LA to San Francisco Highlights

Geckos Adventures
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LA to San Francisco Highlights
Los Angeles to San Francisco
Duration: 8 days
Tour code: GNWC

Highlights

  • Drive and hike through the kind of spooky but very beautiful Joshua Tree National Park. We put it down to the park's desert cactus gardens, lush oases and strange rock formations
  • It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s the Grand Canyon! See it up close on a hike with your leader or take an optional helicopter flight overhead
  • Lose yourself among the bright desert lights of Las Vegas. And remember, what happens in Vegas...
  • If the World Heritage-listed Yosemite National Park went to see a psychic, she’d sense an autumnal-coloured prehistoric aura, as well as forests, waterfalls, mountains and granite cliffs
  • Camp in the great outdoors under the stars. This is a great trip for first time campers, as the equipment is easy to assemble and there are always leaders on hand to help out
  • Death Valley gets a bad rap, conjuring up images of a flat and barren wasteland and, y’know, death. Be surprised by the park's ethereal landscapes of sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and, in the spring, fields of wildflowers
  • End your adventure in San Francisco, the eclectic, multicultural 'City by the Bay', perfect for eating, drinking, walking and chill time.

What do California, Arizona and Nevada all have in common? Dang straight, they all end in A. And we pass through all three states on this sightseeing road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Hum U2 to yourself as you wander through Joshua Tree National Park, ooh and ahh at the Grand Canyon, get married at an Elvis chapel in Vegas and keep your eyes peeled for bears in Yosemite National Park.

What's included?

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Hostel (1 night), Hotel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Yosemite National Park

Itinerary

Day 1
Los Angeles
Oh hey, LA! Roll into town any time today, as there are no activities planned. You can check into the hotel any time after 3pm, but if you arrive early you can store your luggage and hit up the town for a stroll, a taco and a green smoothie. Just make sure you’re back at the hotel for an important welcome meeting at 6pm in the lobby. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin info, so make sure you’ve got everything on hand to give to your leader. Because we don’t see much of LA, it’s a good idea to arrive a couple of days early so you can see the sights – hitting up Rodeo Drive, exploring The Getty Centre or celeb-spotting anywhere. We recommend doing a one-day sightseeing tour of LA with Urban Adventures. Please download and review the latest trip notes before you jet off, as we often make improvements to our itineraries. This means you’ll have the most up-to-date info about your trip. Check the Visa section of these trip notes for information on visa requirements on your trip.

Stay: Hostel (1 night)

Day 2
Lake Havasu
Leave LA and drive into desert country to Joshua Tree National Park, famous for its spiky trees, bizarre rock formations and pretty good 80s U2 album. Afterwards, continue on to the Cali/Arizona border – aka the Colorado River – where we’ll spend the night at Lake Havasu. We cover around 600 kilometres of ground today, which are broken up with short walks, photo stops and some roadside snacking opportunities. It’s a good idea to load your phone with some good podcasts and playlists, and mayhaps learn some good driving songs to pass the time.

Stay: Camping (with facilities) (1 night)

Day 3
Grand Canyon National Park
Today we head north (4 hours north, to be precise) to one of the world’s seven wonders: the Grand Canyon. When you think about its dimensions – 450 kilometres long, 630 kilometres wide and 1,600 metres deep – it really warrants the whole ‘grand’ title. Check out its massive scale on a walk on the South Rim, or if you’re feeling more active, hike into the canyon itself to stretch your legs. Angling for a bird’s eye view? Splash out on an optional helicopter ride. Spend the night at comfortable digs near the National Park.

Included activities: Grand Canyon National Park

Optional activities:

  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (25 mins) ($244)
  • Grand Canyon - IMAX movie ($15)
  • Grand Canyon - Hiking - Free
  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (45 mins) ($295)

Stay: Camping (with facilities) (1 night)

Day 4
Las Vegas
Today we cross Arizona's western deserts on the way to Las Vegas. We'll make a stop along the way so you can get your kicks on Route 66 before arriving in Sin City in the afternoon.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 5
Las Vegas
Famous for its casinos, Elvis-themed wedding chapels, and Britney Spears shows, Vegas is a mecca for all things over the top. For those not interested in putting all their cash on black, there are heaps of other things to see and do on and around the Strip. Your tour leader will be able to give you the lowdown on the best free shows, most lively clubs and best value ‘all you can eat’ buffets in town. Anyone planning on sleeping, rest assured (LOL) – we’ve got two nights in a hotel here.

Optional activities:

  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster ($15)
  • Las Vegas - Go-Karts ($25)
  • Las Vegas - Limo (per group) ($300)

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 6
Death Valley
Don’t get creeped out guys, Death Valley isn’t that scary. While it’s one of the hottest spots on the planet (temperatures get as high as 50°C in the summer months), it’s also home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as lizards and bighorn sheep (weird), and some pretty awesome geological phenomena. Make sure the camera battery’s charged – the enormous sand dunes, sculpted rocks and volcanic craters are ready for their close-up. We’ll be covering about 600 kilometres of road today, before spending the night in Bakersfield.

Included activities: Death Valley National Park

Optional activities: Death Valley National Park - Hiking (seasonal) - Free

Stay: Camping (with facilities) (1 night)

Day 7
Yosemite National Park
Head north through the Central Valley to Yosemite National Park. The park is a who’s who of natural wonders: El Capitan, the largest granite monolith in the world (take that, 2001: A Space Odyssey), Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and some of the biggest trees on earth, the mighty Giant Sequoia. Enjoy an afternoon hike to Vernal Falls or, alternatively, take a stroll to Mirror Lake, or just soak up the sights in your own time. Spend the night at a campsite near the park.

Included activities: Yosemite National Park

Optional activities:

  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Yosemite - Cycling in Yosemite Valley ($12)
  • Yosemite - Raft Rental (seasonal) ($30)

Stay: Camping (with facilities) (1 night)

Day 8
San Francisco
Leave Yosemite behind and drive 240 kilometres west (around 3.5 hours) towards San Francisco. Our arrival time depends on the group, but we’ll aim for a 3pm arrival, where our epic road trip comes to an end. If you’re flying out of San Fran today, please book your flight after 8pm – this will give you enough time to get a shuttle to the airport with enough time to check in. There’s heaps to see and do in San Francisco – we suggest staying on for a few days to get the most out of this awesome city. If you need a hand booking accom, our reservations team will be happy to help out.

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