California Self Drive Travel Planner

Daydreaming about creating your own unforgettable road trip? California has it all, from world-famous theme parks and awe-inspiring national parks, to show-stopping entertainment and gourmet delights in iconic cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. If fun and freedom are what you’re after, California is the place to make your travel dreams come true. Use this handy guide to create your perfect California self drive holiday.

California is a compact state, and driving is the easiest way to get around. Behind the wheel, you'll be able to choose your destinations and set your own pace. Whether it's cruising with the top down in a convertible or navigating rugged roads in a 4WD, some of the most unforgettable moments of your trip will be on the open road.

GREAT FOR: The freedom to travel at your own pace, whether meandering or direct.

KEEP IN MIND: In most cases, you need to be at least 25 years of age to hire a car in the US, have a valid open drivers license and a credit card for a security deposit.

HOT TIP: You can turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop.

California is home to more national and state parks than any other US state, and a self drive holiday is the perfect way to explore your favourites. Don't miss the redwood forests in the north, Joshua trees in the Southern California desert, or the most awe-inspiring US national park of all, Yosemite.

Full of some of the most famous icons and attractions in the world, from the Hollywood sign and Golden Gate Bridge, California's must-see icons checklist is extensive.

California is the ultimate melting pot of family fun, with theme parks and museums galore. Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and LEGOLAND are just the beginning.

California is a year-round destination. The best time to visit comes down to what you want to see and do. You can laze on the beaches in summer or hit the ski slopes in winter.

California has a Mediterranean-like climate. The average daily high hovers around 21 degrees C, but can spike to 27 degrees C or more in summer.

The 3 Great California Road Trips

From star-spotting to sun soaking, San Fran to LA, the best way to get around in America's most populous state is, you guessed it, a ROAD TRIP! These 3 Great California Drives tick all the boxes, covering everything from Yosemite to Silicon Valley, Hollywood to Anaheim, and more. Read up on all the highlights, below.

San Francisco to Los Angeles

Total Drive Time: 7 hours + 10 minutes.

Recommended duration: 6 - 8 nights.

This epic route is famous for a reason, promising spectacular scenery plus a host of quirky, nostalgic and natural wonders. The Highway One Classic road trip is the perfect fun-filled holiday with its range of family-friendly outdoor experiences and attractions.


  • Tick San Francisco and Los Angeles off your bucket list.
  • Drive through Monterey, Carmel, and take the perfect snap of arguably the world's most unforgettable coastline - Big Sur.
  • Stop off at San Simeon, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to experience the charm these coastal towns have to offer.

      Highway One Classic

If this is the road trip holiday for you, contact one of our expert consultants today and get planning, call 133 133 or enquire below.


San Francisco return

Total Drive Time: 11 hours + 20 minutes.

Recommended duration: 4 - 9 nights.

From San Francisco and back, wildlife lovers, foodies, wine enthusiasts and water babies alike will revel in the slower pace and rich collection of natural treasures, historic sites and one-of-a-kind destinations in California's expansive state park system.


  • Drive through California's most famous wine regions, Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
  • Relax and unwind in the High Sierra gem of Lake Tahoe.
  • Be one with the great outdoors in Yosemite National Park.

Los Angeles return

Total Drive Time: 6 hours + 25 minutes.

Recommended duration: 6 - 10 nights.

From LA and back, pick up the pace in Southern California. The amazing beaches, classic surf culture, thrilling theme parks and top attractions will wow all.


  • Treat the young and young at heart to a visit to "The Happiest Place on Earth", Disneyland.
  • Hang ten with the locals and surf your way through Huntington Beach and San Diego.
  • Step away from the hustle and bustle of the coast, and unwind in the cool, mid-century modern desert oasis of Palm Springs.

More Self Drive Itineraries

For more information on any of the above Self Drive itineraries, contact one of our expert consultants today and get planning, call 133 133 or enquire below.



Spotlight On California

California Travel Inspiration

There is endless magic to discover in California, and we have an abundance of travel tips to help you create the holiday of your dreams. From our own television series, The 48 Hour Destination, to the many stories we've written on California, we have your California inspiration sorted.


The 48 Hour Destination

Rooftop bars, skyline dining and surfing at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Napa Valley wineries, eclectic neighbourhoods and towering redwood forests of San Francisco. And then everything in between on the classic Highway One road trip that connects the two. Travel consultant, Greer Gardiner, has done it all, and within only 48 hours. Click through below to watch the full episode for each of Greer's 48 hours in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and road trip along the Californian coast.

Latest California Stories

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