Start this American adventure in the bustling melting pot of San Francisco and take a walk across the world’s most iconic golden bridge. Head underwater to come face-to-face with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s outstanding sea life, and hop in a kayak to seek it out in the wild. Yosemite National Park is the definition of natural beauty. You will have loads of time to seek out bears, crane your neck to look up at incredibly tall trees, and walk to towering granite cliffs and through wildflower valleys. Channel your inner cowboy as you explore the rugged Wild West, home to westerns, moon-like landscapes, and much more
Take the family on an adventure that explores the biggest, best and most iconic sights of the West. Kick things off in the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, heading south to get closer to nature in Monterey before making tracks for famous Yosemite National Park. Look out for bears! Drive through the Death Valley, be wowed by the bright lights of Las Vegas and see the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, bound for star-studded LA. The fun never stops on this unforgettable family road trip.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 7 Dinner Included: 6
Touch down in San Fran. With spectacular coastline, iconic sights, and a humming cultural mix across its unique neighbourhoods, San Francisco is the perfect chilled-out place to start this American adventure. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. In your free time, Why not try a bowl of famous clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf and hear the sea lions bray at Pier 39. Check out North Beach with its cool beatnik history and panoramic views from Coit Tower, or catch a tram down the sloping streets to Ferry Plaza Famers Market – filled with stalls of local farmers and producers selling their wares – feast like a king in Chinatown or peruse zany artwork in SoMa.
Notes: It's best to double check with hotel reception for the time and place of the welcome meeting. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Start the day with a pilgrimage to the City by the Bay’s most illustrious sight – The Golden Gate Bridge. After a trek across the bridge, return to explore San Fran’s eclectic neighbourhoods, climb stairways up steep hills dotted with colourful houses, try to even scratch the surface of this serious foodie heaven, or get hands-on with the exhibits in the interactive playground of the Exploratorium.
Notes: This trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements to visit. Tickets must be booked in advance as they are limited and sell out quickly. You can make your reservations online: http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/ or by calling +1.415.981.7625 between the hours of 8am–7pm, Pacific Standard Time (USA). We recommend you reserve your tickets for the day after the tour finishes.
Head to Monterey for some underwater exploration. Visit the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can better understand the diversity of marine life and the fragile ecosystem. This is one of the world’s greatest aquariums and the sharks, otters, turtles, and the interactive Splash Zone offer a fun, educational and eye-opening experience for all ages.
Yosemite National Park
Head out on a kayaking adventure across Monterey Bay. This is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip. Two and a half hours gives you plenty of time to explore this amazing and diverse ecosystem. If you’re lucky you will see sea lions and otters, and maybe a whale far off in the distance. Afterwards, drive to Yosemite National Park. The beautifully rugged scenery you’ll pass will have you itching to get on your hiking boots and go explore. Yosemite National Park is nature's greatest back yard, the very definition of outstanding natural beauty.
Yosemite National Park
With so many options, you're bound to find a walk or hike that suits you. Choose to take a short walk through the valley for views of towering granite cliffs, or take a more vigorous hike to higher elevations. Famous for its Giant Sequoias (really, really big trees) and abundance of incredible wildlife, such as bears and coyotes, this park offers one mind-blowing photo opportunity after the next. Camping here is an incredible way to get closer to nature and appreciate the park’s beauty.
Yosemite National Park
Explore this vast wilderness at your own pace today. Pick another a hike (like Nevada Falls or the serene Mirror Lake) and be amazed at the magnificent waterfalls and epic cliff faces, or perhaps cycle through the valley and play I-spy on the lush valley floor. Views of Tunnel View, Tuolumne Meadows, wildflower-filled meadows and snow-capped mountains will leave your jaw on the floor.
Say goodbye to beauitiful Yosemite and head for Bishop, California, one of the larger towns in the Eastern Sierras. The drive from Yosemite to Bishop offers a glimpse into America’s frontier life, its sprawling desert landscapes and remnants of western ghost towns make for an interesting sight. Upon arriving in Bishop you'll have a chance to enjoy the fresh evening air in the warmth of the natural hot springs. This is the perfect way to unwind after all that outdoor activity in Yosemite.
Next stop: Vegas. First though, head through the Death Valley. Brave the country’s hottest, driest region and you’ll be rewarded with a geographically stunning and unique landscape. We’re definitely not exaggerating when we say it's hot. The mercury tips at over 56°C in the summer, but it’s this heat that has created the spectacle that everyone comes to see: never-ending low shimmering salt flats, mountainous peaks and the bizarre ‘Devil’s Golf Course’. The national park features huge sand dunes, sculpted rocks, isolated valleys and volcanic craters, and the canyon and mountain walls beautifully change colour with the changing light. Get the camera ready for stunning pictures – grab some props and have some fun creating some great ‘perspective’ shots. Then it's back to the road and on to Las Vegas.
If you want it, Vegas has got it – today is a free day to choose the activities that interest you and your family. Las Vegas caters to all tastes, from opulent casinos on the Strip, heavyweight chef-run restaurants and all night party spots, to stimulating museums, dazzling circus shows, aquariums and botanical gardens. Try your luck on the casino floor, catch an eye-popping show, test your limits at an all you can eat buffet, hit top speed at a theme park, watch the casino fountains dance, max out the credit card at luxurious boutiques, relive the city’s past at the Neon museum (graveyard of iconic Vegas signs), head downtown for a slice of retro Vegas, or just simply relax at the pool.
The next part of the trip is like nothing else. Try to think of any word similar to ‘amazing’ and you bet it’s been used to describe the Grand Canyon. Drive through central Arizona to spend two nights being awed at the sheer scale of the canyon. Get as close to the edge as you dare as you peer over the rim and try to take it all in. There are plenty of things to see and do during your time here, so be prepared for busy and active days. Stand in awe and watch the setting sun ignite the multi-coloured rock walls. For the next two nights you’ll camp out surrounded by the smell of pine and cedar and enveloped by a stunning canopy of stars at night.
Take the day to explore at your own pace. Maybe soar like a California Condor over the canyon with a scenic helicopter flight (not included). Your leader can suggest trails to discover, or you could just relax with a book and a backdrop like no other. If you get active, then descend through pine trees into the heart of the immense abyss. Discover this stunning gorge – 1.5 kilometres deep and formed by over six million years of erosion from the Colorado River – by strolling around the edges, or heading below the canyon rim for a hike along the South Kaibab trail or to Plateau Point. Or perhaps join rangers to learn about the park’s geological story, or watch an IMAX film to discover the canyon from a different perspective. End your day with a breathtaking sunset. Whatever you choose, you’ll find that the canyon depths are nothing short of mind-blowing.
Road trip beneath the big blue skies of Arizona. The awesome scenery will keep you entertained and the air-conditioned vehicle will keep you cool, but just looking at all that sizzling desert can still make you sweat – so cool off with a refreshing plunge in Lake Havasu. One thing that has to be high up on the list of ‘Things You Don’t Expect to Find in the Middle of the Arizona Desert’ is London Bridge. That’s right, the 1830 version of the bridge, famous from the song about it falling down, was bought by an American entrepreneur and shipped from England to Lake Havasu piece-by-piece almost 50 years ago! Swim and watch the sun go down over the surrounding hills.