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Duration: 15 days Visiting: United States
From glorious cities to wine country, dramatic canyons and coastal towns, this 15 day trip allows you to see the highlights of America's West in a concise but enriching manner. Along the way you'll discover the bohemian charms of San Francisco and Sonoma and the wonders of Bryce Canyon National Park, all while staying in a number of lodges within the National Parks. Don't forget to bring your camera to star studded Hollywood. What better place to spot an icon than in the movie capital?
San Francisco, the City by the Bay.
California here we come. A mix of modern glamour and bohemian charms, you’ve arrived in the Golden Gate City, a location famous for its rolling hills, colourful houses and eclectic architecture. You’ll be picked up at San Francisco International Airport and whisked straight to your centrally located hotel, the Westin St. Francis, situated in the vibrant heart of the city and the only one on Union Square. There you’ll be left to settle in or go for a quick wander, before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner and wine.
Exploring San Francisco.
Get ready for a fun-filled day exploring the city. Experience the bustling activity of Union Square, famous for its shopping, theatre and dining options. Head to the iconic Golden Gate Park. Rich in culture, the park boasts 10 lakes and more than 1,000 acres of land. This striking landmark is modelled on New York City’s Central Park and includes a wide range of show stopping features. From a Japanese tea garden to its botanical garden and conservatory of flowers, you won’t be disappointed.
Haight-Ashbury and a Taste of Wine Country.
Delve into San Francisco’s flower power history and revisit the ‘Summer of Love’ with a former hippie, your Local Expert. Tour Haight-Ashbury, the original iconic hippie district, where you’ll find colour and charm aplenty. Move on to California wine country, where you’ll walk through one of the state’s lush vineyards and enjoy a private wine tasting. End your day with a Highlight Dinner served with a local wine.
Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Say goodbye to the city lights of Sonoma and embrace the mountainous scenery of Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelling through California’s Gold Country, you’ll drive through the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains. Explore the valley floor with its spectacular waterfalls and striking rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome. The park is abundant in wildlife, so look out for Mule deer, and if you’re really lucky you may catch a glimpse of a black bear. Rest up at Yosemite Valley Lodge, located inside the park and close to Yosemite Falls, North America’s highest waterfall.
Monterey, the Cradle of History.
Take in the lush landscapes of the Sierras before you are swept through the fertile San Joaquin Valley to Carmel-by-the-Sea. There you will have the opportunity to browse a range of art galleries, local shops and the chance to stock up on souvenirs. Enjoy a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along 17-Mile Drive, where you can take in the stunning ocean views, Pebble Beach Golf Links and multi-million dollar mansions, before arriving in the city of Monterey. Enjoy a delightful Highlight Dinner this evening.
Hearst Castle and the American Riviera.
Today you’ll move south to La Cuesta Encantada, otherwise known as 'The Enchanted Hill', which rests high above the ocean at San Simeon. Once there you’ll join a guided tour of Mediterranean-style Hearst Castle, the grandiose estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The residence was also the inspiration for the Xanadu mansion in the famous movie classic, Citizen Kane. Make your way to sunny Santa Barbara and check in to your idyllic beachfront hotel, ideal for making the most of your stay in the grand ‘American Riviera’. You’ll be presented with white buildings, terracotta rooves, beautiful weather and an array of bars and restaurants.
Santa Monica and the City of Angels.
No trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without a visit to the iconic Mission Santa Barbara. Here you’ll learn about the chain of 21 missions along California's El Camino Real and explore its blooming grounds. Journey along the spectacular Santa Monica Bay, passing the hidden coves and coastal mountains of Malibu as you make your way to Santa Monica, L.A.’s exciting upscale counterpart. Continue on to your modern L.A. hotel, in the city's entertainment destination.
The Glitz and Glam of L.A.
Channel your inner movie star and join a Local Expert on a private tour of a historic theatre in Hollywood. You’ll then join your Travel Director for some more exploring. This includes Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a movie palace where stars leave their shoeprints in cement. This is situated on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can walk in the steps of icons including Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Feeling peckish? Head to the renowned historic L.A. Farmers Market on your own and delve into fresh local delicacies. End the day with a Highlight Dinner and wine at Café Pinot.
Across the Mojave to Scottsdale.
Experience the rugged charms of the Mojave Desert wilderness as you make your way to Scottsdale. Look out for the Joshua trees and wildlife found in the National Park, you might just spot a jackrabbit or coyote. Once in Scottsdale you can relax in the hotel after a long day and replenish for your upcoming adventures.
Sedona and the Wonders of the Mighty Grand Canyon.
Journey north to the bohemian colony of Sedona. Attractive to healers, this spiritual town’s vortexes are rumoured to offer alternative medicines and practices. If retail therapy is more your thing, explore Sedona’s shops and galleries, or simply take in its natural rugged beauty, which makes it a hotspot for hikers, swimmers and eager campers. Journey on to Grand Canyon National Park, where you have the opportunity to take an optional, once-in-a-lifetime, flightseeing tour by helicopter or plane. Join a Local Expert for an informative presentation about the wonders of the Grand Canyon before ending your day with a tranquil night inside the park and an appetizing Highlight Dinner with wine in the inviting Thunderbird Room of your lodge. Located on the South Rim, this beautiful venue offers a wet-bar, barbeque and private balcony, so you can feast on hearty food while taking in the stunning views.
Monument Valley and Lake Powell.
Head through striking crimson landscapes to the historic Cameron Trading Post where you will find Native American arts and crafts. Journey on through the barren beauty of the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, where you will board all-terrain vehicles to explore the valley with your Navajo guide. Stop at the Glen Canyon Dam to learn about its impact on the Colorado River before arriving at your lakefront resort.
Leisurely Lake Powell.
Start the day at leisure by enjoying your resort’s facilities. Later take a cruise through the narrow sandstone turns of Antelope Canyon, one of the top-rated highlights on the trip. End the day with a breathtaking sunset from your lake view or marina view room.
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
Head to the sandstone cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. Here you will be met by pine trees and red rock pillars. You’ll take a leisurely walk along Sunset Point to view the great amphitheatres of the odd-shaped monoliths, known as hoodoos, before travelling through more amazing scenery to the lush cliff-and-canyon landscape of Zion National Park. A day of sightseeing deserves some evening festivities. Join your Travel Director and new friends for a Celebration Dinner and wine to discuss your take on the ethereal characters of Utah’s famous canyon.
Zion to Las Vegas, From Nature to Neon.
Depart the tranquil ambiance of Zion National Park Lodge and board a private Zion Canyon Shuttle. Live commentary will take you through the scenic highlights of the park, followed by some downtime to explore on your own. Depart the natural beauty of the park to arrive in the bright lights and glamour of Las Vegas. With an array of shopping malls, live shows and dining opportunities, this dazzling destination is sure to entertain. And for those looking to hit the casinos, make sure you come with your poker face ready.
Depart Las Vegas.
It’s time to say goodbye to the your fellow travellers as your adventure comes to an end with a departure transfer to Las Vegas International Airport.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
San Francisco (Traditional) - USA
Timeless yet modern, The Westin St. Francis on Union Square, San Francisco has a vibrant, directly located on Union Square, with cable cars stopping just outside the doors.
Sonoma (Heritage) - Usa
Yosemite (Traditional) - USA
California - Monterey (Traditional) - Usa
Santa Barbara (Resort) - USA
Los Angeles (Contemporary) - USA
Scottsdale (Resort) - USA
Grand Canyon (Traditional) - USA
Lake Powell (Traditional) - USA
Zion (Traditional) - USA
The name “Zion” means a place of peace and refuge. As a sanctuary with over 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life, and uninterrupted beauty, Zion is well-named. Its massive sandstone walls, some as high as 3,800 feet, offer an opportunity for serenity and reflection for all who visit - and Zion Lodge offers the only in-park lodging inside this hiker’s paradise. Enjoy a selection of comfortable and spacious accommodations, a year-round restaurant serving local favorites and a wide variety of ways to keep you entertained during your stay in Zion National Park.
Las Vegas (Contemporary) - USA
Our guests rate us
11508 independent user reviews received during the past year.
16 November, 2018
Trip: The first part of the tour was a bit rushed
Service: The guide LINDA was very caring and talked to everyone
12 November, 2018
Trip: A little rushed in first week
Service: Everything quite good except that some activities in the first week were rushed.
23 October, 2018
Trip: Too long spent touring some places eg Hearst Castle .
Service: Tour Director was first class. Would recommend to a friend.
19 October, 2018
Trip: Gave us what was promised in the sales brochure.
Service: Well run, seamless trip.
07 September, 2018
Trip: We stopped at all the big locations we had dreamed of seeing, and then some. We had insider access to e.g national park lodges that we couldn’t have got had we not booked with this tour
Service: Very helpful and knowledge trip director and driver who both went out of their way to accommodate travellers. Great hotels and restaurants. Local knowledge that we couldn’t possibly have accessed alone. Extra special “flourishes” and treats. Lots of variety in terms of stops and locations .
31 August, 2018
Trip: We saw what was expected of the tour and the highlight was the helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. Bryce and Zion were also amazing.
Service: The Tour guide Jason was so knowlegeable but gave us just enough info to keep our attention and made it humerous where appropriate. Also the organisation of the whole tour was excellent and I would definitely travel with them again and could also recommend them to friends. Although some journeys on the bus were quite long there were plenty of breaks in between.
27 August, 2018
Trip: Should not have stayed in Monterrey and should have had more time in saulsilto and stayed in Carmel and Sonoma not outside of town
Service: We liked the professionalism and service from our tour director Carol and coach driver joe
20 July, 2018
Trip: Parks were great. Felt rushed at the Cameron trading post. Not enough time there. Felt the organization and timing could have been better.
Service: Had a medical issue in our group and the tour director saw we got to an emergency room.
20 July, 2018
Trip: I will be repeating my earlier statement
Service: You have a great tour director by the name of Todd Geoff and he should be promoted to your management team, Or your company will miss a talented candidate in your industry
29 June, 2018
Trip: Varied ant top quality in most rexpects
Service: Everything was superb about Insight...from hotel choices to venues to coach comfort to luggage postage to quality of tour director.
08 June, 2018
Trip: Drop Ca cities and focus on parks.
Service: Thorough planning for details though an unusual change of a hotel. Worked out ok.
03 June, 2018
Trip: Breakfast at the service only breaks was a bit of an ordeal .otherwise top class
Service: A n very good way to see California .Well organised, run by professionals from the shop floor to the bus driver. Pick up service when arriving left a lot to be desired! Sloppy service.