California & National Parks Explorer- XCNP
Number of Days: 14
This 14 day guided tour introduces you to her parks, forests, and mountains. We'll drive the iconic Route 66 and take you to the magnificent Grand Canyon, Mojave Desert and Monument Valley. You’ll also visit no less than five national parks, including Yosemite, Death Valley and Arches National Park.
In addition to these natural wonders, we’ll mix it up with visits to some of America’s most vibrant cities, with two free days to rub shoulders with the rich and famous in LA, and a two night stay in the entertainment capital of the world, Vegas.
DAY 1: San Francisco, CA - Monterey Area, CA - Paso Robles, CA
Welcome to the California & National Parks Explorer tour! After meeting up in San Francisco this morning, we'll immediately 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 2: Paso Robles, CA - Santa Barbara, CA - Los Angeles, CAToday we wave Paso Robles goodbye and make our way to Los Angeles. We break for free time for lunch in Santa Barbara, a beautiful city against the Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara is also called the 'American Riviera' and known for its Spanish heritage. We then continue on our way to LA. We don't waste any time and start exploring immediately. Your tour leader will show you a few of the Hollywood hot spots even before dinner!
ExperiencesComfort stop in Santa Barbara. We stop in this striking city, with free time for lunch. You'll have a chance to see some of its famous Spanish architecture.
Hollywood driving tour. When we arrive in LA we take a drive to see the famous sights. You'll see the Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Sign and Hollywood Boulevard (just for starters!).
Photo stop at Griffith Observatory. Enjoy beautiful views of the Hollywood Sign, Downtown LA skyline, Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean.DAY 3: Los Angeles, CA - Free dayToday we greet the day in the City of Angels & take the full day to explore. You have a free day to do as you please. This means you can set out on your own or join in on an optional outing. You could get tickets to Disneyland or go on a day trip to Venice Beach & Santa Monica pier. Alternatively, hop over the border to Tijuana via San Diego. Movie fans could stick around in LA itself and go on a tour of the Warner Bros Hollywood Studio or Movie Stars' Homes. Feeling fancy? Dress up and join us at a medieval times dinner & show this evening. The options are endless in La La Land.Optional ExcursionsDAY 4: Los Angeles, CA - Free dayThere is so much to see and do in LA that we've decided to give you another free day. This way you can tailor a Tinseltown adventure that ticks all your boxes. Just like yesterday, you have the option to follow your nose and do as you please. You also have the opportunity to go on optional excursions. You could go on the ultimate fairytale outing to Disneyland. Or you could get out of town and head over the border to Tijuana via scenic San Diego. Movie fan? Let's get you on the Warner Bros. lot so you can peak behind the scenes of famous TV-shows! Of maybe you'd like to see the current or one-time homes of famous movie stars? You could even dress up this evening and join us for a medieval-theme dinner and a jousting match. The choice is yours!Optional Excursions
DAY 5: Los Angeles, CA - Calico, CA - Mojave National Preserve, CA - Lake Havasu, AZ
See ya Los Angeles! Today we continue on our USA coach tour. We drive through the stunning San Bernardino National Forest and make our way to Calico. Calico is a ghost town that hails from the silver mining era. We also encounter the Mojave National Preserve. You'll get to see incredible sight like volcanic cinder cones and the famous singing sand dunes. Not to mention carpets of wildflowers and imposing Joshua tree forests.
San Bernardino National Forest (scenic drive-through). This forest is so important on an ecological level that it has been declared a national monument. It stretches over more than 800-thousand acres of wilderness.
Calico Ghost Town visit. Calico is one of those places where time has stood still. It started out as a boom town during the silver rush of the 1800s. When the mining dried up, the town ran empty. It was bought and restored in its entirety in the 1950s. Today it is an historical landmark.
Mojave National Preserve (scenic drive-through). This stunning preserve is the third-largest of its kind in the United States. The country works hard to preserve its natural heritage. On our drive you can see the region's natural flora up close.
DAY 6: Lake Havasu, AZ - Grand Canyon West, AZ - Route 66, AZOn we go! The next leg of our USA coach tour leads us to one of America's most famous sights - the Grand Canyon. This famous Arizona landmark is truly awe-inspiring. 277 miles from one end to the other, it's more vast than you can ever imagine. We'll take our time to gaze in wonder at the rocky walls that descend to the coursing Colorado River beneath.
ExperiencesVisit the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of those American landmarks that cannot be missed. It is a truly inspiring sight that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Route 66 drive. No American road trip is complete without a drive on the famous Route 66. This highway is one of the first that was ever plotted in the US. This is why it is also known as the Mother Road of the Main Street of America.
DAY 7: 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 8: 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 9: Moab, UT - Bryce Canyon - Zion National ParkOur holiday in the Western US gets even more exciting as we make our way towards Capitol 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 10: 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 11: Las Vegas, NV - Free dayToday you have a full day to explore Las Vegas as you please. Your Expat Explore 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 12: 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 13: 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 Sonora, 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 14: 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. After some free time for lunch we will head for San Francisco and cross the Oakland Bay and Golden Gate bridges on the way. Our 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!
- 13 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.
- Tour guide- who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip.
- 13 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 $4995 per person twin share. Single supplement at additional price