Explore the Golden State of California and get ready for some fun in the never-ending sun. 

Forget dreaming about California - explore it instead! With its breathtaking national parks, expansive, desert landscapes, and bustling, multicultural cities, wandering through this sunny state is guaranteed to gift you with unforgettable memories. Whether you fancy cycling through San Francisco’s wine country, navigating your way past giant waterfalls in Yosemite, or spotting stars in Los Angeles, our California tours are not only full of fun but full of the best cultural activities the United States has to offer. From appreciating Mother Nature’s beauty to marvelling at some seriously impressive man-made structures, your tour guide will take you off the beaten track for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Popular Local Destinations 

Our California Tours & Holidays

5 Days From 1926

Follow your feet on this 5-day walking tour that shows off the very best of Yosemite...

5 Days From 1020

Take a five-day road trip from Los Angeles to Vegas, stopping by Joshua Tree National...

6 Days From 876

Hit the road from Las Vegas to San Francisco on a six-day adventure, stopping by...

10 Days From 3426

From the famed LA streets to the glitz of the Vegas strip, travel through the hush of...

5 Days From 1661

Explore the Sierra Nevada Range on a 5-day small group hiking tour which includes...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

8 Days From 2752

Drive, hike and explore your way through Nevada and California, hitting Yosemite...

13 Days From 2156

Take an adventure through California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada past Joshua Tree, Grand...

11 Days From 1896

Travel from LA via Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite, Sierra Nevada to...

14 Days From 2384

Beginning in Las Vegas, see Zion, Moab and Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Yosemite, the...

18 Days From 3524

Travel for 18 days from Los Angeles to San Francisco, passing through Las Vegas, the...

4 Days From 1332

Escape the crowds, see incredible views, sleep under the stars, and backpack through...

4 Days From 1508

Experience Death Valley’s narrow canyons, vast dune fields, lava flows, scenic...

Places to visit in California 

Golden Gate Bridge tour on a sunny day in San Francisco.

Admire the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

There’s quite a lot to do in San Francisco from wandering around one of USA’s most notorious prisons to spending a day exploring Fisherman’s Wharf but nothing surpasses marvelling at the Golden Gate Bridge. An absolute must-see, this bridge was completed in 1937 and connects San Francisco to the neighbouring Marin County. More than just a photo op, there are many other ways your tour can explore the bridge from admiring it at sunset to appreciating it from the water on a bay cruise. 

A sunset view of Glacier Point at Yosemite National Park, California

Watch the sunset at Yosemite’s Glacier Point

Mother Nature doesn’t get any better than watching the sunset over Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point. Have your cameras (or phones) at the ready for the beautiful pinks, purples, and oranges that are guaranteed to grace the sky. While it does get pretty busy (who wouldn’t want to see a beautiful explosion of colors?!), the view is more than worth it and will be something you’ll remember for years to come. If you’re an early riser, compare the sunset views to the sunrise ones!

Vineyards in the Napa Valley, San Francisco.

Cycle through Sonoma & Napa Valley

California is absolutely spoilt when it comes to wineries with world-class regions literally at its doorstep. One of the best ways to soak up as much of these valleys as possible is by touring them on a bike. So much more than just a winery tour, your leader will guide you through stunning vineyards in both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, as well as past rugged coastlines and epic redwood forests. Sip on famous wines, eat at Michelin star restaurants, and allow the natural charm of this region to take your breath away.

Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, Los Angeles.

Realize your dreams at Disneyland in Los Angeles

Connect with your inner child and allow your ultimate fantasies to come to life at the happiest place on Earth. Whether you want to take a spin on the electrifying Space Mountain roller coaster or check out Adventureland with its jungle-like setting and other wild attractions, Disneyland has a little something for everyone. From sipping on blue milk in a galaxy far, far away to munching on some Mickey Mouse beignets, this iconic theme park has enough to satisfy both your hunger and your childhood dreams.

A cactus plant in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Marvel at the nature in Joshua Tree NP

Nestled in between the Colorado and Mojave deserts lies a truly spectacular national park filled with more spiky plants than you’ll know what to do with. Home to breathtaking cacti, uniquely formed rock formations, and natural sculpted scenery for as far as the eye can see, Joshua Tree National Park is an iconic destination you don’t want to miss. Take a walk on the wild side and go hiking for some incredible views of the park, taking in the peace and quiet of the desert landscape full of native plants and animals. You might even see a tortoise or two!

Snow-capped mountains in the Sierra Nevada region of California.

Explore the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

If you thought that California couldn’t get any more breathtaking then think again! Situated between Central Valley and Death Valley, Sierra Nevada is packed with stunning views of deep canyons, sparkling waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees. Your tour guide will take you on an impressive scenic tour of the region so you can absorb as much of Mother Nature’s beauty as possible, before setting up camp under the stars in a nearby local town. From jaw-dropping scenery to natural, unforgettable attractions, this mountain range should be high on your priority list.

California Tour Reviews 

California FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

There are a number of ways to get into California including flying to various airports both big and small such as Los Angeles International Aiport (LAX) and Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). Where you fly into largely depends on what area of California you plan to spend your time in. You can also drive into the state of California or catch public transportation such as taking a bus or catching a train. 

Read more about getting to California

California has a very Mediterranean climate with hot, relatively dry summers and mild winters. This kind of weather pattern is mostly true for the majority of areas in California but there are some exceptions such as San Francisco experiencing fog in spring, the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges experiencing snow, and Palm Springs experiencing extreme heat. 

Read more about snow in California

What to pack for California largely depends on which area in the state you're traveling to. However, if you're traveling in summer you should pack clothing items such as dresses, shorts, and t-shirts as Californian summers can be quite warm. While the temperatures in winter are quite mild, you should still be prepared for colder weather especially in the evenings so packing pants, sweaters, and appropriate footwear is essential. 

As a state, California has a higher crime rate than the USA on average. This is largely due to the crime rates in the major cities of California being quite high. This is to be expected though and as long as you're aware of your surroundings and stick to well-populated tourist areas, it is fairly safe. Precautions should still be taken though, that of sticking to well-lit areas, avoiding going out at night by yourself, and leaving a bar/attraction if you feel uncomfortable. 

California has several theme parks in various major cities including Los Angeles and San Diego. Some of the most popular theme parks in California are below: 

  • Disneyland
  • Universal Studios Hollywood 
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain 
  • California's Great America in San Francisco 
  • Pacific Park 

California has 28 national parks, all located in different regions of the state. Redwood National Park is the largest national park in California and is located on the Northern Coast. The most popular national park is Yosemite thanks to its stunning natural landscapes, gushing waterfalls, and other geological features. Some of the best national parks in California are below: 

  • Yosemite National Park 
  • Joshua Tree National Park 
  • Death Valley National Park 
  • Sequoia National Park 
  • Point Reyes National Seashore 

California is a very popular state among tourists thanks to its sunny weather all year round, metropolitan cities, and impressive natural landscapes. These tourists can come from neighboring states or from across the country in a variety of ways including by car or by plane. The quickest way to travel to California is by catching a flight but you can also opt for a 'road trip' style car journey. Below is how far California is from its neighboring states by plane: 

  • As Arizona is relatively close to the state of California, the flight time is roughly 1 hour, 18 minutes. 
  • The journey by plane between Colorado and California is just over 2 hours. 
  • To travel between Texas and California, it would take you approximately 3 hours by plane. 
  • Catching a flight from New York to California will take you a little of 5 hours if you were to fly non-stop. 
  • Similarly, to travel between Florida and California will take you 5 hours by plane.

There is plenty to see and do in California and these top events will occupy you for, not just hours, but days: 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. Accessibility depends on whereabouts in California you're travelling to but in general, the state is relatively well equipped to deal with any disabilities in many areas such as mobility, transportation, and communication. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. 

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.

Find out more or make a donation

Read more about the United States