Six-Day Self-Guided Tour of Los Angeles and San Francisco
During this six-day tour, hop in a rental car and cruise California's idyllic coast. There's no set itinerary, so feel free to start in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. Check out big-name attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios, celebrity-watch in Hollywood, sample wine in Napa Valley, or simply admire the views along the Pacific Coast Highway's rocky beaches. Click here to view the full trip itinerary.
Days 1–2: Touch down at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and transfer to the mod Custom Hotel, your headquarters for the next two nights. The next day, you can explore Los Angeles and Hollywood. The recently revamped Griffith Observatory boasts a 300-seat planetarium, a Zeiss telescope, and a 152-foot porcelain wall depicting a cluster of galaxies. The observatory looks out onto the iconic Hollywood sign, and at night, the view is dominated by the lights of Los Angeles—one of the reasons why Frommer's calls it “one of the most romantic places in L.A.”
Day 3: Take the Pacific Coast Highway north toward Pismo Beach—along the way, you’ll pass the cliff-side mansions of Malibu and the seaside piers of Marina del Rey. At Leo Carrillo State Park, you can explore caves along the coast and peer into tide pools for a glimpse of octopuses, slugs, and dozens of starfish.
As you continue north, stop in Santa Barbara, often referred to as the American Riviera. Here you can visit the Old Mission, an 18th-century Spanish colonial structure. One of the mission's original reservoirs is still used to supply water to Santa Barbara.
The quaint town of Solvang has a walkable downtown area that lies just off the beaten path; it’s lined with windmills and Danish-style buildings that house restaurants and cafés serving belgian waffles, gelato, and crepes. Pop into one of the many wineries for some Solvang hospitality and a sample of a local vintage.
After an adventure-packed day, you'll stop in Pismo Beach for an overnight stay at Oxford Suites Pismo Beach.
Day 4: Continue north along the rocky coast toward San Francisco. Consider stopping off at San Luis Obispo, an 18th-century mission town with art-deco theaters and street-side cafés. Its most off-kilter attraction may be Bubblegum Alley, a narrow corridor plastered with thousands of pieces of chewing gum. On Thursdays, you can visit the farmers' market for a dose of fresh barbecue and live music.
Just south of San Francisco is Monterey's Cannery Row. Immortalized in a novel by John Steinbeck, the row of tin-roofed canneries that once processed sardines now houses boutiques, antique stores, and chocolatiers.
Once in San Francisco, settle in at the Best Western Plus Americania.
You'll have an entire day to take in views of San Francisco's undulating hills and explore its rich culture. Hop onto a classic cable car to bounce between neighborhoods such as North Beach, filled with jazz clubs and art galleries, and Nob Hill, which has beautiful views of the bay.
A short ferry ride from the city takes you to Alcatraz Island, home of one of the most notorious prisons in US history. You can tour the famously inescapable penitentiary where mobster Al Capone once did time.
Day 6: Head to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for your flight home.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.