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California holidays

California dreaming – plan your perfect holiday

California beaches

840 miles

California ski resorts

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California holidays

Get straight into holiday mode – California is made for light-hearted living. You can’t fail to have a great time in a place where spotting celebrities is the norm, where the most difficult decision might be picking your favourite juice bar and where there’s a big wave with your name on it breaking just off the beach.

Explorers have plenty of ground to cover on their California trip: nine national parks (including Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Kings Canyon), and terrain so varied that you can spend the morning skiing on Bear Mountain, and your afternoon surfing in Malibu. If you want a family holiday there are theme parks aplenty – including Six Flags, Universal Studios Hollywood, and glittery Disney Land in Anaheim: book a package holiday with us to make life easy.

California is made for multi-centre holidays. There are simply too many great places to visit to confine yourself to just one city or seaside. Luckily, you can sort multiple flights, hotels and cars – all in one booking with British Airways. It’s time to plan that road trip playlist (better include the Beach Boys) and your next epic California holiday – may you have many more.

Deposits from £75pp

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Hotels in California

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Our recommended holidays in California

We’ve found the best places for your California holiday. If you’re looking to explore the steep streets of San Francisco, and do so in style, then stay at the magnificent, colonnaded Ritz-Carlton San Francisco on Nob Hill. The hotel’s stunning service includes a house car that will drop you at the nearby sights. On the sun-kissed coast near San Diego make the most of the huge golf course at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where you can enjoy space, privacy and peace in the Californian countryside. If you’re visiting Los Angeles, stay somewhere a little different. The Queen Mary Hotel is a moored ocean liner that’s part-museum and part three-star hotel. Enjoy the contrast between the modern city and your vintage room on this floating 1930’s time capsule. Book your perfect California holiday with British Airways.

3-star California holidays

Looking for comfortable stay, but don’t want to break the bank? Save your dollars on these carefully-selected three-star hotels across California. Book these budget hotels and you’ll have more money to spend on the sights of San Francisco or the theme parks near Los Angeles. You’ll get great value for money without any motel nightmares.

4-star California holidays

You can have a great stay, even if you can’t stretch to a five star. Whether you want a cooling pool, a cool location or a colourful cocktail menu, these four-star hotels offer a little more for your money. Choose from our carefully-selected hotels in California.

5-star California holidays

Enjoy some of the most famous cities in the States – and enjoy them with style. Pick a five-star hotel in California, whether you want to live like a celebrity in Hollywood or enjoy massive spas and sprawling golfing greens. Our carefully-selected luxury hotels make travelling in California a joy.

Make the most of your holiday in California

With so much to see and do in a place as big as California, it can seem a little overwhelming to know where to begin, but with our essential guide to holidaying in the Golden State you’ll soon feel like a California local.

Places to visit in California

Los Angeles – Home to the stars and buzzing with creative energy, LA offers up the utmost in luxury stays and laid-back beach breaks.

San Francisco – With its iconic sights and well-known relaxed vibe, San Francisco makes the ideal holiday for those looking for a city break or exploring the delights of Napa and Yosemite.

San Diego – From its world-famous Zoo, to its practically perfect climate, San Diego is the place for those wanting to hit the beach (there are more than 60) or try their hand (and legs) at surfing.

San Jose – There’s much more to San Jose than creative tech hub Silicon Valley. It’s awash with alternative museums and cultural hotspots, plus it’s ideal as a base for exploring northern California.

Santa Monica Beach. © Kathryn Donohew Photography.

Where are the best places to stay in California?

Wherever you rest your head, whether it’s in one of California’s cities or by the sea, be sure to check out our California holiday packages – you could bag yourself a cheap break. Look out for Bahia Resort in San Diego, which sits on Mission Bay and overlooks the ocean. This good-value hotel is excellent for family holidays and summer breaks. On the other end of the scale is Fairmont San Francisco, a luxury hotel in the heart of the city.

Best places to eat in California

California serves the world on a plate. You can find some of the best Mexican food north of the border in south Cali – so prepare yourself for plates of soft tacos packed with piquant salsas. LA’s penchant for all things healthy and responsibly-sourced is leaking out into the rest of the state, and on some roads you can’t move for juice bars. You can find practically any cuisine you choose in the cities: visit Chinatown and Koreatown in LA for skilled Asian cookery. And no matter what time you wake up, don’t miss the skillets, pancake stacks and sugar rush of a classic American brunch.

Food stall, Los Angeles. © Justin Officer / Alamy

Multi-centre holidays in California

When you fly to California why not take in as many cities as you can? California is a sprawling state; and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose are all great places to include in your holiday itinerary.

If you fancy going further afield – well, what about Hawaii? It’s just a five-hour flight away from Cali, after all. Plan the perfect multi-centre US holiday.

Multi-city holidays

Los Angeles fly-drives

Ford Fiesta or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£409pp
Ford Focus or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£411pp
Chevrolet Cruze or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£414pp

San Diego fly-drives

Ford Fiesta or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£476pp
Ford Focus or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£478pp
Ford Escape or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£486pp

San Francisco fly-drives

Ford Fiesta or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£411pp
Chevrolet Malibu or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£413pp
Ford Escape or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£414pp

San Jose fly-drives

Ford Fiesta Sedan or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£420pp
Ford Focus or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£424pp
Hyundai Elantra or similar
  Flights +   7 days car hire
From£429pp

Discover more of California

Every traveller should exploreYosemite National Parkat least once.

Michele Bigley,  California-based travel writer

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