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California Highlights

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The one that explores 1 state in 7 days. Ticking off the ultimate California bucket list musts include the nightlife of Palm Springs, nature of Yosemite park and beach vibes of Santa Monica.

Travel Style

In-Depth Explorer

Learn about our travel styles.

  • Duration

    7 days

  • Places

    7 places

  • Meals

    5 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch

  • Transport Style

    Coach

  • Group Size

    Maximum 30 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Driver

San Francisco, Sonoma, Bass Lake, Palm Springs, Santa Monica, Muir Woods, Yosemite National Park

How Contiki works

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    STEP 1

    Pick your destination & book

    Picking where to go out of 150 countries worldwide is the hardest part. Booking is easy with complete flexibility, & confidence that your money is secure.

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    STEP 2

    Book 7 hotels, try figuring out public transport in a foreign language, get into an argument with your taxi driver, lose your passp…

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    STEP 2

    Turn up to your dream trip

    Everything has been sorted for you. Cool, convenient accom, smooth transport from place to place - plus a bunch of meals and travel experiences all locked in.

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    STEP 3

    Have the time of your life

    Your Trip Host has designed every trip to be packed with incredible, local experiences, made even more amazing as you share it with other incredible 18-35 year old travelers.

California Highlights

8 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • Wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley
  • Picnic lunch in Muir Woods
  • Entry to Yosemite National Park
  • Yosemite base camp orientation
  • Yosemite park shuttle
  • Yoga by the pool in Palm Springs
  • Afternoon pool party with DJ (seasonal)
  • Brunch at a local café

9 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Hot Air Ballooning in Sonoma
  • Bike rental in Sonoma
  • Forest Flight Tour Ziplining in Sonoma
  • Food & wine pairing dinner in Sonoma
  • Stand up paddleboarding on Bass Lake
  • Kayaking on Bass Lake
  • Palm Springs Cable Car
  • Parasailing in Santa Monica
  • Surf Lesson in Santa Monica

Where You'll Stay

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • bass-lake-pine-resort

    The Pines Resort

    Bass Lake, United States

    Framed by the stunning alpine vistas of the Sierra National Forest, this mountain lodge sits right on the shores of Bass Lake

    1 night

  • palm-springs-the-saguaro

    The Saguaro Hotel

    Palm Springs, United States

    This sun-soaked resort is bursting with colour and beach party vibes. Sip a cocktail at the pool bar, do yoga on the lawns or grab some Mexican Street Food at the on-site restaurant. The best bit? For every room booked at the Saguaro a donation is made to a youth LGBTQ charity

    2 nights

  • 6 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    4 nights in Hotel, 2 nights in Contiki Special Stay

About this trip

Looking for the ultimate road trip? The state of California is all about sunshine, surfing, celebs, wine regions and hiking… and this trip will have you doing it all. Starting in the iconic city of San Fran you’ll take an unforgettable journey through the wine valleys of Sonoma and Napa, paddleboard on the picturesque Bass Lake, do pool yoga in Palm Springs and even have the chance to surf along the shores of Santa Monica. You’ll do and see it all in 1 week with memories to last a lifetime.

Buy With Confidence

  • Only $99 deposit to book*

    For a limited time, reserve your space now with a deposit of only $99, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Trip Variation

Customize the itinerary of your trip depending on yours preferences

Compare Trips Variations
  • California Highlights

    This version of the trip is one less day, with no overnight stay in Santa Monica.

  • California Dreamin

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

Nights spent per location

  1. San Francisco

  2. via via

    Muir Woods

  3. 2 2 nights

    Sonoma

  4. 2 2 nights

    Bass Lake

  5. via via

    Yosemite National Park

  6. 2 2 nights

    Palm Springs

  7. Santa Monica

DAY 1 - San Francisco to Sonoma via Muir Woods

San Francisco

Welcome to San Fran! We'll meet and greet today in the Golden City before heading somewhere a little more tranquil...

Muir Woods

Is there a more majestic sight in nature than a redwood tree? These giant natural cathedrals - which can be up to 3,000 years old - take the breath away up close. We'll journey into Muir Woods to picnic in their towering shadows, before heading into wine country.

Sonoma

Up for a tipple? Sonoma is a world-class wine-growing region, so touring a winery and taking a tasting is a no brainer. After comparing drops it's time to head to our sweet digs for the night, The Sandman, with its heated pool surrounded by a fence of redwoods. Impressed? You should see what's in store tomorrow.

Stay

The Sandman

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley

  • Picnic lunch in Muir Woods

DAY 2 - Sonoma

Sonoma

Not a bad place to wake up, is it? Known as the valley of the moon, the sweeping, fertile lands of Sonoma are ours to explore today. Lucky us. So, what adventure will we choose? We could hire some bikes and explore the 13,000 acres of parkland, soar through the skies on a hot air balloon, or zipline through the forests. As the evening draws in, why not opt for a tasty dinner paired with local wines?

Stay

The Sandman

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Hot Air Ballooning in Sonoma

  • Bike rental in Sonoma

  • Forest Flight Tour Ziplining in Sonoma

  • Food & wine pairing dinner in Sonoma

DAY 3 - Sonoma to Bass Lake

Sonoma

Rise and shine - we're headed out of wine country and into what can only be described as a mountain paradise. 

Bass Lake

This afternoon you’ll become enamored with the tranquility of Bass Lake. You could opt to stand up paddleboard or kayak on the sparkling waters. Later on, kick back and enjoy the view from the chalet deck - it is nothing short of spectacular. Take a dip in the pool, warm up in the jacuzzi and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

Stay

The Pines Resort

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Stand up paddleboarding on Bass Lake

  • Kayaking on Bass Lake

DAY 4 - Bass Lake via Yosemite

Bass Lake

Thought the scenery couldn't get any more spectacular? Think again.

Yosemite National Park

We're headed to the most iconic National Park in the world: Yosemite. Here, amongst the towering sequoias, cascading waterfalls and winding trails we'll fall in love over and over again. Hike, bike or invest in some shinrin-yoku time (forest bathing), before heading to the iconic Yosemite Falls. Mother nature has never looked so good, and our eyes have never been wider.

Stay

The Pines Resort

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Entry to Yosemite National Park

  • Yosemite base camp orientation

  • Yosemite park shuttle

DAY 5 - Bass Lake to Palm Springs

Bass Lake

Full drive day with the idyllic Palm Springs as your reward. Travel through the San Joaquin Valley, the source of a large amount of the agriculture for the world's 7th largest economy - the state of California.

Palm Springs

Stay

The Saguaro

DAY 6 - Palm Springs

Palm Springs

The day is ours to check out Palm Springs! First up though is yoga by the pool and brunch to follow. Feeling energised and ready for the day, we could stroll the streets checking out the chic boutiques, opt to take the Palm Springs Aerial Cable Car or maybe just hang poolside and soak up some sun. Between the pool clubs, DJs and quirky bars, the heat will be on tonight. It's party time.

Stay

The Saguaro

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Yoga by the pool in Palm Springs

  • Afternoon pool party with DJ (seasonal)

  • Brunch at a local cafe

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Palm Springs Cable Car

DAY 7 - Palm Springs to Santa Monica

Palm Springs

This morning we'll make our way towards LA and your final destination, Santa Monica. You'll arrive mid-afternoon for some activities by the beach, or take some time to explore Santa Monica Pier and the end point of famous Route 66.

Santa Monica

Time to say goodbye to your crew. It's been a blast, but all good things must come to an end. With our sun-kissed skin and eyes on the next horizon, it's time to plan our next Contiki. Peru, anyone?

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Parasailing in Santa Monica

  • Surf Lesson in Santa Monica

Frequently Asked Questions

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