The Land of Opportunity

Holidays to California are full of opportunity. The Golden State is one of the most beautiful with its culturally rich cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles and its abundance of glorious nature.

California can boast high mountain peaks, tumbling waterfalls, the oldest trees in the world and even the most beautiful highway in the whole country. Whether you want to see the sights of Hollywood or splash in the waves of Santa Monica the choice is yours in California.

The cities

See the bright lights of LA and experience fame and fortune in Hollywood. Everyone loves to stop by the playground of the rich and famous, see the stars, take movie set tours and sip a cool drink in the glitz and glamour.

Swing by San Francisco, home of the hippy trail and soak up a bohemian vibe in this fabulous city. See the famous Golden Gate Bridge, ride the trams down the death defying steep streets and hear live poetry at the chic artistic cafés.

Back to nature

Yosemite National Park is a must see place in California. This is the one place where you can live and breathe the spectacular wonder of nature with crashing waterfalls, rocky outcrops, layers of green and a wide variety of wildlife and flora to behold.

See the world’s largest trees in the Redwood National Park. Being taller than skyscrapers you can stand in awe in the midst of a fragile eco-system that supports rare species like the bald eagle and Chinook salmon.

Taste the flavours of new world wine with a trip to Napa Valley. This is the home of open cellar doors and endless vineyards that have put California on the map as being a top wine producer.

Surf lovers will race to the shores of Big Sur, the home of California's most serious surfers. Watch the mountains rise from the sea, bask in glorious sunshine and admire the 19th century lighthouse. If you really want to see the wave that made riding giants a national sport head down to Mavericks and catch the action.

Things to do in California

Top Attractions

Beautiful California is not only visited by international travellers each year, its residents also love to explore its winding coast, fertile valleys, and stunning mountains. On top of all that gorgeous scenery, the third largest state in America is home to a myriad of captivating cities and charming towns brimming with the many cultures that have made California famous. From the Hollywood Hills to San Francisco, you can never run out of amazing sights and things to do in California.

Wine and Dine

From food trucks and local joints to Michelin star restaurants, the food scene here is one of the top California attractions. Inspired by its status as a melting pot of cultures, everything from funky fusions and staples like juicy hamburgers and crispy fries are found in California. Don’t miss out on traditional Mexican food in the south, classic In-N-Out burger in Los Angeles, or incredibly fresh seafood along the coast that will have you salivating. California’s wine scene in Napa Valley and north of Santa Barbara ensure your taste buds will be in heaven, although you can fine exquisite wines in any top-notch restaurant.

Action and Adventure

Thrill seekers and explorers are drawn to the Golden State for more than its natural beauty; there are also an infinite amount of exciting things to do in California. Home to some of the best hiking in the States, Yosemite National Park in Northern California should be top of your list. Grab a board and learn to surf in Santa Cruz or sunny San Diego, skateboard or rollerblade in Venice Beach, or take a whale watching cruise to Catalina Island before diving off the boat to explore the Pacific. Ski and snowboard in Lake Tahoe or Mammoth in the winter, or drive into neighbouring Nevada for a quick weekend in Las Vegas.

Family Fun

Aside from sunshine and scenic wonders, California also boasts a number of theme parks and family friendly days out. Take the whole family to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles for a day of rollercoasters and rides, or head to Carlsbad for the fun and imagination of LEGOLAND. Another one of the top things to do in California, SeaWorld in San Diego cannot be missed, and neither can the one, the only, Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim. Film buffs must take a tour of Universal Studios Hollywood and catch a taping of one of the hottest shows on television at any of the many studios around Los Angeles. Catch a baseball game at the AT&T Park in San Francisco, cheer on the San Diego Chargers in an American football match, or watch the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Centre. For a real treat, plan your holiday to California to include three nights at the LA Staples Centre to watch a basketball game, a hockey match, and a concert by a world-famous musical act.

Culture Vulture

Once a part of Mexico, California has a rich past, one that is best discovered in its multicultural neighbourhoods and the more niche California attractions. Head to San Francisco for one of the largest Chinatowns in America, home to a colourful section of the city brimming with spices and alluring aromas of fantastic meals. Nearby is the oldest Japantown in the States and the coolest jazz neighbourhood of Fillmore. Los Angeles is also full of cultural towns like Little Korea and Little Armenia, as well as museums dedicated to the many people that formed the city. Discover more about California’s past with a visit to Sacramento for exhibits about the Capitol, local Native Americans, and history of the railroad, to name a few. Step into the ancient past with a visit to the Getty Villa in Malibu, a reconstructed Roman villa filled with artefacts from Greece, Italy, and beyond. If you’re an art lover, there’s at least a few galleries and museums in each city sure to open your eyes to new worlds.

Recharge and Relax

Home to an environment that defines the word ‘cool’, one of the top things to do in California is to top up your tan on the beach. The warmest waters along the coast are from Los Angeles to San Diego, but there are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from up and down the Pacific; just grab a beach towel and some sunscreen for a peaceful day in the sun. For more heat, Palm Springs is the go to place for southern California residents to recharge their batteries in style. If you want to relax in the shade, there are thousands of tranquil spas in the state, and some of the best are in soothing Santa Barbara.

Vibrant Cities

California is an endless array of fun, whether you are looking to ride the rollercoasters at Disneyland or the giant waves of Big Sur, you can find just about anything in California. From the flashing lights of Hollywood to the natural beauty of Death Valley, the opportunities are endless.

For children

Kids love California as it boasts some of the best theme parks in the world. Make sure you take the little ones to see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland for fast-paced rides and fairytale dreams. Universal Studios is also a fabulous place to get a look behind the scenes of all your favourite movies. If you want to see dolphins, whales and polar bears then SeaWorld San Diego will leave you gasping with excitement.

To escape

The Mojave Desert is home to Death Valley, the hottest spot to be found in North America. Yet despite its name, Death Valley is actually a wondrous place with haunted ghost towns, historic sites of interest and an exciting lunar landscape that blends the desert with the mountains.

California Dreaming

California has long been seen as the holiday destination for dreamers, whether it’s escaping to Hollywood in the hunt for fame and fortune, or retreating to a beachside hotel to kick back and relax in the Californian sun - with so many varied destinations and attractions, the state offers something for everyone, from romantic trips for two, to action-packed family holidays.

Visitors with energy to burn can enjoy the two extremes of the sporting world, from skiing and winter activities in the Big Bear or Lake Tahoe resort, to surfing and scuba diving in Santa Monica or Orange County.

At the heart of a California holiday sits the notorious Los Angeles, a city filled with world renowned attractions, from the Walk of Fame and the Graumann’s Chinese Theatre, to Rodeo Drive and the sprawling Beverly Hills. San Francisco also boasts its fair share of landmarks, including the gleaming Golden Gate Bridge and the eerie Alcatraz.

Enjoy some Riviera chic along the Santa Barbara coastline, which glows amid sweeping beaches, exquisite wineries and superb restaurants and shops. The Napa Valley is also one for wine lovers, scattered with vineyards that offer tours and tasting, and some spas that provide the perfect post wine pampering.