With the iconic Big Sur coast, dramatic Mojave Desert, and majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, sunny California indulges those in search of great surfing, hiking, and golfing. It offers something for everyone: As the gateway to the western United States, San Diego stands as a beacon for an amazing journey! There are incredible marinas, deep water repair facilities and lots to see. The southern region is home to such popular attractions as Disneyland, Hollywood and the beaches in Malibu that inspired the television show Baywatch, while the northern part of California offers the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the hills of San Francisco, the vineyards of Napa Valley, and the capital, Sacramento.
Outside California’s major cities one finds some of North America's most rugged national parks, incredible skiing/ snowboarding opportunities, and quiet and ancient northern forests including the highest mountain peak in the contiguous USA, Mt. Whitney.
Other pleasures await as well: superb food in San Francisco, studio tours in Los Angeles, winery visits and spas in Napa and Sonoma. Follow a beach picnic with a city stroll and live the California dream.
Days 1 & 2: Los Angeles. Starting in Los Angeles, take a whale watching tour with Newport Landing; after lunch, head to Santa Barbara and its pristine beaches, array of activities, shops, restaurants and culture. Common to see are dolphins, sea lions, and more, whether sailing up the coast and taking in the sites, or exploring the town, there is an abundance of world-class dining, hiking, horseback riding and more. For some wine and culture, head to the stunning Santa Ynez Valley, with its breathtaking vistas and notable attractions as the Solvang and the Chumash Reservations.
Days 3 & 4: Santa Catalina Island. Just off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island offers shopping, dining and outdoor activities; take a 2-day trip there and overnight at one of the many quaint Bed & Breakfasts. Enjoy the dramatic views, native flora and fauna, crystal clear waters and rolling hills and cliffs. Water sports include snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, and more; for the more adventurous, the rustic village of Two Harbors is worth a visit.
Day 5: Santa Barbara Channel. Known as the Galapagos of North America, the Islands of the Santa Barbara Channel (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara) are a must-see; home to over 2,000 plants and animals some of which are not found anywhere else in the world, its marine life is astounding.
As an alternative on day 5,
head south to San Diego’s 70-mile coastline; catch the America’s Cup Experience aboard Sails and Stripes where an exhilarating 3-hour sail; lunch at the many restaurants of Point Loma, Harbor Island and Shelter Island; finish the day by visiting its 5 distinct districts from multi-million dollar mansions to Liberty Station, the waterfront urban village that includes hotels, restaurants, shops, a waterfront park and the NTC Promenade.