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.
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 to our listings. So if you're looking for birthday ideas in California, you could do a lot worse than celebrating in one of our fabulous California home rentals. Go on, it is your birthday after all.
Get a taste of LA
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).
For a suitably celebratory place to stay, there’s Hollywood & Pine, a standout property in our LA collection, nestled up in the Hollywood Hills with beautiful views over the city. If you’d prefer to see in your birthday on the beach, try Hermosa Sand – a 1930s social beach house just a few steps away from the sun and sand.
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.
Explore San Francisco
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.
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 like this beachside beauty. 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.
Get wild in Yosemite and Joshua Tree
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 around you, visible through those floor-to-ceiling one-way windows. Joshua Tree is home to plenty of hikes and provides the backdrop to a truly unique birthday celebration.