California & National Parks Explorer (incl San Fran)- XCNS
Number of Days: 16
Visiting a grand total of five national parks, you’ll experience Arches’ natural sandstone arches, the giant natural amphitheaters in Bryce Canyon, the deep sandstone canyon in Zion, Death Valley’s arid salt-flats and sand dunes, and the granite cliffs, picturesque waterfalls and diverse wildlife of Yosemite.
DAY 1: Arrive in San Francisco, CA
Welcome to the Golden City! Take your time to settle into your room, take a look around and start planning your time here. You have a full free day to explore further tomorrow!
Arrive in San Francisco and enjoy a two night stay, with a full free day to explore the city tomorrow.DAY 2: San Francisco, CA - Free dayToday you have a free day to explore San Francisco in whichever way you please. Visit the iconic Golden Gate bridge, ride a cable car, or get lost along streets lined with Victorian buildings. There are also gorgeous places to eat, and the nightlife is legendary. San Francisco has a magic you'll find nowhere else; so set out to experience it to the full.Attractions to discover in your free timeOptional Excursions
DAY 3: San Francisco, CA - Monterey Area, CA - Paso Robles, CAThis morning we set out for Moss Landing Harbor, where we'll make a quick photo stop. Moss Landing is known for its rich marine life, so if we're lucky we'll see some sea otters and dolphins from the shore. Then we're off to Monterey Fisherman's Wharf, where you'll have some free time to explore and grab some lunch at the many great restaurants. We'll then make our way along the stunning 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula to Paso Robles, enjoying views of the Big Sur along the way. This quaint settlement on the banks of the famous Salinas river is all about the wineries and hot springs. We'll check in at our hotel, before heading out to enjoy a welcome dinner.
Photo stop at Moss Landing Harbor. Moss Landing Harbour is a lovely oceanside destination. The area is known for its many sea otters and dolphins which can sometimes be seen from the shore.
Comfort Stop at Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy free time to explore and grab some delicious fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants that line the wharf.
DAY 4: Paso Robles, CA - Santa Barbara, CA - Los Angeles, CACheers Paso Robles, we're off to Los Angeles! Along the way we stop in Santa Barbara, also called the 'American Riviera'. This beautiful city is set against the dramatic Ynez Mountains and known for its Spanish heritage. After some free time to explore and grab lunch, we'll continue on towards LA. It wouldn't be La La Land without a tour of the hot spots, so we explore Hollywood before dinner.
ExperiencesComfort stop in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is a striking city with beautiful Spanish architecture.
Driving tour of Hollywood. A drive to see the famous sights. This includes the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, and Sunset Strip.
Photo stop at Griffith Observatory. Enjoy beautiful views of the Hollywood Sign, Downtown LA skyline, Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean.DAY 5: Los Angeles, CA - Free dayWe wake up in beautiful Los Angeles and you have the whole day to explore this world-famous city. Follow your nose or join us on one of our exciting optional outings. Your tour leader can arrange a day trip to Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach, or help you to get Disneyland tickets. There is also the option to go on a full-day trip to San Diego and Tijuana in Mexico. Silver screen fans could enjoy a Warner Bros Hollywood Studio Tour and Movie Stars' Homes Tour. Alternatively, dress up for a medieval times dinner and show! The choice is yours, so tailor an LA outing that suits your style.Optional Excursions
DAY 6: Los Angeles, CA - Free dayWhen it comes to a city like Los Angeles, one day is simply not enough. This is why this we're giving you a second free day to roam this gorgeous destination. Continue on your own way. Like yesterday, you have the choice to go on a day trip to Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach. Or you could chase a childhood dream and go to Disneyland! You could also hop the border to Mexico for a day trip to Tijuana via San Diego. Alternatively, learn more about Tinseltown on a Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour and Movie Stars' Homes Tour. Or maybe you'd like to venture on our own way and join in on a Medieval Times dinner and a show this evening. You have free reign, so take your pick.Optional Excursions
DAY 7: Los Angeles, CA - Calico, CA - Mojave National Preserve, CA - Lake Havasu, AZ
Goodbye LA! Today our US holiday continues as we head towards the San Bernardino National Forest. We also visit the ghost town of Calico and the stunning Mojave National Preserve. Our day is full of fascinating sights like singing sand dunes and volcanic cinder cones. We'll also encounter Joshua tree forests and carpets of wildflowers.
Scenic drive through San Bernardino National Forest: The San Bernardino National Forest is an official US monument. It comprises 800 000+ acres of forest and wilderness.
Visit to Calico Ghost Town: Calico is a ghost town and historical landmark in San Bernardino County. It was a flourishing silver mining town in the 1800s. A benefactor bought and restored it in the 1950s. Here you can see what life was like during the mining rush.
Scenic drive through Mojave National Preserve: Mojave National Preserve is the third largest national park system in the United States. Our drive takes us through a small part of this beautiful area.
DAY 8: Lake Havasu, AZ - Grand Canyon West, AZ - Route 66, AZOnward! Today our USA coach tour takes us to the iconic Grand Canyon. This natural wonder is Arizona's most famous landmark and measures 277 miles from end to end. Marvel at steeps rocky walls that drop more than a mile to the wild Colorado River that courses beneath.
ExperiencesA stop at the famous Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is one of those sights that cannot be explained; it has to be experienced. This landmark inspires awe in all who visit it.
Drive along historic Route 66: Route 66 is one of the original US highways and a road trip destination like no other. This scenic byway is also called the Mother Road or Main Street of America.
DAY 9: Flagstaff, AZ - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - Monument Valley areaToday we visit the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This majestic area is home to the famous Painted Desert and John Ford Point. We'll show you all the must-see sights and there is plenty of time to take keepsake pictures. There's also a stop at the historic Cameron Trading Post. Feel like adding to your experience? Join a Navajo guide on an optional drive through the mythical Monument Valley rock formations.
ExperiencesMonument Valley Tribal Park: Monument Valley Tribal Park is what most of us imagine America to look like. This is because it has been featured in many cowboy movies. Think large, flat expanses, flat-topped, free-standing mountains, the works.
See views of the Painted Desert: The Painted Desert is a very scenic part of the US badlands. It is known of the brilliant and varied colours of its sands. This includes all hues of red, and even shades of purple!
See John Ford Point: John Ford Point is a landmark with iconic movie status. It was featured in many John Ford movies in the 1930s. Younger travellers would have seen it in the movie Forest Gump.
Stop at the historic Cameron Trading Post: This well-known trade post offers an authentic Navajo experience. It is a great place to buy US holiday keepsakes. The curio shop features native jewellery, baskets and more.
DAY 10: Monument Valley area - Arches National Park - Canyonlands National Park - Moab, UTYour US holiday is about to get even more epic! Today we're off to see the famous stone formations at Arches National Park. We leave the bus to see the arches up close. Then we depart for Canyonlands National Park, where we drive onto the 'Island in the Sky'. This dramatic flat-topped hill overlooks dramatic sandstone formations from 1000 feet up!
ExperiencesVisit to Arches National Park: Enjoy views of the famous natural stone formations.
Canyonlands National Park: Visit the 'Island in the Sky', a vast mesa that rises over the sandstone landmarks.
DAY 11: Moab, UT - Bryce Canyon - Zion National ParkOur holiday in the Western US gets even more exciting as we make our way towards Capital Reef National Park. This magnificent park is known for the famous Waterpocket Fold - a 160 km-long warp in the crust of the earth. Afterwards, we're off to Bryce Canyon National Park. Here we marvel at the world's largest concentration of hoodoos. A hoodoo is a lowering limestone spire that rises from the desert floor. Next, we travel to Zion, where we learn more about the region's fauna and flora, and see the Checkerboard Mesa, an ancient sandstone formation that will take your breath away.
ExperiencesVisit Capitol Reef National Park: This park in the south-central desert of Utah is known for its natural peculiarities. The Waterpocket Fold is a sight to behold. Think layers of amber sandstone, canyons and dazzling rock formations.
Visit Bryce Canyon National Park: This big reserve is known for it's interesting rock formations called hoodoos. The main road through the park leads past the Amphitheatre. This is a dramatic depression filled with hoodoos. It is quite the sight!
DAY 12: Zion National Park - Las Vegas, NVNo USA coach tour would be complete without a visit to Las Vegas! Today we make our way to this hub of glitz and glamour in the Nevada desert. More than 41 million travellers visit Vegas each year and it's easy to see why. This bustling city is home to more than half of the world's largest hotels and 150+ casinos. Not to mention all the theatres and live performance venues. When we arrive we'll take you on a driving tour of the famous Strip - a boulevard known for its many glitzy hotels and casinos.
ExperiencesDriving tour of the Las Vegas Strip: This stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard is one of the most famous roads in the United States. There are plenty of attractions to enjoy along the way. Look out for the Shark Reef Aquarium and Eiffel Tower Experience.DAY 13: Las Vegas, NV - Free dayToday you have a full day to explore Las Vegas as you please. Your tour leader can assist you in arranging a trip to the Hoover Dam. Or you could join us on an optional outing to an evening show. Alternatively, try your hand at some roulette or black jack! There is a lot to see and do in Las Vegas. Get in touch before your US coach tour departs if you want more info on concerts and events you can attend.Optional Excursions
DAY 14: Las Vegas, NV - Death Valley - Mammoth Lakes, CAGoodbye Vegas! Today our guided USA coach tour takes us back to California via Death Valley. Death Valley is a national park where some of the highest temperatures EVER have been recorded. Along the way we stop at Badwater basin to see the iconic salt flats & take photos as a viewpoint. You also have the option to enjoy a soak at the Travertine Hot Spring at an extra charge. We journey through an amazing landscape to our evening destination. Tonight we sleep on the edge of the Sierra National Forest. From here we overlook the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains.
Drive through the famous Death Valley National Park: This striking national park has one foot in California, and the other in Nevada.
Badwater basin salt flats: These salt flats change constantly. Salt crystals expand, pushing the crust into rough, chaotic forms. Each time you visit, you'll see a new sight.
Photo stop at Zabriskie Point. Zabriskie Point is an overlook of the astonishing Black Mountains.
DAY 15: Mammoth Lakes, CA - Yosemite National Park - Stockton, CAToday is the last full day of your US holiday vacation package. If the weather plays along we will travel via the scenic Tioga Pass to the Yosemite National Park. If not, we simply take another route to this beautiful destination. Yosemite is known for its waterfalls, meadows and granite monoliths. We will also stop over at Mono Lake. This afternoon is yours to explore as you please. Chat to your tour leader about private guided tours and bike rental. You could also go zip-lining! Tonight we stay over in Stockton, California.
ExperiencesScenic drive through Tioga Pass Drive: The Tioga Pass Drive is open from late May until October. Weather permitting, we’ll drive through here to show you the beautiful area.
Visit Mono Lake: Mono lake is a large saline soda lake that was formed 750 000+ years ago. It is an important habitat for millions of birds that migrate here throughout the year.
Visit Yosemite National Park: Yosemite is one of the most popular parks in all of the United States. No Western US tour would complete without a visit to this national treasure. Think towering cliffs, epic vistas and giant trees everywhere. It should be on the bucket list of every nature lover.
DAY 16: Stockton, CA - Napa Valley, CA - San Francisco, CAThis morning we head for the wine region of California, stopping off in the Napa Valley wine region. Here we will visit a winery and have some free time in the quaint town. We'll then head for San Francisco and cross the Oakland Bay and Golden Gate bridges on the way. Our US coach tour concludes here in San Francisco. We hope you had an amazing experience and made memories to last you a lifetime!
ExperiencesWine tasting in Napa Valley: The Napa Valley is renowned for the wonderful wines that are produced here. We take you to a lovely winery where you can taste some of the region’s finest vintages.
Cross the Oakland Bay & Golden Gate Bridges: These bridges are iconic destinations in their own right. Marvel at the structural genius and enjoy the view!
- 15 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip.
- 15 breakfasts, 7 dinners
- Local taxes and fees
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- 25 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- From $5115 per person twin share. Single supplement additional.