We set off for the airport quite early, as we were supposed to take off in the morning. However, due to the weather in Detroit (where we should have changed flights) our flight is cancelled.

After some back and forth, we are rebooked on a new connection via Atlanta, which allows us to take off in the early afternoon. Arriving in Atlanta, we unfortunately just miss the last connection to Los Angeles, which is why the airline puts us up in a hotel at the airport.

Day 1: Santa Monica Pier & Muscle Beach

In the morning we leave our hotel at the airport very early and take the first flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

We arrive in Los Angeles around noon and first pick up our pre-booked rental car.

From the airport we start directly to the Santa Monica Pier. We park our car in a side street on the beach and plunge into the hustle and bustle at the Santa Monica Pier. Right next to the Santa Monica Pier is the Muscle Beach - probably the most famous mud pit in the world.

After walking along the beach for a while, we make our way to our accommodation at the southern end of Los Angeles. Here we have the opportunity to stay in a gated community in the house of a friend's family.

After the long journey, we relax a bit in and around the pool before having dinner. After dinner, we drive to the beach and watch the sunset before we go to bed to cure our jet lag.

Day 2: Rodeo Drive, Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign & Griffith Observatory

After we have slept in and had breakfast, we first start for lunch at Tito's Tacoswhich was recommended to us as the best tacos in the world. Sated, we continue to Rodeo Drive, one of the most famous shopping malls in the world. Here we park our car in one of the parking garages and explore the glamorous street with its noble fashion brands.

Back at the car, we next make our way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We park our car and walk along the star-lined walkway. In front of the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame, 200 additional hand and footprints of stars are immortalised. The further away we get from the Chinese Theatre, the more run-down the Walk of Fame becomes, which is why we make our way back to the car.

By car we make our way to the Hollywood Sign. We let ourselves be navigated as close as possible to the "Last House on Mulholland" and park our car in a side street. We explore the area a bit and marvel at the Hollywood Sign from below. In retrospect, I probably would have hiked up Mount Lee Drive to the Hollywood Sign to see the sign up close.

Back at the car, we make our way to the last destination of the day, the Griffith Observatory. From here you have a brilliant view over the city! We arrive at the perfect time - it is still light and we can still explore the Griffith Observatory in the light. Soon, however, the day draws to a close and we can view the glowing Los Angeles from above.

After enjoying the view for a while, we make our way home to our accommodation.

Day 3: Crystal Cove State Park, Los Angeles Downtown & Long Beach

After breakfast, we start off for Crystal Cove State Park, which is close to our accommodation. We park our car at one of the car parks and walk a little along the beach. We are lucky and can even see dolphins! We walk to the Crystal Cove Historic District, a small settlement of historic wooden houses. There we turn around and walk back to the car.

Our next destination is Los Angeles Downtown. We park our car in a parking garage near the Walt Disney Concert Hall. From here we walk to the Angels Flight Railway, a historic funicular. From here we walk across Pershing Square to Chinatown.

After exploring Chinatown a bit, we walk back to the Grand Central Market near the Angels Flight Railway. Here we eat very tasty Pulled Pork at the Maple Block Barbecue.

After we have eaten, we take the Angels Flight Railway to get back to our car. Our next destination is the RMS Queen Mary, the famous sister ship of the Titanic. From here we continue to nearby Long Beach. We walk along the beach for a while before returning to the car on e-scooters to relax our feet after a long day.

Once back at the car, we drive back home where we get some very tasty burgers!

Day 4: Drive to Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip

Today we are already on our way to our next accommodation in Las Vegas. To lighten up the drive a bit, we have planned a few stops along the way.

Our first destination is the Mormon Rocks. We park our car at Mormon Rocks Fire Station 14, from where a small hiking trail leads up to the rocks. From the top you have an impressive view of the surrounding rock formations.

We continue along Route 66 to our next destination, Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, a large-scale sculpture installation of metal scaffolding covered with bottles.

After we finish exploring the grounds, we continue towards Las Vegas, but make a stop at Barstow Station, a train station that has been converted into an MC Donalds. Here we have lunch to be strengthened for the remaining stretch.

Arriving in Las Vegas, we first stop at the most famous sign of Las Vegas, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign. We park our car here and queue up to get a picture in front of the sign.

We then make our way to our hotel to park our car there.

From the hotel we make our way to the Strip. Here you are literally flooded with impressions! The effort that is made here is really impressive. If you want, you can ride a gondola in replica canals of Venice in front of the Hotel Venezia or admire a replica of the Eiffel Tower in front of the Hotel Ballys. The Forum at Ceasars Palace is also very impressive; here, a replica of an ancient city centre with an artificial sky invites you to shop.

After exploring the Strip a little more, we have dinner at Wahlburgers. Afterwards, we head to the Bellagio to see "O" by Cirque du Soleil.

Day 5: Grand Canyon

Actually, we had planned to drive to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon today. However, due to the negative reports, we spontaneously decide to drive to the South Rim (approx. 4 ½ hours one-way).

Our first destination is the Hoover Dam, one of the highest dams in the world! We park our car at the "Boulder Dam Bridge parking". From here we walk to the viewing platform, from where we have an excellent view of the Hoover Dam.

From here we drive on to the Grand Canyon without any major breaks. Once there, we pay $35 and park our car in one of the car parks in the Grand Canyon Village. From here we hike along the rim to Pima Point. Along the way, many spectacular views of the Grand Canyon reveal themselves to us.

Towards evening we take the bus from Pima Point back to our car. Once there, we make our way to our accommodation in Las Vegas. We would have liked to have had more time here to explore the National Park even further!

Day 6: Las Vegas Strip & onward journey to San Francisco

In the morning we check out of our accommodation and stow our luggage in the car. Before our flight to San Francisco this evening, we use the remaining time to explore Las Vegas.

We let ourselves drift along the Strip and through the casinos all day. The opulence in which people live here is really impressive.

In the late afternoon we pick up our car and head to the airport. After dropping off the car, we make our way onto the plane to San Francisco.

Arriving at the airport in Oakland, we take an Uber to our accommodation in San Francisco.

Day 7: Downtown San Francisco

In the morning we start first to the Powell and Market Cable Car Turnaround. Here at the end of the track, the cable cars are turned around to go back up again.

From here we take the cable car to Lombard street, which is often called the "most winding street in the world". We follow Lombard street down and walk from there to Fisherman's Wharf. Here we explore the area a bit and watch the sea lions at Pier 39.

We continue to the Coit Tower (entrance fee 9$) on Telegraph Hill. From here you have a very nice view of the Golden Gate Bride!

From Telegraph Hill we continue with the Cable Car to the Cable Car Museum (free admission). Here you can see the central drive of the cable car, which is still in use today.

After we have finished exploring the museum, we make our way to Dragon Gate to visit China Town from there.

Before we return to our accommodation after a long day, we stop at Union Square.

Day 8: Alcatraz

In the morning, we head first to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. From here we make our way to Pier 33 to take the ferry to Alcatraz.

Once there, we can explore the island on our own. In the cells, which have been preserved in their original state, you can get a good idea of what it must have felt like to be locked up here.

After we have finished exploring the island, it is already quite late. We stroll through the Ferry Hall, which has a lot of delicacies to offer in addition to its beautiful architecture, before we slowly make our way back to our accommodation.

Day 9: Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands & Golden Gate Park

In the morning we set off for the Golden Gate Bridge (bus 101, 130, and 150 go there). Our first destination is the "Golden Gate Post Card Viewpoint", from where you have a perfect view of the bridge!

From here we cross the bridge on foot (approx. 2.7 km), where we finally arrive at the rest stop on the other side. From here we take an Uber into the Marin Headlands to Battery Mandell, which used to keep enemy warships out of San Francisco's harbour.

From here we actually wanted to hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse, from where one is supposed to have an impressive view of San Francisco Bay. Unfortunately, shortly before we reach our destination, we discover that the end of the path is closed due to construction work.

Somewhat disappointed, we make our way to the bus stop to take the 76X bus back into town. Unfortunately, the bus doesn't seem to arrive as scheduled and there is almost no network to check. Eventually we walk up to Battery Mandell again to order an Uber there to take us to Golden Gate Park.

After the exercise, we start to get hungry, so the first thing we do is find something to eat. We decide on Jenny's Burger, where we get a really brilliant, if not the best burger I have ever eaten.

Sated, we then explore Golden Gate Park until we arrive at Murphy Windmill . From here we walk to Seal Rocks Beach where we see the foundations of the Sutro Baths, a former indoor seawater pool, before heading back to our accommodation.


In the morning we check out of our accommodation quite early, as our flight leaves at 7am.


The easiest and usually the cheapest way to book a rental car in the USA is with CHECK24 Mietwagen. Here you can compare different providers very clearly.

To be on the safe side, I only ever use offers that do not have an excess in the event of damage, so that I don't have to worry about it on holiday.

Yes, ESTA authorisation is required to enter the USA. You can apply for it here.

ESTA authorisation can be obtained from the U.S. Custom and Border Protection website(

In my opinion, yes! The public transport network is not really well developed. Moreover, the distances that have to be covered are quite long.

No, San Francisco has a well-developed public transport network!