Cali, as is referred to in the US, is just something else. I know it’s kind of vague to say but what I mean is that it is different from the typical beachy or relaxed-cum-modern-cum-business places around the globe. I really feel a different kind of aura when I’m there and would rate it very highly in terms of experience.
I’d start with suggesting that you have a look at the map of California and get a feel of what is located where. Of course I will be helping you out here but it’ll help you connect the dots and understand it much better. The thing is that Cali’s huge (I mean it!) and you can do anything between 3-4 nights to 2 weeks or more and still not see the whole thing! That’s the beauty of the place. I personally would do the self-drive but you can choose to fly taking on one part of Cali at a time and plan your trip accordingly.
If you plan a short trip with multiple days to roam in California, you will have a bit more time to explore your chosen area. Palm Springs, San Diego, and San Francisco all make excellent vacation destinations on their own, or as part of a longer vacation. However, if you do plan to travel to Anaheim and Disneyland on your California trip, you will likely want to spend more than one day at the park, since seeing the entirety of the area can be overwhelming. From Anaheim, Los Angeles is a close enough drive to spend time shopping or eating out in the large and popular city.
Like I said, if you truly want to experience California, your California trip should be at least a week long (if not longer). One of the more popular road trips in the United States is renting a car and hopping on the Pacific Highway at any point and driving south. Along the way, you’ll have time to see it all. The gorgeous beaches of Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, Hollywood, Disneyland, the Redwood National Forest, Los Angeles, the Golden Gate Bridge, and so much more. The Pacific Highway will take you all the way to San Diego, and adventurous travelers can even make the short thirty minute drive from there into Tijuana.
Another excellent choice for a longer trip in California is through the inland. You can travel through Napa Valley in Sonoma and taste some of the world’s best wine as you view some of the states greenest pastures.
My suggestion would be focusing on a few areas that are of interest to you, especially if you have paucity of time to explore California.