Your holiday summary

Holiday type Tours
Country United States
Travel type Fly
Price range From £1599
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 14 nights
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0330 333 6751

California and the golden west

There are few places in the world that generate more iconic imagery than California and the western USA. The sights and natural wonders just roll off the tongue, with probably nothing more aptly named than the Grand Canyon. Then there’s Monument valley, whose towering sandstone pillars are immortalised in countless westerns, the Painted desert, Yosemite - home to giant sequoia trees, the national parks of Bryce canyon and Zion and the lofty snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Combine these with the allure of cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, our tour visits all of these cities and more.

Included
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room and includes scheduled direct flights to Los Angeles and returning from San Francisco, 13 nights accommodation on room only basis with four continental breakfasts included in three and four-star hotels, all tours and national park entrance fees as mentioned, guided city tours of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, porterage of one item of luggage per person, the services of a Riviera tour manager. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement (date dependant) of £429 to £589 per person.

  • A tour exploring western USA’s national parks, native Indian history, desert landscapes, forests and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada
  • Return direct scheduled flights from London Heathrow
  • Stay in hand-picked three and four star hotels
  • Experience the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion national park and Yosemite. Each visit has been carefully timed to see these sights when the light displays them at their best
  • Visit Monument Valley, immortalised in so many classic westerns
  • Three nights in San Francisco dominated by the Golden Gate bridge
  • Guided tours of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco
  • Enjoy an optional helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon
  • Visit and stay in glitzy Las Vegas – the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’
  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager
Not included
Visa and Health

British passport holders do not require a visa under the USA Visa Waiver Programme. Please ensure your passport is machine-readable (i.e. a red passport with two lines of letters, numbers and ‘>>>>’ at the foot of your personal details page) and is valid for at least six months after your departure date from the US. Please note British passport holders qualifying for the Visa Waiver programme must now apply online for authorisation to enter the USA, for which there is now an administration fee of $14 per person. This may only be submitted online by logging on to: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and registering at least 72 hours prior to travel. It is now a requirement that all passengers apply in this way. Without authorisation prior to travel, admission may be denied at a US port of entry. For the latest information, please visit the ESTA website, as detailed. Holders of non-British passports will need to contact the American Embassy in London for details at least three months prior to departure. Details can be found on: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/visa/niv/vwp.html.

There are no current health requirements for the USA. However, whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that we often enjoy walking tours (sometimes over unmade paths) of the various places of interest. This tour also reaches an altitude of 8,000ft and temperature variations can be unpredictable, especially during winter, spring and autumn. For these reasons this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. Please bear this in mind when considering this holiday.

To make the most of your trip, we recommend you check the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel or call the Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit on 0845 850 2829.
Day one

You arrive at the airport for your flight to Los Angeles. Following our afternoon arrival, we transfer to the nearby four star Hilton Los Angeles airport hotel for one night.

Day two

LA, the city of glamour, the stars and miles of pristine beaches. This morning we enjoy a tour of the best it has to offer – Beverley Hills, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese theatre, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica and Venice beach. During the afternoon we head south to San Diego, staying two nights at the three star Best Western Bayside, close to the waterfront and the city’s Little Italy quarter.

Day three

With over 260 days of sunshine a year, San Diego is the classic Californian city, set around a sweeping bay with numerous white sand beaches and its restored gaslamp district. After a city tour, you are free to experience San Diego’s numerous attractions. A great favourite is the Maritime museum with its many historical ships, including the HMS Surprise, a replica of an 18th-century frigate used in the film ‘Master and Commander’ and the aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. During the afternoon, why not take the ferry across the bay to Coronado and the Victorian Del Coronado used in the film Some Like It Hot. There’s also the 1200 acres of Balboa park, the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi with 15 museums and numerous other attractions, all set amidst sub-tropical gardens and fountains.

Day four

Today we drive inland towards Phoenix in Arizona. Climbing to 4,000ft, passing through the Cleveland national forest and hugging the US-Mexico border, we descend towards the hot sands of the Mojave desert staying at the brand new three star Hampton inn Happy valley on bed and breakfast basis.

Day five

Leaving Phoenix we drive through the Sonora desert, Oak Creek Canyon and on to the Grand Canyon itself. When you first experience this huge chasm, the grandeur is truly overwhelming. Its stunning series of shapes, colours and glaring desert light contrast with jet-black shadows formed by pinnacles of rock interspersed by stark promontories. The south rim extends for 14 miles and we visit the best viewing points. Our hotel is the four-star Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon hotel where you have the option of taking a helicopter flight for the ultimate panoramic view.

Day six

This morning there will be the opportunity to experience the colours and hues of the Grand Canyon. From the Desert View watchtower we have our final look over the canyon, before crossing into the vast Navajo Indian reservation, towards Monument Valley. Arriving a few hours before sunset, this is the best time to view the incredible flat-topped towers of red sandstone that rise so dramatically from the surrounding desert. Here, the bustle of civilisation seems so far away and at sunset, there is a stillness in the air. Tonight we stay at the three star Monument Valley inn in the nearby small community of Kayenta.

Day seven

After an early start we see the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado river, cross into the mormon state of Utah and climb to almost 8,000ft as we arrive at Bryce Canyon national park. Created by countless years of erosion, Bryce Canyon itself presents an almost surreal landscape of multi-hued and delicate rock pinnacles – a quite exceptional, strange and exotic topography with a uniquely fragile quality. We stay in the three star Best Western Ruby’s inn.

Day eight

This morning we continue to Zion national park with its massive layers of petrified sand dunes hundreds of feet thick, plus huge sheer cliffs and gorges. Unlike the Grand Canyon and Bryce, we reach the bottom of the main canyon experiencing a completely new perspective. Late afternoon we arrive at Las Vegas staying two nights at the four star Hotel Tropicana resort and casino, superbly situated in the heart of the Vegas ‘strip’, with the Bellagio fountain display just opposite.

Day nine

Today we explore the self-styled ‘entertainment capital of the world’ - an almost surreal apparition seemingly growing out of the desert. It’s where the world’s most renowned sights and cities such as Venice, Paris, New York and even the Pyramids have been recreated in detail. You can even take a trip on a gondola on a canal on the first floor of one of the hotels.

Day 10

We leave Las Vegas driving through the Mojave desert. Our route skirts the Edwards Air Force base, before climbing through the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. Suddenly the climate changes from burning desert to temperate grasslands and forest as we cross the Tehachapi Pass to the fertile plains of the San Joaquin valley. This evening, we stay at the three star Yosemite Southgate hotel just outside Yosemite national park.

Day 11

As you drive into the Yosemite valley itself you are confronted by one of the most staggering views in the USA: a deep, lushly forested valley encircled by the steely grey vastness of sheer granite cliffs and domes, bisected by some of the highest waterfalls in North America. You then continue to San Francisco staying three nights in the three star superior Holiday Inn Golden Gateway.

Day 12

San Francisco is one of the highlights of the tour. From its beginnings as a 19th century mining boomtown to the metropolis you see today. Nestling on a bay astride the blue Pacific Ocean, dominated by the Golden Gate bridge, the city spreads out over forty-three steep hills on one side and forests on the other. This morning we have a guided tour of the city, visiting Fisherman’s wharf, Nob Hill, Lombard Street, and Union Square. The rest of the day is at leisure. Why not wander along the busy waterfront of Fisherman’s Wharf, try out one of the many seafood restaurants or take the short boat ride and tour of Alcatraz Island, the most infamous prison in the US.

Day 13

On our final full day you can amble through Chinatown, the second largest outside Asia, and see the pagodas and oriental markets. Or perhaps take a stroll down to the renovated Ferry plaza building on the waterfront, converted
into a huge alfresco farmers’ market every Saturday. Try the once predominantly Italian north beach, which during the 1950s attracted the bohemian writers and avant-garde artists of the Beatnik movement. And don’t forget the Haight-Ashbury district and the ‘Summer of Love’ for which San Francisco is still famous today. Alternatively, there’s an optional trip to visit Muir Woods, a US national monument, which contains a unique 560-acre stand
of giant 300-foot high coast redwoods. You also visit the artists’ colony of Sausalito.

Day 14

Our flights depart in the late afternoon, so why not use your final morning for some last minute shopping – Macy’s department store is always popular and is located very centrally on nearby Union Square.

Day 15

We arrive back in the UK.
Los Angeles - four star Hilton Los Angeles airport hotel

The property is just a couple minutes drive outside the airport, ideal after a long flight. There’s a large free-form outdoor pool, jacuzzi and fitness room. Dining options include an all-day Bistro restaurant with Starbucks coffee, a sports bar and Andiamo, specialising in northern Italian cuisine. The 1,234 rooms are all spacious, comfortably furnished and feature Hilton's Serenity bedding, with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, iron/iron board, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge) and tea/coffee-maker.

San Diego - three star Best Western Bayside inn

In downtown San Diego, three blocks, or a 10 minute stroll, from the bay and the famous Maritime museum. The city’s Little Italy quarter starts just opposite the hotel and is full of plenty of interesting places to eat. The hotel has small outdoor heated pool and the Bayside bar and grill (closed weekends). All the well-appointed 122 rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathroom and hairdryer, iron/iron board, free wireless internet, cable TV, writing desk, microwave and fridge, coffee-maker and a small balcony with bay or city views. A complimentary breakfast buffet and newspapers are available each morning.

Phoenix - three star Hampton inn Phoenix North/Happy Valley

Located in Happy Valley, a suburb north of central Phoenix. It’s within walking distance of the Happy Valley town centre . There is a comfortable lobby with free wireless internet and complimentary tea/coffee all day, a snack shop, breakfast room, outdoor pool and fitness room on the premises, plus plenty of varied dining choices and shopping within walking distance. There are 125 comfortable rooms with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom and hairdryer, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, free wireless internet, iron/iron board and coffee-maker. A complimentary breakfast buffet is available daily.

Tusayan, Grand Canyon – three star Canyon Plaza resort

Located just off the main street through Tusayan, the small community where most hotels are located, about a mile from the park entrance for the Grand Canyon’s south rim. This motel-style hotel has a small outdoor pool and jacuzzi, a restaurant and free wireless internet in the lobby. The 232 rooms are well-appointed with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, iron/iron board, tea/coffee-maker and either patio or balcony.

Kayenta, Monument Valley – three star Monument Valley inn

A motel-style property located in the small community of Kayenta, within the largest Indian reservation in the USA and just a few miles from Monument Valley. The hotel has a small outdoor pool, a restaurant and fitness room. The 164 spacious rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, iron/iron board and coffee-maker.

Bryce Canyon – three star Best Western Ruby’s inn

Located just a mile from the park entrance. There’s a wood-panelled lobby, an indoor heated pool and Jacuzzi, a popular buffet restaurant and a separate fast-food outlet as well as an indoor dining and entertainment venue with a wild-west dinner show (summer months). There’s a large general store on the premises and several shops across the road, as well as a small evening rodeo (Wed-Sat) in the summer months. The 370 rooms are in motel-style blocks and all have air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, free wireless internet, writing desk, iron/iron board, fridge, microwave and tea/coffee-maker.

Las Vegas – four-star Tropicana Resort and Casino

Located right on the Las Vegas strip. The hotel has a casino, three dining venues, evening entertainment, a nightclub and four acres of tropical landscaped gardens including one of the best pools in Vegas, plus a fitness centre and spa. The 1,375 spacious well-appointed rooms all have air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom with hairdryer, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge), iron/iron board and tea/coffee-maker.

Oakhurst, Yosemite national park – three star Yosemite Southgate Hotel

Located in the small town of Oakhurst in the hills a few miles from the entrance to Yosemite national park. There’s a small outdoor pool, fitness room and breakfast room. There’re several local restaurants within walking distance. The 80 spacious rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, iron/iron board and coffee-maker. A complimentary simple continental breakfast is available daily.

San Francisco - three star superior Holiday Inn Golden Gateway

The property is located on Van Ness Avenue, with one of the city's historic cable car lines just outside. The hotel has a restaurant open for breakfast and lunch, and the Interlude Bar and Grill for the evenings, as well as plenty of restaurants nearby. There's an outdoor pool with city views and a fitness centre. The 499 rooms are comfortably furnished, with air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, iron/iron board, flat-screen cable TV, writing desk, free wireless internet, fridge, tea/coffee-maker and views of San Francisco’s skyline.

Swimming pools in the USA: outdoor pools may be closed early or late in the season.
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I am writing to tell you how much we enjoyed our west coast of America holiday. We returned yesterday after 2 weeks of very memorable days. We will be recommending the company to our friends and family and will definitely be traveling with you again.
Jul 2011
Mr & Mrs Richards
We both felt that the holiday respresented great value for money, with excelent hotels and organisation.
Oct 2008
Mr & Mrs G. Martin
The itinerary was excellent and we must have seen, and experienced, ALL the highlights of a visit to that area.
Mar 2008
Mr & Mrs Hall
3 results