From world-famous cities to incredible natural wonders, the Golden State of California boasts more attractions than many countries. It’s one of America’s most fascinating states to visit - and hiring a car in California can help you make the most of your trip.
The state covers a huge area of USA’s west coast, so we’ve got more than 400 branches, including convenient spots at all the major cities and airports. With locations in the likes of Los Angeles and Sacramento, as well as at major airports such San Francisco International, you can pick up or drop off a car almost anywhere in California.
All you need to do is choose your car online before you arrive and we'll make sure everything is ready for when you arrive at our branch. Plus with no hidden credit fees and a 24/7 helpline in case you need us, hiring a car couldn't be simpler.
The variety of California’s landscapes is mind-boggling, from snow-topped mountains and huge redwood forests sweeping down to the sea in the north to cactus deserts and villages in the south. And there are two world-class cities to explore: Los Angeles and San Francisco, alongside the renowned natural attractions of Yosemite National Park and Death Valley. This amazing state offers so much to see, making it perfect to explore in a hire car.
You’ll see there are some big distances involved - California is 850 miles long. Thankfully you’ll find the state’s roads are usually excellent, well-maintained and clearly signed. They include some of the real road-trip stars of the USA, like Route 66, which arrives in LA from Arizona to the east, and Highway One, the famous Pacific Coast Highway, along the western shoreline.
For long journeys, there’s an excellent network of wide, straight interstate motorways with predictable traffic, fuel and rest stops. Away from the cities you’ll find wilder areas where the roads are slower but usually with better views.
The driving rules in California are much like the rest of the US: of course, you’ll drive on the right and the driver sits on the left. You can’t use a mobile phone while driving and everyone over 16 must wear seatbelts. You must stop when a school bus flashes its red lights unless you are on the opposite side of a dual carriageway, and you must put your headlights on if it’s raining hard enough to use your windscreen wipers.
Speed limits are much as you’d expect: rural freeways have a 70mph maximum and it’s 65mph for urban stretches. Ordinary residential roads have a 30mph limit, which can be reduced to 20mph in school zones.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
California’s tourism slogan is ‘Dream Big’ – that’s because this huge state simply has so many things to see. From Disneyland to Death Valley, you’ll be able to find your own perfect part of California.
From the bohemian eccentricities on show during a stroll along Venice Beach to the excesses of the homes of the rich and famous in Hollywood, Los Angeles has a uniquely vibrant atmosphere. For adrenaline junkies, take in the daredevil rides at Universal Studios to get your theme park fix, or spend a day with Mickey and friends at one of LA's star attractions, Disneyland.
Film buffs will be in for a treat, with a trip into Hollywood a must-do. Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and take in the buzz of Tinseltown, listing off the stars who appear on the Walk of Fame. To get the perfect picture, head up into the hills and soak up the breathtaking views across the area, and you can get up close and personal with the famed "Hollywood" sign.
With its hilly streets, Victorian architecture and colourful atmosphere, San Francisco lies to the south of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, over the entrance to the bay. Head for the cafés and tie-dyed shops at Haight Ashbury, the birthplace of hippy flower power, and for some relaxation take the Bridge over the bay to peaceful Sausalito.
Down on the waterfront, enjoy the contemporary shops and restaurants at Fisherman’s Wharf or take a memorable boat trip into the bay to visit the notorious former prison on Alcatraz Island.
Away from the two main cities, California’s coast is a mix of great beaches like Malibu and Santa Barbara, spectacular mountains and wildlife refuges - you can spot whales, dolphins and sea lions out in the blue waters. Take the coastal drive between LA and San Francisco in your hire car, through the beautiful Big Sur region, regarded as one of California's most scenic routes. To the north, the Redwood National Park has some of the world’s tallest trees in a spectacular ocean-side landscape. To the south there’s the city of San Diego, with its own major attractions like Belmont Park amusements, open since 1925.
In the east of the state, you’ll find a host of parks homing trees with strong Californian roots. General Sherman is a renowned 2,500-year-old tree in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, while up in the mountains, the magnificent forested shores of Lake Tahoe create one of the state’s most popular outdoor activity spots.
The mountains of Yosemite National Park offer many of the USA’s most photographed landscape panoramas, while the desert of Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest point on the North American continent. Look out too for the desert wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park in south-east California and the popular boat cruises to the Channel Islands National Park off the shore.
For a trip to remember, hire a car in California and take in everything this vibrant state has to offer.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.