Big Sur, California, USA


The “Golden State” of California is renowned for its glorious weather, stunning coastline and extensive wine regions. Home to the vibrant cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this rich culture and beautiful landscape offers a wide variety to visitors and is a year-round destination.

Yosemite National Park is considered by most to be the most special park in the state – with dramatic granite cliffs, towering waterfalls and giant sequoia groves, it is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts as over 95% of the park designated as wilderness areas. A superb destination for birding, California has a diverse habitat of oceans, wetlands, lakes and rivers that attract numerous migratory bird species – Bald Eagles even make an appearance during the winter months.

California Sunset Palm Trees, Santa Barbara, USA
California Sunset Palm Trees, Santa Barbara, USA

A little more about California

The west coast is lined with white sandy beaches and the getaway havens of Santa Barbara, Monterey and Carmel, small towns where you can enjoy the coastline. From the pristine coastline and warm waters of the south to the rugged coastline in the north, there are spectacular areas throughout the region to be explored whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family adventure.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Pacific Crest Trail

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Walk part of the Pacific Crest Trail, an iconic 2,650 miles trek through California, Oregon and Washington.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Rogue River, Applegate Valley, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, USA

Relax in Wine Country

Taste the fine wines and gourmet cuisine of Napa and Sacramento.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Hyde Street Cable Car Tram, San Francisco, USA

Discover San Francisco

Travel around “The Golden City”, exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge, tucking in to sourdough with hot chowder and visiting Alcatraz Island.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Carmel by the Sea, California

Surf in California

Learn to surf on one of the most exquisite golden beaches in California, such as Malibu, Laguna Beach and Mission Beach.

Suggested Holiday Idea

West Coast California

Self-Drive Route 1

Drive the stunning Route 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, stopping to visit Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Monterey.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Explore Yosemite National Park

Observe the granite landscape of Yosemite National Park and its spectacular waterfall on foot, by bike or on horseback, looking out for black bears, bobcats and mule deer.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Joshua Tree National Park, USA

Joshua Tree Bird Migration

Head to the desert region of Joshua Tree in the spring to observe spectacular bird migrations along the Pacific Flyway.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Orca pod off the California coast

California Coast Marine Life

Take to the seas on a whale watching excursion to look for spouting orcas, breaching humpbacks and leaping dolphins.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Post Ranch Inn £££££

  • USA
  • Boutique

Perched high atop the rugged cliffs of Big Sur and set amidst a private 100-acre estate, Post Ranch Inn is a striking architectural building, built using recycled material creating a rustic yet elegant design that blends beautifully with the peaceful surroundings. The 40 guest rooms and cabins have wood burners, and private decks and all make the most of either mountain or ocean views. Infinity pools and spacious decking take advantage of the seemingly never-ending views with superb floor to ceiling windows. This, along with an in-house spa, ensures that this adult-only hotel is a beautiful destination to relax and rejuvenate the senses.

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Airstream Yosemite Camp £££££

  • USA
  • Unusual

Featuring custom Airstreams with spa-inspired bathrooms, thoughtfully designed tents with wood-burning stoves, and contemporary cabins with stylish interiors and kitchens, this camp offers wanderlusting travellers a new type of well-appointed outdoor lodging experience at the gateway to Yosemite National Park. With private patios and campfires at all sites, as well as a communal freshwater pond and heated pool, Airstream Yosemite Camp effortlessly blends high-end indulgences with traditional camping traditions, all set amongst one of the world’s most sought-after natural landscapes just half-an-hour away from the park.

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Carmel Valley Ranch £££££

  • USA
  • Wellness and Spa

Carmel Valley Ranch is the quintessential Californian resort, offering a huge range of fascinating activities. It has all the facilities that would be expected with pools, tennis courts, a golf course and a full-service spa but beyond this, there is so much more. With nearly 500 acres of lush grounds, the Carmel Valley Ranch offers a vineyard, organic garden and a world-class bee apiary. Many daily activities are on offer from adventure kitchen hands-on demonstrations and lavender soap and oil making, to mountain top yoga and stargazing.

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The Ahwahnee Hotel £££££

  • USA
  • Wilderness

The Ahwahnee Hotel is a treasured lodge, nearly as famous as the park itself. Completed in 1927 and designed with the natural surroundings in mind. Public spaces are grand, with wooden beams, huge stone fireplaces, high ceilings and both the dining room and lounge having floor to ceiling windows. The 123 spacious rooms and suites, many with balconies, offer views of the surrounding wilderness. With access to many of the best walks and sights including Glacier Point, this is a fantastic place to stay for exploring the park.

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Belmond El Encanto £££££

  • USA
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Located on the hillside in Santa Barbara, between the lush green mountains and the Pacific Ocean. El Encanto is a beautiful hideaway with Spanish design, fantastic views over the ocean and close to the buzzing town of Santa Barbara. The elegant boutique hotel has undertaken a seven-year restoration period to rejuvenate the historic building which dates back to 1913. Expansive swimming pools and a beautiful spa offers the opportunity to relax, and with the town of Santa Barbara on the doorstep, there is plenty to explore.

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Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Explore Yosemite & Camp Big Sur

Unveiling some of the highlights of California, this itinerary takes in San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and the scenic Highway 1 on a journey that seamlessly blends an artsy city stay with time spent in a densely forested wilderness. Plus, to top off an iconic coastal drive, spend a few nights in a comfortable private camp overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

11 days

from £6,440 pp

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Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Yellowstone National Park, USA

National Parks by Private Jet

Utilising a private jet to fly between arguably the most visually stunning national parks in the USA – Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Grand Teton – this flight-seeing adventure offers remarkable birds’ eye views of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

9 days

from £14,435 pp

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Roxy Dukes

Roxy has had many adventures throughout the USA, and has a passion for exploring the spectacular National Parks. Roxy’s tip is to invest in a private guides that take you off the grid, transforming your experience of these epic landscapes.

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  • 01285 880 980

Sue Grimwood

I was inspired to travel south from an early age. My form teacher when I was nine made us listen to tapes from Shackleton’s expeditions, I didn’t know it at the time, but it obviously left a deep impression on my psyche.

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  • 01285 880 980

Paul Bird

In his travel to the USA, New York has remained at the top of Paul’s list. It is certainly not a one-stop destination, and Paul knows the little-visited hot spots and behind-the-scenes experiences that make a visit to this bustling city truly memorable.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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