Ultimate Family Fun in California

United States of America
14 nights private tour from $17,800

For families looking for action-packed activities and adventure this 14-night tour of California’s iconic cities and attractions, is hard to beat. Outdoor enthusiasts will relish the chance to embrace the natural world with a private guided tour of Yosemite, whale watching, surfing, horse riding, a thrilling off-road driving adventure and sea kayaking. More urban thrills include a private guided tour of Los Angles, and VIP tours of both Universal Studios and San Diego Zoo.

Ultimate Family Fun in California
At a glance
  • Cycle through Golden Gate Park to discover the lakes, buffalo, artworks, museums, and Japanese Tea Garden, before an evening visit to the prison island of Alcatraz in San Francisco.

  • Learn about the geography, ecology, wildlife, and history of the spectacular Yosemite National Park with a private guided tour and have fun on an off-road adventure taking in the varied terrain.

  • Soak up the natural beauty of the central coast in Carmel and Santa Barbara, indulging in the Californian lifestyle with a chance to surf, ride along the beach and go whale watching. Foodies will also enjoy the wonderful wines and cuisines of the area.

  • Get to know LA with the help of a private guide who will spend the day with you customising the highlights, landmarks, and attractions to suit your interests, and enjoy a VIP Tour of Universal Studios with a backlot tour and Express Unlimited Access to all your favorite rides.

Journey highlights
  • Cycle through Golden Gate Park to discover the lakes, buffalo, artworks, museums, and Japanese Tea Garden, before an evening visit to the prison island of Alcatraz in San Francisco.

  • Learn about the geography, ecology, wildlife, and history of the spectacular Yosemite National Park with a private guided tour and have fun on an off-road adventure taking in the varied terrain.

  • Soak up the natural beauty of the central coast in Carmel and Santa Barbara, indulging in the Californian lifestyle with a chance to surf, ride along the beach and go whale watching. Foodies will also enjoy the wonderful wines and cuisines of the area.

  • Get to know LA with the help of a private guide who will spend the day with you customising the highlights, landmarks, and attractions to suit your interests, and enjoy a VIP Tour of Universal Studios with a backlot tour and Express Unlimited Access to all your favorite rides.

Our tailor made journeys include:
  • Your dedicated Travel Consultant who will take care of arrangements
  • Private international airport transfers in destination
  • Your own private, English-speaking local guides
  • Unique experiences, hand-picked by our Journeys team
  • Entrance to must-see local sites
  • Dedicated 24/7 team providing in-country support and guidance
  • Complimentary access to My Scott Dunn – industry-leading travel app providing pre-departure information and in-journey support

When to visit

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Average time to visit

During the summer, between June and September, California is at its peak but summer is fabulous for enjoying the beaches, enjoying alfresco dinners and attending festivals such as Santa Barbara's wine festival. In San Francisco, some warm clothes are always needed as thick summer fog can make the region surprisingly cold at night.

The shoulder seasons (March to May and September to November) expect sunny days, smaller crowds and better value.

Itinerary

Day 1-3

California

After arrival and a good night’s sleep, enjoy a Golden Gate Park Bike Tour. Your guide will show you the sights and landmarks of this stunning park on this informative 2-hour tour. The park was once a barren patch of desert, known as the Outside Lands, but today it is transformed with museums, lakes and even a herd of buffalo. Along the way, learn of the park’s 150-year history, explore the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden, hear about the California Academy of the Sciences (one of the world’s largest history museums) and ride through Hippie Hill. Other highlights include the Bison Paddock, the Conservatory of Flowers and the Dutch Windmill.

 

Later, enjoy an evening audio tour of Alcatraz prison. We recommend allowing around 3-hours to complete the self-guided tour. This will give you a chance to fully explore this notorious island and appreciate its layered history. Rangers are also on hand to assist visitors and answer any questions.

Accommodation: The St. Regis San Francisco ( 2 nights )
Day 3-5

California

This morning, pick up your rental car then head to Yosemite National Park, which is around a 4-hour drive.

 

The following day enjoy a Full Day Yosemite Sightseeing Tour (including lunch), accompanied by an expert naturalist guide. Along with the famous waterfalls, you will see the park’s valleys, meadows and giant sequoias, and learn about the area’s incredible geography, wildlife, ecology, and history. Highlights include hiking along the Merced River, hearing the rushing water of Yosemite Falls, gazing up at the climbers on El Capitan, walking the floor of the valley and wandering through Old Yosemite Village. After a scenic picnic lunch, learn how the native Ahwahneechee people lived and survived here both before and after the Euro-Americans arrived.

 

After a restful night, experience a Yosemite Valley Off-Road Adventure, where you will get behind the wheel for a thrilling drive across a variety of off-road terrain. Witness the unique geology of the area as you speed down trails and navigate narrow passageways on this adrenaline-pumping drive.

 

Later, make the 4-hour drive to Carmel Valley.

Accommodation: Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite ( 2 nights )
Day 5-8

California

The following morning, head over to Moss Landing for a whale watching safari in ‘whale park.’ The 3-4-hour tour involves traveling in a Zodiac boat, perfect for close encounters with marine life. The area is known as ‘whale park’ for good reason. The deep canyon waters attract an abundance of marine life throughout the year, including humpbacks, orcas, blue whales and dolphins. This is a wonderful way to explore the magnificent coastline of Monterey Bay, along with getting the chance to see Point Lobos – the wetland home of otters, seals, and sea lions.

 

Carmel Valley has been described as the ‘greatest meeting of land and water in the world,’ and the following day is free for you to relax at the ranch, explore more of the area, visit Monterey and its famous Aquarium, or wander the pretty streets of Carmel.

Accommodation: Carmel Valley Ranch ( 3 nights )
Day 8-10

California

4 hours south lies the attractive city of Santa Barbara which epitomizes the Californian lifestyle with its Mediterranean climate, Spanish heritage architecture, thriving food and wine scene and spectacular location between the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Once you’ve settled into the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to explore.

 

After an early breakfast, you will be taken to a beach south of the city for a private surf lesson. With traditionally gentle waves and a sandy bottom, this stretch of coastline is the perfect training ground for first timers and surfers of all ages. Your instructor will tailor the lesson to suit your level of expertise and ability.

 

Later, you will be taken to the nearby stables to meet your private guide for a breath-taking horse ride along Santa Barbara’s coastline. Riders are carefully matched with the most suitable horse for their ability and after learning a few basic commands, you will embark on the beach trail enjoying panoramic views of the majestic mountains and dramatic ocean bluffs. This is a lovely ride along America’s Riviera and a memorable experience for all the family.

Accommodation: Hotel Californian ( 2 nights )
Day 10-13

Los Angeles

Continue south with a 2-hour drive to Los Angeles. Soon after arriving, head out on a private Full Day Tour during which your guide will show you the city’s most iconic sights. The tour lasts around six hours and can be tailored to suit your specific interests, but usual highlights include: The glitzy shopping area of Rodeo Drive; The Hollywood Bowl; The Walk of Fame; Grauman’s Chinese Theater; Sunset Strip; Beverly Hills; And of course The Hollywood Hills and the famous sign. There will be brief stops along the way and your guide can recommend great spots for lunch (payable locally).

 

Another action-packed day beckons the following morning as you head to Universal Studios to join a small group VIP tour. The day begins with snacks and drinks in the VIP lounge, where you will meet your guide and fellow tour guests. After a brief introduction and overview of the studios, you will be taken on a special behind-the-scenes trolley tour. This is a fabulous way to explore Hollywood’s most famous backlot and see the world’s largest working film studios. You are then treated to a gourmet lunch in the VIP dining room, prepared by Universal’s own executive chef, before your guide takes you into the theme park. Here you benefit from Universal Express Unlimited Access to all the major rides, shows and attractions, meaning you can enjoy your favorite rides as many times as you like, with a limited waiting time. When the tour ends you are free to stay on and enjoy Universal’s evening shows and entertainment, or head back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.

 

The following day is yours to enjoy Los Angeles. You may wish to explore the shops, cafes and beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, hire skates or rent a bike to ride along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as the Strand. Alternatively, you may wish to marvel at the spectacular views over Los Angeles with a visit to Griffith Park Observatory and hike some of the trails or soak up the natural beauty of Malibu and its beaches.

Accommodation: Pendry West Hollywood ( 3 nights )
Day 13-15

San Diego

The final stop on your Californian tour is the lovely city of San Diego, a short 2-hour drive away. On arrival, visit one of the city’s major attractions with a San Diego Zoo VIP Tour. This guided tour will give you access to some of the zoo’s most exclusive areas, with the chance to interact with some of the animals. The tour lasts up to 5-hours and your guide will tell you all the inside stories and facts about the zoo’s history and how it has become one of the world’s most important conservation organizations. The tour is customisable, so do ensure your guide knows any interests you have or places you would like to see. During the tour, you will also enjoy a sit-down lunch at one of the zoo’s restaurants.

 

Your final day is a chance to experience the thrill of a Sea Cave Kayak Adventure, through the diverse La Jolla Ecological Reserve. Suitable for those over 6-years old, your friendly and informative guide will introduce you to the unique flora and fauna of the region, show you the sea caves, the sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and the bright orange Garibaldi fish (the State’s fish).

Accommodation: Pendry San Diego ( 2 nights )
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you.
Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your holiday.

Experiences included in this itinerary


Your Hotels


When to visit

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D
Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

During the summer, between June and September, California is at its peak but summer is fabulous for enjoying the beaches, enjoying alfresco dinners and attending festivals such as Santa Barbara's wine festival. In San Francisco, some warm clothes are always needed as thick summer fog can make the region surprisingly cold at night.

The shoulder seasons (March to May and September to November) expect sunny days, smaller crowds and better value.

Ultimate Family Fun in California
Ultimate Family Fun in California

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itineraryis a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation.

Plan your trip

Why Scott Dunn?

At Scott Dunn, we live and breathe travel. An insatiable appetite to discover the world runs through everything we do. We relish the planning and revel in the detail. We know it’s the smallest touches that make the biggest difference, and we stop at nothing to make every trip not only exceptional but totally unique.

  • Every itinerary is crafted from scratch, based around exactly what’s important to you
  • Packed full of unique experiences, hand-picked by our journeys team
  • Expert local guides enrich your experience in every destination
  • Your own dedicated Travel Specialist who will take care of every detail of your trip
  • We have a 24/7 team providing in-country support and guidance
  • We offer flexibility and financial protection to give you total peace of mind

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