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Self-Drive Wonders of the West

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Overview

Explore this fascinating region on your 2 week self-drive. Visit the main tourist attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, glitzy Las Vegas and the vibrant and exciting cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is the road trip adventure of a lifetime!

Details

Day 1 Fly - Los Angeles

Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and proceed to your hotel. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the United States.  Home to famous movie stars and the infamous landmark, the Hollywood sign, it is a city brimming with culture and happenings. This big metropolis has many regions with distinct flavors and communities.  Overnight in Los Angeles
Standard: Holiday Inn LAX Airport
Superior: Crowne Plaza LAX AIrport

Day 2 Los Angeles - Palm Springs

Depart Los Angeles and drive toward the fashionable resort community of Palm Springs. Here date palms grow wild and natural springs have attracted visitors for years. Now known for its golf and upscale lifestyle, tourists and celebrities enjoy the numerous luxurious amenities. Take a ride on the Aerial Tramway, a popular attraction that takes you from the desert to snow-capped mountains. This cable car ride ascends Mt. San Jacinto. At the top, there are hiking trails, mule rides, a cocktail bar and a restaurant.  Moorten Botanical Garden is another interesting place to visit, proclaiming itself the "World’s First Cactarium." The garden includes 3,000 fine examples of desert cacti and other desert plants, in a quirky Wild West setting sometimes used as a film backdrop.  The Village area has a variety of restaurants, trendy shops, historic sites and annual festivals. Overnight in Palm Springs
Standard: Best Western Inn Palm Springs
Superior: Saguaro Palm Springs

Day 3 Palm Springs - Scottsdale

Continue to Scottsdale this morning. This blooming city forms part of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Rich in history and culture, Scottsdale is world renowned for the abundance of exclusive art galleries, opulent resorts, indulgent spas, lush fairways and posh lifestyle. This is where the rich and famous live, dine, and play in the lap of luxury and where families of the affluent grow and prosper. In addition to multiple galleries and exclusive shops, here you will find excellent collection of Southwestern and Native American art and handicrafts for sale.  Enjoy the regional flavors of the southwest cooking style at one of the multiple restaurants in this area. Overnight in Scottsdale
Standard: Sleep Inn North Scottsdale
Superior: Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort

Day 4 Scottsdale - Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon - Grand Canyon National park

Leave Scottsdale behind this morning and journey toward Grand Canyon National Park. Begin the scenic drive through Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek Canyon is a spectacular 16-mile gorge with streams and waterfalls between sheer rock walls. Breathtaking in its red rock beauty, the Canyon with its clear perennial stream provides a strong contrast to the Sedona’s red rocks. Continue to Grand Canyon. The overwhelming size and brilliant colors of the Grand Canyon easily make it one of the natural wonders of the world. The South Rim has an assortment of viewing areas that can be reached by shuttle or car. There are many paved and unpaved walkways along the rim. Visit Bright Angel Lodge for an excellent vantage point. The lodge is a historic landmark and also offers a gallery, restaurant, exhibits and a great view. Guided hikes also leave from the lodge and talks are often offered by the park rangers. Overnight in Grand Canyon
Standard: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
Superior: Yavapai Lodge West Grand Canyon

Day 5 Grand Canyon - Las Vegas

Leave the natural beauty of Grand Canyon behind and travel to Las Vegas. This city has something to offer everyone. From the outrageous live shows to the excitement of casinos, the action never stops from morning to night.  This evening, stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as “the strip” and enjoy the spectacle offered by each hotel and casino as they all have a distinctly different theme and all present wondrous displays. Make sure not to miss the nightly fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel. Using a dramatic combination of music, water and light, the Bellagio delivers spectacular performances nightly with its majestic fountains. Overnight in Las Vegas
Standard: Riviera Hotel & Casino
Superior: Tropicana Resort & Casino

Day 6 Las Vegas

Today is yours to explore this electrifying city. Take a trip up to the top of the Stratosphere hotel tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Enjoy dinner at the Top of the World, or simply admire the view from the observation deck. Visit any of the premier hotels including Caesars Palace, The Venetian and Paris for luxury shopping. If you’re searching for a bargain, drive to one of the outlet malls featuring designer names at discounted prices. Dining in Las Vegas is superior. World-renowned chefs have decided to make Vegas their kitchen and there is always a restaurant nearby to satisfy any palette.  For a different side of Vegas, visit Fremont Street. This historic street features shops, restaurants and casinos under a vaulted canopy screen where more than 12 million lights, together with music and lasers put on a spectacular show. Overnight in Las Vegas

Day 7 Las Vegas - Death Valley

Depart Las Vegas and drive toward Death Valley.  Here you will find raw and barren earth as carved by the elements. The visitor center is located at Furnace Creek and will be a good starting point for seeing the park. Visit Harmony Borax Works. From 1883 to 1888, more than 20 million pounds of borax, which is used to make laundry detergent, was transported from the Harmony Borax Works. Mining continued in the area until 1928. A short trail with interpretive signs leads past the ruins of the old borax refinery and some outlying buildings. Drive along Artists Drive and stop to climb one of the many hills. From the highway, you can’t see the myriad of colors splashed on the rocks behind the foothills. At Artists Palette, interpretive signs explain the source of this splendid rainbow of color. Overnight in Death Valley
Standard: Stove Pipe Wells Village
Superior: Furnace Creek Ranch Resort

Day 8 Death Valley - Yosemite National Park Area

Continue to the Yosemite Area this morning via Mammoth Lakes through the picturesque Tioga Pass** and Yosemite National Park. The striking beauty of Yosemite is due in part to the Yosemite Valley, whose flat floor contrasts with nearly vertical granite walls. The granite cliffs, including the El Capitan monolith, Glacier Point, and Half Dome all tower as major waterfalls tumble over them.  In addition to the Valley, Yosemite includes an extensive high-mountain wilderness of peaks, rivers, and meadows, and groves of giant sequoia trees.  Extensive visitor activities, facilities, and services are available. At Yosemite Village, you can visit the Valley Visitor Center and see its orientation film, publications, theater programs, and exhibits highlighting the natural and human history. Self-guiding trails are found nearby. Elsewhere in Yosemite Valley, you can gaze up at the waterfalls; visit Mirror Lake/Meadow in the East Valley and the famous "Tunnel View" of Yosemite Valley at Wawona Tunnel.
**During the winter months, commonly late October to late May, the Tioga Pass may be closed due to weather or road conditions. To reach Oakhurst the route will take you through Bakersfield and Fresno.
Overnight in Yosemite Area
Standard: Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites
Superior: Cedar Lodge, El Portal

Day 9 Yosemite National Park Area - San Francisco

Continue to San Francisco for a two-night stay. Home of the Golden Gate Bridge, the term "melting pot" is used to describe many American cities and towns, but it is very appropriate for San Francisco. Rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city. Take a cable car ride to visit the major attractions this city has to offer. This evening, explore Chinatown. Along its streets, exotic ingredients are sold, silks and jade are tendered, and wonderful native food can be found at the many restaurants. Or, dine in one of San Francisco’s many distinctive neighborhoods. From Union Square to the very Italian flavored North Beach, each offers its own distinctive culture and cuisine.
Overnight in San Francisco
Standard: Whitcomb San Francisco
Superior: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway

Day 10 San Francisco

Today, you are free to enjoy one of the many sights and sounds of San Francisco. Spend some time in Golden Gate Park which offers dozens of fun things to do. Top sights are the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the local resident buffalo herd. Visit the landmark bridge, the Golden Gate. It spans 6450 feet and links San Francisco to Marin County. Completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, the "Bridge That Could Not Be Built" is now a San Francisco signature visible from many points around the Bay. Visit the dramatic curves of Lombard Street, one of San Francisco’s most photographed sites. The beautifully landscaped, one-block descent from Hyde Street to Leavenworth Street, has given Lombard the title of "crookedest street in the world." At the intersection of Hyde and Lombard, a cable car route provides spectacular views of Alcatraz, Angel Island, Coit Tower, Yerba Buena Island and the Bay Bridge.  Overnight in San Francisco.

Day 11 San Francisco - Monterey

Depart San Francisco this morning for the luxurious drive down the Pacific Coast toward Monterey. Settled in 1770 as one of the first European outposts on the west coast, many of the early American Colonial buildings still stand. Monterey eventually became the sardine capital of the Western Hemisphere when the first packing plant was built in 1900. Today, the old sardine factories have been converted into quaint restaurants and boutique shops. This area, called “Cannery Row”, was made famous by the author John Steinbeck and still remains an amusing place to explore. Monterey Bay is a fantastic place to whale watch and tours are offered locally. Consider taking the scenic and famous 17-Mile Drive route. Stop at the famous Pebble Beach and enjoy the sights of luxury mansions along the coast. Overnight in Monterey
Standard: Travelodge Monterey Carmel
Superior: Pacific Hotel

Day 12 Monterey - Pacific Coast - Oxnard

This morning continue to drive south along the beautiful Pacific Coast to Oxnard. Along the way make a quick stop in San Simeon, the home of Hearst Castle. The castle consists of 165 rooms, which includes the main house of 115 rooms and three guesthouses.  This magnificent place sits on 127 acres of what used to be the estate of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Continue on your journey through Santa Maria to Santa Barbara. This coastal city is a gem. The pristine city’s climate gives rise to a number of natural attractions. Enjoy the fine collections at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or explore the old Mission. Fresh seafood can be found in the restaurants on Stearns Wharf. Continue to nearby Oxnard for an overnight stay.
Standard: Marriott Courtyard Oxnard
Superior: Marriott Courtyard Oxnard

Day 13 Oxnard - Los Angeles

Today you will drive to Los Angeles for the last night of the tour. You may choose to have lunch in Venice Beach, home to famous Muscle Beach, where the sand and surf are secondary to the lively scene of people that inhabit the sidewalk. Or, Visit Santa Monica Pier, once known as the "finish line" of legendary Route 66. Santa Monica pier was built in 1916. It features an aquarium, an amusement park and the famous Hippodrome building, a mix of California, Byzantine and Moorish architecture that has been featured in many films. In the evening, drive to Universal City Walk and enjoy the numerous restaurants and nightclubs found there. Overnight in Los Angeles
Standard: Holiday Inn LAX
Superior: Crowne Plaza LAX

Day 14 Depart Los Angeles

Depart at leisure to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for your return flight.

Day 15 Arrive home

Whats Included

  • Return transatlantic schedule flights
  • Economy size car rental
  • Hotel accommodation as specified, or of a similar standard
  • Welcome kit with comprehensive maps and day-to-day itinerary
     

The weather information shown below refers to the first stop on the tour, call us and speak to one of our travel experts for the most up-to-date forecasts and weather details for your tour.

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Book today

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01342 3317989am - 9pm Mon - Sun

Business & First Class01342 310 587

Jade Pearson

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