Begin your road trip in the metropolis of Los Angeles. Travel through San Diego to the majesty of the western National Parks. Then, leave canyon country behind to explore wine country and the Pacific Coast of California.
# 2 Adults, 2 Children# 1 Large Suitcase,2 Small Suitcases# Air Conditioning# Duel Airbags# Standard for parties of 1 and 2
Explore California Cities and the National Parks of the West
Arrive at the airport, pick-up your rental car and proceed to the hotel. Los Angeles is the entertainment capitol 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. Take a stroll along the Walk of Fame and see the names of celebrities commemorated in pink stars along the sidewalk. Visit Mann’s Chinese Theater, the best-preserved of the movie palaces from Hollywood’s golden era. Known for its celebrity hand and footprints in the forecourt, over 200 impressions are yours to discover. Drive through Beverly Hills, the most famous neighborhood in the United States and glimpse exclusive homes.
Accommodations: (STD) Comfort Inn Cockatoo near Los Angeles Airport or similar (1 night) (SUP) Hilton Los Angeles Airport or similar (1 night)
Depart Los Angeles this morning and drive along the majestic Pacific Coast to San Diego. Visit SeaWorld® Adventure Park San Diego. This world-class visitor attraction features a variety of spectacular sights and activities. See Shamu the killer whale, ride the waves of Shipwreck Rapids, and see manatees, polar bears and dolphins. A variety of animal-themed shows are featured and it’s even possible to take a behind the scenes tour. The San Diego Zoo, known throughout the world as a first-rate facility, is home to more than 3,800 animals of over 800 different species. The zoo grounds cover 100 acres with more than 6,500 different species of plants. The zoo is well known for its efforts to recreate the natural habitats of the animals. Specialized habitats include Tiger River, Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest, Polar Bear Plunge and Ituri Forest. Accommodations: (STD) Mission Valley Resort or similar (2 nights) (SUP) Sofia Hotel or similar (2 nights)
For a taste of San Diego history and tradition, visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park today. It presents the opportunity to experience the history of early San Diego by providing a connection to the past. Experience life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. Even today, life moves more slowly in this part of San Diego, where the hustle and bustle is balanced with history and fiestas. Visitors are offered a glimpse into yesteryear, as converging cultures transformed San Diego from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement. The buildings are old or built to look that way, and the departure from urban sprawl is preserved. Five original adobe buildings are part of the historic park, which includes museums, unique retail shops, and several restaurants.
Depart San Diego 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. Continue to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for an overnight stay. This evening visit the “Old Town” area of Scottsdale. 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. An overnight stay has been arranged here.
Accommodations: (STD) Sleep Inn or similar (1 night) (SUP) Embassy Suites Phoenixt or similar (1 night)
Leave the Valley of the Sun 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. See the natural water slide called Sliding Rock where visitors glide down a smooth rock surface into the water. Red rock formations surround the town of Sedona. Make a photo stop at Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock, large red sandstone formations that tower around the town. Sedona is known for its strong artistic community, eclectic shops and galleries and fantastic places to eat. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the main avenue or take a jeep tour out into the natural landscape. Continue to Grand Canyon.
Accommodations: (STD & SUP) Grand Canyon Lodging* or similar (2 nights)
(* 2 night in-park accommodations are offered on a first-come, first served basis depending on availability.
Early booking is essential; otherwise, similar accommodations near the park will be provided)
The overwhelming size and brilliant colors of the Grand Canyon easily make it one of the natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon was carved out by natural elements including the Colorado River over vast geological spans of time. 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. For the adventurous, hiking trails and guided mule rides will take you down to the Colorado River. Rafting trips along the river are also a spectacular way to enjoy the canyon.
Depart the Grand Canyon this morning and drive to Canyon de Chelly. While it is not as grand as some other landmarks of Arizona and Utah, it has vertical walls rising up to 1000 feet with many scenic overlooks and well-preserved Anasazi ruins. Peer into the present day life of the Navajo, who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor. Visit the spectacular geologic feature, Spider Rock, a sandstone spire that rises 800 feet from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon. Spider Rock can be seen from South Rim Drive. It has served as the scene of a number of television commercials. Continue on to the Petrified Forest National Park. There is an abundance of beautifully colored petrified logs that existed 225 million years ago. The 28-mile drive through the park has numerous scenic overlooks. Make photo stops at the Rainbow Forest, Agate House and Blue Mesa. Part of the Painted Desert lies within the park and several hardened dunes can be found here as well. These hardened dunes show off spectacular bands of grays, reds, oranges and yellows. The area is especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise when the land appears to glow in hues of violet, blue, red and gold. Accommodations: (STD) Best Western Canyon de Chelly or similar (1 night) (SUP) Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly or similar (1 Night)
This morning drive toward Monument Valley. Over the years, Monument Valley has been the setting for more Western movies than any other site in the United States. Unique sandstone formations punctuate the sometimes barren landscape and spires rise into strange formations that have inspired names such as “Three Sisters” and “The Thumb.” At dawn and dusk, the park comes to life when the sun transforms this area into a bright canvas, painting the monoliths with light and color. Located on the north and central parts of the Navajo Reservation, some of these native people still inhabit this land. You are likely to see them selling their wares on the side of the road, or in the shops that dot the area. Make sure to stop at the Visitor Center at the entrance to the park to receive valuable information about navigating through Monument Valley and to learn about the culture and traditions of the Navajo Nation. Continue to Lake Powell for a two-night stay.
Accommodations: (STD) Marriott Courtyard Page or similar (2 nights) (SUP) Lake Powell Resort or similar (2 nights)
For thousands of years the Colorado River ran through Glen Canyon carving a tremendous canyon through the sandstone. In 1963 the Glen Canyon dam was constructed and took possession of the Colorado River, turning the natural beauty of Glen Canyon into popular Lake Powell, a body of deep blue water surrounded by red cliff walls. You may also want to visit the John Wesley Powell Museum to learn more about the lake, before and after the dam construction. You may also wish to visit the magnificent Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural bridges in the world. This natural wonder has been formed due to years of erosion of the sandstone by water flowing from Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River. It may be reached by boat, on foot, or on horseback. Guided boat tours also depart daily. Visit the Glen Canyon Dam and Visitor Center; peer over the edge of the dam at the river far below and tour the adjacent visitor center where the guide will take you through a detailed account of the Dam’s construction.
Depart Lake Powell this morning to visit Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce contains “amphitheatres” of colorful eroded rock formations; these spires of rock are called hoodoos. It is their uniqueness that sets Bryce apart from anywhere else. Light reflecting on the hoodoos at different times of day change the colorful scene of the park. Consider a drive to Rainbow Point where from some of the overlooks, you can see more than 100 miles on a clear day. There are also a variety of walking trails in the park; although, horseback riding is a popular way to see the highlights of the park. Enjoy and overnight stay here.
Accommodations: (STD) Bryce View Lodge or similar (1 night) (SUP) Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand or similar (1 night)
Leave the natural beauty of the Bryce Canyon behind and travel to Las Vegas. Along the way, stop at Zion National Park. You will be greeted by gigantic sandstone monoliths and hear the soft rush of the Virgin River. The Narrows are Zion’s famous slot canyons. These are narrow stone crevices formed with colorful stripes caused by years of water and wind erosion that result is a hiker’s paradise. In the park and along the river there are a variety of trails and paved pathways for explorers of all skill levels. In addition, there is a complimentary shuttle system that runs throughout the park. By utilizing this, you can visit the Zion’s other major attractions such as the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock and Angels Landing. Stop at the Visitor Center for information on guided tours and park history Continue on to Las Vegas. Las Vegas has something to offer everyone. From the outrageous live shows to the excitement of casinos, the action never stops from morning to night. Stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as “the strip.” Each hotel and casino has a distinctly different theme and all are wondrous displays. 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. 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. An overnight stay has been arranged here.
Accommodations: (STD) Circus Circus Hotel & Casino or similar (1 night) (SUP) Tropicana Resort & Casino or similar (1 night)
Depart Las Vegas and drive toward Yosemite National Park. Along the way, pass through 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. Continue on to the west Yosemite area for a two night stay. Accommodations: (STD) Yosemite View Lodge or similar (2 nights) (SUP) Cedar Lodge or similar (2 nights)
Today visit 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.
Depart Yosemite and continue your journey to Sacramento, the capital of the state of California. Originally established as a supply town for gold miners, modern-day Sacramento is the hub of commerce for the central valley area. Guided tours of the California State Capitol and Museum are available. This museum highlights regional and state political history in the very building that has served as the seat of the government since 1869. Consider a visit the Governor Mansion. From 1903 to 1967, this lovely Victorian mansion was home to thirteen governors. Guided tours lead visitors through well appointed rooms with lavish decorations. You will be entertained by “inside” stories about the mansion’s occupants and families. Railroad excursions are also available. This popular attraction takes visitors on a 40-minute train ride along the Sacramento River. Enjoy cruising along in open-air gondolas and vintage coaches pulled by real steam locomotives while marveling at the scenery. An overnight stay has been arranged here.
Accommodations: (STD) Best Western Sutter House or similar (1 night) (SUP) DoubleTree Sacramento or similar (1 night)
Today, you will drive from Sacramento through majestic wine country as you head toward San Francisco. Many of the wineries offer tastings and tours of the facilities. A unique experience can be found on the Wine Train, which tours the Napa wine making region aboard elegant Pullman lounge and dining cars. Circa 1915, the Honduran mahogany, polished brass, imported linens, and etched glass hark back to a time when such luxuries were reserved for the rich. Passengers may elect for brunch, lunch, or dinner trips, all of which include seasonal gourmet dishes and opportunities to sample the finest Californian wines. Continue to San Francisco for a three 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.
Accommodations: (STD) Best Western Plus Amertcania or similar (2 Nights)
(SUP) Pickwick Hotel or similar (2 Nights)
Today, you are free to enjoy one of the many sights and sounds of San Francisco. Take a cable car ride to visit the major attractions this city has to offer. Visit Alcatraz, a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, and finally as a federal prison until 1963. The rangers give excellent guided tours detailing the history and legends surrounding “The Rock.” 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. A visitor center and gift shop is located on the San Francisco side. 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. 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.
Depart San Francisco this morning for the luxurious drive down the Pacific Coast toward Monterey. After being swept away by the stunning Pacific coast views, spend the afternoon enjoying 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. An overnight stay has been arranged in the San Simeon area.
Accommodations: (STD) Silver Surf San Simeon or similar (1 night) (SUP) Cambria Pine Lodge or similar (1 night)
This morning continue to drive along the beautiful Pacific Coast to Santa Barbara. This coastal city is a gem. The pristine city’s climate gives rise to a number of natural attractions. Stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens to view breathtaking flora or hike a scenic nature trail in Los Padres National Forest. The beaches all have their own allure. East Beach attracts the trendy and young while fishing and whale watching are the favorites at Arroyo Burro. Enjoy the fine collection at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or explore the old Mission. Fresh seafood can be found in the restaurants on Stearn’s Wharf. Continue to Los Angeles for a two-night stay. 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. Take a stroll along the Walk of Fame and see the names of celebrities commemorated in pink stars along the sidewalk. Visit Mann’s Chinese Theater, the best-preserved of the movie palaces from Hollywood’s golden era, known for its celebrity hand and footprints in the forecourt, over 200 impressions are yours to discover. Accommodations: (STD) Figueroa Hotel or similar (2 Nights)
(SUP) Millinium Biltmore Hotel or similar (2 Nights)
Today is yours to explore the City of Angels. Visit the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Shop the famous Rodeo Drive, where luxury retail commands the street. 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. 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. Or, make your way to Anaheim and visit the “Happiest place on earth.” Disneyland is home to your favorite characters like Mickey Mouse. Here you will find entertainment for the young and the young at heart. For a behind the scenes look at movie making, visit Universal Studios. Tour the sets and cast yourself in the thrilling rides shows and attractions that bring the movies to life. In the evening, enjoy Universal City Walk, filled with restaurants and nightclubs.
Begin your road trip in the metropolis of Los Angeles. Travel through San Diego to the majesty of the western National Parks. Then, leave canyon country behind to explore wine country and the Pacific Coast of California.
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