Western USA

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. Its patchwork of different neighbourhoods -- Mission District, Haight-Ashbury, Chinatown and many more -- all offer a different side to the city, while the big attractions -- Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf -- are all worth the visit.

This is also a city of culture. There are Michelin-starred restaurants. There are pop-up diners and incredible food trucks. There is a world-class music scene and plenty of outdoor adventures, from whale-watching at Land's End to hiking in Mount Diablo. Just watch out for the earth tremors -- San Francisco's proximity to the San Andreas faultline means it experiences several hundred tremors a year.

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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
  • 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
  • San Diego

    San Diego

    A two hour drive south from L...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

    ...Read more
  • 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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The best of the American west

A route to the top natural and historic attractions
Approx. 12 days
Los Angeles (1 days) → Palm Springs (1) → Sedona (1) → Grand Canyon (1) → Monument Valley (1) → Lake Powell (1) → Bryce Canyon (1) → Zion National Park (1) → Las Vegas (1) → Mammoth Lakes (1) → Yosemite National Park (1) → San Francisco (1)
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Tour northern California

For the more active traveller
Approx. 10 days
San Francisco (3 days) → Yosemite National Park (3) → Lake Tahoe (3) → Sacramento (1)
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Wine lovers’ California

A grand tour of California’s wine region
Approx. 8 days
San Francisco (3 days) → Napa Valley (4) → San Francisco (1)
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Things to do in San Francisco

Our recommended experiences and activities

Enjoy the coastline of San Fran
San Francisco

Enjoy the coastline of San Fran

Take a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the Marina District before experiencing the lively city at night. Stop at the spectacular Golden Gate bridge that connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean to enjoy a classic view of the skyline. Perhaps even take a boat to the infamous Alcatraz.

Where to go in Western USA

Our recommended places

Why Horizon Guides?

Expert travel guide

Expert travel guides

Our guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for reliable and impartial travel advice.

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.