There are already round trips available to Los Angeles from German airports at the price of 500 euros. Be it Beverly Hills, the Walk of Fame or the Hollywood Sign – the list of must-sees in the City of Angels is seemingly endless. So, take a few days to explore the second-largest city in the United States before picking up your rental van and continuing your trip through the USA.
Relax on Venice Beach, stroll through the hip downtown area, visit Rodeo Drive and dive headfirst into the legendary nightlife of West Hollywood. Seeing as you’re in the entertainment capital of the US, also don’t miss out on a visit to Warner Bros Studios in Hollywood.
Not only does this allow you to get a glimpse behind the scenes of world-famous films and shows but you can also re-enact a scene from the cult series “Friends”, climb onto Harry Potter’s broomstick and test out the interactive sound stage, Stage 48. You will learn interesting facts about the production of Hollywood films and discover how, step by step, the script and screenplay are turned into an actual movie. A three-hour guided tour costs around 50 euros.
After picking up your rental van, cruise along the legendary Sunset Boulevard and head to Santa Monica or Malibu. We also recommend a trip to Newport Beach and the beautiful Laguna Beach.
Let’s continue along the legendary Highway One to Monterey. This coastal town’s most famous attraction is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. The real highlight of this area, however, is the 17-Mile Drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea.
This road takes you along one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in California. You can stop at numerous viewpoints to marvel at the awe-inspiring scenery and, with a bit of luck, even watch seals playing in the surf.
With its gorgeous beaches, small boutiques and romantic cafés, Carmel-by-the-Sea itself is a place well worth a visit. You also shouldn’t miss out on the famous McWay Falls and the stunning view on the drive to Big Sur.
Next stop: San Francisco, the city of Silicon Valley and cable cars. Countless sights await you in the city many consider to be the most scenic in North America. While there, you can visit one of the most unusual streets in the world: Lombard Street.
Take a tour of Alcatraz Prison Island and discover the cool bars and restaurants around Fisherman’s Wharf. And let’s not forget about the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s most distinctive landmark.
We recommend cycling to and over the Golden Gate Bridge until you reach Sausalito – a truly unforgettable experience. Also consider taking a ride in one of the historic cable cars, taking a walk through the idyllic Golden Gate Park and hiking to the Twin Peaks for a breathtaking view of “San Fran”.
Your trip now takes you to the border between the states of California and Nevada. There, situated at an altitude of about 1,900 metres, lies the largest mountain lake in North America. Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Californians.
Once you leave the quaint town of South Lake Tahoe, picturesque, unspoiled nature awaits you. In this oasis of peace, you will be able to find the relaxation needed after experiencing the hustle and bustle of San Francisco. Due to its magnificent panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is also considered to be the most picturesque lake in the USA. In addition to the stunning landscape, this place offers numerous outdoor activities.
Whether you want to enjoy mountain biking, climbing, trekking, wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking or you just want to take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters – this is the place for you!
For many, Yosemite National Park is the highlight of a road trip to California. With its countless waterfalls, giant sequoias, deep gorges and endless expanses it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. Covering an area of over 3,000 square kilometres, there is much to be discovered during your visit.
While you can drive through the national park, the fantastic hiking trails and spectacular viewpoints are worth working up a bit of a sweat. You could, for example, take a round trip hike to Glacier Point or visit Horsetail Fall, one of the most famous waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. Especially in the summer months, a dip in one of the waterfalls is a lovely way to cool off after a demanding hike.
When visiting eastern California, be sure to leave time for a stop in Death Valley. With its fascinating stone sculptures, rocks, salt lakes, volcanic craters and canyons, the national park’s bizarre appearance is sure to remind you of a lunar landscape.
Death Valley is the hottest region in the United States and, during the summer months, temperatures in the aptly named desert valley may reach up to 50 °C (122 °F). So, what are you waiting for? First stock up on provisions as well as fuel and then explore this fascinating place of extremes. Did you know that the southern part of the national park is the lowest point in the USA? If you are headed there, consider visiting the salt flats in Badwater Basin.
Cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains over the magnificent Tioga Pass. Hike up the Telescope Peak Trail through the pine forests and enjoy the view of the snow-capped Panamint Range. Then make a stop in Titus Canyon and walk through a ghost town used as a film set for both westerns and action movies.
Vegas, baby! The glittering metropolis in the Nevada desert is a must-see on any road trip along the West Coast of the USA. While the city offers its visitors only a handful of classic sights, Las Vegas is still so much more than just the magnet for gamblers that it is reputed to be.
In Las Vegas, aka “Sin City”, not only casinos but also thrilling amusement parks, world-class restaurants, bewitching magic shows and much more await you. Vegas has anything you can think of! Take a photo with the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign, ride the world’s largest Ferris wheel, dive into the city’s colourful nightlife and dance the night away in some of the best clubs in the world.
On the way to the Grand Canyon, you will also come across the Glen Canyon Dam and the Horseshoe Bend. When there, consider paying a visit to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, the place that offers the most impressive view over this bend in the Colorado River. The surreal rock formations of Monument Valley are another highlight of the region. Throughout your 17-mile drive to the Grand Canyon, you will pass through a truly unique landscape that, more than any other, perfectly embodies the Wild West.
The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and, without a doubt, a must-see for any visitor to the area. As a kilometre deep gorge carved out by the Colorado River for millions of years, the rock formations are made up of different layers of stone. The closest part of it, which includes the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, is located in Nevada.
To see the most scenic part of the Grand Canyon we do, however, recommend making a detour to Arizona. Once there, you’ll be able to choose from numerous viewpoints and starting points for hikes spread along the scenic Desert View Drive. The sunrises in the Grand Canyon are particularly memorable. That feeling when the very first rays of sunlight set the cliffs ablaze in bright oranges, reds and purples – goosebumps! We can also only recommend a hike to the entrancing Havasu Falls located near the Native American community living in Supai Village.
Joshua Tree NP
On your way back to Los Angeles, we recommend making a stop at the fascinating Joshua Tree Cactus Garden. Situated in the region where Mojave and Colorado deserts meet, the national park was named after the Joshua palm lilies that grow in it. For a fee of around 25 euros, you can drive through the park in your car. The Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Indian Cove and Arch Rock are its most famous attractions.
Explore the scenic hiking trails with panoramic views during the day and spend the night at one of the numerous campsites. Just allow yourself to be enchanted by the dazzling starry night sky and the awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets over the unique desert landscape. From Joshua Tree National Park, the last leg of the road trip takes you back to Los Angeles.