Here are some of the secrets to planning a memorable California vacation.
Know What You Want From Your Itinerary
California is a vast wonderland of exciting destinations, incredible sights and venues, amazing attractions, and more offerings than one could ever check out in a single trip.
Having an idea of what you’d like to do or see, and the experience you seek is the first step in arranging a useful itinerary. Start by taking stock of important travel details that will inform the rest of your holiday, such as:
- How many people are traveling with you?
- What sort of trip are you planning? (family vacation, romantic getaway, solo excursion, group travel, special occasion, etc.)
- How much do you plan to spend? (budget, luxury, somewhere in between)
- Are there any so-called “can’t miss” activities or attractions you plan to visit?
- What type of accommodations do you want?
These questions and more will inform how your itinerary is organized, and keeping these in mind will help you design the best travel itinerary for your individual trip.
Consider Where You’d Like to Visit & What You’d Like to Do
California is replete with world-renowned destinations and attractions, and compiling a list of some of these can help you narrow down your dream itinerary. Do you want to lounge by the beach? Are you seeking a family outing packed with adventure? Perhaps a romantic excursion is what you and your loved one crave.
Here are some popular destinations and activities to consider:
- San Francisco, nicknamed “The Golden City,” is known for so much it’s impossible to list them all here. Among these: unforgettable views of the Golden Gate Bridge; steep, hilly roads; ionic cable cars; incredible restaurants and diverse cuisines; Alcatraz Island; and more.
- Lake Tahoe features breathtaking vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, scenic hiking trails, gorgeous beaches, ski resorts, and a 1929 Nordic-style mansion named Vikingsholm.
- Big Sur stretches the state’s central coast between San Simeon and Carmel, punctuated by the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains jutting upwards along the Pacific. This rugged, breathtaking landscape is renowned for its views, hiking, beaches, redwoods, and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
- Los Angeles, aka “The City of Angels,” is the country’s entertainment epicenter and one of the most famous cities on the planet. Located in Southern California, besides landmarks such as the iconic Hollywood sign, it’s home to Warner Brothers, Universal, and Paramount Pictures studios, among others. Its rich, culturally diverse populace also solidifies L.A. as a serious foodie destination for varied cuisines!
- Disneyland Park, in Anaheim, is one of the most famous theme parks in the world, and is a must-visit for families. From Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland to Fantasyland and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—meet Mickey and other Disney characters while enjoying rides, delicious food, and forging unforgettable memories!
- Joshua Tree National Park, home to its namesake unusually shaped tree and straddling the Mojave and Colorado deserts, offers visitors a wide range of activities including camping, hiking, stargazing, rock climbing, biking, and more!
Allot Enough Time to Explore at Your Leisure
Whether you plan to spend all your time in Los Angeles or San Diego, or you want to travel across the state, be sure to plot out enough time to really enjoy your destination.
Lounge on one of the state’s legendary beaches, swim in crystal-clear waters, or stroll down the boardwalk and peruse the local shops. Pamper yourself with a spa or massage and indulge in some luxury amenities. Go sightseeing at one of California’s famous landmarks, or take a nature hike and get lost in its many magnificent parks and nature preserves.
Ideally, you should schedule at least two weeks for your visit, enabling you to explore your chosen destinations without rushing to fit them all in. Plan enough extra time to deviate from your itinerary if you see something interesting along your journey.
Choose the Ideal Season to Travel
In addition to the duration of your stay, determining the optimal time of year to visit California will also help you enjoy your trip to the fullest. This will largely depend on travel specifications, such as exactly where you plan on visiting, and what experience you’re after.
While it’s a phenomenal place to visit year-round, base your ideal travel window on your preferences for weather, crowd sizes, and prices.
The summer season brings warm and welcoming weather, but because it is a popular travel period, this is when you’ll usually find larger crowds and higher prices.
Californian winters are milder and prone to rain and storms. Expect smaller crowds and reduced prices, with the exception of holiday periods.
You can generally find the right balance of good weather, less crowds, and lower costs during the shoulder seasons extending from April to May and September to October.
Enjoy the Food & Culture
No California vacation is complete without partaking in some of the state’s world-class cuisine and engaging with its unique and diverse cultural offerings.
Learn the history of the region by visiting a museum, take in the art scene with a visit to a local concert, art gallery or exhibit, or see some of the iconic historical and cultural landmarks that set California apart, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite Falls, and its many national and state parks.
California is also a popular culinary destination, boasting some truly incredible restaurants and eateries. From enjoying some quality local street food, to dining at a five-star restaurant, or going on a market or wine tour to explore the local flavors, California has it all!
Work With a Travel Advisor to Plan Your Perfect California Getaway
California is a massive, sprawling state, with an overwhelming amount of things to do and see— so much so that planning it all can be a challenge. The best way to navigate this and ensure you get the best quality trip possible is by enlisting the help of a certified travel professional.
InteleTravel Advisors possess detailed knowledge of countless destinations around the globe, will work with you to arrange the perfect itinerary according to your specifications and preferences, and will be available to provide support along every step of the way.