California Lakes and Mountains Fly-Drive Holiday

14 nights

California is a land that is as varied as it is beautiful. Bustling cities, scenic waterfront, dense woodland and sparkling lakes are just a taste of what this magnificent state has to offer, and you can experience it all on this fantastic fly-drive holiday.

Discover the culture of the iconic ‘city by the bay’ San Francisco, explore the natural wonder of Yosemite National Park and live out your dreams by the sparkling waters of Lake Tahoe. California is waiting; why not explore it with Frontier America. You will also get some time to explore Gold Country and celebrate the centennial of Highway 49 - also known as the Motherlode Highway or the Golden Chain Highway, as well as the 170th anniversary of the Gold Rush.

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The Breakdown

Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.

Day 1-4

San Francisco

Your holiday will start in the world famous city of San Francisco to get you in the mood for the mountains to follow.  Ride the cable cars, explore Fisherman's Wharf, visit Alcatraz and take the ferry across the Bay to Sausalito for a completely different view of the city and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  Just across the bridge are the Muir Woods, home to the iconic giant redwood trees some of which have grown to an astounding 79 metres.

3 nights in San Francisco. 

Day 4-6

San Francisco to Sacramento

Collect your hire car this morning in good time to get to the Napa valley in time for lunch and perhaps a visit to a vineyard or two before driving on to Sacramento, the capital city of California. With over 25 museums, the Delta King Paddle Steamer, art studios and wineries to visit, your stay will go very quickly.  Allow plenty of time for dinner: Sacramento prides itself on its farm to table cuisine.

 2 nights in Sacramento.

Day 6-7

Sacramento & Gold Country to Sierra City

We recommend you head north on Highway 49 towards Sierra City, the lovely little mining town where you will spend tonight. Stop enroute at Coloma and visit Marshall Gold Discovery Park where you can pan for gold and see the old school house and other buildings from the Goldrush era.  A visit to the old town of Auburn is also worth a stop.

1 night Sierra City

Day 7-9

Sierra City to Lake Tahoe

Your pretty drive today takes you to Lake Tahoe and you can stay in North Lake Tahoe or down at South Lake Tahoe, but wherever you stay, it's time to kick back and relax. Enjoy all the water sports that are on offer, cross the border into Nevada for a flutter on the tables or you tire of the water, you are surrounded by mountains packed with excellent hiking routes.

2 nights in Lake Tahoe.

Day 9

Lake Tahoe to Placerville

Today you will head back towards Gold Country, driving through Eldorado National Forest. You will spend the night in Placerville (also known as Hanging Town) where the gold was first discovered. Main Street is lined with 19th century architecture; don't miss the Bell Tower and check out the Hangman's Tree Saloon.

1 night Placerville


Day 10-12

Placerville to Jackson

You will travel just a short distance down Highway 49 again today where you will be based in Jackson for 2 nights, perfect for exploring more of the gold rush history of the area. The towns of Sonora and Columbia are must-see, with the latter housing an original Wells Fargo bank. The town of Murphys, founded by Irish miners, is worth a visit as is one of the best vineyards in the area, Ironstone. Owned by John Kautz, the vineyard also houses a musem which displays the world's largest gold nugget - found in Jamestown - also owned by Mr Kautz.

2 nights Jackson

Day 12-14

Jackson to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States and for a good reason.  Covering over 1100 square miles, you will not be able to see it all.  However, you will be able to marvel at the great granite cliff of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls which are the tallest in the country amongst the many other peaks and lakes. As you will have three full days in the park, you will have time to hike some of the trails and visit the giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove. Do also take the time to visit the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery.

3 nights in Yosemite National Park.

Day 15

Yosemite National Park to San Francisco

Today you have approximately a 4-hour drive back to San Francisco for your homeward flight unless you would like to extend your holiday further.  Do please make use of Frontier America's tailor made service to alter this holiday to suit you.

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The View

A selection of images representing the areas and places you will be visiting to give you a glimpse of what lies in store during your holiday.

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Now we need to make the perfect holiday for you and give you a quotation.


Whether you would like to book this exact holiday or to tailor-make it to better suit you, please give one of our knowledgeable experts a call on 020 8776 8709 or send us an email.


Alternatively, take advantage of the Wishlist facility; simply add this itinerary, or any particular destinations or hotels to My Wishlist by clicking on the ADD TO WISHLIST buttons on all pages. To make it easier to save and change the details on your Wishlist at any time, why not register with us? You can also just send your completed Wishlist to us at any time; we will then contact you to discuss your holiday further and send you a detailed quotation.


We are here to make sure we tailor-make your holiday to suit your specific requirements and our friendly, knowledgeable staff are all ready to help.


Booking your holiday with us doesn't end when we send your confirmation out to you, either. Talk to us about adding excursions or room upgrades or even restaurant recommendations; we are here to offer advice all the way up to your departure date. Even when you have left the UK, we are still here to help. For example if your flight that we have booked is delayed or cancelled due to ash cloud, strike, etc, it is down to us to re-arrange your travel. We will do everything we can to make sure your holiday runs smoothly. And better still, we are fully bonded with ATOL and ABTA, so your money is completely protected.

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Tailor-making YOUR perfect holiday

Fully bespoke holidays across Canada

This suggested itinerary is our recommendation but can be tailored to match your requirements

  • We can tailor this trip to suit your specific requirements
  • We can change everything from the hotels & tours to the durations & destinations.