Everyone does a little California dreaming from time to time. It is the larger-than-life state of fantasy-made-real, after all: land of Hollywood and the Gold Rush; final destination on Route 66; home to LA and San Francisco; keeper of mighty Yosemite, the mystical Joshua Tree and Monterey’s windswept beaches; wine country extraordinaire and pretty much universally recognised as the birthplace of cool.
It’s also one of Abercrombie & Kent’s favourite places on earth, and considering they’ve been creating luxury family holidays all over the world for almost six decades, that’s quite a coup for California.
There isn’t a corner of the state A&K haven’t explored in depth over the years. They know all the nooks and crannies made to delight kids, and not a single fabulous hotel has gone unnoticed. Tireless travelling has uncovered incredible secrets and experiences, and of course they’re more than familiar with the endless parade of big hitters too.
Time to stop dreaming and head for the west coast? A&K’s ultimate California experience is a combo of classic road trips, wilderness thrills, urban adventures, and slice after slice of iconic Americana, and it’s close to perfect for families.
But, since they’re tailor-made family holiday specialists, feel free to creatively customise the A&K California itinerary any way you like, and they’ll make it happen. Take a look and be inspired.
One of the most famous harbour cities in the world, San Francisco is as astonishing in reality as you always imagined. First sight of the Golden Gate Bridge will take your breath away, you’ll be awed by the vast waterfront and charmed by the trolley cars; the hills really are impossibly steep, and you can promise kids flocks of wild parrots and enormous colonies of sealions.
Protected for over a century, Yosemite National Park is 1200 square miles of wilderness you’ll want to take your time over. The waterfalls here are spectacular, and if you want to know what all the fuss is about Giant Sequoia, this is the place to find out – remember to record the awestruck expression on kids’ faces.
Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, the locals simply say, Carmel. This is the town that’s so exclusive it doesn’t even have street numbers. Naturally, it sits on the Monterey Peninsula, another Californian legend, as famous for Cannery Row and fabulous Monterey Aquarium as it is for amazing seafood and the resident whales in Monterey Bay.
Luxe and laid-back Santa Barbara is as glamorous as its reputation, but the real showstopper here is the road into town. Head south from Carmel and you hit Route 1, AKA the Pacific Coast Highway. One of the world’s greatest drives, the views along the way are astounding, so take it easy; especially crossing Bixby Bridge where you get an eyeful of Big Sur, and understand instantly why Route 1 is such an icon.
Los Angeles is as complex as it is exciting, fortunately A&K prepare you with a personal guide for this once in a lifetime adventure. And just to make certain you experience LA from every angle, you’re booked into a luxury hotel in beachy and super-cool Santa Monica for three nights.
You can’t come to California with kids and not let them hang ten at Laguna Beach. Surf lessons with a pro-instructor are all part of the fun, and the pretty seaside town itself is destined to charm you completely.