The Golden State is one of the most visited in the US, with a range of activities, cities and natural attractions unrivalled across the country. From the sun-kissed beaches of the south to the misty giant redwoods and stunning national parks of the north, California is a state of incredible contrast.
This vast and varied state is a great destination at any time of year but it’s what you’re planning on doing that determines the best time to book flights. When heading to the beaches of the south, May to June and September to October are cooler and more pleasant.
To save money on accommodation and avoid the crowds in the big cities, late-November and early-December are best.
If wine is your thing, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys burst into life in September, with the northern vineyards better in March through May.
Skiers and snowboarders should look for Cheap Flights to California in December through to February but, to avoid the big freeze in the National Parks, it’s best to give the winter months a miss.
Prices for flights and accommodation will vary according to the season in specific locations across the state, so plan ahead and book early to get bargain flights to California.
Booking early always gives you more options, however, you can always find a big selection of Cheap Flights to California with Orbitz.
Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option to broaden your search, both to and from other convenient airports. Likewise, select ‘My dates are flexible’ and you will see the cheapest flight deals to California for a range of days. Prices can differ from day to day, with the middle of the week often cheaper, so you may be able to make big savings.
To further refine your search by airline, departure and arrival times and more, use the filters on the left-hand side of the page and the drop-down menu at the top.
Los Angeles International is better known by its airport code, LAX, and is located around 18 miles southwest of the downtown area. Handling 85 million passengers a year, it’s one of the top five busiest airports in the world and more visitors begin and end their trips here than at any other airport on the planet.
San Francisco International is a major gateway to Europe and Asia. Located 13 miles to the south of the city center, ground transportation options are good, with the BART and CalTrain stations connecting you to the rest of the state.
San Diego International is the busiest single runway airport in the US, dealing with more than 20 million passengers every year and 500 scheduled operations each day. It’s located very close to the city center, with excellent public transport options and a dedicated rental car facility.
Most of the main US airlines operate direct flights to the major airports in California from other cities.
Wherever your plane lands in California, renting a car is always a good idea. America’s third largest state boasts one of the country’s most extensive highway systems. At ten hours’ drive from north to south, there are plenty of miles to cover but, luckily, you can do so on some beautiful roads, with the coastal route 101 a real highlight. Even in cities like Los Angeles, having a car is the most convenient way of getting around.
The state’s various rail services are relatively affordable and connect some of the major cities and suburban areas. Companies such as Amtrak, CalTrain and BART operate both statewide and local train services.
The bus is also a functional way of covering the miles, with Greyhound having 100 statewide locations.
Home to iconic locations such as the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame and Beverly Hills, few cities can match the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. You can also find miles of sandy beaches and a thriving arts and culture scene in the city.
Another of the state’s most recognizable destinations, San Francisco is set against a backdrop of the towering Golden Gate Bridge and rolling green hills. If you want to visit the famous Alcatraz prison island, then it’s best to book as far in advance as possible, as spaces are limited.
Visit the world-famous zoo and safari park, wander the charming streets of the Gaslamp Quarter and renovated downtown, or just take in a ball game.
California is huge, at around 800 miles in length, so choose your airport carefully or you could face a long drive.
The time in the state changes between Pacific Daylight Time and Pacific Standard Time depending on the time of year, so it’s worth double checking before you fly.