Discover the best of the American west on this tailor-made self-drive
- Explore bohemian San Francisco and beachside Santa Monica
- Contrast Napa Valley vineyards with the barren landscapes of Death Valley
- Watch as waterfalls plunge down Yosemite's towering granite peaks
- Hit the casinos and clubs of Las Vegas, America's Sin City
- Explore the dramatic landscapes of the Grand Canyon, a true American icon
- 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
City | Food & wine | Free car hire | History & culture | Natural world | Self-drive
Covering several of our favourite California highlights, this curated fly-drive begins in San Francisco, its Golden-Gate icon looking out over sixties-infused suburbs and the inescapable Alcatraz. Then, it's on to Napa Valley's esteemed wineries for scenic cycle rides and optional tastings followed by the spectacular granite peaks of Yosemite National Park, whose waterfall-dotted verdure contrasts perfectly with the austere desolation of Death Valley, just a short drive south. Then, hopping across the state border into Nevada, the bright lights of Las Vegas pave the way for trips out to the iconic Grand Canyon.
Day by day itinerary
Begin your holiday in style, with included airport lounge access before your flight to San Francisco. You'll have two full days to explore the city, where such headline-grabbing icons as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and Alacatraz fight for attention alongside the likes of trendy Nob Hill and the erstwhile hippy enclave of Haight-Ashbury. It's also worth heading further afield, with a drive out to Muir Woods bringing you among towering redwood trees, and a boat-trip out to Angel Island affording some of the best views of the city's iconic skyline.
Stay: Abri Hotel (Standard) or The Argonaut (Superior)
Collecting your hire car, you'll drive to north to Napa Valley where acre upon acre of rolling vineyards and pretty rural villages await. Most of the best-known estates, and many of the smaller ones, offer daily tours and tastings, with the best, and busiest, time to visit falling between August and October when the grapes are harvested. Hiring a bike for the day is a wonderful way to hop between wineries, with the historic Silverado Trail cutting right through the valley. There's also the superb (optional) Napa Valley Wine Train, where guests are invited to take in the views from early 20th-century Pullman carriages while enjoying multi-course gourmet dining, all wine matched of course.
Stay: River Terrace Inn (Superior) or The Meritage Resort & Spa (Superior)
Yosemite National Park
Today's drive brings you east across sweeping plains to the mountainous Sierra Navada and the world-heritage-listed Yosemite National Park. With upwards of 800 miles of hiking trails, you'll have no shortage of options for exploring the park's forest-framed cliffs, glittering lakes, plunging waterfalls and flower-filled meadows. Call into the Yosemite Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the park's unique geology, and discover its centuries-old cultural heritage at the Yosemite Museum, whose exhibits chart the origins and lives of valley's native inhabitants.
Between November–March, you'll spend the first night at The Ahwahnee before heading to the nearby Sequoia National Park for a real winter experience at Wuksachi Lodge (Superior)
Stay: Evergreen Lodge (Superior) or The Ahwahnee (Superior)
Just six hours' drive from the fertile forests of Yosemite, the scenery undergoes a dramatic change as you enter the moon-like landscapes of the Death Valley National Park in the western Mohave Desert. Straddling the state California and Nevada border, this is largest national park south of Alaska, its shifting dunes framed by gaping canyons, wind-sculpted rocks and extinct volcanic craters. Despite this apparent hostility, there is life here, with everything from badgers, bats and bobcats to kangaroo rats and mountain lions making their homes in what is the USA's driest and hottest region. And, amid it all, small pockets of green spring up, oasis-like, from the desert floor. Nowhere more so than at your hotel, where spring-fed swimming pools and the manicured fairways of an 18-hole golf course contrast vividly against the endless dusty red.
Stay: The Inn at Death Valley (Superior)
As you cross into Nevada, the desert landscapes continue, this time bringing you to perhaps the greatest oasis of them all. Las Vegas is a twenty-four hour, no-holds-barred assault on the senses. Along its strip, ultra-luxury hotels and world-class restaurants fight for space alongside the endless neon. In the hotels and casinos, it's almost impossible to distinguish between day and night. It's a place to have fun, to truly let yourself go. It's the American dream, brought to life on a grand scale. And, gambler or not, it's a place that everyone should visit at least once. For the ultimate experience, consider a helicopter flight over the Strip.
Stay: Le Mirage Hotel & Casino (Superior) or Bellagio (Deluxe)
The contrasts continue today as you swap the bright lights of the Strip for one of nature's great spectacles – the Grand Canyon. Driving the Desert View road – a 25-mile stretch along Arizona Route 64 – you'll pause to take in the canyon's two-billion years of geology from the lookouts at Lipan and Moran Point. Then, after checking into your historic hotel, you'll be treated to spectacular sunset views from your privileged vantage point on the canyon's southern rim.
Stay: Maswik North (Superior)
Depart for the UK
While away your morning at leisure before making your way to Las Vegas Airport for your overnight flight home, arriving in the UK on day 14. If you've more time, perhaps extend your holiday with a drive up to Palm Springs, a favourite among the stars of stage and screen and gateway to the Joshua Tree National Park. Or, end your trip with the golden beaches of Santa Monica. Speak to our specialists about the options available.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
Air discount: Save up to £350 pp.
Book by: 15 December 2019
from £1,940 pp. incl. flights
from £2,585 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Flight between the UK and San Francisco
- Flight between Las Vegas and the UK
- 10 days Compact car hire including personalised road book*
- 12 nights accommodation in typically 3* (Standard) & 4* (Superior) hotels on a room only basis
High season: July-August
* Excludes one-way car hire fee
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.
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