Western USA Family Holiday
Exploration and discovery for the whole family in the National Parks of America’s Wild West! From Yosemite to Lake Havasu and Death Valley to the Grand Canyon, this is an exciting family adventure with awesome a mixture of nights under canvas and in hotels. There is nothing like exploring the great outdoors with the family and with your equipment taken care you can enjoy some quality time in the wild together.
Trip note Information:
These trip notes are ‘Land Only’ which means they provide detail from the arrival/start point in your holiday destination and do not include your flying days. The dates and prices section displays the correct flight inclusive and land only start dates.
Today is the arrival day and after arriving in Los Angeles, you will be transferred to your hotel from the airport and check-in to your room(s). We have an evening welcome meeting planned and we will be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. After meeting your group and leader, Tonight you can get stuck into some good old American food – and be wowed by the portion sizes!
Custom Hotel or similar
This morning we will head to Hollywood Boulevard , the heart of Tinseltown and search for our favourite entertainer’s star on the Walk of Fame. Check out the bright neon lights, and see the hand and footprints in the cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theater. After lunch, we head to the home of the stars in the exclusive district of Beverly Hills – the setting for endless movies and lined with street after street of upmarket boutiques and designer stores. Experience the luxury and glamour of Beverly Hills (without the high price tag) while window-shopping in central Beverly Hills’ ‘Golden Triangle’, and acting all 90210 on Rodeo Drive.
Custom Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
This morning after breakfast we take a drive south to San Diego (approximately 100 kilometres). Everything is super laid back here, and the city’s climate, location and environment make it perfect for a relaxing day of beachfront activities. Stroll through the flowering gardens of Balboa Park, explore the beachside neighbourhoods and Ocean Beach Park by bike, rollerblade along the shorefront, or paddle and surf in the clear ocean. For something different, the city is also home to one of the world’s most ethical zoos, which can leave kids feeling educated about conservation and protection, and uplifted by the amazing diversity of the planet.
Camping - Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner included
We have a long driving day today beneath the big blue skies of the Mojave Desert, past high plateaus and distinctive Joshua Trees as we drive through A-Grade Arizona (approximately 7 hours). The astonishing scenery will keep us entertained and the air-conditioned vehicle will keep us cool, but just looking at all that sizzling desert can still make you sweat – so cool off with a refreshing plunge in Lake Havasu. One thing that has to be high up on the list of ‘Things You Don’t Expect to Find in the Middle of the Arizona Desert’ is London Bridge. That’s right, the 1830 version of the bridge, famous from the song about it falling down, was bought by an American entrepreneur and shipped from England to Lake Havasu piece-by-piece almost 50 years ago! Swim and watch the sun go down over the surrounding hills.
The Island Inn or similar - Breakfast included
Grand Canyon NP
Nothing you've ever seen will prepare you for what you're about to see next. Try to think of any word similar to ‘amazing’ and you bet it’s been used to describe the Grand Canyon. Drive through central Arizona (approximately 5 hours) to spend two nights being awed at the sheer scale of the canyon. Get as close to the edge as you dare as you peer over the rim and try to take it all in. There are plenty of things to see and do during your time here, so be prepared for busy and active days. Stand in awe and watch the setting sun ignite the multi-coloured rock walls. For the next two nights you’ll camp out surrounded by the smell of pine and cedar and enveloped by a stunning canopy of stars at night.
Camping - Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Today we’ll drive a stretch of the most famous road in the US – Route 66 – which was once the only way to travel on the great American road trip. Stop along the historic highway and go back in time in the quirky little town of Seligman – a place where it feels like the 1950s every day (approximately 2 hours). Check out classic drive-ins and shops overflowing with retro memorabilia – perfect gifts for the folks back home. Depending on security restrictions, continue on and admire the ingenuity behind the imposing Hoover Dam, where we can look down from its heights (approximately 3 hours). Then watch the neon city, the entertainment capital of the world, appear out of the desert (approximately 45 minutes). Enjoy the desert sun and go for a splash around in the pool, before heading out to the iconic Las Vegas Strip in the evening. Stand under the dazzling show of lights and look out across the crazy hotels that have recreated the icons of Egypt and Europe here in the desert. We stay here 2 nights giving you a full free day to do as you please in the city that has pretty much everything on offer.
Ballys Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
Death Valley NP
Swap the streets of Vegas for the desert of Death Valley (approximately 3 hours). Brave the country’s hottest, driest region and we’ll be rewarded with a geographically stunning and unique landscape. We’re definitely not exaggerating when we say it's hot. The mercury tips at over 56°C in the summer, but it’s this heat that has created the spectacle that everyone comes to see: never-ending low shimmering salt flats, mountainous peaks and the bizarre ‘Devil’s Golf Course’. The national park features huge sand dunes, sculpted rocks, isolated valleys and volcanic craters, and the canyon and mountain walls beautifully change colour with the changing light. Get the camera ready for stunning pictures – grab some props and have some fun creating some great ‘perspective’ shots. We will spend the night in nearby Bishop (approximately 3 hours), where thankfully it's not quite as hot.
Note: Due to health and safety concerns with the extreme heat, some tours will not be able to go to Death Valley if the temperature there is too high.
Camping- Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
You won't know where to focus your gaze as we drive along the winding roads that look out across the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. We will cross the peaks to visit the birthplace of the national park – Yosemite (approximately 5 hours)as we trade sweeping sand dunes for giant sequoias; Yosemite couldn’t be more different to its neighbouring National Park. The scenery we pass is perfect for exploring on foot. Yosemite National Park is nature's greatest back yard and with so many options there will bea walk or hike that suits all. Choose to take a short walk through the valley for views of towering granite cliffs, or take a more vigorous hike to higher elevations. Camping here is an incredible way to get closer to nature and appreciate the park’s beauty. We stay here for 2 nights so there is plenty of time to wander and explore.
Camping- Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
This morning we drive from the tranquility of the giant granite peaks and verdant valleys westwards towards the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay. Monterey is home to the legendary Cannery Row, subject of John Steinbeck's novel by the same name. Lying within one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, it's home to numerous mammals, seabirds, fish, invertebrates and plants in a remarkably productive coastal environment. After checking into our hotel we head out on one of the highlights of the trip , a kayaking tour around Monterey Bay which will last for 2 1/2 hours giving us plenty of time to explore this amazing and diverse ecosystem.
Travelodge Monterey or similar - Breakfast and Lunch included
This morning we visit the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we can better understand the diversity of marine life and the fragile ecosystem. After our exploration we head North to the bustling cultural melting pot of San Francisco.
San Francisco is a chilled-out city with a vibrant, multicultural heart. You can catch a tram to visit the waterfront, feast like a king in Chinatown or peruse zany artwork in SoMa.
The Good Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
No visit to the City by the Bay would be complete without a stroll or a cycle over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. After this Trek across the bridge, we make a stop in the quaint seaside town of Sausalito for lunch or a cup of coffee. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore SF neighborhoods at your own pace. Perhaps take a cruise along the bay , visit Alcatraz (we recommend booking in advance ) and enjoy a final evening together with your new friends, before heading home in the morning. independently.
The Good Hotel or similar - Breakfast included
In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Grand Canyon National Park
This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over millennia, this massive wonder of nature is 277 miles long, up to 16 miles wide and 1 mile deep. We highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon and the IMAX film to obtain perspectives you cannot achieve on foot.
Camping allows you to stay in the heart of the most breathtaking natural scenery, away from fast food outlets and the encroaching development; and our experienced tour leaders and top quality equipment will surely enhance your experience.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
For 30 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has worked to protect ocean life for future generations by inspiring young and old with the beauty and wonder of the oceans.
Our Western Discovery trip is just one of our many Americas Family tours. To find out more visit our Americas holidays page.