- Embark on a three-week journey with family, friends or as a couple across the West Coast
- Visit the largest national parks, legendary cities and drive Highway One along coastal California
- Included in the itinerary: Kayaking on Lake Powell, 4x4 tour of the Canyonlands and experiencing San Francisco and Los Angeles in the footsteps of locals
- Smartphone app, access to our clued-up local Concierge, all our usual additional services
Contact one of our USA specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
Green and blue patches of golf courses, tennis courts and swimming pools are fringes of colour along the edge of the desert. Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona! Take the obligatory selfie in front of a saguaro - the ultimate cactus of western films. Then head north towards the Grand Canyon. This huge fault, which the Colorado River carved into the rock, is arguably the most impressive geological phenomenon on the planet.
YOUR TRAVELTake the 4x4, with Smartphone app with GPS and useful addresses to help you on your way, through the giant red rocks and deserts as far as the eye can see. Kayak on Lake Powell and explore its nooks and crannies between a couple of swims. In Canyonlands Park, a private guide drives the 4x4 into private areas, so you can admire the most magnificent views. Beyond the main roads, breathtaking views of the Colorado River line the cliff-hugging hairpin turns in the road. Get high to truly appreciate the Las Vegas lights from the top of its biggest observation wheel - the tallest in the world. Travel around San Francisco and Los Angeles with expert guides, to discover landmark sites and little-known neighbourhoods on the rise. And during the trip, why not add experiences, detours, extensions or other activities, to your itinerary? For any last-minute requests, our Concierge and their team are just a phone call away if you need advice or assistance.
Flight to Phoenix - Scottsdale
Arrive in Arizona, an arid territory dotted with infinite Saguaro cacti. Pick up the hire car at the airport and end in Scottsdale, a posh suburb of Phoenix. The desert expanses are making way for hotels with splendid gardens, swimming pools and golf courses. Spend a night in an expansive, beautiful location reminiscent of a Moroccan Berber castle, brimming with colours, textures and natural materials (wood and leather). Swimming is a delightful way to recuperate after the flight.
Scottsdale - Grand Canyon
Allow for a half-day drive to arrive at the Grand Canyon. On the road, it's worth taking a detour into Jerome, a Far West ghost town, before arriving in Sedona. This lies in the middle of 'red rock country', encircled by immense red and gold pillars, gigantic mesas, mounds and mineral columns. The city has these geological accidents to thank for its development as they nourished the imaginations of Western writers in the past, and today attract a new-age community in search of mystical energy and spiritual well-being. Arizona's characteristic cacti and desert areas gradually give way to pine forests, with temperatures cooling as you approach the Grand Canyon. This exceptional geological phenomenon is the best-known site in the West, and one of the most impressive sights on Earth. Visitors approach this 277 mile long, 18 mile wide fault on foot – a glass walkway allows you to safely advance to the edge of the precipice. Its immensity is breathtaking.
Spend a night in Tusayan, in a typical motel of the region, which features neat decoration and is perfectly equipped with a restaurant service, swimming pools and bowling alley among others.
Grand Canyon - Page (Lake Powell)
Optional - Helicopter ride Over the Grand Canyon.
Drive through the 'painted desert', with its parade of red, orange, pink and grey rocks in shades that change according to the composition of the rocks, to Page and its artificial lake, Lake Powell (about three and a half hours). Spend the night in a comfortable hotel, close to Lake Powell.
At 186 miles long, with 96 canyons and 1,960 miles of coastline, Lake Powell is the largest artificial lake in the United States and one of the highlights of the West. Nothing could be better than a motorboat ride to explore this aquatic desert, a true ocean in the mineral desert. Snorkel through the canyon's interlacing networks, which were created by the rising waters after the completion of the Glen Canyon dam.
Monument Valley - Moab (Arches and Canyonlands)
Road to Moab, the American capital of adventure tourism (approx. three and a half hours). Leave behind the orange-coloured monoliths and mounds on Scenic Byway 211, one of the ten most beautiful roads in the United States which offers stunning views of Utah's characteristic red rocks. This is postcard scenery against a background of canyons, plateaus, valleys and lunar landscapes as far as the eye can see.
Arriving in Moab, spend two nights in a simple, standard hotel, ideally located not far from the city centre and the beautiful parks of Canyonlands and Arches.
Moab (Arches and Canyonlands)
The mining city of Moab is also famous as a filming location for films set in the great outdoors of the American West, such as 'Star Wars' and 'Mission Impossible'. The surrounding Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are beautiful.
In the itinerary – Canyonlands National Park in a 4x4, with a private guide: dinosaur footprints, petroglyphs, pictograms, red rocks and giant arches. Follow hairpin bends in the road along the edge of the cliff, 1968ft above the base of the canyon, with breathtaking views of the Colorado River. The tour ends at the location of the final scene in 'Thelma and Louise' on the Dead Horse Point State Park side.
Optional – Descent into Colorado by raft.
Torrey (Capitol Reef) - Springdale (Zion)
Road to Springdale, at the entrance to Zion Park (four hours). The first part of the journey starts on Scenic Byway 12, one of the finest roads in the country and nicknamed 'A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway' because it is so spectacular. There is a stop halfway in Bryce Canyon Park. The road continues between the red rocks, the tunnels passing straight through the rock arches. In the distance are the spectacular cliffs of Zion National Park and its greenery. Springdale, at the park's southern entrance, is all about charming rocky hotels and little shops. Spend the night in a large, friendly chalet with rustic, warm decor and beautiful views of Zion Park from its huge picture windows.
Springdale, Zion - Las Vegas
Optional - Equipment hire for exploring the Narrows, one of the narrowest parts of the Virgin River in Zion Park – a real adventure.
Desert road to Las Vegas (three hours). You can stop at the entrance to St. George and enjoy a break at Snow Canyon State Park along the way. It has stunning volcanic landscapes where the ancient lava flows have darkened, to create a unique setting. Continue to Las Vegas, Sin City itself. You can see it lit up in the distance, in the middle of Nevada's arid deserts. It's an odd feeling to arrive in the midst of brightly glowing neon lights, after spending hours in the heart of arid landscapes. Accommodation for two nights at one of the Strip's themed hotels.
Las Vegas, the vision of a clever gangster, is America's gaming capital and a symbol of eccentricity which lights up the Nevada desert day and night. After a morning enjoying the pool or scouring one of the many malls, stroll past one themed casino hotel after another along the famous Strip, taking a look at the never-ending parade of eclectic, eccentric crowds. In the evening, get caught up in the frenzy and have fun in Old Downtown, unless you prefer the more intimate setting of a Michelin starred restaurant.
Included in the itinerary - Observation wheel tickets. The 500ft-tall observation wheel is the largest in the world, overlooks the city and offers the best views of the Strip from its glass cabins.
Optional- Tickets for a Cirque du Soleil show - magic.
Las Vegas - Death Valley
At a two and a half hours' drive from Las Vegas, Death Valley Park, the hottest location in North America, is a vast desert. Set aside six hours to cross it. Expect volcanic rock formations, rising mounds of earth, granite, clusters of rocks, peaks, crevices and a whole range of colours in all shades of beige, white and red.
Must-see - Visit the most important sites: Artist Drive, Dante's View, Devil's Golf Course and Scotty's Castle. Clearly, the temperatures are extreme. The light is best during the 'magic hours' at dawn and dusk.
Spend the night in a small hotel with a western feel, an old locomotive and antique stagecoaches. This is an essential stop for any visitor crossing the valley and the best base for exploring every corner.
Death Valley - Mammoth Lakes
Head to Mammoth Lakes (approx. four hours), a small mountain resort that starkly contrasts with the scenery at the beginning of the trip. This is a good place to stop, before starting the journey across Yosemite National Park.
On the Road - Discover the sites of Devils Postpile, Rainbow Falls, the ghost town of Bodie and the beautiful Mono Lake site.
Spend the night in a cosy location in Mammoth Mountain, the Mammoth Lakes Ski Resort on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
Mammoth Lakes - El Portal (Yosemite)
Departure for Yosemite, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada, California (approx. two and a half hours). This national park is home to alpine landscapes; granite domes; enormous cliffs; majestic lakes; majestic rivers and waterfalls; giant redwood forests; and hundreds of species of birds and mammals. The scenic Tioga Road runs west to east across the park.
Spend a night in the hotel closest to the entrance to the park, in superb surroundings and a room overlooking the river.
El Portal (Yosemite) - San Francisco
Road to San Francisco (approx. four hours). Leave the pine forests and rocky domes behind, as you reach the Pacific West Coast. Panoramic Route 140, shadowed by the Merced River, runs through small western towns such as Mariposa. Next, San Francisco Bay appears against a background of fog.
Accommodation for two nights just a stone's throw away from Union Square, at a comfortable and family-friendly address – the house here is family owned. The hotel, in a beautiful, classic Victorian building downtown, divides its rooms between a historical section dating back to 1908 and a more modern and spacious section. The lovely outdoor pool provides a pleasant spot for relaxing.
Between its hills and cable cars, colourful houses are visible from Union Square to Golden State Park. In San Francisco, everything is legendary, from its bridges surrounding Alcatraz, to the winding Lombard Street, to the little Victorian dolls houses.
In the itinerary – Discover the city, in the company of a local. Together, discover Chinatown, one of the oldest and largest Chinese neighbourhoods in the United States. Further away is North Beach, where Italians mingled with the Californian beatniks who started the hippie movement, and Jackson Square with its 1850s/1860s houses - a true Far West setting. They're the only buildings that survived the earthquake and fire in 1906 and give you an idea of what San Francisco was like in the past. Hitchcock and 'Vertigo' fans will also be able to recognise Ernie's Restaurant (847 Montgomery St.), where Scottie and Madeleine met for the first time. The walk ends with a 360° rooftop view, where you can appreciate Nob Hill, Chinatown, Telegraph Hill, the bay and its islands.
Optional - Day bike rental, to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.
San Francisco - Monterey
Road to Monterey (two hours). Head to Santa Cruz on the legendary Route One along the Pacific coast.
Must-see on the way - A stop at Elkhorn Slough Marine Reserve and a kayak ride to come close to otters, sea lions and seals.
Arrive in Monterey. Monterey, a former fishing port that has become a popular resort, is popular for its gentle way of life by the sea. Spend a night in a small, immaculate Mediterranean villa-style hotel, with comfortable rooms and a beautiful pool.
Optional - Tickets to the world's largest and most famous aquarium, home to thousands of fish.
Monterey - Santa Barbara
Continue south to Santa Barbara, along panoramic Highway 1 (approximately four hours). Follow the twists and turns of the ocean in this magnificent setting, often punctuated by a lighthouse or lookout point.
See on the way - The Hearst Castle in San Simeon, which inspired Orson Welles 'Citizen Kane'.
The Mission founded by the Spaniards at the end of the 18th century and set on a coastal ledge stretching over the hills between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, has become a popular spot to relax, the California Riviera. Its white-washed stucco houses with red-tile roofs and palm-lined beaches give the city a Mediterranean feel. Santa Barbara seems to be always on holiday. Spend the night at an address facing the Pacific Ocean, a stone's throw from the pier. Coloured rooms
The city is big, sprawling and impressive, and you'll enjoy exploring its famous neighbourhoods: the beaches of Malibu and Santa Monica, the stars of the Walk of Fame in Hollywood and the countless life-sized film sets with concept architecture downtown.
Things to do and experience - Visit the Getty Center on Brentwood Hill, a huge museum with access via cable car, sunbathe with your feet in the sand before hitting the ocean for a surf or climb up to the Griffith Observatory for a 360° view of the city.
Included in the itinerary - Half-day with a local guide]. Together, discover the historic Hollywood Boulevard and its Walk of Fame, famous for its three Hollywood Golden Age theatres and the Dolby Theatre, the home of the Oscars. Then head to the Grove, a large outdoor shopping centre with a Disneyland feel, and always highly decorated to reflect special American holidays. Next, discover the Farmers Market, one of the oldest semi-covered markets in the city. The walk continues on Fairfax Avenue, which is lined with colonial houses, and ends at LACMA Park, the city's great museum of modern art.
Optional - Entry tickets for a day at Universal Studios (still regularly used for filming) and theme park.
A la carte
THE GRAND CANYON FROM ABOVE
The Grand Canyon is arguably the most legendary national park in the United States. To grasp the immensity of the location, it's best to opt for a helicopter ride to really appreciate its enormity and watch the colours of the strata grow darker with the fading sun.
CANYONLANDS - COLORADO RIVER RAFT DESCENT
A gentle six-mile raft ride on the iconic Colorado River. Drift through this postcard setting, through the heart of rock formations and the Professor Valley locations of director John Ford's westerns. The trip is punctuated by rapids (class I-II), with sizes and intensities varying according to the time of year and water level. Nothing better than getting your feet wet to impress the children.
SAN FRANCISCO ON BIKE
The Golden Gate Bridge, nearly two miles long, is among the longest bridges in the world and an iconic city landmark. The bike ride offers fantastic views of the bay. The walk, a little over six miles, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, goes along the beach, and then crosses the bridge to arrive in Sausalito. This former fishing village has become a chic seaside resort with a French restaurant decorated like a garage, with views of the Port de Plaisance. Experience the friendly atmosphere and gourmet food, with a return by ferry.
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