'Something for everyone' may be somewhat of a cliché, but Southern California really is that kind of place.

Everyone knows it’s home to Hollywood lore, warm winter sun and cool coastal drives, so it goes without saying that most first-timers focus on the mega attractions of LA; Santa Barbara’s sparkling wine country; and of course all the thrills and spills of the world’s best-loved theme parks.

Unsurprisingly, with so much going on in and around the City of Angels, areas like the Riviera-style playground of The OC’s Newport Beach, sun-kissed San Diego, or the swinging, retro-hip desert getaway of Palm Springs, are sadly often overlooked by those visiting the Golden State for the first time, and missed by rovers returning to dig a little deeper into California, away from the more habitual haunts of Hollywood, the Pacific Coast Highway and San Francisco.

But take it from us, it’s well-worth adding one or more of these sizzling, sunshiny cities to any California road-trip. Why? Well these are places where the very best of Mother Nature’s magic mingles brilliantly with epicurean highs, world-shaking architecture, explosive creative energy, and a kaleidoscope of cultures. All offer something truly spectacular whether you’re travelling as a couple, with a group of lifelong friends, or are heading off on a multi-generational family adventure… so we think it’s high time they enjoyed their time in the spotlight.

Newport Beach, San Diego, Palm Springs… get ready for your close-up!


On this page...

1/ Southern California Fast Facts

2/ Stars of So-Cal

3/ So-Cal Eden-Style 



Getting There

Direct flights to San Diego and Los Angeles depart daily from London.

Flights to Palm Springs are available from London via Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Average Flying Times

London to San Diego
11 hours, 25 minutes

London to Palm Springs
14 hours, 30 minutes

London to Los Angeles
11 hours, 15 minutes

Time Zone
GMT -8 hours

Tipping is expected, with 15 to 20 percent of the total for meals and spa services, and a few extra dollars for cab drivers, porters, and maids. If you have an excellent tour guide, a generous tip is customary and always appreciated.

Fast Facts




California is made for road trips with an easy-to-navigate network of over 50,000 miles of good-quality highways and freeways (including world-famous routes like the Pacific Coast Highway, legendary Route 66, and Avenue of the Giants) linking just about every corner of the state, with secondary routes leading to even more under-the-radar finds.

Average Driving Times

San Diego to Palm Springs - 2 hours, 15 minutes; 141 miles / 227 kilometres

San Diego to Newport Beach - 1 hour, 30 minutes;  91 miles / 146 kilometres

San Diego to LA - 2 hours
121 miles / 194 kilometres

Palm Springs to Las Vegas - 4 hours
232 miles / 373 kilometres

Palm Springs to Phoenix - 4 hours, 30 minutes; 268 miles / 431 kilometres

Newport Beach to LA - 45 minutes
50 miles / 71 kilometres

In the Spotlight

Our favourite cities in Southern California

San Diego: One of the most exciting and sophisticated metropolitan regions in the USA, San Diego comprises more than 100 colourful and unique neighbourhoods, each with a style, personality and charm all of their own.

>>> See More

Newport Beach: With its 10 unique neighbourhoods, array of fantastic beach spots, and plethora of star attractions, see which part of Newport Beach to explore first with our handy guide to this brilliant beach town.

>>> See More

Palm Springs: Fed by underground springs, Palm Springs is a place where the desert comes alive, with a string of nine resort communities: Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, the namesake town of Palm Springs, and more.

>>> See More

So-Cal Eden Style



13 Days

Day 1​ ​Outbound international flight to Los Angeles.

Newport Beach
Drive Time: 45 minutes | Distance: 44 miles

Stay: The Resort at Pelican Hill (4 nights)
Day ​5 Newport Beach to Palm Springs
Drive Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes | Distance: 104 miles

Stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage (4 nights)​
​Day 9 Palm Springs to San Diego
Drive Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes | Distance: 127 miles

Stay: The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla (5 nights)​
​Day 14 Depart San Diego on your international flight back to London Heathrow. ​
Prices: ​13 nights from £2995 per person, including flights & car hire

To book your next
Southern California holiday, please call your
Travel Director on

01244 567 000

Request a call back

Or get in touch 01244 567000