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UNITED STATES "The Marvellous West"    A Self-Drive Exploration  15 Days

 

 

california sunset

 

 

 

California - Nevada - UtahArizona

 

 

 

Day 1      Arrive Los Angeles

 

 

Upon arrival, pick up your self-drive car and proceed to your hotel.

 

Time permitting, take a drive down Wilshire Boulevard, the famous Hollywood Sunset Strip and perhaps Rodeo Drive and around star-studded Beverly Hills.

 

Hotel:  WILSHIRE ROYALE, or similar.

 

 

 

Day 2       Los Angeles

 

 

Today, the entire day is free to explore this vast metropolis independently. Among the many exciting places to visit are colourful Venice Beach and Santa Monica, the Westwood area by the University, downtown and of course, Hollywood.

 

OPTIONAL: Our optional tours package includes a morning city tour of Los Angeles visiting all major points of interest such as Olvera Street, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. In the afternoon, visit Universal Studios. Our guide explains the sights visited on the studio narrated in English by members of Universal Studios . Afterwards there is time to attend some of the live shows before meeting our guide for the return to the hotel.

 

 

 

 Day 3      Los Angeles - Carmel /Monterey (515 km.)

 

 

Today’s drive starts with a visit to charming Santa Barbara and its famous Mission, before continuing north.  The journey takes us along the California coast on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, hailed as one of the most beautiful roads in the U.S.A. En route, visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, before arriving in the Carmel/Monterey area later in the day.

 

Accommodations are in the nearby town of Salinas.

 

Hotel:  SALINAS VAGABOND INN, or similar.

 

 

 

Day 4       Carmel / Monterey - San Francisco (205km.)

 

 

This morning visit the quaint village of Carmel, and Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, in picturesque Monterey Bay. Enjoy the stunning views of the rugged coast on “17 mile drive”, including the famous Pebble Beach Golf Club and the unique Cypress tree at Cypress Point.

 

Arrival at San Francisco in is the late afternoon.

 

Hotel:  CALIFORNIAN, or similar 

 

 

 

Day 5       San Francisco

 

 

The entire day is free. We suggest you explore this cosmopolitan city on foot. Ride the famous cable cars and explore Fisherman’s Wharf. Visit Alcatraz or perhaps enjoy a ferry ride to Sausalito across the bay.

 

Optional: Our optional tours package includes a half day city tour visiting all major sites including Union Square, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Seal Rocks and of course, The Golden Gate Bridge. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

 

 

 

Day 6        San Francisco - Sonora (230km.)

 

 

A leisurely drive from San Francisco, through the Central Valley of California to the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, takes us into the heart of historic “Gold Rush” country and the town of Columbia. A restored “Old West” town, it is a State historic park open to the public. Accommodations are in nearby Sonora.

 

Hotel:  SONORA INN or similar.

 

 

 

Day 7         Sonora - Yosemite - Mammoth Lakes (310km.)

 

 

Just a short drive through spectacular scenery leads to Yosemite National Park. There is plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the famous waterfalls and sheer granite cliffs. In the later afternoon cross over Tioga Pass* at an altitude of over 3000m and descend to Mammoth Lakes. Only a short distance from the deserts of Nevada, Mammoth is a quaint village which is a popular ski area in winter and in the summer retains its alpine charm.

 

Hotel:  ALPENHOF LODGE or similar

 

(* In the event that Tioga Pass is closed, this night is spent in Fresno and the route is changed accordingly.)

 

 

 

Day 8       Mammoth Lakes - Death Valley (352 km.)

 

 

The striking contrasts of the West are apparent en route to Death Valley. Coming from the alpine splendour of the Sierra Nevadas, Death Valley is a surreal landscape of sand dunes, salt flats and colourful rock formations. It also consistently records the hottest temperatures in the USA and some say it gets so hot you can fry an egg on a rock!

 

Hotel:  FURNACE CREEK RANCH or similar.

 

 

 

Day 9       Death Valley - Zion National Park (490km.)

 

 

Today’s itinerary traverses three states. From Death Valley in California, we cross through Nevada past Las Vegas, into Arizona for a short distance before arriving in Utah and Zion National Park. Carved by the unrelenting waters of the Virgin River, Zion inspires visitors with its magnificence and grandeur. Accommodations this evening are in the nearby town of St. George.

 

Hotel:  HOLIDAY INN ST. GEORGE or similar  

 

 

 

Day 10        St. George - Bryce National Park - Page/Lake Powell (415 km.)

 

 

Only a few hours from St. George lies Bryce Canyon National Park. Here nature has created a multi-coloured world of sandstone spires and pinnacles. It is difficult to describe the majesty of these wonders of nature.

 

In the afternoon continue to Page, a small town on the shores of Lake Powell, a popular vacation destination.

 

Hotel:   EMPIRE HOUSE

 

 

 

Day 11     Page - Grand Canyon (221 km.)

 

 

This morning there is time to relax or even explore the lake by boat. For the more adventurous, Monument Valley, well known over the world as the setting for countless “Cowboy” movies, is a 2 hour journey by car. In the afternoon, take the leisurely drive to Grand Canyon via the scenic East Rim Drive. Enjoy the stunning views from the numerous vista points along the way.

 

Hotel:  B.W. CANYON SQUIRE INN, or similar.  

 

Optional: Another way to visit Monument Valley is by our optional air tour. This 5 hour excursion includes a 2.5 hour ground tour in 4 wheel drive with Navajo guides in Monument Valley, including areas normally closed to private vehicles, on the ground tour by jeep.            

 

 

                                                    

Day 12     Grand Canyon - Las Vegas (470km.)

 

 

For early risers (weather permitting), sunrise over the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable experience.

 

Later, depart towards Las Vegas. En route, visit the famous Hoover Dam and lake Mead before arriving in the "City of Lights”. After the dazzling spectacles of nature of the last few days, the neon oasis of Las Vegas is a sight to behold. In the evening, take time to try you luck in one of the casinos or attend one of the numerous shows.

 

Hotel:  RIVIERA HOTEL AND CASINO or similar.

 

 

 

Day 13            Las Vegas - Anaheim (450 km.)  

 

 

Today’s journey takes us back into California on our way through the Mojave Desert to Anaheim. En route we suggest a stop at the ghost town of Calico, near Barstow.

 

Our final destination today is Anaheim, home of Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom.

 

Hotel:  PENNYSLEEPER INN or similar.

 

 

 

Day 14           Anaheim (Disneyland)

 

 

The day is free to enjoy the numerous attractions in the     Anaheim area. Of course Disneyland is known all over the world as the original park in the Disney empire. In addition, Magic Mountain and Knotts Berry Farm are popular attractions in the area.

 

 

 

Day 15            Anaheim - Departure

 

 

Depending on the time of your departure flight there may be time today for a return visit to Disneyland or one of the other parks, or perhaps a quick trip to Long  Beach and a visit to the Queen Mary.

 

Your itinerary concludes as you drop your self-drive car off at the airport at the end of an unforgettable experience.

 

                        Depart Los Angeles

 

This is a suggested itinerary. It can be changed to suit your own requirements, perhaps with extra days at some of the destinations. The itinerary can be combined with other destinations in USA or North America.