Western USA

San Diego

In this guide

A two hour drive south from L.A. is San Diego, the second largest city in California, which is renowned for its entertainment parks, including Sea World, San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, the latter of which boasts some stunning historic buildings and green spaces. Leave some time to relax on some of California’s most beautiful palm-lined beaches.

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  • Los Angeles

    Los Angeles

    Stroll along Hollywood Boulevard, spot your favourite TV and film stars on the Walk of Fame, and you can’t miss the hillside Hollywood sign...Read more
  • San Francisco

    San Francisco

    California's greatest city
    Crammed into less than 50 square miles and with a population of less than a million, small San Francisco packs a mighty punch...Read more
  • Napa Valley

    Napa Valley

    Napa Valley is filled with lush vineyards that can be visited on foot or with the vintage railcars of the Napa Valley Wine Train which covers 36 miles...Read more
  • Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park

    There are 800 miles of trails through the mountains and woodlands of Yosemite, where you can spot black bears, coyotes, bobcats and mule deer among other wildlife...Read more
  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    Set in possibly the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the Americas, Palm Springs is not only a winter playground for celebrities, but also a stylish place to relax in hot springs, spas and top-class golf courses at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains...Read more
  • Las Vegas

    Las Vegas

    Spend a day or two discovering the grandeur of Las Vegas and its famously flamboyant attractions...Read more
  • Sedona

    Sedona

    On arrival to the unique geological area of Sedona, you will be welcomed by red-rock monoliths, with names such as Coffee Pot and Cathedral, protruding from the desert landscape...Read more
  • Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon

    Follow the trails to explore Grand Canyon National Park and be sure to stop at the canyon edge to fully appreciate its enormity...Read more
  • Monument Valley

    Monument Valley

    Pass through the Painted Desert with its kaleidoscope of colours to reach Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border...Read more
  • Lake Powell

    Lake Powell

    The concrete Glen Canyon Dam would dominate the scenery if it was not for the commanding Colorado River and the bright blue waters of Lake Powell that lap against the tall red walls of the canyon...Read more
  • Bryce Canyon

    Bryce Canyon

    Within the Mormon State of Utah is this multi-coloured spectacle of protruding sandstone pinnacles that gather along the edges and deep inside Bryce Canyon...Read more
  • Zion National Park

    Zion National Park

    Visit Zion National Park with its towering rock formations that have been carved over time with the help of the mighty Virgin River...Read more
  • Mammoth Lakes

    Mammoth Lakes

    Journey through Death Valley and ascend the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the alpine resort of Mammoth Lakes, famous for its skiing and hiking trails...Read more
  • Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara

    Backed by the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara, is a hot-spot for white-sand beaches and palm-lined promenades...Read more
  • Monterey Peninsula

    Monterey Peninsula

    Monterey Peninsula offers a mix of wind-whipped beaches, hidden coves and delicious seafood...Read more
  • Sierra Nevada

    ...Read more
  • Lake Tahoe

    Lake Tahoe

    Explore the surroundings of this clear mountain lake by bike, kayak or cruise, or relax on one of its beaches to enjoy the unique views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Carson Range...Read more
  • Sacramento

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  • Sonoma

    ...Read more

Self-drive California

A scenic coastal route
Approx. 12 days
San Francisco (3 days) → Monterey Peninsula (3) → Los Angeles (1) → Las Vegas (2) → Grand Canyon (1) → San Diego (2)
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Things to do in San Diego

Our recommended experiences and activities

A spot of shopping in the Seaport Village
San Diego

A spot of shopping in the Seaport Village

Seaport Village, on the waterfront of downtown San Diego, is a recreation of a historic harbour with meandering walkways that take you to its 70 shops, galleries, and eateries spread across 14 acres.

Enjoy the ride from Las Vegas to San Diego
San Diego

Enjoy the ride from Las Vegas to San Diego

Driving south past Lake Elsinore you will reach the town of Temecula with its rolling hills and vineyards before ending your 336 mile drive in San Diego — the perfect place to relax in the sunshine.

Where to go in Western USA

Our recommended places

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Expert travel guide

Expert travel guides

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Authentic experiences

Authentic experiences

We curate exceptional trips in underrated places, organised by the very best tour operators who live and breathe their destinations and are passionate about authentic, responsible tourism.

Give back to mother nature

Give back to mother nature

We'll plant 50 trees for every trip booked via the Horizon Guides site in partnership with the International Tree Foundation, who carry out sustainable community forestry projects in Africa.