Western USA Circuit
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-10-31
Discover the glories of the West on an exciting round-trip journey from San Francisco
When travelling on the Western USA Circuit, discover gourmet delights in California, beat the unruly heat of the Nevada desert, feel the call of the wild in Utah and engage with some small-town locals in Arizona. Then take the road back to the coast to finish up in vibrant San Francisco. A journey of epic proportions, see all the icons of the West, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate bridge and, of course, the fabulous lights of Las Vegas.
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If arriving early, perhaps spend some time at the island of Alcatraz. Famed for miraculous prison escapes, 'The Rock', as it's famously known, is well worth a visit. Otherwise, take a leisurely bike ride across the Golden Gate bridge or visit the Palace of Fine Arts.
Enter a place of luxury dining experiences with a trip to Sonoma. Whether you choose wine, cheese or olive oil tasting, the region is rich with gastronomic experiences. Perhaps choose to get a little more active and cycle around this scenic area of California.
Delve further into wine country for a little more rest, relaxation and, of course, wine. Discover the world-class food scene of the area or perhaps spend an afternoon indulging at a day spa.
Get active in one of America's most beautiful national parks. Yosemite is a nature-enthusiast's playground, with waterfalls to climb, dramatic cliffs to scale, bears to spot and scenic views to be remembered. Choose to explore this rocky wilderness or simply sit tight and take in the surroundings; either way, Yosemite has something for everyone.
Journey to the Giant Forest, where sequoia trees tower over you like skyscrapers. Sequoias are the largest living tree, and organism, on the planet, which makes a walk through here one jaw-dropping experience. If you can draw your eyes away from the leafy towers, keep an eye out for some local natives, including foxes, bobcats, skunks and even the occasional black bear.
Slap on some sunscreen and enter the hottest zone of eastern California's desert. Be blown away by the sparse, yet impressive, panorama of Death Valley. For a great view, work up a sweat while walking to Dante's Peak to see sand dunes, sculptured rocks, isolated valleys and other-wordly volcanic craters. Make sure the camera batteries are charged, this is a great spot to capture some fascinating snaps.
In a city of neon lights, spin the roulette wheel in Caesars Palace, sip a cocktail by the hotel pool, hitch a ride through the city on a roller coaster or over-indulge at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Whether you're a foodie, a risk taker or party-goer, there is something for everyone in 'Sin City'.
Escape the big city lights of Vegas and head to Arizona. Get back to nature and stay overnight in a ranch hand's bunkhouse. Spend some time exploring the surroundings of Glen Canyon, once an equally impressive chasm before it was dammed and Lake Powell was created.
Over these two days, learn the history of the Navajo people of Monument Valley and be wowed by the incredible surrounding environment. Filmmakers have been using the area as the backdrop of Western films for decades. With towering sandstone pillars, mountainous sand dunes and wind-carved rock formations, it is little wonder why this is such an inspiring photographic landscape... we doubt you will be able to put your camera down.
No doubt you have seen the photos, but nothing compares to the experience of staring into the eye of the Grand Canyon. Spend a few days fathoming how this crack in the earth's surface stretches for more than 440 km in length and 1.8 km deep. Get active during a hike to Plateau Point, cycle around the rocky cliff face or opt for a scenic helicopter ride for a killer view.
The incredibly scenic town of Prescott is both naturally stunning and historically important. Head to the historic area to see a scene seemingly straight out of a cowboy movie. Amble past the local bandstand, stately courthouse and quaint saloons to get a real feel for this once famous capital of Arizona.
In the 'City of Angels', channel your inner celebrity with a visit to Beverly Hills, shop 'til you drop on Rodeo Drive or stalk the rich and famous in their sidewalk playground on Robertson Boulevard. If your style is a little more relaxed, why not hit up Malibu Beach, hike around 'The Hills' or take a step close to the movie scene on a Warner Brothers Studio Tour. LA is all about versatility, variety and having a vivacious attitude.
Cruise down Skate Street on a trolley car, jumping on and off at your own leisure. Choose to explore the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Saks Fifth Avenue and Stearns Wharf, or climb back on the trolley car and hitch a ride until you see a perfect stretch of beach.
San Luis Obispo has the perfect balance of big city chaos and small town charm. By day, hike to the top of Bishop Peak, hang out in the relaxing Mission Plaza or stroll along Bubblegum Alley. Later, when the sun goes down, prepare for a fun night out on the town alongside a huge population of university student revellers.
Journey to Monterey for a few days of fun coastal activities. It's a gateway to one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, and you can choose to kayak, swim or surf this incredible coastland. Otherwise, get active on dry land with a challenging coastal hike or a stroll through a farmers' market. There are also heaps of shopping hot spots and beautiful day spas to satisfy those in need of a little pampering.
This is the final stop on this western circuit adventure. Enjoy more of charming San Francisco – there's plenty of wonderful food, great neighbourhoods and famous sights to check out.
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