Southern California Sun • L.A. Palm Springs & San Diego • Fly Drive Holiday
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Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
Plane over palm trees, LAX Airport, Los Angeles, California
Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, California
Hollywood & Sunset Blvd signpost, Los Angeles, California USA
Palm Springs Welcome Sign
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California
The Coronado Bay Bridge, San Diego
Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, California
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Southern California Sun

10 day Fly Drive – from £1429

With flights from £2029

Soak up the sun and scenery on a 10 day Southern California adventure, starting in on the beach in Santa Monica, see Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs, then explore San Diego before cruising up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.

Highlights:
  • Watch breathtaking sunsets on Santa Monica Beach
  • Relax in the luxurious desert getaway of Palm Springs
  • Explore the desert carved landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Discover the cultural heart of San Diego in Balboa Park

Your Itinerary

Expand All

Your American fly-drive holiday can be personalised by adding extra nights or extra places to stop along the way. Just let us know what you would like to do.

Plane over palm trees, LAX Airport, Los Angeles, California

Day 1 – Welcome to Los Angeles

Arrive in Southern California and collect your car from Los Angeles International Airport and follow Highway…

Arrive in Southern California and collect your car from Los Angeles International Airport and follow Highway 1 for just 20 minutes to the seaside city of Santa Monica.

    Airport > Santa Monica | 10 miles

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Plane over palm trees, LAX Airport, Los Angeles, California
Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, California

Day 2 – Santa Monica

Begin your day down on Santa Monica beach. Perhaps indulge in a late brunch in a…

Begin your day down on Santa Monica beach. Perhaps indulge in a late brunch in a cafe facing the sand. You can then walk along the promenade taking in the sea views, and watching the locals jog, skateboard and roller-blade their way to Venice Beach and back.

Any stay in Santa Monica wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along the historic Santa Monica Pier. This vibrant and colourful hotspot is home to all the classic rollercoasters and amusements that light up in the evening. It is also the perfect location to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

Elsewhere, the pedestrianised Third Street Promenade, offers a range of shopping and dining options, often accompanied by street performers.

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, California
Hollywood & Sunset Blvd signpost, Los Angeles, California USA

Day 3 – Explore Hollywood

Santa Monica is Los Angeles by the sea, so it is the perfect place from which…

Santa Monica is Los Angeles by the sea, so it is the perfect place from which to explore the City of Angels.

You may choose to drive, take the train or join a tour bus to see all the highlights.

In Hollywood you can visit iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Chinese Theatre, and the Hollywood Sign. You may also like to take a studio tour at Paramount Pictures or Warner Bros Studios.

For panoramic views of the city head up to Griffith Park, home of the Griffith Observatory. As well as taking in the views you can discover the exhibits on space and science or hike some of the trails within Griffith Park, which also houses the famous Hollywood Sign.

Optional Experience – Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
A fun, informative and easy way to explore the wonders of Los Angeles. Stopping by all of the major sights and attractions. Your pass will be valid for 24 hours.

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Hollywood & Sunset Blvd signpost, Los Angeles, California USA
Palm Springs Welcome Sign

Day 4 – Welcome to Palm Springs

Today, say a temporary farewell to the coast and head inland to the Coachella Valley. Located just…

Today, say a temporary farewell to the coast and head inland to the Coachella Valley.

Located just two and a half hours east of Santa Monica, Palm Springs is among Southern California’s most prized destinations amongst the mountains. It serves as the perfect gateway to Joshua Tree National Park and is well-known for hosting world-class music and film festivals.

    Santa Monica > Palm Springs | 130 miles

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Palm Springs Welcome Sign
Joshua Tree National Park, California

Day 5 – Explore Joshua Tree National Park

Take a day trip into Joshua Tree National Park, just to the north of Palm Springs….

Take a day trip into Joshua Tree National Park, just to the north of Palm Springs. witness the convergence of the Mojave & Colorado deserts that create unique, natural sand-carved monuments,amongst the innovative desert-adapted flora that give the park its name.

Take a scenic drive through the park along Park Boulevard or Pinto Basin Road, enjoying the stunning vistas of the unique desert landscape, iconic Joshua trees, and rock formations. You can explore further on foot by following some of the well-signed hiking trails through the rocks and cacti.

If you choose to return back to the park at night the unspoilt dark night skies are perfect for stargazing.

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Joshua Tree National Park, California
Palm Springs, California

Day 6 – Relax in Palm Springs

The sunshine of Palm Springs is perfect for relaxing around the pool throughout the year, but…

The sunshine of Palm Springs is perfect for relaxing around the pool throughout the year, but those seeking more activity can also play a round of golf at one of the many championship golf courses or ride the impressive scenic aerial tramway to the summit of Mount San Jacinto, for panoramic views from the 6000ft peak.

Alternatively, for those wishing to stay local, there are plenty of museums and galleries around Palm Springs whilst the alfresco cafes and restaurants along South Palm Canyon Drive are perfect for people watching and waiting for the movie actors and celebrities to pass by.

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California

Day 7 – Cross the mountains to San Diego

From Palm Springs head back to the coast, through the mountains to arrive in San Diego…

From Palm Springs head back to the coast, through the mountains to arrive in San Diego in the afternoon.

From the Salton Sea, traverse the stunning desert landscapes of the Anza-Borrego State Park and up into the mountains.

The town of Julian is rooted in the 1870’s gold rush and retains some of the historic shop fronts and historic buildings from that era. Surrounded by orchards the town of Julian is now synonymous with apple pie and cider.

As the mountains flatten out to the coastal lowlands, descend onto the freeway and continue into San Diego.

    Palm Springs > San Diego | 182 miles

    Kona Kai Resort, San Diego or similar

Palm Springs, California
The Coronado Bay Bridge, San Diego

Day 8 – Discover San Diego

The compact city of San Diego is home to SeaWorld® Adventure Park and the San…

The compact city of San Diego is home to SeaWorld® Adventure Park and the San Diego Zoo. These world-class attractions feature a variety of spectacular sights and activities. A variety of animal-themed shows are featured here and it’s even possible to take a behind the scenes tour.

Alternatively you can explore the gardens and trails of Bilboa Park and wander the historic Old Town. Don’t forget to try some authentic Mexican cuisine.

For a scenic drive, cross the uniquely curved Coronado Bridge to access the island beyond the city for impressive homes and spectacular beaches

Optional ExperienceSan Diego Old Town Trolley
See the best of San Diego while touring at your own pace on a traditional orange and green trolley-bus.

The Coronado Bay Bridge, San Diego
Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, California

Day 9 – Relax at Mission Beach

If there is one thing that San Diego does well it is the beach. Both Ocean…

If there is one thing that San Diego does well it is the beach. Both Ocean Beach and Mission Beach are perfect examples.

You can join the locals and wander for hours along the promenade and stop for an ice-cream or smoothie at one of the many retailers along the way.

You will see designated areas for swimming, sports and sunbathing along the golden sands. Head one block back to discover trendy boutiques, coffee shops and cafes, perfect for lunch or early evening dinner.

In the evening watch the glorious sunset over the Pacific Ocean horizon, maybe with a cocktail in hand. It is the perfect end to the day.

Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, California
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Day 10 – Pacific Coast Highway

You could return back to Los Angeles on the Interstate, but turning off onto Highway 1,…

You could return back to Los Angeles on the Interstate, but turning off onto Highway 1, The Pacific Coast Highway that will reward with some of California’s best beaches and fashionable neighbourhoods.

Consider stopping at Laguna Beach Newport, or Huntington to continue your love affair with sun and sand. A visit to Dana Point harbour offers boat trips, shopping and plenty of dining options with views of the ocean.

Continue back to Los Angeles International Airport to return your rental car, ready for your evening flight home, feeling sun-kissed and relaxed.

    San Diego > Airport | 135 miles
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Your Itinerary

Your American fly-drive holiday can be personalised by adding extra nights or extra places to stop along the way. Just let us know what you would like to do.

Day 1

|

Welcome to Los Angeles

Arrive in Southern California and collect your car from Los Angeles International Airport and follow Highway 1 for just 20 minutes to the seaside city of Santa Monica.

    Airport > Santa Monica | 10 miles

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Plane over palm trees, LAX Airport, Los Angeles, California

Day 2

|

Santa Monica

Begin your day down on Santa Monica beach. Perhaps indulge in a late brunch in a cafe facing the sand. You can then walk along the promenade taking in the sea views, and watching the locals jog, skateboard and roller-blade their way to Venice Beach and back.

Any stay in Santa Monica wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along the historic Santa Monica Pier. This vibrant and colourful hotspot is home to all the classic rollercoasters and amusements that light up in the evening. It is also the perfect location to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

Elsewhere, the pedestrianised Third Street Promenade, offers a range of shopping and dining options, often accompanied by street performers.

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, California

Day 3

|

Explore Hollywood

Santa Monica is Los Angeles by the sea, so it is the perfect place from which to explore the City of Angels.

You may choose to drive, take the train or join a tour bus to see all the highlights.

In Hollywood you can visit iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Chinese Theatre, and the Hollywood Sign. You may also like to take a studio tour at Paramount Pictures or Warner Bros Studios.

For panoramic views of the city head up to Griffith Park, home of the Griffith Observatory. As well as taking in the views you can discover the exhibits on space and science or hike some of the trails within Griffith Park, which also houses the famous Hollywood Sign.

Optional Experience – Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
A fun, informative and easy way to explore the wonders of Los Angeles. Stopping by all of the major sights and attractions. Your pass will be valid for 24 hours.

    Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica or similar

Hollywood & Sunset Blvd signpost, Los Angeles, California USA

Day 4

|

Welcome to Palm Springs

Today, say a temporary farewell to the coast and head inland to the Coachella Valley.

Located just two and a half hours east of Santa Monica, Palm Springs is among Southern California’s most prized destinations amongst the mountains. It serves as the perfect gateway to Joshua Tree National Park and is well-known for hosting world-class music and film festivals.

    Santa Monica > Palm Springs | 130 miles

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Palm Springs Welcome Sign

Day 5

|

Explore Joshua Tree National Park

Take a day trip into Joshua Tree National Park, just to the north of Palm Springs. witness the convergence of the Mojave & Colorado deserts that create unique, natural sand-carved monuments,amongst the innovative desert-adapted flora that give the park its name.

Take a scenic drive through the park along Park Boulevard or Pinto Basin Road, enjoying the stunning vistas of the unique desert landscape, iconic Joshua trees, and rock formations. You can explore further on foot by following some of the well-signed hiking trails through the rocks and cacti.

If you choose to return back to the park at night the unspoilt dark night skies are perfect for stargazing.

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Day 6

|

Relax in Palm Springs

The sunshine of Palm Springs is perfect for relaxing around the pool throughout the year, but those seeking more activity can also play a round of golf at one of the many championship golf courses or ride the impressive scenic aerial tramway to the summit of Mount San Jacinto, for panoramic views from the 6000ft peak.

Alternatively, for those wishing to stay local, there are plenty of museums and galleries around Palm Springs whilst the alfresco cafes and restaurants along South Palm Canyon Drive are perfect for people watching and waiting for the movie actors and celebrities to pass by.

    The Renaissance, Palm Springs or similar

Palm Springs, California

Day 7

|

Cross the mountains to San Diego

From Palm Springs head back to the coast, through the mountains to arrive in San Diego in the afternoon.

From the Salton Sea, traverse the stunning desert landscapes of the Anza-Borrego State Park and up into the mountains.

The town of Julian is rooted in the 1870’s gold rush and retains some of the historic shop fronts and historic buildings from that era. Surrounded by orchards the town of Julian is now synonymous with apple pie and cider.

As the mountains flatten out to the coastal lowlands, descend onto the freeway and continue into San Diego.

    Palm Springs > San Diego | 182 miles

    Kona Kai Resort, San Diego or similar

Palm Springs, California

Day 8

|

Discover San Diego

The compact city of San Diego is home to SeaWorld® Adventure Park and the San Diego Zoo. These world-class attractions feature a variety of spectacular sights and activities. A variety of animal-themed shows are featured here and it’s even possible to take a behind the scenes tour.

Alternatively you can explore the gardens and trails of Bilboa Park and wander the historic Old Town. Don’t forget to try some authentic Mexican cuisine.

For a scenic drive, cross the uniquely curved Coronado Bridge to access the island beyond the city for impressive homes and spectacular beaches

Optional ExperienceSan Diego Old Town Trolley
See the best of San Diego while touring at your own pace on a traditional orange and green trolley-bus.

The Coronado Bay Bridge, San Diego

Day 9

|

Relax at Mission Beach

If there is one thing that San Diego does well it is the beach. Both Ocean Beach and Mission Beach are perfect examples.

You can join the locals and wander for hours along the promenade and stop for an ice-cream or smoothie at one of the many retailers along the way.

You will see designated areas for swimming, sports and sunbathing along the golden sands. Head one block back to discover trendy boutiques, coffee shops and cafes, perfect for lunch or early evening dinner.

In the evening watch the glorious sunset over the Pacific Ocean horizon, maybe with a cocktail in hand. It is the perfect end to the day.

Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, California

Day 10

|

Pacific Coast Highway

You could return back to Los Angeles on the Interstate, but turning off onto Highway 1, The Pacific Coast Highway that will reward with some of California’s best beaches and fashionable neighbourhoods.

Consider stopping at Laguna Beach Newport, or Huntington to continue your love affair with sun and sand. A visit to Dana Point harbour offers boat trips, shopping and plenty of dining options with views of the ocean.

Continue back to Los Angeles International Airport to return your rental car, ready for your evening flight home, feeling sun-kissed and relaxed.

    San Diego > Airport | 135 miles
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

This Self Drive Includes

9 nights accommodation
9 nights car hire

Flights & More

With FREEDOM, you can book your Southern California Sun fly drive and flights together, as an ATOL protected package. Our Travel Experts can find the best priced Economy, Premium or Business Class flights for you.

You can also personalise your holiday. Why not add:

  • Extra nights in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Palm Springs or San Diego
  • A Las Vegas or San Francisco city stay
  • A San Diego Trolley Tour or a visit to San Diego Zoo to your holiday
  • A flight home from San Diego instead of Los Angeles

Next Step

Please get in touch with our America Experts to start planning your holiday. You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry through booking.

Southern California Sun

10 day Fly Drive – from £1429

With flights from £2029

Price is per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room and includes pre-booked accommodation, air-conditioned car and unlimited mileage. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard.

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Southern California Sun