California and the Golden West; 15 Days from Only [Pounds Sterling]1,399pp

Daily Mail (London), August 5, 2010 | Go to article overview

California and the Golden West; 15 Days from Only [Pounds Sterling]1,399pp


Few places generate more iconic imagery than California and the western USA. Even fewer live up to the reality. Scenes of amazing natural wonders and man-made monuments are well known to us via celluloid, requiring little description. But nothing beats actually being there.

Nowhere is more astonishing than the Grand Canyon. Other natural wonders such as Monument Valley, Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, plus San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, ensure one of the most exhilarating tours possible.

DAY 1 Depart London Heathrow for LA and transfer to the four-star Marriot Hotel for a night. DAY 2 Being known by initials alone says it all. Your morning tour explores the best of LA: Beverly Hills, Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. After lunch head for San Diego, where you'll spend two nights at the three-star Best Western Bayside near the waterfront.

DAY 3 San Diego, a classic Californian city, is set around a sweeping bay comprising white, sandy beaches. After a city tour, you are free to experience attractions such as the maritime museum and its many historic ships. Afterwards try San Diego Zoo or Balboa Park.

DAY 4 Your drive inland towards Arizona climbs 4,000 feet through the Cleveland National Forest before dropping down to the heat of the Mojave Desert to stay in the Hampton Inn Glendale in Phoenix.

DAY 5 From Phoenix you drive through the Sonora Desert to the Grand Canyon. Saying the landscape is out of this world barely does justice to a natural wonder that is one mile deep and visible from the moon. It has all kinds of shapes and colours. Enjoy one of the best views from the south rim, which extends for 14 miles. Your hotel is the three-star Canyon Plaza.

DAY 6 Take a lingering farewell look at the Canyon from the Desert View Watchtower, before crossing the Navajo Indian Reservation into Monument Valley. You'll arrive before sunset, the optimal time to view the awesome flat-topped towers of red sandstone so familiar from countless Westerns. You will spend the night at the three-star Holiday Inn in Kayenta.

DAY 7 An early start before you reach Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, crossing into the Mormon State of Utah, climbing almost 8,000 feet and arriving at Bryce Canyon National Park. Created by aeons of erosion, the canyon presents a surreal landscape of delicate rock pinnacles. …

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