This 22 day / 21 night self-drive tour is without doubt our best selling tour. It combines the cities of California, the glitter of Las Vegas, the stunning beauty of the national parks, the magic of the western frontier and the modern glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, experience the lifestyle and enjoy the many optional excursions. Truly a tour of contrast and variation. Departures between mid-April and mid-September.
Day 1. Arrive Los Angeles. Day 2. Anaheim. Day 3. Anaheim. Day 4. Anaheim to San Diego (approx. 93 miles). Day 5. San Diego. Day 6. San Diego to Scottsdale (approx. 360 miles). Day 7. Scottsdale. Day 8. Scottsdale to Grand Canyon (approx. 220 miles). Day 9 Grand Canyon National Park. Day 10. Grand Canyon to Monument Valley (approx. 180 miles). Day 11. Monument Valley to Lake Powell (approx. 130 miles). Day 12 . Free time at Lake Powell. Day 13. Lake Powell to Bryce Canyon National Park (approx. 160 miles). Day 14. Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park (approx. 90 miles). Day 15. Zion National Park to Las Vegas (approx. 155 miles). Day 16. Las Vegas. Day 17. Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes (approx. 350 miles). Day 18. Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite National Park** (approx. 120 miles). Day 19. Yosemite National Park. Day 20. Yosemite to San Francisco (approx. 200 miles). Day 21 San Francisco. Day 22. Depart San Francisco.
Day 1. Arrive Los Angeles. After the flight from the UK we recommend that you take a taxi or shuttle to your Anaheim hotel rather than drive through the Los Angeles traffic on your first day (Just America will be pleased to advise approx. cost). If you would prefer we can arrange accommodation at an airport hotel for you, but most people prefer to get to their hotel in Anaheim to maximise their time on day 2 for enjoying the attractions of Anaheim. Overnight: Anaheim Plaza (Standard) or Sheraton Park At Anaheim Resort (Superior).
Day 2. Anaheim. Enjoy a leisurely day exploring the fabulous Disney parks located close to your hotel. The Anaheim trolley service provides easy transportation from your hotel to the Disney parks – Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland and Downtown Disney. Overnight: Anaheim Plaza (Standard) or Sheraton Park At Anaheim Resort (Superior).
Day 3. Anaheim. A free day to enjoy the theme parks and attractions of Anaheim and the Los Angeles area. Excursions to Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Universal Studios can be arranged either in advance through Just America, or you can organise this yourself through the hotel concierge. If you would prefer to drive yourself to Universal Studios we can arrange for you to collect your car today, provided this is organised at the time of booking the holiday. Overnight: Anaheim Plaza (Standard) or Sheraton Park At Anaheim Resort (Superior).
Day 4. Anaheim to San Diego (approx. 93 miles). Collect your rental car this morning from the Anaheim depot close to your hotel. Take the short drive to San Diego and head south along the Pacific coast, perhaps stopping at some of the small coastal towns on the way – Laguna Beach, Dana Point or Oceanside. In the afternoon enjoy a visit to SeaWorld San Diego or relax on the beach before exploring the restaurants and shops of Old Town. Overnight: The Dana On Mission Bay (Standard) or Catamaran Resort (Superior).
Day 5. San Diego. There is much to do and see in San Diego and you will need to plan your time carefully. As mentioned above, San Diego is home to Seaworld and the city has several nice beaches, harbor cruises, excursions to the Mexican border town of Tijuana, the museums and botanical gardens at the city’s Balboa Park, the world-famous zoo and the Mission Bay recreation area. In the evening we suggest that you explore Old Town and the downtown Gas Lamp district – both offer a wide choice of excellent restaurants and shops. Overnight: The Dana On Mission Bay (Standard) or Catamaran Resort (Superior).
Day 6. San Diego to Scottsdale (approx. 360 miles). Time to leave the coast and head east as the driving part of your tour gets properly underway today. The drive takes you through the southern California deserts, across the Colorado River at Yuma and into southern Arizona. Yuma is an ideal lunch stop and you may want to make a visit to the former Yuma Territorial Prison where many notorious outlaws were incarcerated during the area’s turbulent past. In the late afternoon arrive at your Scottsdale hotel enjoy a relaxing swim in the hotel’s pool before dinner. Overnight: Courtyard Marriott Old Town (Standard) or JW Marriott Camelback Inn (Superior).
Day 7. Scottsdale. Enjoy a day at leisure in Scottsdale. Relax by the hotel’s pool, explore the galleries of Old Town, shop at the huge shopping mall and discover why this town is often called ‘Shopsdale’. In the evening take a trip to Rawhide, a western cowboy town with saloons, restaurants and the occasional gunfight in the main street! Overnight: Courtyard Marriott Old Town (Standard) or JW Marriott Camelback Inn (Superior).
Day 8. Scottsdale to Grand Canyon (approx. 220 miles). On the drive north from Scottsdale you should have time to visit Sedona – gateway to Red Rock country. Sedona has many interesting shops and is a good place to stop for an early lunch, or coffee. You may want to include a two-hour Pink Jeep excursion to view some of the beautiful scenery close to town – click here to view a short video. The tour also provides a good introduction to the history, wildlife and flora of the region (reservations required. From Sedona the journey takes you through Flagstaff and along a short section of historic Route 66, before continuing past Mount Humphreys – the highest point in Arizona, and through the Kaibab National Forest to Grand Canyon. After checking in to your lodge in the national park, explore the south rim and find a good vantage point to watch the sunset over the Canyon. Overnight: Maswik Lodge (Standard) or Yavapai East Lodge (Superior).
Day 9 Grand Canyon National Park. No pictures or words can adequately prepare you for the incredible beauty and sheer size of the Grand Canyon. We recommend that you get up early and stroll along the west rim. The further west away from the village you go the more peaceful it is. To have the Grand Canyon to yourself – even for only an hour – is a treat not to be missed. The Canyon’s free tram service operates long the rim and stops at the many scenic overlooks allowing visitors to view the Canyon from a wide choice of viewpoints. Other popular activities include helicopter and aeroplane scenic flights over the Canyon; the IMAX movie theatre and national park ranger-led hikes and presentations. Overnight: Maswik North Lodge (Standard) or Yavapai East Lodge (Superior).
Day 10. Grand Canyon to Monument Valley (approx. 180 miles). The short drive today takes you along the east rim and there’s time to stop and enjoy the views of the Canyon before entering the Navajo Indian Reservation – the largest reservation in the United States. Passing through the towns of Cameron and Kayenta you cross from Arizona into Utah, the third state on this tour – and enter Monument Valley – one of the most awe-inspiring sights on your itinerary. It was here in the valley that many of the early John Ford / John Wayne Western movies were made. Overnight: Gouldings Lodge (Standard & Superior).
Day 11. Monument Valley to Lake Powell (approx. 130 miles). We recommend that you pre-book an optional tour of Monument Valley this morning. Your Navajo guide will take you through the valley allowing you time to view the incredible scenery and learn more about the native tribes who live in this area. After your morning tour, drive through northern Arizona on the short journey to Lake Powell. The lake is the second largest man-made body of water in North America, stretching over 190 miles and with a shoreline longer than the west coast of the United States. It was formed by the building of the Glen Canyon Dam across the Colorado River. There is much to do and see at Lake Powell. Overnight: Courtyard By Marriott (Standard) or Lake Powell Resort, marina view room (Superior).
Day 12 . Free time at Lake Powell. A full day to relax and enjoy the excursions mentioned above, visit the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor’s Centre near the town of Page, rent a boat and fish, explore the many narrow side canyons off the lake’s main channel. We particularly recommend that you take a half-day Colorado River ‘float’ trip, a relaxing raft cruise on the mighty Colorado River. The raft gently floats down the Colorado from the base of the dam through narrow gorges with towering cliffs, past Indian sites to the end point of your cruise – historic Lees Ferry. We stress that this is a float trip – not a white-water raft experience (pre-booking is essential). Overnight: Courtyard By Marriott (Standard) or Lake Powell Resort, marina view room (Superior).
Day 13. Lake Powell to Bryce Canyon National Park (approx. 160 miles). The short drive today allows you to either linger at Lake Powell, or to arrive at Bryce Canyon early with time to take an afternoon excursion. Bryce Canyon National Park is definitely one of the major highlights on this tour. The impressive and colourful pillars and hoodoos rising like organ-pipes from the canyon floor, are stunning and can be viewed from several locations on the rim trail. In the park there are horse rides down into the Canyon, hiking trails, ranger hikes and talks. Just outside the national park at Ruby’s Inn there is a wide variety of excursions – jeep tours, horse rides etc., – and in the summer months there are nightly rodeos. Overnight: Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn (Standard) or Bryce Lodge (Superior).
Day 14. Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park (approx. 90 miles). Enjoy the short, but scenic, drive from Bryce to Zion this morning. Zion National Park is an absolute gem – a verdant valley with steep cliffs and mountains, a tumbling river, plunging waterfalls and lots of wildlife – a Garden of Eden paradise. A free tram service operates through the valley and allows visitors to view the park without the need to drive. We recommend that you use the tram but get off and stroll some of the many easy trails, or take an escorted horse ride (pre-booking required). Overnight: Majestic View Lodge (Standard) or Zion Lodge (Superior).
Day 15. Zion National Park to Las Vegas (approx. 155 miles). Linger a while at Zion this morning before heading for the glitz and lights of Las Vegas. Love it or hate it, Las Vegas is as much a feature and sight on this tour as the national parks and no visit to the area would be complete without at least a night here. After your drive, check in to your hotel and enjoy a swim in the pool. Your hotel tonight is located right on the famous ‘Strip’ – Las Vegas Boulevard, and you are free this evening to take in a show or explore the many incredible themed hotels and casinos. Overnight: Excalibur Hotel and Casino (Standard) or the Signature @ MGM (Superior).
Day 16. Las Vegas. Enjoy a day at leisure in Las Vegas. Plenty of opportunity to take excursions to the Grand Canyon, jeep tours into the surrounding canyons, visit Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam or explore the famous sights and shopping of Las Vegas. Overnight: Excalibur Hotel and Casino (Standard) or the Signature @ MGM (Superior).
Day 17. Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes (approx. 350 miles). An early start is recommended this morning before you head west across Death Valley, through the Panamint Mountains and up into the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains to the town of Mammoth Lakes. Enjoy a walk around the lovely lakes and through the pine forests, or enjoy the town’s shops before a relaxing meal in one of the many restaurants. Overnight: Alpenhof Lodge (Standard & Superior).
Day 18. Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite National Park** (approx. 120 miles). Take your time on the drive through Yosemite National Park. You have ample time to discover the beauty of the high Alpine meadows and lakes which are a feature of the eastern section of the park, before you descend into the famous Yosemite Valley. The waterfalls and high valley walls are Yosemite’s most famous features and no visit to the park would be complete without a walk to the base of the mighty Yosemite Falls, but there are many lakes and waterfalls to be discovered on some of the parks many trails, and it is not difficult to escape the crowds and find the tranquility of Yosemite for yourself. Overnight: Yosemite View Lodge – at El Portal (Standard) & (Superior).
Day 19. Yosemite National Park. A complete day to relax and enjoy Yosemite. Visit the giant redwood trees, drive to Glacier Point and admire the view 3,000-feet above the Valley floor, hike to Bridal Veil Falls and picnic by the Merced River. Overnight: Yosemite View Lodge – at El Portal (Standard) & (Superior).
Day 20. Yosemite to San Francisco (approx. 200 miles). The drive this morning takes you out of the mountains and across the Central Valley to San Francisco – one of the world’s most beautiful cities. We recommend that you check in to your hotel and then return your rental car at the downtown San Francisco depot. This not only shortens your rental, but also avoids high car parking charges and reduces the need to drive in the downtown area. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Galleria Park Hotel (Superior).
Days 21 San Francisco. A day at leisure to enjoy the shopping and sightseeing down at Fisherman’s Wharf, take a city tour and cruise to Alcatraz the former prison (pre-booking essential), take the ferry across the Bay to Marineland Africa, ride a cable car and savour the atmosphere of this unique city. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Galleria Park Hotel (Superior).
Day 22. Depart San Francisco. Make your own way by taxi or shuttle to the airport and check in for your return flight to the UK.
** Early and late season departures will divert via Bakersfield due to the unpredictable closure of Tioga Pass between the Mammoth Lakes area and Yosemite National Park.
Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Prices per adult
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* 21 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, optional excursions, meals, national park
entrance fees & personal expenses.
Children under 12 years are free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels.
Max. 2 children per room
Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Anaheim (Los Angeles) 3 Anaheim Plaza Sheraton Park At Anaheim San Diego 2 The Dana On Mission Bay Catamaran Resort Scottsdale 2 Courtyard Marriott Old Town JW Marriott Camelback Inn Grand Canyon Natl. Park 2 Maswik Lodge Yavapai East Lodge Monument Valley 1 Gouldings Lodge Gouldings Lodge Page / Lake Powell 2 Courtyard By Marriott (Page) Lake Powell Resort (marina view room) Bryce Canyon 1 Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn Bryce Canyon National Park Lodge Zion 1 Majestic View Lodge Zion National Park Lodge Las Vegas 2 Excalibur Hotel & Casino The Signature @ MGM Mammoth Lakes 1 Alpenhof Lodge* Alpenhof Lodge* Yosemite Natl. Park area 2 Yosemite View Lodge (Riverview room) Yosemite View Lodge (Riverview room) San Francisco 2 Comfort Inn By The Bay Galleria Park Hotel * Will be substituted for the Best Western Plus Hill House, Bakersfield for early and late season departures due to the unpredictable closure of the Tioga Pass entrance into Yosemite National Park.
It is not unusual for snow to disrupt travel via Tioga Pass between the beginning of October through to the middle of May. In 2017 the pass did not open until mid-June.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
Just America specialises in tailor-making holidays and we will be pleased to design this or any of our tours to your specifications. We can also assist with flights from the UK to the USA and onward flights within North America.
ATOL & ABTA protected.
We can provide details, prices and make reservations for optional sightseeing excursions mentioned in the itinerary.
All mileages are approximate. Hotels/Lodges are subject to availability at the time of booking.