Discover the best of the American west on this tailor-made self-drive
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- Explore bohemian San Francisco, brash Las Vegas and beachside Santa Monica
- Swap Napa's vineyards for the barren landscapes of Death Valley
- Explore the rugged wilds of Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon
- 3 Nights San Francisco
- 2 Nights Napa Valley
- 2 Nights Yosemite National Park
- 1 Night Death Valley National Park
- 2 Nights Las Vegas
- 2 Nights Grand Canyon
- 1 Night Palm Springs
- 2 Nights Santa Monica
This itinerary in pictures
City | Food & wine | History & culture | Natural world | Self-drive
Covering many of the region's highlights, this memorable road trip starts in San Francisco, home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury and the magnificent redwood forests of nearby Marin County. Then, it's just a short hop north to Napa Valley's esteemed wineries and magnificent rural sweep. Next up is the beautiful Yosemite National Park followed by the austere desolation of Death Valley. Onwards to Nevada and the bright lights of Las Vegas – where anything goes – before relaxing amidst the spectacular scenery of the Grand Canyon. The final part of this incredible driving holiday will take you past the million-dollar mansions of celebrity-favourite, Palm Springs, and on to Santa Monica's iconic beachfront pier. Accommodation throughout the tour has been hand-picked for its location and to reflect the history, traditions and character of the region.
Day by day itinerary
UK to San Francisco
Depart the UK and arrive in San Francisco – the gateway to northern California and one of America's hippest cities. Make your way to your hotel before heading out to explore the city. A great way to get your bearings is to explore the Barbary Coast Trail, a four-mile stroll following bronze medallions connecting 20 of the San Francisco's most important locations.
Spend the next day exploring San Francisco. The Golden Gate Recreation area encompassing the areas to the north and south of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is worth a day in itself. Explore the coastal paths and stunning views across the bay to the city and the famous island prison of Alcatraz and drive out to Muir Woods, home to spectacular redwood trees.
Your third day in San Francisco affords the opportunity to take in even more of the city's many highlights. A trip out to Alcatraz is well worth it, or you may prefer to stay in the city and explore some of San Francisco's neighbourhoods such as Nob Hill or the bohemian enclave of Haight-Ashbury. A great option for exploring the whole of the city is the 49-mile scenic drive, which takes you from Cathedral Hill and China Town to Marina Green and the Palace of Fine Arts and for great views of the city drive to the top of 910-metre high Twin Peaks.
Stay: Abri Hotel (Standard) or The Argonaut (Superior)
Collect your hire car and drive to north to Napa Valley where acre upon acre of rolling vineyards, world-class wineries and pretty rural villages await. Most of the best-known wineries offer daily tours and tastings with the busiest time to visit between August and October when the grapes are harvested.
Enjoy a scenic drive along the historic Silverado Trail, which runs through the heart of the valley or maybe take a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train, a fantastic way to take in the scenery as well as enjoy a selection of fine local wines and gourmet cuisine.
Stay: River Terrace Inn (Superior) or The Meritage Resort & Spa (Superior)
Yosemite National Park
Enjoy a relaxing morning before heading inland to the world-heritage-listed Yosemite National Park. Known for its spectacular granite cliffs, lakes, waterfalls, streams and thick forests, Yosemite covers a vast 1,200-kilometre area and upwards of 800 miles of hiking trails. Spend the afternoon exploring the park and marvelling at some of the finest scenery in the western United States.
The next day is free to explore at your own pace. Yosemite National Park is best explored on foot, hiking and taking in the natural beauty as you go. For those who'd like to learn a little of the history of the national park, the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center shows how Yosemite's spectacular landscape was formed. Next door, the Yosemite Museum interprets the cultural history of the native peoples who originally inhabited the valley.
Between November–March, you will spend the first night in Majestic Yosemite Hotel before heading to the beautiful Sequoia National Park for a real winter experience. Stay: Wuksachi Lodge (Superior)
Stay: Evergreen Lodge (Superior) or Majestic Yosemite Hotel (Superior)
Just five to six hours' drive from the fertile forests of Yosemite National Park and the scenery changes undergoes a dramatic change – enter the moon-like landscapes of the Death Valley National Park, straddling the state borders of California and Nevada. The largest national park south of Alaska, Death Valley sits 282 feet below sea level, is surrounded by towering peaks, huge sand dunes and is dotted with gaping canyons.
Despite the name, more than 1,000 types of plant live within the park and, once the sun goes down and the temperature drops, the once empty landscape teems with life. A visit to the fascinating Furnace Creek visitors centre and museum explaining the history of the region is highly recommended.
Stay: The Inn & Ranch at Furnace Creek Resort, Death Valley (Standard)
From the sparse, barren landscapes of the Nevada desert, another of this region's great contrasts reveals itself. Las Vegas is a twenty-four-hour, no-holds-barred assault to the senses. Glittering hotels, super-casinos, bars, restaurants, billboards and endless neon lights all vie for space on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Spend a fun-filled day shopping, eating at world-class restaurants and maybe trying your hand at a spot of gambling in the city that everyone should visit at least once!
Stay: Le Mirage Hotel & Casino (Superior) or Bellagio (Deluxe)
From the bright lights of Vegas, head to the spectacular Grand Canyon – one of the seven natural wonders of the world. At 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep, the Grand Canyon is a truly spectacular sight.
Take the Desert View scenic drive – a 25-mile stretch along Arizona route 64 that runs parallel with the canyon's southern rim. Along this route you'll enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the canyon from lookouts at Lipan and Moran Point.
Stay: El Tovar, Grand Canyon (Deluxe)
Palm Springs/La Quinta
An oasis in the Californian desert, Palm Springs has traditionally been a retreat for stars of stage and screen looking to escape the crowds of Los Angeles. The real highlight of the region however is the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park, home to some incredible rock formations, deep canyons and the ubiquitous Joshua tree from which the park takes its name.
Stay: Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel (Superior) or La Quinta Resort & Club (Deluxe)
Return to the coast to drop your hire car in Santa Monica, a beachfront city in the Los Angeles county. Encompassing an incredible 132-mile stretch of coastline from Ventura in the north to San Clemente in the south, your surrounding region is just waiting to be explored. And, whether it's shopping, theme parks, star-spotting or just relaxing on the beach, you won't be short of things to do.
Stay: Best Western Gateway Santa Monica (Standard) or Le Méridien Delfina (Superior)
Depart for the UK
While away your morning at leisure before making your way to Los Angeles International Airport for your flight home.
Arrive in the UK and continue your onwards journey home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
Last minute offer: Save up to £340 pp.
Book by: 30 September 2017
from £1,835 pp. incl. flights
from £3,120 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Flight between the UK and San Francisco
- Flight between Los Angeles and the UK
- 11 days Compact car hire including personalised road book
- 15 nights accommodation in typically 3* (Standard) & 4* (Superior) hotels on a room only basis
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
Meet our experts
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