A blanket tour of some of the west coast’s jewels including cityscapes and rugged natural plains, this 14-day trip will offer up a veritable feast of visual thrills. You’ll begin your incredible journey in Chicago where you can marvel at architectural icons or stroll through the streets soaking up the culture. Moving on, this tour will manoeuvre through rustic America and onward to the biggest national parks where nature’s way with the land will be in its most evident form.
The towering Big Horn Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and even Route 66 will provide familiar scenes and backdrops while a stop at Las Vegas where entertainment is the signature offering and playing 24/7 is obligatory will offer up a respite from scenery. The Mojave Desert, home of the Joshua Tree, will occupy part of your onward journey to Los Angeles.
This leg of the tour will reintroduce the starry skies of US city life. You will also enjoy the hispanic city of Santa Barbara on this tour alongside savouring the golden Pismo Beach. Your tour will end in hilly San Francisco, which overlooks the glorious Pacific Ocean.
Chicago-Head to the underwater viewing area to catch a glimpse of swimming sea lions or take a guided tour of the hundreds of species on view at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Admission to the zoo is free seven days a week.
Las Vegas-Circus Circus is fun and safe, also depending when you come, there are 1st and 3rd Friday cultural events downtown. There's a nice balcony party on the 16th floor of East Side Cannery and a nice Reggae and Salsa band at the Fiesta Station.
San Francisco-Watch the seagulls; guard your snack food with your life anywhere within eyeshot of the ocean.
Chicago - Sioux City
Sioux City – Badlands National Park – Mt. Rushmore National Memorial – Deadwood/Rapid City
Deadwood/Rapid City – Bighorn Mountains – Cody
Cody – Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park – Grand Teton National Park – Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City – Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce – Lake Powell – Grand Canyon – Flagstaff
Flagstaff - Seligman/ Route 66 - Las Vegas
Las Vegas - Mojave Desert - Los Angeles
Los Angeles – Santa Barbara – Shell/Pismo Beach
Shell/Pismo Beach – Carmel/Monterey – San Francisco
Day 1 Chicago Arrival
Arrive in Chicago and transfer independently to your hotel where you will meet with your Tour Director in the evening.
Day 2 Chicago
A full day at leisure in Chicago. Perhaps join your guide and fellow travelers on an Architectural River Cruise, the best way to see Chicago's impressive and famous architecture up close (optional).
Day 3 Chicago - Sioux City
Travel through Midwest farm country abundant in corn fields, wheat fields and dairy farms. Then we cross the mighty Mississippi River and travel into the state of Iowa to arrive just as Lewis & Clark did 200 years ago on the banks of the Missouri River. Overnight in Sioux City.
Day 4 Sioux City – Badlands National Park – Mt. Rushmore National Memorial – Deadwood/Rapid City
Travel westward through the grasslands of South Dakota and onwards to Badlands National Park, once home to the buffalo and antelope, and filled with strange shaped and colorful rock formations. Then we continue on to the Black Hills, sacred to the Plains Indians and home to Mount Rushmore, an enormous monument to four of the great presidents of America: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Spend an evening at leisure.
Day 5 Deadwood/Rapid City – Bighorn Mountains – Cody
Enter the “Equality State,” Wyoming, which has twelve mountain ranges intermixed with deserts and rolling grasslands, and continue to **Cody for the night. **If overnight in Cody is not possible due to weather or adverse road conditions in Yellowstone, overnight will be in Billings/ Livingston, Montana.
Day 6 Cody – Yellowstone National Park
Drive past the mountains in Wyoming to Yellowstone, America’s first National Park, and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this immense geothermal wonderland including: geysers, waterfalls, wildlife and canyons. Highlights will include Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Canyon’s majestic falls, and the beautiful Hayden Valley.
Day 7 Yellowstone National Park – Grand Teton National Park – Salt Lake City
Travel through Grand Teton National Park (weather permitting) and see awesome mountain peaks towering over 13,000 ft. (4,000 meters). Visit the Snake River Outlook and try your eye at capturing the stunning landscape made famous by Ansel Adam’s iconic shot. This prairie land is home to wild buffalo (Tatonka!), moose and elk. Later, arrive in the Mormon State of Utah and take a short city tour of its capital, Salt Lake City. The followers of Brigham Young built one of the best-planned cities in the country. See the State Capital building and visit famed Temple Square and the Tabernacle before arriving at the hotel for the evening. May we suggest dinner at the Rooftop Restaurant for panoramic views of Temple Square (optional)?
Day 8 Salt Lake City – Bryce Canyon National Park
Continue today to spectacular Bryce Canyon, where a tour through a multi-colored world of sandstone spires and pinnacles, “hoodoos”, will dazzle the eye. This evening, weather permitting, be sure to gaze upon the spectacular night sky filled with sparkling stars & brilliant constellations and the aroma of pinewood campfires.
Day 9 Bryce – Lake Powell – Grand Canyon – Flagstaff
Depart Bryce Canyon this morning and journey to stunning Lake Powell, where crystal blue water laps against towering red-rock canyon walls. Lake Powell is the second-largest man made lake in America, and one in a series of lakes formed by the damming of the Colorado River. Then visit colossal Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven great natural wonders of the world. Stop at the East Rim to fully experience this mile-deep canyon’s plunging gorges, rising spires, extinct volcanoes and, below the rim, the winding Colorado River. Overnight in Flagstaff, a famed stop on historic Route 66.
Day 10 Flagstaff - Seligman/ Route 66 - Las Vegas
This morning depart Flagstaff and travel on to Las Vegas, the dazzling “Entertainment Capital of the World”. Along the way, pass through Seligman, a town built along the famed Route 66 that looks as if it were frozen in time sixty years ago. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore the famous Las Vegas strip.
Day 11 Las Vegas - Mojave Desert - Los Angeles
Travel to Los Angeles via the Mojave Desert, home of the world’s tallest thermometer, at 134 feet (41 meters) high. Clusters of unique Joshua trees dot the mountainous landscape. Upon arrival in Los Angeles you will enjoy a tour through the City of Angels including star studded Hollywood, Sunset Strip and parts of Beverly Hills, before reaching your hotel.
Day 12 Los Angeles
Today we suggest an optional full-day tour visiting the world’s largest movie studio and theme park: Universal Studios, where Hollywood puts you so close you can hear the cameras rolling. Get an inside look at the sets and uncover the behind the scenes secrets of legendary films or perhaps, for the more adventurous, take one of the Studio’s feature rides including Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy. A universe of excitement awaits in one of California’s premier attractions.
Day 13 Los Angeles – Santa Barbara – Shell/Pismo Beach
Leave Los Angeles in the morning and travel north through one of California’s favorite vacation spots, Santa Barbara, where palm-lined walkways border white sandy beaches. The city is famous for its mission and Spanish heritage. Along the way, stop at an iconic California lifeguard tower made famous in “Baywatch”. Continue along the coast to Shell/Pismo Beach.
Day 14 Shell/Pismo Beach – Carmel/Monterey – San Francisco
Dip your toes in the cool, refreshing waters of the Pacific during an early morning beach stroll, then we leave Shell/Pismo Beach and make our way north to Carmel, home of actor/director Clint Eastwood. Enjoy browsing the shops and galleries of this famous artists’ colony. Traveling further north, visit Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Stroll the Pier to Cannery Row, brought to fame by John Steinbeck’s novel. In the afternoon pass the fertile valleys of Castroville and Santa Clara en route to San Francisco, the “City by the Bay.” Tour concludes upon arrival at the hotel.