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Highlights of America's West Coast

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4.5 stars(2 reviews)
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Be immersed in the charms of America’s Golden Coast

12 days From £2,795 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2023 Tour code: WES23

About the tour

Explore the most captivating destinations on America's West Coast on a holiday that takes us from bohemian San Francisco to iconic Los Angeles by way of the sights and sounds of fabulous Las Vegas and the incredible Grand Canyon.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To San Francisco

We fly to San Francisco, our base for the next two nights. After checking into our hotel, there's some free time for you to settle in or perhaps to begin sightseeing. San Francisco is a famously bohemian city, and is packed with fantastic bars and eateries from modern restaurants to historic speakeasies, as well as iconic landmarks and sights.

Day 2 - San Francisco

We're introduced to the city today on a half-day guided tour that showcases San Francisco's many highlights. Our tour takes us to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a famous, orange-toned bridge that spans a mile over the Pacific Ocean, and from which there's outstanding views across the bay. We also visit Fisherman's Wharf, home to a unique colony of sea lions. With more free time later, you might like to visit the nearby island of Alcatraz, a notorious former prison that once housed prisoners including Al Capone.

Day 3 - San Francisco

Enjoy a free day to discover San Francisco. You could take a trolley ride through Fisherman's Wharf, pausing to indulge in some excellent seafood at one of the famous crab stalls, before taking a moment to admire the picture-postcard views across the bay towards Golden Gate Bridge. Another option is to visit the impressively steep Lombardy Street. Or step back in time with a visit to an old-fashioned saloon, where you can relax with a cocktail in surroundings seemingly unchanged since the Wild West and Prohibition eras.

Day 4 - Yosemite National Park

We journey by rail from Oakland, travelling along the San Joaquin route through California's Central Valley. Arriving at Merced, we transfer by coach into incredible Yosemite National Park. Such is its vast beauty, the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, and it attracts millions of visitors every year. We enjoy a tour of the dramatic valley floor with a local expert who takes us to Half Dome, standing 4,000 feet above the eastern part of the valley, as well as the world-famous El Capitan and thundering Bridalveil Falls, which sends water cascading down a 617-feet drop.

Day 5 - Las Vegas

From the lush, natural beauty of Yosemite, we head to the glamorous and glittering sights of Las Vegas. Taking the train from Merced to Bakersfield, we continue our journey by coach to wonderful Las Vegas. Our journey takes us across the eerily beautiful Mojave Desert, passing derelict ghost towns and atmospheric villages, before the towering buildings and bright neon lights of Las Vegas soon begin to appear on the horizon. Arriving in the vibrant city, we check into our hotel for two nights.

Day 6 - Las Vegas

Enjoy a whole day free to discover Las Vegas for yourself. With no end of entertainment, Vegas is a favourite city for tourists, with an incredible selection of resorts, casinos, and shows to enjoy as well as fantastic spas and restaurants at many of the vibrantly themed hotels. Snap a photo of the iconic 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas', wager a chip or two in the sprawling casino at Caesars Palace, or head to the Fountains of Bellagio to watch the dancing, erupting waters.

Day 7 - The Hoover Dam and Route 66

We continue by coach to Arizona. On the way, we stop off at the Hoover Dam. This masterpiece of engineering was built during the Great Depression of 1936 as an attempt to control floods and produce hydroelectric power. It's now one of the most visited attractions in the United States and provides enough electricity to serve 1.3 million people across the states of Arizona, Nevada and California. Joining the legendary Route 66, we stop off in Kingman for a short break before checking into our hotel in Flagstaff for the night.

Day 8 - The Grand Canyon

Today is an undoubted highlight of our holiday, as we visit the Grand Canyon. We board the heritage Grand Canyon Railway, travelling in restored vintage-style carriages as we journey to the South Rim of one of the world's most breathtaking natural wonders. From our incredible viewpoint, there's views across the peaks and valleys of the incredible canyon, forged by the powerful Colorado River over millions of years. Leaving the Grand Canyon, we make our way to Lake Havasu for the night. This city is home to an unusual attraction; here you'll find a Georgian-era bridge that once spanned the River Thames but was relocated to Arizona in the 1960s.

Day 9 - Los Angeles

We arrive in glamorous Los Angeles, where we have a half-day tour. We visit the famous Hollywood Boulevard, home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as the TCL Chinese Theatre, where the Oscars are held each year. The rest of your day is free to explore. You could enjoy browsing the upmarket boutiques, bars, restaurants and clubs on Sunset Strip or stroll Rodeo Drive, home to exclusive shops like Tiffany's, Chanel and Versace. You may prefer to visit famous Venice Beach Boardwalk or Santa Monica Pier, or head to the Griffith Observatory for a sighting of the renowned Hollywood sign.

Day 10 - Monterey

We board Amtrak's Coast Starlight service, admiring the wild views as our train hugs the shoreline along the Pacific Coast Highway. We enjoy the sights of the mesmerising Salinas Valley as well as the Santa Lucia and Diablo mountain ranges as we make our way to Salinas. Here, we disembark for a coach transfer to Monterey, where we check into our hotel for tonight.

Day 11 - Monterey

You are free to explore the dramatic scenery of northern California. Monterey is one of the state's most popular coastal destinations, and delights visitors with its pretty seafront, historic landmarks and beautiful natural scenery. The city is famous for its coastal location and is known as the whale watching capital of the world. Its world-class aquarium overlooks Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and is a must-visit, with creatures including African penguins, brown pelicans and humpback whales to be spotted.

Day 12 - San Francisco and home

Bidding farewell to the coastal surroundings of Monterey, we take a coach back to San Francisco, where we head to the airport for our overnight flight back to the UK.

Day 13 - London

We touch down in the UK today, where you holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

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Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Havasu City

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MGM Park Hotel, Las Vegas

MGM Park Hotel, Las Vegas

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Airtel Plaza Hotel, Van Nuys, Los Angeles

Airtel Plaza Hotel, Van Nuys, Los Angeles

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El Capitan Hotel, Merced

El Capitan Hotel, Merced

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Hotel Abrego, Monterey

Hotel Abrego, Monterey

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Zephyr Hotel, San Francisco

Zephyr Hotel, San Francisco

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Trains

Amtrak
Coast Starlight
Grand Canyon Railroad
Southwest Chief

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Flight upgrades
UK rail connections
London hotels

Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 2 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (1)
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  3. 3 stars
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  5. 1 star
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Mr N Edwards

4 stars

Submitted 26 Oct 2019

Whilst we did and saw a lot on the tour, we always seemed to be under time pressure. This was the only slightly negative aspect of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable tour.

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr S Vercammen

5 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2019

Hectic holiday but crammed a lot in. Excellent tour manager in Carol Woods. Los Angeles was all about films and studios. Unless you like this kind of thing it was boring. Drop this tour of LA and have two days in Monteray instead. The rest of the trip was amazing.

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Highlights of America's West Coast

Be immersed in the charms of America’s Golden Coast

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