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This tour takes in all the same things, but offers a unique experience staying in smaller hotels, B&B's and inns. If you aren't one for the big, glitzy resorts and would like to mix more with the locals, this itinerary is for you.
Price per person includes:
Convertibles are available on this California fly-drive holiday. Please call Bon Voyage for further details.
Welcome to sunny California, the Golden State! Some cool areas you might want to check out on arrival are, Sunset Boulevard, which began as a route between the homes of the stars and Hollywood studios, is a must for first timers. It runs from downtown LA to the ocean, passing through the Sunset Strip on the way. Rodeo Drive is packed with exclusive shops. Cruise along it with your winds down and your music on!
Other famous drives through Tinseltown include Hollywood Boulevard, Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway in the San Gabriel Mountains. The Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to Malibu gives you a peek at the spectacular California coast.
The rest of LA’s best are well known. Disneyland, known as the happiest place on earth, is in Anaheim. Universal Studios Hollywood is a theme park that grew out of the famous movie-making studio, and Knott’s Berry Farm from a family oriented resort. The elegant, timeless Queen Mary, once the largest ship afloat, is docked in Long Beach. The ocean walk at Venice Beach is a continuing carnival, as is the Santa Monica Pier.
Distance: 110 milesPalm Springs Aerial Tramway, or even consider the 'Ride & Dine' at sunset. The rotating tram cars offer a breathtakingly beautiful ride to the mountaintop. Take a light jacket, since it can be 20 to 30 degrees cooler at the summit.
Joshua Tree National Park is another of the top attractions in Palm Springs. This immense reserve of nearly 800,000 acres is infinitely variable. Until you understand the special nature of the geography, the Park can seem unwelcoming, even brutal during the heat, when, in fact, it is delicate and extremely fragile. The land forms were and still are shaped by strong winds, sudden torrents of rain, and climatic extremes.
If time allows we'd urge you to consider a jeep trip along the San Andreas Fault too.
Distance: 264 miles
The Phoenix Experience unfolds seamlessly so that you can explore the heritage of the city, delight in the arts and culture and savour the landscape.
Start appreciating the complexity of the desert landscape at the Desert Botanical gardens before moving on to Old Town Scottsdale for more Western lore, coupled with the best arts district in the region.
Distance: 114 miles
Distance: 239 miles
Distance: 75 miles
While you are enjoying the beauty of the Grand Canyon, you can also enhance your visit with details about its geology, history and natural environment. It’s best to begin with the South Rim Visitor Center and Canyon View Information Center. Outdoor exhibits provide good information about the park and what to do when you arrive. Other visitor centers accessible from the South Rim include the Yavapai Observation Station, with spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Information Center, and the Tusayan Museum, on Desert View Drive. A visit to the museum provides a glimpse of Pueblo Indian life near the Grand Canyon some 800 years ago. The Kolb Studio, located in the Grand Canyon Village Historic District, was the home of the pioneering Kolb brothers who first photographed the Canyon. Verkamp’s Visitor Center has been recently established in another of the canyon’s historic buildings to illustrate the experiences of the people who pioneered settlement in the region and what it was like to work and live on the brink of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Distance: 349 miles
Optional stopover in Las Vegas is available en route to Death Valley - call Bon Voyage for details.
Distance: 320 miles
You’ll want to start your visit in Yosemite Valley, which is the centre of most visitor activity. The Merced River flows across the Valley's flat floor at an elevation 4,000 feet above sea level. The Valley is surrounded by steep, almost vertical, granite cliffs, including the unmistakeable El Capitan monolith, Glacier Point, and Half Dome. Major waterfalls tumble into the Valley, the most prominent of which are Yosemite, Bridalveil, and, less easily seen from below, Vernal, Nevada, and Silhouette. These locations are all reached from the El Portal entrance of Yosemite.
The Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway, which is also California 120, begins at the Big Oak Flat Entrance to the park and continues across Yosemite to the Tioga Pass. From a scenery standpoint it doesn’t get much better than this.
Mariposa Grove, the most famous grove of giant redwoods in the park, is accessible from the South Entrance of the park near Wawona. Two smaller groves, Tuolumne and Merced are near Crane Flat. All of these areas are worth taking the time to visit.
Distance: 196 miles
To familiarise yourself with the heart of San Francisco, you may want to explore the Barbary Coast Trail, a 3.8 mile stroll (or drive) following bronze medallions set in the sidewalks that connect 20 of the city’s most important locations. To maximise your time, consider a San Francisco Go Card, which includes a Golden Gate Bay Cruise, Gray Line Trolley Tour around the city, a cable car ride, the Exploratorium, Six Flags Theme Park, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Aquarium of the Bay, National Liberty Ship, Conservatory of Flowers, wine tasting in Napa Valley and more.
One of our favourite attractions in 'Frisco is the mind blowing California Academy Of Sciences.
Distance: 290 milesHearst Castle, officially the San Simeon National Historic State Park. This is where William Randolph Hurst built his 158 room camp. Make time to stop in Monterey, with its quintessential California coast, and Carmel By The Sea, one of the best, if not the best art town in America.
Distance: 109 miles
Call the travel experts at Bon Voyage to discuss your perfect California and Arizona Small and Friendly Hotels holiday.
Jade has organised our itinerary perfectly and has always answered our questions to our satisfaction. Looking forward to our Canadian adventure. We have travelled with Bon Voyage before and we were impressed at how well everything was organised.