California and Arizona may a perfect combo on this grand west holiday. Imagine, your first glimpse of the majestic Grand Canyon or standing in awe of the waterfalls at Yosemite National Park. Descend to the depths of Death Valley and follow the crashing waves along the Pacific Coast Highway. This tour takes in all those fabulous sights, but offers the unique experience of staying in smaller personalised hotels, family run B&B's, lodges and historic inns. If you aren't one for the big, glitzy resorts and would prefer to mix with the locals, this itinerary is just for you.
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In the evening stroll along nearby Santa Monica Beach and enjoy dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Pier with its iconic red and yellow Ferris wheel.
If you want to extend your stay and experience more of LA’s best let us plan this for you too. Perhaps you want to visit Universal Studios, the theme park that grew out of the famous movie-making industry or Disneyland in Anaheim known as the “happiest place on earth”.
Distance: 110 miles
Palm Springs is your overnight stay, a true oasis in the California desert and sheltered by the Little San Bernadino Mountains. Known for its stylish hotels, hot springs, spas and golf courses you could simply soak up the warm climate and enjoy the chic atmosphere. If you want a birds eye view of the city and surrounding desert hop on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The rotating tram cars offer a breathtakingly beautiful ride to the mountaintop.
If time allows we'd urge you to consider a jeep trip along the San Andreas Fault too.
Distance: 264 miles
In Phoenix you can explore the heritage of the city, delight in the arts and culture and savour the impressive landscape.
Distance: 125 miles
A trip to Arizona would not be complete without a stay in the beautiful town of Sedona. Treat yourself to a room with a view and stay in one of the many inns and small boutique hotels surrounded by the stunning red buttes and monoliths.
Located north of Arizona’s central mountains and set in sandstone cliffs Sedona has become a paradise for many artists who want to capture the ever changing backdrop created by natural light. You can view their talents in the many galleries along main street.
Take a breathtaking flight over the spectacular sandstone formations or a jeep ride to Red Rock State Park for the best views of Oak Creek Canyon.
Distance: 30 miles
Flagstaff is home to the Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Pioneer Historical Museum and genuine Route 66 nostalgia. Take the original Route 66 to nearby Winslow and discover the fascinating Meteor Crater. More than 500 feet deep this remarkable phenomenon is the result of a collision that shook the Southwest approximately 50,000 years ago. Located on the rim of the crater is the Discovery Center offering a vast range of thought-provoking exhibits and displays providing an educational experience for everyone.
Distance: 75 miles
Park the car up and hop on the free shuttle buses that operate throughout the park. There are four different routes for you to enjoy, running between Canyon View, South Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point and the ultimate 7 mile historic and scenic Hermit Road with many stops at the most breathtaking canyon overlooks.
Or jump in the car and take the Desert View Scenic Drive, a 25 mile stretch of Arizona 64 that parallels the South Rim of Grand Canyon with the most incredible views and massive layers of multicoloured rock.
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. The Visitor Centre 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.
Visit the museum for 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.
Distance: 349 miles
Death Valley National Park, is not only the largest national park in Lower 48 states, it's also the hottest, driest and lowest spot in North America! This 3.4 million-acre Mojave Desert preserve has also been designated as the world's largest International Dark Sky Park due to the low light pollution in the area, making is a fabulous region for stargazing.
Whilst you're in the park be sure to visit Badwater, at 282 feet below sea level, the salt flats here spread for miles and make a dramatic contrast against the blue California skies.
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 unmistakable 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. Mariposa Grove, the most famous grove of giant redwoods in the park, is accessible from the South Entrance of the park.
Distance: 167 miles
Chinatown is a vibrant place by day or night, meander along the bustling waterfront at Fisherman’s Wharf where you will find many restaurants and busy market stalls. Try a clam chowder with sourdough, a delicious local dish and admire the basking sea lions on Pier 33 before taking a bay cruise to Alcatraz. The island made famous in the movies was a military fortification which imprisoned some of the most notable criminals.
Muir Woods National Monument, north of San Francisco is certainly worth a visit. Known for the soaring Redwood Trees which thrive here. Enjoy one or more of the wonderful trails which reveal the true natural beauty of the area. Be sure to stop off at pretty Sausalito, stroll amongst the artists who work from here and relax in one of the many cafes or restaurants perched over the waterfront and enjoy some magnificent bay views.
You could even sample some of the finest wines in the world by taking a trip into California’s Wine Country. Bon Voyage would be delighted to suggest and pre-book the must-do excursions whilst you are in the city.
Distance: 122 miles
Leave the hustle and bustle of San Francisco behind today as you make your way along the rugged California Coast and take one of America's most scenic drives, the legendary17-Mile Drive. Take the trip slowly and plan to savour every moment. On the way you'll spy the famous Lone Cypress, white-sand beaches, crashing surf and panoramic vistas.
Stop for a coffee break in one of the cafes on the Old Fisherman's Wharf in historic Monterey. Dating back to the 1700s, today this lively seaside town is home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and many shops and restaurants.
Your overnight stop is in picturesque Carmel-By-The Sea. This story book town is a small village on California's Monterey Bay Peninsula and is known for its fairytale-style cottages, art galleries, cosy cafes and its beautiful crescent shaped beach.
Distance: 250 miles
Stretching 90 miles south of Carmel-By-The-Sea from Point Lobos all the way to Hearst Castle, Big Sur region is one of the most memorable sections of coastline on the planet, with 5,000-foot tall mountains rising up from the Pacific Ocean.
The classic drive along twisting Highway 1 offers plenty of places to pullover. Be sure to stop at the parks along the coastline to view the endangered California condors, North America’s largest birds, or look out over the shimmering ocean to scan the swells for migrating whales or sea otters floating among dense beds of kelp, California’s signature seaweed.
Historic Santa Barbara is located in a beautiful part of the Californian Central Coast referred to as the American Riviera. With a European style and Mediterranean climate it offers a very laid-back and casual lifestyle. Soak up the carefree atmosphere and enjoy upscale boutiques, restaurants and waterfront cafes or indulge yourself in a winery tour in one of the many wine-tasting rooms located right in downtown.
Leave the American Riviera region behind and head for LA airport for your early evening flight home. Take a cheeky stop in Malibu for lunch and celeb spotting before your arrive, or hit the boutiques in trendy Santa Monica for some last minute souvenir shopping.
Want to extend your holiday? Perhaps travel further south to San Diego? Maybe time in the Hawaiian Islands? Or an East Coast city stopover? All Bon Voyage holidays can be totally tailor-made, call our team of experts for further information.