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AGrandTouroftheWest

A Grand Tour of the West

"California here I come!" From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the magnificent landscapes at Yosemite National Park, The Grand Canyon and up the Pacific Coast Highway, you'll see the best California & the West has to offer. Contrast the striking desolation of Death Valley with the bright lights of Las Vegas, and the tranquility of California's coastal towns with the buzz and glamour of Hollywood. Along the way, you'll take in such intriguing sites as the giant General Sherman Tree, Scotty's Castle, the Guadalupe Sand Dunes, and "La Cuesta Encantada" (The Hearst Castle). In California, where driving is an integral part of life, you'll enjoy the journey as much as the destinations. Put on your sunglasses, immerse yourself in the diversity, and enjoy this fabulous state.

PLEASE NOTE: If this suggested tour is too long for you or alternatively, you have other stops in mind we can tailor a different length holiday or route to suit your requirements. Please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on (01892) 779900 for more advice or email us with your itinerary and we will be happy to assist in helping to plan your trip.

Not looking to drive so far? Why not let us suggest some alternative routes or instead book a short Domestic flight between San Francisco and Las Vegas or Los Angeles. With Alamo, there are NO One Way drop fees on car hire in California, Nevada or Arizona, so you really can start and end your Grand Tour of the West just about anywhere!

Highlights Include

  • San Francisco
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Death Valley
  • Las Vegas
  • Grand Canyon
  • Kingman's Historic Route 66 Museum
  • Los Angeles
  • Santa Barbara
  • Monterey
  • The Big Sur
  • Highway 1

Itinerary

1

San Francisco

The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge welcomes you to San Francisco, the most-visited and beloved American city. Prepare to lose your heart as you explore delightful and diverse neighborhoods, take in breathtaking views from the tops of crooked streets, wander through Fisherman's Wharf, and sample a fabulous variety of cuisines.

Begin your stay in San Francisco by walking the Barbary Coast Trail, a wonderful 3.8-mile overview of the city ranging from Nob Hill to Ghirardelli Square. Spend a day exploring the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Muir Woods and more. Jump on the ferry at Pier 39 for a trip to Alcatraz, the famous island prison that also has spectacular gardens, bird colonies, and views of San Francisco Bay. Stop in one of Boudin's famous sourdough bakeries for a true taste of San Francisco, and be sure to visit Chinatown for great food and atmosphere to match.

4

Yosemite National Park

"190 miles"

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the US, Yosemite National Park offers an amazing variety of landscapes. Best known for its magnificent waterfalls, glacial rock formations, and groves of giant redwood trees, Yosemite also delights visitors with gorgeous meadows, reservoirs, overlooks, and a collection of historic 19th century pioneer buildings. The most scenic route through the park is the 39-mile Tioga Road. The best way to explore the park is on foot. Hiking trails through the main areas of the park allow for an up close and personal experience of Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Road, Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Redwoods, Hetch Hetchy, and Tuolumne Meadows. If you’d like a guide, sign up for a two-hour Valley Floor Tour with a National Park Service ranger.

6

Death Valley

"303 miles"

What a contrast! From the heights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the lowest, driest, hottest point in the country, you’ll make the short journey to Death Valley National Park. Although the landscape is barren and forbidding in much of the park, snow-capped mountains rise to 11,000 feet, beautiful sand dunes glisten in the sun, and more than 1,000 species of plants make Death Valley home. At night and at higher elevations, a multitude of animals emerge and thrive.

Badwater Basin, the lowest spot in North America, and the dramatic Devil’s Golf Course, a large expanse of land covered in crystalline salt deposits, are must-sees in the park. The Artist’s Drive is a 9-mile loop offering lovely vistas. The Borax Museum tells the story of the famous product that was hauled out of the desert to California markets. Don’t miss Scotty’s Castle, a fantasy house that “Death Valley Scotty” told everyone he built. A guided tour tells the real story of Chicago businessman Albert Mussey Johnson’s Death Valley Ranch and his eccentric mining partner.

7

Las Vegas

"132 miles"

Who turned on the lights?! Welcome to Las Vegas, a city created to provide non-stop entertainment. Enjoy two days in this fantastic city, wandering The Strip, enjoying show after show, taking in the view from the Eiffel Tower or catching an adrenaline rush on the Stratosphere. For a break from the action, tour the world-famous Hoover Dam, or go for a hike or scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Museum lovers will enjoy the Imperial Auto Museum, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and the Liberace Museum. Whatever you choose to do, remember that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”

9

Grand Canyon

"288 miles"

The magnificent Grand Canyon awaits today. Take the free shuttle bus from the Canyon Plaza Visitor Center to some of the best viewpoints along the South Rim, or enjoy the 25-mile Desert View scenic self-drive. Visit the Yavapai Observation Station, theTusayanMuseum, and the Kolb Brothers Studio for more fabulous views and a perspective on the cultural heritage and history of theGrand Canyon. Treat yourself to a helicopter ride over the North and South Rims of the Canyon for thrilling bird’s eye views of the Colorado River more than a mile below.

10

Kingman

"173 miles"

On you way back toLas Vegas, you can rejoin man-made civilization at the Historic Route 66 Museum to learn more about the “Mother Road,” and at the Mohave Museum of History and Art to learn more about the ancients.

Kingman also offers great hiking in Hualapai Mountain Park, 2,300 acres with elevations ranging from 4,984 to 8,417 feet in the cool, clear, fragrant pine country. The name Hualapai, "Pine Tree Folk," is derived from the name of the Indian tribe that called these mountains home until they were relocated by the military in the 1870s. The total beauty, character and history of Hualapai Mountain Park cannot be fully expressed in words - it is something that must be experienced.

11

Los Angeles

"319 miles"

Next stop is 'the City of Angels', as Los Angeles is fondly otherwise known.

Driving in Los Angeles is a way of life – and a glamorous one at that. So roll down the windows and head out on one of the fabulous scenic drives around the city. Cruise the Sunset Strip; check out the entertainment hot spots on Hollywood Boulevard, or journey through the city’s historic, cultural and architectural roots along Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles is a city of suburbs that includes Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Anaheim, stretching east into the California desert. Enjoy classic boardwalk fun on the historic Santa Monica Pier, visit “the Mouse” at Disneyland, window shop on Rodeo Drive, and take in any number of LA’s fabulous museums and attractions. The view from the Getty Center, sitting high above the city, is as spectacular as the art collection inside.

14

Santa Barbara

"95 miles"

Known as “The American Riviera,” the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara, nestled against the Santa Inez Mountains, has the sophistication of a city with the feel of a small community. Its fascinating history includes its founding by the famous Jesuit priest Father Junipero Serro in 1782 as one of a series of missions along the California coast. The Mission has been a working church since 1794 and is well worth a visit. The earthquake of 1925 forced a stricter building code that resulted in the lovely Spanish-Moorish architecture that draws visitors to downtown Santa Barbara today. Shopping becomes a sensory experience as you meander down cobbled streets and paseos into fragrant courtyards lined with unique boutiques and galleries. Complete your visit by basking in the Southern California sun on East Beach, one of the best beaches in the country, or touring Santa Barbara’s wine country, made famous in the movie Sideways.

15

Pismo Beach

"81 miles"

On your way to Pismo Beach today, stop to explore the beautiful Guadalupe Sand Dunes, a National Natural Landmark and the largest undisturbed tract of coastal dunes in Southern California. The Dunes Discovery Center provides directions to access points along the dunes and general information about this unique natural resource. At nearby Oso Flaco Lake, a beautiful bridge over a rare coastal freshwater lake leads to a boardwalk through the dunes to a viewing platform with wonderful views of the coast.

When you arrive in Pismo Beach, you’ll find this classic California beach town has it all, from gorgeous surf to fabulous wineries.

16

Monterey

"157 miles"

As you travel north on the Pacific Coast Highway today, plan to spend plenty of time visiting the spectacular Hearst Castle, officially the San Simeon National Historic State Park. Perched atop "La Cuesta Encantada," The Enchanted Hill, the "camp" that William Randolph Hearst built overlooks the majestic Pacific coast. By 1947, the country house had 165 rooms on 127 fully landscaped acres, along with two stunning swimming pools and several outbuildings. For peek inside this California landmark, take the Experience Tour, which includes portions of the main house, the 18-room guesthouse, both swimming pools, and the esplanade and gardens.

Continuing on towards Monterey, you'll encounter several California State Parks, including Julia Pfeiffer State Park, the Andrew Molera State Park and the Point Sur State Historic Park, as well as wonderful beaches. When you reach Monterey, you'll be captivated by its legendary charm and beauty. John Steinbeck drew inspiration from area landmarks such as Cannery Row, which today is a delightful shopping district. The National John Steinbeck Center is in nearby Salinas. Popular Monterey attractions include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Old Monterey, and Old Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure to sample the seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl!

18

San Francisco & Home

"107 miles"

Time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and last morning in the Monterey and Carmel area, before heading back to San Francisco Airport this afternoon for your overnight flight home.


What's included?

  • Direct return flights from London (Please ask us about other departure airports)
  • 17 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire (Larger vehicles and GPS available at a supplement)
  • A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps

Optional extras

  • Alcatraz Tour (Due to the popularity of this tour we HIGHLY recommend pre booking in high season)
  • Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

How to book

Daily Departures 27 April to 26 October (Also available on other dates subject to a change of route in the Yosemite area because of seasonal road closures).

We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your travel dates, and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed & competitively priced quotation.

ClassicSouthWesternSplendours

Classic South Western Splendours

The desert southwest is full of drama, twisted shapes, weathered buttes, red rock canyons and ancient cultures all discovered as you travel from one must-see site to another. Natural wonders and rich human history are your constant traveling companions as you experience the serenity of Sedona, the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the spectacular landscapes of Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon, and the natural splendor of Zion National Park. As you conclude your trip amidst the lights and action of Las Vegas, you'll have taken a once-in-a-lifetime journey through one of the most intriguing regions of America.

PLEASE NOTE: If this particular tour is too long for you or alternatively, you have other stops in mind we can tailor a different length holiday or route to suit your requirements. Please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on (01892) 779900 for more advice or email us with your itinerary and we will be happy to assist in helping to plan your trip.

Not looking to drive so far? Why not let us suggest some alternative interesting routes with less mileage for you.

Highlights Include

  • Phoenix and Sedona
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Canyon de Chelly
  • Monument Valley
  • Lake Powell
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park
  • Las Vegas

Itinerary

1

Phoenix

Arriving in Phoenix today, you'll instantly be captivated by the Valley of the Sun. This multi-cultural, historical and rapidly growing metropolitan area, which began as a small town in the middle of the desert, gets 360 days of sunshine a year, and has heritage, entertainment and recreation to spare.

Experience the splendor of the Victorian era at Historic Heritage Park, view one of the finest displays of Native American art at the renowned Heard Museum, and wander through the specialty plants and flowers at the Desert Botanical Garden. You'll find fabulous shopping in nearby Scottsdale. Enjoy two days in this unique area, throughout which you'll see the architectural influence of Frank Lloyd Wright complementing the striking landscape of the Sonoran Desert.

3

Sedona

"115 miles"

On your way to Sedona today, stop to explore the ruins of ancient Native American civilizations at Montezuma's Castle and the Palatkai Ruins. These early inhabitants had gathered around the healing springs and gardens at Sedona long before Europeans arrived. As you travel past striking red rock formations with names like Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, make use of the frequent pull-offs that enable awe-struck drivers to safely take in the views!

Your two days in this mystical place can be filled with activity, with visits to Slide Rock and Red Rock State Parks, a scenic drive along the Oak Creek Canyon, and hiking through the spectacular landscape, or with complete relaxation in an incredibly serene environment. Spend an afternoon wandering through the Tlaqupaque Arts & Crafts Village, a Sedona landmark and a unique shopping experience.

5

Grand Canyon

"143 miles"

Get ready for the magnificence of the Grand Canyon today, truly a wonder among natural wonders. Take the free shuttle bus from the Canyon Plaza Visitor Center to some of the best viewpoints along the South Rim, or enjoy the 25-mile Desert View scenic self-drive. Visit the Yavapai Observation Station, the Tusayan Museum, and the Kolb Brothers Studio for more fabulous views and a glimpse of the cultural heritage and history of the Grand Canyon.

Treat yourself to a helicopter ride over the North and South Rims of the Canyon for thrilling bird's eye views of the Colorado River more than a mile below.

7

Chinle / Canyon de Chelley

"230 miles"

Unique among National Park Service areas, Canyon de Chelly is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land, which is still home to the Navajo canyon communities. Well-preserved Anasazi ruins reveal the culture of the ancient peoples who lived in the area, ancestors of the present day Navajo.

While you may drive the Canyon rim on your own, you must have a Navajo guide to hike or drive inside the Canyon. Thunderbird Tours, the National Park Service official guide service at Canyon de Chelly, offers a variety of guided tours that are worth taking for the information, access, and unique perspective the guide provides. Ancient and living history, extensive rock art and distinctive architecture make Canyon de Chelly one of the most significant stops on your journey.

8

Monument Valley

"128 miles"

If the dramatic landscape around Monument Valley seems familiar, you've likely seen a lot of Western movies. The flat, often desolate landscape, punctuated with striking buttes and mesas, has formed the backdrop of many a John Wayne film and more. Visit Goulding's Museum for a look at movie-making in Monument Valley and a history of the peoples who have called it home.

For the best views of the area, take the park's 17- mile Valley Drive, a dirt road beginning at the visitor center and heading southeast past spectacular towering cliffs and mesas. Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park, and still very much home to the Navajo. The tribe maintains the visitor center, provides tours, and preserves the land for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Enjoy a very full day here.

9

Lake Powell

"121 miles"

On the way to Lake Powell today, keep an eye out for the spectacular Vermillion Cliffs on the left-hand side of the road. As you look up at the 3,000-foot escarpment, you may be able to make out some of the distinct geologic formations contained within the cliffs.

Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the country, longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States. The lake lies within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which was established to protect the Colorado Plateau, a vast landscape of colorful buttes, mesas, canyons, and cliffs. To explore the area's 96 major canyons, rent a watercraft or sit back and relax on a tour boat cruise. Glen Canyon also offers tremendous hiking and biking opportunities in its 1.2 million acre wilderness.

10

Bryce Canyon National Park

"152 miles"

Some of the most bizarre and extraordinary natural architecture awaits you today at Bryce Canyon National Park. Slot canyons, windows, fins, and the famous spires called "hoodoos" have been created over millennia by the forces of nature. The colorful and whimsically arranged rocks form a landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable. Take a horse or mule tour deep into the canyon. For a spectacular view of the entire Park, as well as the Kaibab Plateau at the Grand Canyon, drive or take the free shuttle out to Rainbow Point at the southernmost end of the park.

11

Zion National Park

"86 miles"

You'll have time to explore more of Bryce Canyon this morning before continuing on to Zion National Park, just a short drive away. Zion is a true desert paradise. The beautiful Virgin River carved Zion Canyon, the park's centerpiece, more than 2,000 feet deep in places. Light plays upon the sandstone canyon walls, plateaus, and monoliths in an ever-changing array of color. A free shuttle travels throughout the park, beginning at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The Zion Human History Museum is well worth visiting for its exhibits on the park's rich geologic and human history.

13

Las Vegas

"165 miles"

From magnificent natural wonders to America's playground! Welcome to Las Vegas, a city created to provide non-stop entertainment. Enjoy two days in this fantastic city, wandering The Strip, enjoying show after show, taking in the view from the Eiffel Tower or catching an adrenaline rush on the Stratosphere thrill ride. For a break from the action, tour the world-famous Hoover Dam, or go for a hike or scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Museum lovers will enjoy the Imperial Auto Museum, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and the Liberace Museum. Whatever you choose to do, remember that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!"

15

Depart

Enjoy another full day in Las Vegs before you depart later today. As you leave for home, know that you've experienced the trip of a lifetime in the American Southwest.


What's included?

  • Direct return flights from London
  • 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire
  • A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps

How to book

Daily Year Round Departures.

We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your travel dates, and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed & competitively priced quotation.

CanyonlandsoftheAmericanWest

Canyonlands of the American West

They give you some of the most ethereal natural light shows, plunging depths and surreal land forms, out doing the bright lights of Vegas, ten to one. Welcome to Canyonlands, where Mother Nature put on her best sculptors apron and worked tirelessly for millenniums to bring you the best scenery. You'll begin this intriguing journey at the magnificent Grand Canyon which, at 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep in some places, is truly the granddaddy of natural wonders. You'll find the rock formations at Zion National Park and the "hoodoos" at Bryce Canyon National Park no less dramatic. You'll marvel at the dramatic natural architecture within Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Canyon de Chelly National Parks, and exploring the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you'll understand the power of raging water to transform the earth. Approaching Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, you'll need to pull over to fully appreciate the spectacular rock formations that have names like Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. Enjoy it all, it's the only landscape like in the world.

PLEASE NOTE: If this tour is too long for you or alternatively, you have other stops in mind we can tailor a different length holiday or route to suit your requirements. Please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on (01892) 779900 for more advice or email us with your itinerary and we will be happy to assist in helping to plan your trip.

Not looking to drive so far? Why not let us suggest some alternative routes with less mileage for you?

Highlights Include

  • Las Vegas
  • Grand Canyon
  • Lake Powell
  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Canyonlands & Arches National Parks
  • Moab
  • Monument Valley
  • Canyon de Chelly
  • Sedona
  • Scottsdale and Phoenix

Itinerary

1

Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas, a city created to provide non-stop entertainment. Enjoy two days here, wandering The Strip, enjoying shows, taking in the Eiffel Tower or catching an adrenaline rush on the Stratosphere. For a break from the action, tour the world-famous Hoover Dam, or, for a preview of the natural wonders to come, go for a hike or scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Museum lovers will enjoy the Imperial Auto Museum, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and the Liberace Museum, to name just a few. Whatever you choose to do, remember that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!"

3

Grand Canyon

"277 miles"

The magnificent Grand Canyon awaits today. Take the free shuttle bus from the Canyon Plaza Visitor Center to some of the best viewpoints along the South Rim, or enjoy the 25-mile Desert View scenic self-drive. Visit the Yavapai Observation Station, the Tusayan Museum, and the Kolb Brothers Studio for more fabulous views and a perspective on the cultural heritage and history of the Grand Canyon. Treat yourself to a helicopter ride over the North and South Rims of the Canyon for thrilling bird's eye views of the Colorado River more than a mile below.

4

Lake Powell / Glen Canyon

"146 miles"

Keep an eye out for spectacular Vermillion Cliffs on the left today as you head for Lake Powell. Viewing the 3,000-foot escarpment, you may be able discern distinct geologic formations contained within the cliffs. Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the country, longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States. The lake lies within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, established to protect the Colorado Plateau. It's easiest to explore the area's 96 major canyons by watercraft or tour boat. There are also hiking and biking opportunities in the 1.2 million acres wilderness.

5

Zion National Park

"112 miles"

On the way to Zion National Park today, plan to take a detour on the Kaibab to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Once you reach Zion, you'll recognize immediately, it is a true desert paradise. The beautiful Virgin River carved Zion Canyon, the park's centerpiece, more than 2,000 feet deep in places. Located along the edge of a region known as the Colorado Plateau, the park comprises one step of the Grand Staircase, a series of rock layers formed from different materials as the land slowly transformed. The bottom layer of Bryce Canyon is the top layer at Zion and the bottom layer at Zion is the top layer at the Grand Canyon.

Watch as the light plays on the sandstone, plateaus, and monoliths in an ever-changing array of color. Explore the park on the free Zion Park Shuttle which makes eight stops at major locations throughout the park. The Grotto and Weeping Rock can be reached by a quarter-mile hiking trail off the route. The Zion Human History Museum is well worth visiting for its exhibits on the park's rich geologic and human history.

7

Bryce Canyon National Park

"86 miles"

You'll have time to explore more of Zion this morning before continuing on to Bryce Canyon National Park, just a short drive away. Some of the most bizarre and extraordinary natural architecture anywhere is found here. Slot canyons, windows, fins, and the famous spires called "hoodoos" have been created over millennia by the forces of nature. The colorful and whimsically arranged rocks form a landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable. Take a horse or mule tour deep into the canyon. For a spectacular view of the entire Park, as well as the Kaibab Plateau at the Grand Canyon, drive or take the free shuttle out to Rainbow Point at the southernmost end of the park.

8

Capitol Reef National Park

"109 miles"

As water has eroded the sandstone layers, it has left basins known as "waterpockets." Named for the white domes of Navajo sandstone that resemble capitol buildings and for the rocky cliffs that act as barriers to travel, Capitol Reef is the most scenic part of the Waterpocket Fold. You can see for yourself on three scenic drives through the park. Travel the 10-mile Scenic Drive from the Visitor Center along the rugged western face of Capitol Reef. Explore the southern Waterpocket district on a 125-mile loop tour that includes side trips on spur roads and a number of hiking trails. The Cathedral Valley drive is a 60-mile loop that begins at the River Ford Visitors Center and includes Thousand Lake Mountain Road, known for its exceptional views of the surrounding painted desert. Along the way, keep an eye out for the myriad of wildlife that makes its home here; loons, hawks, falcons, boas, lizards and salamanders. A tour of Fruita, a 200-acre pioneer settlement that includes historic orchards and the old Fruita Schoolhouse, provides a glimpse of the park's human history.

9

Moab/Canyonlands & Arches National Park

"156 miles"

Carved out of vast sedimentary rock deposits, Canyonlands National Park possesses remarkable natural features that are part of a unique desert ecosystem. The foundation of the park geology is visible everywhere in cliff profiles that reveal millions of years of deposit, erosion and other geologic events. Island in the Sky is the easiest and most accessible district to visit in a short period of time. (On a foggy day, you'll understand the reason for its name, as the rock appears to float above the clouds.) The area offers expansive views from many overlooks along the paved scenic drive. Plan to drive out to Grand View Point as well as other overlooks perched 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Several short trails, including Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome and Aztec Butte, lead to interesting natural and cultural resources. If time permits, there are many other things to see and do in the Moab area, including some excellent museums, Rock Art sites, Dead Horse Point State Park and self-guided driving tours to the sites of some well-known movie scenes.

11

Monument Valley

"150 miles"

Before leaving the Moab area, visit Arches National Park, where incredible forces of nature have sculpted the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Two drives through the park take you to a number of exceptional viewpoints, including Delicate Arch Viewpoint from where you can see the park's most famous arch at a distance. Take a moment to get out of the car and walk under the two largest arches, North Window and Double Arch, for a truly up close and personal experience. If you prefer to hike, there are trails to the park's highlights that take from 1-1/2 hours to a half a day. We suggest that you do the longer hikes early or late in the day to avoid the mid-summer heat.

Before leaving the Moab area, visit Arches National Park, where incredible forces of nature have sculpted the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Two drives through the park take you to a number of exceptional viewpoints, including Delicate Arch Viewpoint from where you can see the park’s most famous arch at a distance. Take a moment to get out of the car and walk under the two largest arches, North Window and Double Arch, for a truly up close and personal experience. If you prefer to hike, there are trails to the park’s highlights that take from 1-1/2 hours to a half a day. We suggest that you do the longer hikes early or late in the day to avoid the mid-summer heat.

Continue to Moab – lying near the Colorado river in a green valley, enclosed by high sandstone cliffs. The town makes an ideal base for exploring Arches and Canyonland National Parks. Prehistoric Fremont and Anasazi Indians once lived and farmed in the bottoms of the canyons around Moab. Their rock art, granaries, and dwellings can still be seen in the area. In recent years Moab has become synonymous with Mountain Biking, river trips on the Colorado, horse back riding, four wheel jeep tours and hot air ballooning. The newest tourist attraction is a 12 minute tramway, which lifts you up 1,000 feet to the top of the redrock rims that flank the city, you can take a bike on the skyway and leisurely ride down, or take one of the many walking trails from the top.

12

Chinle/Canyon de Chelly

"96 miles"

Unique among National Parks, Canyon de Chelly is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land, still home to Navajo communities. Well-preserved Anasazi ruins reveal the culture of the ancient peoples who were ancestors of the present day inhabitants.

While you may drive the Canyon rim on your own, you must have a Navajo guide to hike or drive inside the Canyon. Thunderbird Tours, the National Park Service official guide service at Canyon de Chelly, offers a variety of guided tours that are worth taking for the information, access, and unique perspective the guide provides. Ancient and living history, extensive rock art and distinctive architecture make Canyon de Chelly one of the most intriguing stops on your journey.

13

Sedona

"241 miles"

On your way to Sedona today, stop to explore the ruins of ancient civilizations at Montezuma's Castle and the Palatkai Ruins. These early inhabitants were gathering around the healing springs and gardens at Sedona long before Europeans arrived. As you travel past striking red rock formations with names like Coffee Pot, Cathedral Rock, Thunder Mountain, and Bell Rock, make use of the frequent pull-offs that enable awe-struck drivers to safely take in the views!

In keeping with the theme of this trip, we recommend that you visit Oak Creek Canyon, world renowned for its spectacular beauty. Colorful rocks and unusual scenery accompany you down a series of switchbacks into the canyon, where you'll be met by crimson cliffs and crystal pools. You can experience the canyon entirely by car, or you can get out and hike, picnic, stand in awe, or cool off in a watering hole along the way.

The rest of your time in this mystical place can be filled with activity, visiting Slide Rock and Red Rock State Parks and hiking through the spectacular landscape, or with complete relaxation in an incredibly serene environment. Spend an afternoon wandering through the Tlaqupaque Arts & Crafts Village, a Sedona landmark and a unique shopping experience.

15

Scottsdale

"126 miles"

Arriving into the Phoenix area today, you’ll instantly be captivated by the Valley of the Sun. This multi-cultural, historical and rapidly growing metropolitan area, which began as a small town in the middle of the desert, gets 360 days of sunshine a year, and has heritage, entertainment and recreation to spare.

Experience the splendour of the Victorian era at Historic Heritage Park, view one of the finest displays of Native American art at the renowned Heard Museum, and wander through the specialty plants and flowers at the Desert Botanical Garden. You’ll find fabulous shopping in nearby Scottsdale. Enjoy two days in this unique area, throughout which you’ll see the architectural influence of Frank Lloyd Wright complementing the striking landscape of the Sonoran Desert.

16

Phoenix and Home

"8 miles"

Enjoy another leisurely day in Scottsdale or Phoenix before you depart later today. As you leave for home, know that you’ve experienced the trip of a lifetime in the Canyonlands of the American West.


What's included?

  • Direct return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
  • 15 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire
  • A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps

How to book

Daily Departures Year Round (subject to seasonal road closures).

We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your travel dates, and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed & competitively priced quotation.

NationalParksofSouthernCalifornia

National Parks of Southern California

Views of southern California are often stereotypical. This one will change your mind. The immense and incredibly diverse lower half of California takes you from crashing waves and barking seals to high and dry desert, with towering redwoods, the lowest spot in North America, castles and ghost towns in between. In contrast to beaches and surfboards, southern California has Sequoia/King Canyon National Park, with the largest redwoods in North America, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave Desert Preserve, teeming with desert life. Channel Islands National Park lies just off the lush Pacific Coast Highway. Each location presents a totally unique view of nature and together, form a microcosm of nature's finest.

PLEASE NOTE: If this particular tour is too long for you or alternatively, you have other stops in mind we can tailor a different length holiday or route to suit your requirements. Please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on (01892) 779900 for more advice or email us with your itinerary and we will be happy to assist in helping to plan your trip.

Not looking to drive so far? Why not let us suggest some alternative routes or instead book a short Domestic flight between San Francisco and Las Vegas or Los Angeles. There are NO one way drop fees on car hire in California so you really can start and end your Grand Tour of the West just about anywhere!

Highlights Include

  • Los Angeles
  • Ventura
  • The Channel Islands National Park
  • Ojai
  • Pismo Beach
  • Highway 1
  • Monterey
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Death Valley
  • Las Vegas
  • Palm Springs

Itinerary

1

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city of suburbs that includes Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Anaheim, stretching east into the California desert. Enjoy classic boardwalk fun on the historic Santa Monica Pier, visit "the Mouse" at Disneyland, window shop on Rodeo Drive, and take in any number of LA's fabulous museums and attractions. The view from the Getty Center, sitting high above the city, is as spectacular as the art collection inside. Driving in Los Angeles is a way of life and a great way to see the city. So roll down the windows and head out on one of the fabulous scenic drives around town. Cruise the Sunset Strip, check out the entertainment hot spots on Hollywood Boulevard, or journey through the city's historic, cultural and architectural roots along Wilshire Boulevard. On your second day, take the ferry to scenic and historic Santa Catalina Island, less than an hour but a world away from Los Angeles.

3

Ventura

"68 miles"

The Real California. That's what you'll find in the relaxed and eclectic town of Ventura, where artists of every description and executives with surfboards comingle in the "land of endless summers." From the historic buildings turned into upscale shops and restaurants in vintage Downtown and the thriving art scene in funky Westside to Oceanside's classic Southern California beach front, you'll experience the best of authentic California all in one place. Year-round temperatures here average 70 degrees, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts with surfboards, kayaks, bicycles and hiking boots in tow. Los Padres National Forest, the Channel Islands National Park and the National Seashore are all within reach.

4

Ojai

"15 miles"

Plan to visit the unique and fascinating Channel Islands National Park today by boat from Ventura. Each of the five islands is a complete world of its own, and offers visitors a glimpse of the original California. You can get your bearings at the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor, or at two visitor contact stations on the islands. The various areas of the park are only accessible by boat and on foot, which keeps it one of the least visited National Parks in the country. Like the Galapagos Islands, the isolation of the Channel Islands has protected the fragile ecosystem and preserved species that can be seen no where else on earth. Its archaeological treasures include some of oldest human remains found in North America and record 10,000 years of human occupation. When you have your land legs back, make the short drive to Ojai for a night at the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, set in exquisite surroundings.

5

Pismo Beach

"136 miles"

A scenic route through the Los Padres National Forest takes you to the fascinating and unusual Carrizo Plain National Monument today, en route back to the coast. A glistening salt lake, vast grasslands that are home to diverse flora and fauna, and the mountains that surround are traversed by San Andreas Fault, whose tremendous effect is seen here as in ridges and ravines. The scenic drive continues to Santa Maria, in the foothills of Santa Barbara wine country, before heading up the coast to Pismo Beach. When you arrive in Pismo Beach, you'll find this classic California beach town has it all, from gorgeous surf and sunsets to fabulous galleries and wineries.

6

Monterey

"154 miles"

As you travel north on the Pacific Coast Highway today, plan to spend plenty of time visiting the spectacular Hearst Castle, officially the San Simeon National Historic State Park. Perched atop "La Cuesta Encantada," The Enchanted Hill, the 165-room "camp" that William Randolph Hearst built overlooks the majestic Pacific coast. Take the Experience Tour, which includes portions of the main house, the 18-room guesthouse, both swimming pools, and the esplanade and gardens.

Continuing on towards Monterey, you'll encounter several California State Parks, including Julia Pfeiffer State Park, the Andrew Molera State Park and the Point Sur State Historic Park, as well as wonderful beaches. When you reach Monterey, you'll be captivated by its legendary charm and beauty. Popular Monterey attractions include Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Old Monterey, and Old Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure to sample the seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl! The National John Steinbeck Center is in nearby Salinas.

7

Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park via Fresno

"204 miles"

As you travel inland from the coast today, you have the opportunity to view the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano at Pinnacles National Monument. Millions of years of geologic action have created massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages that are sure to render you speechless. Bear Gulch Cave is home to a colony of Townsend's big-eared bats, a "sensitive species" that hibernates here in the winter and raises their young in the spring. The monument also is a release site for endangered California condors, which you might catch sight of while hiking one the park's 30 scenic trails. In Fresno, you'll experience a region where agriculture still reigns supreme, where farmers markets, fruit stands and vineyards are commonplace and scenic drives introduce you to flowering orchards, citrus groves, vineyards and historical sites.

A short loop between Fresno and Visalia takes you through Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, a complete contrast to the Southern California desert. The General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on Earth, grows in the Giant Forest, home to five of the ten largest trees in the world. The lower elevations around Ash Mountain contain the only National Park Service protected California Foothills ecosystem, consisting of blue oak woodlands, foothills chaparral, grasslands, yucca plants, and steep, mild river valleys. The foothills region is also home to abundant wildlife including bobcats, fox, rattlesnakes and mule deer, and much more rarely, mountain lions.

In higher elevations in the Park, winter snowfalls determine which plants survive. The mighty Sequoia trees, the most massive living trees on earth thrive here. Between the trees, spring and summer snowmelts fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows.

9

Death Valley

"326 miles"

Today is a day of contrasts, as you travel through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Death Valley National Park, the lowest, driest, hottest point in the country. Although the landscape is barren and forbidding in much of the park, snow-capped mountains rise to 11,000 feet, beautiful sand dunes glisten in the sun, and more than 1,000 species of plants make Death Valley home. At night and at higher elevations, a multitude of animals emerge and thrive. Explore Badwater Basin and Devil's Golf Course, and take the Artist's Drive, a 9-mile loop with lovely views. The Borax Museum tells the story of the famous product that was hauled out of the desert to California markets. Don't miss Scotty's Castle, a fantasy house that "Death Valley Scotty" told everyone he built. A guided tour tells the real story.

10

Las Vegas

"141 miles"

Who turned on the lights?! Welcome to Las Vegas, a city created to provide non-stop entertainment. Enjoy two days in this fantastic city, wandering The Strip, enjoying show after show, taking in the view from the Eiffel Tower or catching an adrenaline rush on the Stratosphere. For a break from the action, tour the world-famous Hoover Dam, or go for a hike or scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Museum lovers will enjoy the Imperial Auto Museum, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and the Liberace Museum. Whatever you choose to do, remember that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!"

12

Nipton

"64 miles"

It's a short drive to Nipton in the Mojave National Preserve, so you can explore a bit more of Las Vegas before heading back into California today. An historic nineteenth century western mining and ranching town, Nipton serves as a welcoming gateway to the Mojave Desert. The adobe Hotel Nipton was built in the Spanish Territorial style in the early 1900s; a wrap-around covered porch provides a relaxing place for guests to sit and gaze out at the desert and the night sky. During the day, take advantage of the great hiking, rock climbing, land sailing, and boating within the Preserve. You can pick up guidebooks, maps, drinking water and supplies for desert travel, as well as Native American crafts and gifts at The Nipton Trading Post.

13

Palm Springs

"238 miles"

Stock up on drinking water at the Trading Post in Nipton in preparation for today's journey all the way through the Mojave National Preserve. As you travel past cinder cones, lava flows, Joshua trees, Granite Mountains, and the "singing" Kelso Dunes, the Preserve's spectacular scenery may seem surreal. Stranger still are the ghost towns of Kelso and Amboy, left behind as the world moved on at a faster pace. Stop at the historic Kelso Depot Visitor Center, and at the Cima Store for a cold drink.

After a day in the desert, Palm Springs will feel like a true oasis. Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the mountain for a fantastic view over the city; you can even do their "Ride and Dine" package that includes a high-altitude dinner. There are many miles of hiking trails, including a one-mile nature walk through picturesque Long Valley, located just behind the Tram's Mountain Station.

Nearby Joshua Tree National Park is a must-see. Exploring its unique high and low desert landscapes and historic sites will give you insight into the ingenuity it took early ranchers to survive and prosper in this unique environment. The park is actually the combination of two large deserts. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert in the eastern half of the Park is dominated by the abundant creosote bush. The higher, slightly cooler, and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined Joshua Tree. The land forms were and still are shaped by strong winds, sudden torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable, streambeds are usually dry, and waterholes few.

Plan to tour Keys Ranch, which is representative of the cattle ranches that once dominated this desert area. We also recommend you visit the Cottonwood Visitor Center for a different perspective on the park and its landscape. One of the park's best kept secrets, Cottonwood Spring Oasis is named for a natural spring that resulted from earthquake activity. The spring was used for centuries by the local Cahuilla Indians, who left artifacts in the area that include bedrock mortars and clay pots.

15

Los Angeles

"124 miles"

As you head back to Los Angeles today, you'll be driving the very scenic Route 74. A detour on the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway provides spectacular views of the full spectrum of Southern California ecosystems, from craggy mountains to clusters of desert palms, conifer forests, snow-capped mountains and urban valleys.

Continuing west to the coast, you'll instantly see why Dana Point's motto is "Harboring the Good Life." Thousands of boats bob on the waves at the pier, while miles of coastal bluffs and rolling hills overlook the ocean. The last leg of your journey is a classic coastal drive through Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Long Beach before returning to the bright lights of Los Angeles.

As you leave for home, know that you've experienced the trip of a lifetime in the National Parks, Preserves and Monuments of Southern California.


What's included?

  • Direct return flights from London
  • 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire
  • A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps

How to book

Daily Year Round Departures.

We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your travel dates, and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed & competitively priced quotation.

CaliforniaWineCountry

California Wine Country

You've heard of the Napa Valley. The movie Sideways put Santa Barbara on the map. But you haven't experienced California Wine Country until you've tasted the artisan, hand-crafted Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of the Petaluma Gap or the deep, rich Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots that come out of Paso Robles. Sonoma, "wine country with a coast," offers up spectacular scenery along with its world-famous wines, making it a delight for all the senses. The Mediterranean climate in the Napa Valley produces the best wine-grape growing conditions in North America. In between tasting sessions at some of the country's best known wineries – and best kept secrets – you'll drive breathtakingly scenic roads, discover fascinating historic sites, and relax in the gorgeous coastal towns of Monterrey, Pismo Beach and Santa Cruz. Beginning and ending in San Francisco, this journey introduces you to the best of California Wine Country and so much more. So grab your pour, swirl it around, and inhale – Cheers!

PLEASE NOTE: If this particular tour is too long for you or alternatively, you have other stops in mind we can tailor a different length holiday or route to suit your requirements. Please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on (01892) 779900 for more advice or email us with your itinerary and we will be happy to assist in helping to plan your trip.

Not looking to drive so far? Why not let us suggest some other alternative routes with less mileage? There are NO One Way drop fees on car hire in California so you really can start and end your journey just about anywhere!

Highlights Include

  • San Francisco
  • Petaluma
  • Santa Rosa
  • Healdsburg
  • Napa & Sonoma
  • Monterey
  • Santa Cruz
  • Highway 1

Itinerary

1

San Francisco

The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge welcomes you to San Francisco, the most-visited and beloved American city. Prepare to lose your heart as you explore delightful and diverse neighborhoods, take in breathtaking views from the tops of crooked streets, wander through Fisherman's Wharf, and sample a fabulous variety of cuisines.

Begin your stay in San Francisco by walking the Barbary Coast Trail, a wonderful 3.8-mile overview of the city ranging from Nob Hill to Ghirardelli Square. Spend a day exploring the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Muir Woods and more. Jump on the ferry at Pier 39 for a trip to Alcatraz, the famous island prison that also has spectacular gardens, bird colonies, and views of San Francisco Bay. Stop in one of Boudin's famous sourdough bakeries for a true taste of San Francisco, and be sure to visit Chinatown for great food and atmosphere to match.

3

Petaluma

"39 miles"

Just an hour's drive from San Francisco lays the delightfully historic town of Petaluma, surrounded by four of Northern California's great wine regions: Sonoma, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley.

You'll have the opportunity to explore three of these over the next few days as you travel throughout the region. Today, focus on the wineries in the Petaluma Gap, which take advantage of the unique climatic and geographic conditions to produce outstanding Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot varieties. Adobe Roads Winery, Keller Estate, Corda Winery, and Kastania Vineyards are some of the labels that make up the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance.

This evening, enjoy a self-guided walking tour of Petaluma's Historic Downtown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its collection of Victorian and turn-of-the-century Iron Front Buildings, and the Trees of Petaluma, a remarkable assortment of native, species and heritage trees.

4

Santa Rosa

"17 miles"

Not far from Petaluma, Santa Rosa marks the beginning of Sonoma County wine country. More than 200 superb wineries are within 20 minutes in any direction, in spectacular surroundings that range from beautiful coastal villages to fragrant redwood forests. You'll be traveling deep into Sonoma County later in the trip, so you may wish to visit those vineyards that are closest to Santa Rosa today. Stop in at the California Welcome Center for wine country maps, coupons, and assistance in planning your route or booking a guided tour. When hunger strikes, you'll find that Sonoma's restaurant scene rivals its vineyards. As Guy Fieri, celebrity chef and Food Network star says of his hometown, "Sonoma County is the epicenter of the California wine and food scene, it offers it all – 5-diamond, 4-star, Gold Medals and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives...the action is laid back and the vibe is genuine." Enjoy!

5

Healdsburg

"15 miles"

Another short drive takes you to picturesque Healdsburg, a delightful village with a town square packed with gourmet cafes, wine shops, bookstores and a wonderful farmers market – a lovely place to begin or end a day of wine tasting. You'll find more than 20 vineyards in Healdsburg, from the ever-popular Simi Winery to the family-run Sausal Winery, which produces "simple, everyday wine for simple, everyday folks." Visit Hop Kiln Winery, located in a former brewery, Ferrari-Carano, with its grand gardens and majestic tasting rooms, Field Stone Winery, built into the hillside, and many more. Keep your energy up with a plate of fish tacos around at El Farolito, a rock shrimp salad at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill, or a prosciutto sandwich at the Dry Creek General Store.

6

Calistoga

"26 miles"

What better combination could there be than wine and hot springs? Welcome to Calistoga, where more than a dozen spas, thermal springs and mud baths give the town the title "Spa Capitol of Northern California." After a treatment or two, you may be so relaxed that you consider putting the vineyards on hold! However, with two excellent Napa Valley wineries right in Calistoga, you can have the best of both worlds. Schramsberg, "America's First House of Sparkling Wine," was founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, a native of the Rhine Valley in Germany. Its great history includes a visit from Robert Lewis Stevenson in the early 1880s, who admittedly – and happily – tasted all 18 of the vineyard's wines. Castello di Amorosa brings the taste of Italy to the Napa Valley, in its wines and its architecture. An award-winning reproduction of an Italian castle houses the winery and private tasting rooms, nearly eclipsing the vineyard's superb Italian style wines.

7

Napa

"27 miles"

You'll get a true appreciation for the Napa Valley today as you travel from Calistoga to Napa today on California Highway 29, arguably the most scenic road through the valley. Traveling down the center of the valley, you'll pass through valley towns and past some of the most famous wineries in the region. En route, stop for an olive oil tour in St. Helena, located in the heart of Napa Valley, and lunch at Yountville, the "Culinary Capital of the Napa Valley." When you arrive in Napa, head for the Napa Convention and Visitors Bureau to purchase a Taste Napa Downtown Card. The card enables you to taste wines at 14 downtown tasting rooms, within walking distance of each other for as little as 10¢. You'll sample a diverse selection of Napa Valley wines from world-famous vineyards and boutique wineries. To visit the wineries themselves, consider booking a guided tour or hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train for a unique wine tasting and culinary experience. Stretch your legs on a self-guided walking tour of Napa's charming neighborhoods and historic sites, including more pre-1906 buildings than any other city in the Bay area. Italianate, Victorian Gothic, Spanish Colonial, Classical Revival, and Art Deco style buildings give Napa a robust character.

9

Sonoma

"15 miles"

After you've finished your sipping for the day, it's time to head for Sonoma. Located in the heart of one of the world's premier wine producing regions, Sonoma is a working town with a rich cultural heritage. The city served as the capital of the "Bear Flag Republic" after Mexican General Vallejo was captured. Learn this intriguing story and more at Sonoma State Historic Park location of La Casa Grande, and where he was taken prisoner and the Sonoma Barracks which have hosted Mexican, Bear Flag Party and US military troops. The building was remodeled in 1860 into a winery. Next to the Barracks, the Toscano Hotel, constructed about 1850, has been furnished to appear at it did during that time period.

The Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma was consecrated in 1823 by a young, impatient and ambitious Father who intended to close down the missions in San Francisco and San Rafael. He sought to move the residents to Sonoma, where he could get plenty of water, wood, stone and other building and agricultural materials.

The Depot Park Museum, housed in the reconstructed Northwestern Pacific Railroad Depot, illustrates the fascinating story of Sonoma's history, including the Bear Flag Revolt. Nearby, stroll around 8 acre Sonoma Plaza, the town's centerpiece and largest Town Square of its kind in California.

10

Monterey

"160 miles"

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway One, is one the great scenic drives in America. Traveling this road to Monterey today, you'll be delighted by the sight of rugged cliffs and crashing waves, and recognize why this road is considered a destination in itself. Passing through Half Moon Bay, you'll find a classic coastal town with miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, tide pools, and fragrant forests. Arriving in Monterey, you'll be captivated by its legendary charm and beauty. Popular attractions include Cannery Row, immortalized in John Steinbeck's novel of the same name, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Old Monterey, and Old Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure to sample the seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Literary enthusiasts will want to visit the National John Steinbeck Center in nearby Salinas. Relax and enjoy the change of scenery.

11

Pismo Beach

"154 miles"

As you travel further south on the Pacific Coast Highway today, you'll encounter Big Sur, one of the jewels in the crown of the American National Scenic Byways network. On this stretch of coastal road, you may see California condors, catch a glimpse of migrating gray, humpback and blue whales, and drive right up to the beach to view the native wildlife up close and personal. In San Simeon, you'll want to stop to visit the spectacular Hearst Castle, officially the San Simeon National Historic State Park. Perched atop "La Cuesta Encantada," The Enchanted Hill, the "camp" that William Randolph Hearst built overlooks the majestic Pacific coast. By 1947, the country house had 165 rooms on 127 fully landscaped acres, along with two stunning swimming pools and several outbuildings. For peek inside this California landmark, take the Experience Tour, which includes portions of the main house, the 18-room guesthouse, both swimming pools, and the esplanade and gardens. When you arrive in Pismo Beach, you'll find this classic California beach town has it all, from gorgeous surf and sunsets to fabulous galleries and wineries.

13

Paso Robles

"38 miles"

Paso Robles is being touted as the next great California wine country, and you'll soon see why. A "winemaking frontier" where experimentation is a way of life, where family-owned vineyards are the norm, and 200 vineyards offer a diversity of wines for every taste, Paso Robles is a very special California wine country experience. Hot days, cool nights, and a long growing season produce deep, rich reds with a velvety mouth feel, "voluptuous fruitiness" and an "unmistakable scent and taste of dark chocolate." Hire a guide and see for yourself.

Originally envisioned as a spa resort, Paso was built up around the healing hot springs that the native Salinan Indians introduced to the Franciscan padres in the 1700s. The friars planted the first vineyards around that time, although commercial vineyards weren't established until the 1880s. Paso is moving quickly forward but maintains its hard-working, down-to-earth character. The thermal waters are still on offer at the Paso Robles Inn and River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, and the circa 1890 City Park is still the heart of the town.

14

Santa Cruz

"136 miles"

Welcome to Surf City! Famous for its waves, Santa Cruz has 29 miles of sandy, sun-drenched beaches from which to learn to surf, people-watch, enjoy a campfire, watch the sun set or simply relax and soak up the sun. You can get out on the water by renting a kayak or windsurfer, or by booking a whale watching boat trip. In addition to the many water sports offered on the shore, Santa Cruz also offers inland sports such as hiking, biking, and that quintessential California sport: skateboarding! Stop in at the visitor center at 1211 Ocean Street for information on things to do and see in the area. There are concerts on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, wine tastings in the Santa Cruz Mountains, exhibits at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, sea lion shows off the wharf, walking tours and movies in Capitola Village, and hikes among the giant redwoods. If you are purely beach-bound, the Beach Area Visitor Center next to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf has all the information you need to make the most of your time in the sand. What a relaxing way to end your journey.

15

San Francisco/Depart

"61 miles"

As you leave for San Francisco Airport and begin your journey home, know that you've experienced the trip of a lifetime in California Wine Country.


What's included?

  • Direct return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
  • 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire
  • A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps

How to book

Daily Departures Year Round.

We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your travel dates, and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed & competitively priced quotation.

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