

Today your adventure comes to an end with your departure flight.

As hotel check-out time is 11:00 am you can leave your bags with the hotel bell-desk while you do any last minute shopping or sightseeing, which given the airport is only a 20 minute drive away and you will have a choice of evening flights, leaves you a good chunk of the day to do some more exploring.

When the time eventually comes, return your rental car to the airport and check-in for your non-stop overnight flight back to the U.K. taking 10 hours and 30 minutes.

Your holiday includes

  • Scheduled Flights
  • UK & US Airport taxes
  • Accommodation – 14 nights
  • Compact car rental based on Hertz – 14 day rental.
  • Exclusive travel documentation portfolio including personalised maps, itinerary and driver directions along with all applicable tickets and vouchers.

Additional Experiences

Our holidays are completely tailored to suit you. We would be happy to help you choose from a vast array of additional experiences that will enhance your North America holiday adventure.

These might include:

  • City tours
  • Helicopter flights
  • Sporting event tickets
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Horseback riding
  • Restaurant reservations

There are many more, often quite unique to your chosen destination so please do ask.


Itinerary Summary 

Location Nights
San Francisco 3
Sacramento 1
Lake Tahoe 3
Yosemite NP 3
Monterey 2
Santa Monica 2

Based on low season travel for 2 people

Factors affecting price:
Availability – early booking, best prices
Seasonal variations
Weekend travel/hotel stays
Special events/conferences
Varying available room types

For all of the above reasons, please speak to our experienced team who can offer relevant advice on seasonal variations and create a personalised itinerary and costing for your specific dates.


British Airways Seat Sale

Call now for further discounts of up to £100 when seat sale fares are available.

Flight Upgrades

Reduced premium cabin travel available.

Prices from
Premium/World Traveller Plus: £249 each way
Business/Club Class: £1,249 each way

Call us on 01159 610590 for availability and details.

Why Book With C.N.A?

  • All holidays ATOL protected.
  • Tailored itinerary to suit you.
  • Choice of airlines & departure points.
  • Deals on flight upgrades.
  • Low booking deposit.
  • Detailed & personalised travel pack – your personally prepared ring-bound travel itinerary booklet is prepared individually.

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Call Meghan

Talk to our specialist 

There is no substitute for first hand experience and Meghan has visited California and Santa Monica many times.

Call today to discuss your California holiday plans: 0115 9610590

“We are just back from the Seattle-Denver trip you arranged for us.

A simply brilliant trip! We loved every moment and your itinerary was just outstanding. We’ve seen so much it’s hard to believe. Every corner we turned was a new ‘wow!’ Thank you on behalf of my wife and myself for a magnificent and unforgettable holiday.”

The Bevan Party (Seattle to Denver)

“Just wanted to thank you for organising our holiday in North America.

We had a fantastic holiday and we are glad we took your recommendations for accommodation, route and length of stay in the various locations. Everything went extremely smoothly and we are pleased we chose Complete North America. We will definitely recommend C.N.A to our friends!”

The Birch Party (C.N.A Western 2018)

“This was a special holiday for our family and thanks to the arrangements you put in place, it meant it was very much stress free. We have lots of happy memories and literally thousands of photos between us to sift through.”

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