Awe-inspiring scenery at the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park contrasts with the glamour of Las Vegas on this holiday. Discover the scenery of the Golden State, enjoy scenic railway journeys and visit Hollywood for an unforgettable experience.
Meet the rest of your group and Tour Manager at the Courtyard by Burbank Hotel in Burbank. On Day 2, we enjoy a tour of Los Angeles, an iconic American city, taking in Hollywood and the Chinese Mann Theatre, which plays host to the annual Oscars ceremony. After some time for lunch, we transfer to the Burbank Studios for a short guided tour, ahead of an evening at leisure.
This morning we travel on board the iconic Coast Starlight for a daytime journey along the stunning Pacific Coast shoreline. We reach the Pacific Coast at Ventura, at which point the Coast Starlight begins to head north, hugging the coastline and following the Pacific Coast Highway.
Relax in the sightseer lounge and enjoy spectacular views through floor-toceiling windows of vast stretches of pristine beaches as the train hugs the rugged coast north of Santa Barbara. Entering the Salinas Valley we pass the Santa Lucia and Diablo mountain ranges en route to Salinas, from where we make a short coach transfer to Monterey for two nights at the Casa Munras Hotel & Spa.
Our coach collects us this morning as we head to Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor, a charming town that has attracted artists for decades. On our way, we explore the wonderful Californian coastline, including the exclusive residences of 17 Mile Drive and the attractive waterfront of Cannery Row.
We head to San Francisco today, taking the beautiful Pacific Highway and enjoying the gorgeous coast on our way. Your evening is at leisure to settle in.
We enjoy a sightseeing tour on Day 6, visiting some of the cosmopolitan city's most famous sights, including the Golden Gate Bridge and popular Fisherman's Wharf. This afternoon we have some time at leisure. You may like to board a ferry at Pier 33 and cross San Francisco Bay to the infamous island of Alcatraz, which once held the gangster Al Capone.
This morning we depart from Oakland by train on the San Joaquin route through California's Central Valley, bordered on the west by coastal mountain ranges and on the east by Yosemite National Park.
At Turlock we transfer by coach into Yosemite proper for a tour of the Valley Floor, taking in spectacular views of Half Dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, which peaks at 4,000 feet, the 3,000 foot El Capitan and the thundering Bridalveil Falls. We spend tonight in the Hampton Inn Turlock.
We rejoin the San Joaquin line today as we travel to Bakersfield. From here we continue by coach across the Mojave Desert, passing small, isolated villages and abandoned ghost towns. Eventually, the tall buildings and bright lights of Las Vegas appear on the horizon. You are at leisure in Las Vegas on Day 9.
Located in Utah, Zion National Park is a spectacular sight for those who travel through it, which we do this afternoon. The intense, cliff like mountains rise completely vertically from a verdant valley floor, through which a gorgeous blue river flows.
On the morning of Day 11, our first destination is Bryce Canyon. Far less well known than the world-famous Grand Canyon, but no less spectacular, Bryce Canyon is an incredible selection of enormous natural amphitheatres and 'hoodoos', thin spires of umber-coloured rocks. After some free time to explore and perhaps enjoy lunch, we head on to Monument Valley, passing Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell on our way. Instantly recognisable for being the setting for countless cowboy films in the 'Golden Age of Westerns' era, there is time to take photos and admire the scenery before heading to our hotel for the night.
After breakfast this morning, we drive to the railroad town of Williams, where we spend the night at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Our journey takes us along the incredible Monument Valley loop drive, where you can spot many sites made famous by old Western movies.
On Day 13, we travel by rail to the incredible Grand Canyon on board the Grand Canyon Railway. We journey in vintage carriages hauled by historic locomotives to see one of the world's most awe inspiring sights, the Grand Canyon. We arrive at the South Rim, the Canyon's main viewpoint and an ideal base to experience the dramatic vistas. We return to Williams on the Grand Canyon Railway, and our evening is at leisure.
We begin our day by heading to Sedona, by way of Oak Creek Canyon. This is a truly lovely drive, as the warm colours of the mountains mix with the verdant green of the forests that cover them. We visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a fascinating structure built into the cliffside by the Sinagua people between 1100 and 1425 AD. We continue to Camp Verde State Historical Park to enjoy lunch. From here, we head to Phoenix.
Later this afternoon, your tour concludes and you are free to make your way to the airport for your flight home.
For this tour, we recommend you arrive into Bob Hope Airport (BUR), which is approximately 1.5 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), which is situated approximately 166 miles away from your final hotel.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
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Amtrak trains provide the passenger rail services in the USA, and relaxing on board one of its comfortable long distance trains is simply the best way to discover this vast country, its great cities and ever-changing landscape.
On overnight journeys, accommodation is in a Roomette Cabin, which are comfortable but compact. Inside you have two comfortable reclining seats beside a large window, which convert to upper and lower berths at night. Each cabin has individual climate control, a fold down table, fresh towels and complimentary bottled water. WC, shower and washroom facilities are located at the end of each carriage. Roomettes are located on both the upper and lower levels of the double-deck carriages.
On some Amtrak trains a limited number of bedrooms are available at a supplement. These cabins have a daytime sofa that converts to a wide lower berth and a comfortable upper berth at night, and the added benefit of their own en suite shower, washbasin and WC. During daytime journeys we travel in comfortable seats with plenty of legroom. On tours involving journeys on overnight sleeper services, passengers enjoy a meal in the restaurant car if they are travelling during a mealtime. Passengers travelling during the day may purchase meals from the restaurant car where this service is provided. Many Amtrak trains also have Lounge, Dinette and Café cars where passengers can buy snacks, meals and beverages and take advantage of the comfy seating.
The full journey of the Southwest Chief stretches 2,256 miles (3,631km) from Chicago to Los Angeles, taking passengers on a historic route well-trodden by American Indians, Spanish conquistadors and fur trappers. We travel on just a short section of the route from Williams in Arizona to Los Angeles overnight; we board the train in the evening and arrive at our destination the following morning.
The San Joaquin plies the route between Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area and Bakersfield in Southern California. It takes its passengers on a journey through California's premier agricultural region, the Central Valley, making a stop in Sacramento, the state capital, on the way. On our Las Vegas & the Golden West Holiday we travel the whole of this route in two stages. We begin with the three-hour journey from Oakland to Merced, where we alight for Yosemite National Park, and continue the following day to Bakersfield - a further three hours.
The full route of the Coast Starlight is a spectacularly scenic 1,390-mile (2,237km) journey from Los Angeles to Seattle in Washington. On our Las Vegas & the Golden West tour we travel just a section of this route: the journey of just under 8 and a half hours from Los Angeles to Salinas.
Opened in 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway carried passengers and supplies over the sixty-five mile journey from the Arizona town of Williams to Grand Canyon Village at the canyon's South Rim.
A convenient means of visiting one of the USA's greatest natural phenomena, the Grand Canyon Railway remained popular with tourists until the irresistible rise of America's car industry. As the popularity of road travel boomed, the railway's passengers declined and the line became freight-only in 1968 before closing altogether in 1974. Realising that such an iconic line could not be lost, entrepreneurs Max and Thelma Biegert bought the Grand Canyon Railway in 1989, just as its rusting assets were being salvaged for scrap. Its track and rolling stock lovingly restored to its original glory, the railway re-opened in 1990.
Today, although the magnificent steam locomotives that once hauled carriages to and from the Grand Canyon only appear very rarely, the two-hours and fifteen-minute trip to and from Williams remains an unforgettable and nostalgic journey through one of the USA's most spectacular landscapes.
A wonderful 4-Star hotel, the Park MGM Las Vegas boasts of an enviable position just off the glittering Las Vegas Strip. As is typical of Las Vegas hotels, there is a myriad of restaurants and bars to choose from located in the hotel, as well as a spa, a salon, a gym, and a few swimming pools. The large rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi, an in-room safe, and a television.
Our base in Los Angeles is the 3-Star Courtyard by Marriott Burbank Hotel.
Famously the first hotel to be built on the Pacific town of Monterey, the 3-Star Casa Munras Hotel & Spa is set in a traditional Hacienda-style building and can be found in Monterey's historic Old Town along with a number of other old buildings from Mexican and American times. The hotel has a built-in spa (payable locally), a pool and a restaurant. Room amenities include a television, tea & coffee making facilities and complimentary WiFi.
In Monument Valley, we stay at the 3-Star Hampton Inn Kayenta, which provides modern, comfortable accommodation, as well as incredible views across the surrounding Arizona desert. The décor is warm and traditional, with Native American-inspired themes across the guest rooms and public areas. Rooms come equipped with a television, complimentary Wi-Fi and a coffee maker.
Boasting of a marvellous location in the Financial District, Le Meridien in San Francisco is our 4-Star base in this lovely part of America. Overlooking the bay, the hotel is a couple of miles away from Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge. On offer in the hotel is a small gym, room service, and a laundry service available on request. The air conditioned rooms are en-suite throughout, and also include a minifridge, a television, and an in-room safe.
Our base in Springdale is the 3-Star La Quinta Hotel Zion Park.
Offering an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, and Wi-Fi, the Hampton Inn Turlock is located a few hours away from Yosemite National Park. With these stunning surroundings, heralding the true beauty of the Grand Old USA, this is an excellent base for your time exploring this magnificent country. Each of the well-appointed and tasteful rooms offer complimentary WiFi, tea & coffee making facilities in the lobby, a television and a hairdryer.
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams is conveniently located for the heritage railway and the Williams Depot. Owned and operated by the Grand Canyon Railway, the hotel was built in 1995 and is designed to look like the century-old train depot that once housed the historic Fray Marcos Hotel. The hotel's bar, Spenser's Pub, serves drinks as well as a selection of light meals and snacks and there is an indoor pool and a hot tub. The standard rooms feature two queen beds, telephone, television and a coffee maker.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!