California & the Golden West
One of the longest-running of our original tours, this is still one of our most popular itineraries today. Travelling in a loop around California (and nudging into neighbouring Nevada and Arizona), it includes great cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco, drives along Route 66 and the Pacific coastal road, and the spectacular scenery of Yosemite National Park. We’ll also spend two nights in Flagstaff: gateway to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon.
- Los Angeles and Hollywood
- Sedona & the Grand Canyon
- Las Vegas
- Yosemite National Park
- San Francisco
- California Coast
Los Angeles - Redondo Beach
Take your direct flight to Los Angeles. On arrival, we’ll transfer to Redondo Beach.
Redondo Beach - Los Angeles - San Diego
We’ll stick to the coast for our first couple of days, starting in LA before winding our way south to San Diego. Guided tours will introduce us to some of both cities’ highlights - Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre (to see those all-important handprints), Balboa Park - and there’ll be plenty of time for you to relax and enjoy these seaside cities at your own pace.
San Diego - Scottsdale
We travel from California to Arizona, arriving in Scottsdale in the afternoon.
Scottsdale - Sedona - Oak Creek Canyon - Flagstaff
The desert scenery of Arizona is a complete contrast to the Californian coast - but just as beautiful. En route to Flagstaff, we’ll stop off at Oak Creek Canyon, a 16-mile river gorge. Take in the scenery (think pine forests, burnt-orange sandstone formations and dramatic buttes) and spend time in the artist colony of Sedona.
Flagstaff - Grand Canyon National Park - Flagstaff
Nothing can quite prepare you for your first sight of the Grand Canyon. This colossal geographical wonder is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep. Peer down and you’ll spot the silvery Colorado River flowing far below. Get your adrenaline pumping and take to the skies on an optional helicopter ride over the canyon, or pull up a rock and ponder the incredible view. However you choose to view it, this inspiring sight is sure to inspire the creative photographer in you so be sure to charge your camera ahead of our visit today.
Flagstaff - Williams - Las Vegas
Sin City. The Entertainment Capital of the World. City of Lights. Las Vegas is all of the above and more. After stopping off for a Wild West shootout at Williams, we arrive at this oasis of indulgence in the heart of the Mojave Desert. The city might seem a little overwhelming at first, but you don’t need to be a high roller or slots wizard to have fun here. Stop for a show (you’ll have plenty of choice!), visit Fremont Street - the ‘original’ Las Vegas - or walk along The Strip to soak up the weird and wonderful sights. You’ll have the chance to visit the Hoover Dam on a short morning excursion - a spectacular engineering achievement built in the 1930s.
Las Vegas - Calico - Visalia
We cross the Mojave Desert en route to Calico, a once-thriving centre of silver mining, now an enjoyable reminder of the days when cowboys roamed its streets. We pause in Visalia for the night.
Yosemite National Park - Modesto
Yosemite is the headliner of all America’s national parks - and we’ll spend the day exploring some of its best bits. This natural sanctuary is a real feast for the eyes and for the soul. Take a deep gulp of fresh air, gaze up at the craggy mountain views and walk by postcard-pretty lakes and verdant forests. We’ll stop to pose for a photo in front of El Capitan - an immense vertical rock formation and an icon of American wilderness. Waterfalls and streams, lakes and rivers, valleys and meadows - Yosemite is endlessly photogenic. After getting our fill of this natural wonder, we’ll continue west to Modesto.
Modesto - San Francisco
We’ll enjoy two nights in the ‘City by the Bay’, with a full day at leisure. On a guided tour, you’ll have the chance to sample delicious street food in China Town, wander through Union Square and admire the city skyline as you cross the famed Golden Gate Bridge. With a full day to spend as you please, there’s so much to see and do. There’s notorious Alcatraz (you’ll need to have booked this independently before you left the UK); you could wander up and down the iconic streets, including zig-zagging Lombard Street; or maybe walk around the eclectic district of Haight-Ashbury (the heart of America’s ‘counterculture’ in the 1960s), so beloved of hippies, artists, writers and musicians.
San Francisco - Monterey - Carmel - Big Sur - Cambria
Today we’ll make the epic drive from the old Spanish and Mexican capital of upper California, Monterey, to Cambria - a route which takes us along one of the loveliest roads in the world. 17 Mile Drive wiggles along the coastline of the Monterey peninsula, passing pebbled bays, craggy coves and cypress forests. We’ll stop for lunch in delightful Carmel, before continuing along the curving Big Sur coastline (the inspiration behind Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical novel).
Cambria - Santa Barbara - Redondo Beach
Santa Barbara - a town of natural beauty favoured by artists - is a ‘really great place’ (as the locals will proudly tell you). The pretty harbour promenade and palm-fringed streets are the perfect setting for a stop, en route to Redondo Beach for our final night.
Redondo Beach - Los Angeles & Home
We travel on to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
- Professional tour manager for the duration of the trip
- Deluxe air-conditioned motor-coach
- Standard accommodation throughout
- International flights from London (please ask if regional airports are required)
- Sightseeing as specified
Various departure dates from April to October 2021 - call us for an up-to-date list.