Travellers taking the Golden Triangle route in the US will quickly realise why California is known as the Golden State. Taking in six of the region’s most iconic locations, as well as stopping in the energetic city of Las Vegas, this 12-day trip will give you the chance to explore some of California’s sun-drenched cities, beautiful beaches and breath-taking mountain landscapes.
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Road Trip itinerary
3 Nights – Las Vegas
2 nights – Yosemite National Park
3 Nights – San Francisco
1 Night – Monterey
1 Night – Pismo
1 Night – Santa Barbara
2 Nights – Los Angeles
Simplified 10 Night Itinerary – From £1032pp
3nts Las Vegas, 1nt Yosemite, 3nts San Fran, 1nt Pismo, 2nts LA
✈ UK – Las Vegas (3 nights): You’ll start your trip off with a bang, touching down in the party capital of Las Vegas. Even if you’re not a fan of the gambling scene, there’s plenty to see and do in the city. Be sure to take time to stroll down the strip, see the Bellagio, enjoy the Freemont Experience and marvel at Stratosphere Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay, Montecarlo Resort and Casino, Luxor, Paris and the Treasure Island Hotel are just a few other sites you’ll recognise as you tour the city. If it all gets too much for you, take a trip out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to get a glimpse of the Nevada Desert.
🚗 Las Vegas – Yosemite National Park (2 nights): After the madness of Las Vegas you’ll pick up your hire car to escape to the tranquillity of Yosemite National Park. This natural beauty spot is famous for its ancient sequoias, which are set against the backdrop of the rocky Sierra Nevada Mountains. For the most breath-taking scenery, head up to Tunnel View – the famous viewpoint over Yosemite Valley. If heights aren’t your thing, there are plenty of shops and restaurants in Yosemite village, hikes to see sites like Bridalveil Fall, a museum and an art gallery.
🚗 Yosemite – San Francisco (3 nights): One of the high points of driving the Golden Triangle is undoubtedly your next stop, San Francisco. It isn’t just the Golden Gate Bridge that makes this city worth exploring: it is also home to the infamous Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Park and the painted ladies (Victorian and Edwardian homes painted in three colours or more). There’s also a vibrant restaurant and bar scene to keep you entertained during the evening. Meanwhile, the health-lovers among you will relish the hilly landscape, while history buffs will find the cable cars nothing short of charming.
🚗 San Francisco – Monterey (1 night): Following San Francisco you’ll drive over to Monterey – a city known for its seafood and coastline. You’ll want to fit in as much as possible during your stay, so be sure to spend time in the historic district and Cannery Row to get a real feel of the city.
🚗 Monterey – Pismo Beach (1 night): Driving down the cost from Monterey you’ll come to Pismo Beach, and it’s the ideal stop for some R&R time. This traditional beach community boasts miles of coastline. Spend time catching some rays, playing in the sea or even sliding down the sand dunes. There are great restaurants in Pismo too, so you’re sure to have a delicious meal to finish off your day.
🚗 Pismo – Santa Barbara (1 night): Another quick stop will see you in Santa Barbara, known for its Spanish colonial heritage, which is evident throughout the city. One of the first things you’ll notice is the red-tiled roofs and white stucco buildings, which are a nod to the area’s Mediterranean culture. There’s also plenty to do, including the zoo, museum of natural history and the Santa Barbara Presidio and the Mission Santa Barbara.
🚗 Santa Barbara – Los Angeles (2 nights): You’ll finish your trip in the brilliant Los Angeles, where you can feel what it’s like to be a star. From shopping on Hollywood Boulevard to the Walk of Fame, the celebrity lifestyle is all around you. Be sure to visit all the famous sites, such as the strip, Griffith Park and Universal Studios. There are lots of great restaurants and entertainment centres to try too, so you can end your trip as you started it: with a bang.
✈ Los Angeles – UK: Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, so on your final day you’ll return your car to LAX Airport and fly back to the UK.
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