Welcome to Los Angeles! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Begin the day with a sightseeing tour of Tinseltown. Drive through Hollywood and see the historic TCL Chinese Theatre. A historic gem, this world-famous cinema (formerly, Grauman's) has hosted some of the most exclusive movie premieres in Hollywood history. The Dolby Theater (formerly the Kodak Theater) is the first permanent home of the glamourous Academy Awards. See the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where iconic terrazzo stars grace block after city block of Hollywood Boulevard. Explore The Original Farmers Market, with more than 140 shops and restaurants. The remainder of your day is at leisure; your Tour Director will have suggestions for further exploration of the city.
Journey to the desert oasis of Palm Springs. Ever since Hollywood stars first came here in the 1930's laying claim to ranch-style estates and holding up in elite hotels, the clean dry air and sunshine have made Palm Springs irresistible.
Travel through cacti-covered desert towards Old Town Scottsdale where Western storefronts create an aura of the past. Afterward, enjoy free time to explore a taste of the Old West with restaurants, shopping, and Western bars. With wooden beams, wagon wheels, and cowboy hats abundant, you will feel like you have travelled back in time to the era of outlaws and saloons.
First stop today is a visit to Sedona, a centre for Southwestern and New Age arts. Climb through Oak Creek Canyon with its weather- sculpted formations of dramatic, colour-tinted crags. Then pass by the San Francisco Mountains and beautiful pine forests to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take our optional helicopter flightseeing excursion for incomparable views of flame-coloured walls plunging 6,093 feet into the colourado River. Stay overnight in Williams, a picturesque mountain town with Route 66 as the main street.
Cross the old Mohave gold-strike country, that still has traces of century-old ghost towns set in the natural desert beauty. Look out for Joshua trees, a species of the lily family that grows to 40 feet high and can live for more than 300 years. Today's destination is the man-made oasis in the Nevada desert that is Las Vegas, a fantastic city of feverish gambling, neon lights, and glamourous shows. An orientation tour upon arrival shows off many of the themed casino resorts along the colourful "Strip." (CB)
The day is free for exploring on your own. Your Tour Director will have plenty of activities to choose from and will recommend favourite restaurants and shopping areas.
Departing the neon lights of Las Vegas, we continue across the desert landscape of Nevada before crossing into California. See the vast Mojave Desert, which covers one-fifth of California. Pass through the agricultural land and overnight in Tulare in the central San Joaquin Valley.
This morning, we enter Yosemite National Park, a wonderland of spectacular lakes, giant granite domes, towering pinnacles, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests. Afterward, drive to Merced. (B)
This morning, we continue west to the "Golden Gate City" of San Francisco, famous for its cable cars. After lunch, included sightseeing takes in the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, Nob Hill, and bustling Fisherman's Wharf. (B)
The day is free for you to explore more of this fascinating city. Choose from a variety of optional excursions or visit fascinating Alcatraz Prison. Get a close-up look at the infamous federal penitentiary that was off limits to the public for years. NOTE: Consider advance ticket purchase for Alcatraz Island with the National Park Service.
This morning, travel south to picturesque Monterey, which was once Spain's Californian capital. Visit Monterey Harbor's historic Old Fisherman's Wharf to look for sea lions and otters, then visit Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck's novel of the same name. During your free time, consider an unforgettable visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium- known for its interactive exhibits and teeming sea life. Later, take in the spectacular Pacific Ocean waves from legendary 17-Mile Drive and the rugged Pacific coastline en route to Carmel Bay. Nestled in a pine forest beside the picturesque coastline, Carmel by the Sea is a storybook setting not to be missed.
Today, you will experience one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world-Big Sur. Experience stunning views, redwood forests, and the Pacific Ocean crashing below. Keep your camera handy, as there will be plenty of scenic photo stops. Visit, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, nicknamed "mini Yellowstone." Experience the deep shade and cathedral-like beauty of California Redwoods, while surrounded by peaks that tower high above the Big Sur River Gorge. Enjoy time in San Luis Obispo before making your way to Solvang, where Denmark has been recreated with picturesque buildings and windmills. There's time to walk the flower- lined village streets and enjoy the "Old World" architecture. Tasty bakery treats and perhaps a Danish smorgasbord for dinner all add to the unique experience. (CB)
From Solvang, it's a short drive south to coastal Santa Barbara. Sightseeing includes a photo stop at the historic mission and a visit to the pier. There's time to wander along the bustling waterfront or do some shopping in some of the most talked-about boutiques in downtown Santa Barbara. Next, we make our way to the Santa Monica Pier and the ultimate Southern California beach. Afterward, guests with outbound flights will head to Los Angeles International Airport. Please schedule flights after 5 pm.