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Celebrate in Style: Our Favourite Birthday Ideas in California

Another year round the sun, and what better place to celebrate than Cali? Read on for the very best birthday ideas in California


Big Sur Coastline, California, USA

It’s that time of year already? Again? Another year down (don’t worry, we won’t get into the specifics of just how old), you deserve to celebrate in style. With some of the best cities, food, roads, beaches and national parks in the world, we can think of nowhere better than California. And we’re the experts at this, so take our word for it. Here at Plum Guide, we can help you plan your dream vacation - anywhere in the world. We know where to go, what to eat, what to do and, most importantly, where to stay. Our experts only ever pick the very best, with only the top 3% of homes we vet making it onto our site. So if you're looking for birthday ideas in California, you deserve to be celebrating in one of our fabulous home rentals. Go on, it is your birthday after all.

Get a taste of LA

Los Angeles Skyline

Los Angeles Skyline sunny buildings mountains landscape

The city of dreams has to be one of the very best places on Earth to celebrate and no list of birthday ideas in California can ignore it. Here, you can choose to stay in one of our many beautiful homes and rub shoulders with the stars in Hollywood and Beverly Hills (the artists whom you’ve never, ever heard of before but are apparently dominating Spotify and TikTok, whatever that is. As if your birthday wasn’t enough to remind you you’re getting old).

We could write a whole book about what to do in LA but in the interest of your time, we’ll keep it short here. There are dozens of famous neighbourhoods to explore and check out including Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice. You’ve got Santa Monica beach with its famous pier, there’s great surf, countless film studios to visit, a number of famous museums, hikes and walks in beautiful national parks all around, world-class restaurants with great food, even better clubs, bars and nightlife (smile for the the paparazzi), long stretching boulevards with deluxe (seriously, watch your bank account) boutique shops under sprawling palm trees and... breathe.

Collection of photos of St. Monique, Plum Guide home in California, US

St. Monique, Plum Guide home in California, US

3 Bedrooms | Sleeps 5 | 3 Bathrooms

Key highlights:

  • Browse the vertical bookshelves in the master bedroom
  • Eat meals in the charming outdoor dining area
  • Admire the rare direct views of the Venice canals

Explore San Francisco

Tram on the hilly streets of San Francisco, California

Tram on the hilly streets of San Francisco, California

LA not your thing? San Francisco is the perfect antidote and an equally fantastic city to spend your birthday in. Nicknamed the golden city, San Francisco is home to some of the USA’s most iconic landmarks. Take a drive out across the Golden Gate Bridge where you’ll be awed by the size and wonder of such a famous structure. Visit Alcatraz - the notorious prison island that used to house some of America’s most high-profile criminals (we don’t recommend staying here overnight).

Alongside the obvious landmarks, it’s a simple delight just to ride the trams up and down the VERY hilly streets - a much better option than walking, trust us. There are views, zoos and museums to explore (like the aptly named Exploratorium) and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the shopping, food and wine. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that California is home to some of the world’s best vineyards and a lot of their exports end up in the city’s finest restaurants and fanciest bars. Happy birthday.

Collection of photos of Golden View, Plum Guide home in San Francisco, US

Golden View, Plum Guide home in San Francisco, US

1 Bedroom | Sleeps 2 | 2 Bathrooms

Key highlights:

  • Enjoy breakfast with views of the city
  • Stay focused in your very own home office
  • Unwind with a drink on your private patio

Road trip along the coast

What’s a trip to the United States of America without a classic road trip? California is home to more than its fair share of fantastic drives that can all serve as the perfect birthday getaway. For example, there’s Highway 1. Quite literally the number one highway in the country. If you look at a map, you can see how it winds its way right along the coast from San Francisco, all the way down to LA and beyond. Those ‘squiggles’ and its proximity to the coast guarantee greatness.

Make sure you set off travelling south from San Francisco as this ensures you’re always right next to those sea views (Americans drive on the right, remember). You’ll find plenty of iconic natural beauty spots such as Big Sur, and time after time your driver will become infuriated as you beg to pull over - the views and photo opportunities are that good. It’s like a ‘greatest hits’ album of American road trips. We can only hope your nominated in-car DJ can match up.

Drive all the way down to sunny San Diego, where you'll find plenty of fabulous Plum Guide homes. There’s also plenty of little treats on the way such as Carmel-On-Sea, Malibu, Santa Barbara and Plum Guide's personal favourite - the Lompoc wine territory. Turn on to Highway 101 for a worthy little detour here where you can explore some of the world’s best vineyards. In Lompoc itself, check out the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a unique collection of wineries with plenty of tasting rooms. Be sure to let them know it’s your birthday and they’ll happily accommodate.

Collection of photos of Dripping In Gold, Plum Guide home in California, US

Dripping In Gold, Plum Guide home in California, US

5 Bedrooms | Sleeps 10 | 5 Bathrooms

Key highlights:

  • Marvel at the eccentric architectural wonders
  • Take a dip in the gorgeous swimming pool
  • Challenge an opponent to a game of tennis on your private court

Get wild in Yosemite and Joshua Tree

Yosemite Valley, USA

Yosemite Valley, USA

Rounding off our list of top birthday ideas in California, it wouldn’t be right not to mention the National Parks of Yosemite and Joshua Tree. Whilst California is home to nine national parks (more than any other US state), these two deserve special mention. In Yosemite, rub shoulders amongst the rock climbing gods and marvel at some of the most impressive scenic views in the world. The kind of views that would make a great postcard, if postcards were still a thing. There are plenty of hikes to keep you busy here, some lasting a day, others a week.

Meanwhile, much further south, check out Joshua Tree where we have an exceptionally special birthday gift just for you. The Mirrored House is one of our most unique offerings, not just in the California collection, but worldwide. No expense has been spared here with outstanding architecture (that very nearly left our experts speechless), a 100ft indoor swimming pool (because it’s your birthday and why the hell not) and plenty of sleek, luxurious furniture - all positioned to make the most of the incredible desert views. All of which are visible through those floor-to-ceiling one-way windows by the way. Joshua Tree is home to plenty of hikes and provides the backdrop to a truly unique birthday celebration.

Collection of photos of The Mirrored House, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

The Mirrored House, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

3 Bedrooms | Sleeps 6 | 4 Bathrooms

Key highlights:

  • Marvel at the spectacular and unique architecture
  • Enjoy the mesmerising desert surroundings
  • Swim laps in the 100-foot indoor pool

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