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California and the Golden West

14 Days from $2,095 per person

Style: Value | Pace: Active

Discover what makes California and the Golden West so incredibly special as you take in the stunning scenery of the awe inspiring Grand Canyon, the barren beauty of its deserts and the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada. Compare the cultures of the iconic Californian cities from laid back San Diego, to glitzy Los Angeles and cosmopolitan San Francisco. Travel back through the scenic wine country of the central coast as you reflect on your wonderful experience.

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Overview

Discover what makes California and the Golden West so incredibly special as you take in the stunning scenery of the awe inspiring Grand Canyon, the barren beauty of its deserts and the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada. Compare the cultures of the iconic Californian cities from laid back San Diego, to glitzy Los Angeles and cosmopolitan San Francisco. Travel back through the scenic wine country of the central coast as you reflect on your wonderful experience.

  1. Welcome to Los Angeles, the city of glitz and glamour. Get settled in at your hotel before meeting your Travel Director this afternoon.
    hotel:Red Lion Anaheim
  2. This morning, see the best Los Angeles has to offer. Stop at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the legendary TLC Chinese Theatre. Drive along the Sunset Strip and stop in Santa Monica. The afternoon and evening are free.

  3. Head along the coast to charming San Diego, set around a sweeping bay. Enjoy a sightseeing tour and discover the beautifully restored Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park and Historic Old Town San Diego. It was here in 1769 that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the first of 21 missions that became the cornerstones of California.

    hotel:Days Inn
  4. Leaving the coast behind you, cross the Arizona state line and Colorado River before heading to the Valley of the Sun and fashionable Scottsdale.

    hotel:The Saguaro Scottsdale
  5. Head for the Grand Canyon and meet with a Local Specialist who walks you through the geological life of the canyon. Examine the multicolored rocks from different eras of the canyon's formation. This UNESCO Site and Natural Wonder of the World was formed by pinnacles of rock interspersed by jutting promontories. Later this afternoon, arrive in Flagstaff, a famous outpost on historic Route 66.

    hotel:Ramada Flagstaff East
  6. Call in at Seligman and Kingman, two iconic outposts along the celebrated "Mother Road." Arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas—a man-made neon oasis right in the middle of the desert.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
    hotel:The Orleans Hotel and Casino
  7. Enjoy a free day in Las Vegas to pursue your own interests. Explore this city with its grand hotels and shops. Consider trying one of the many optional activities available.
  8. Drive through the stark Mojave Desert before climbing up to the Great Basin Desert through the magnificent mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Continue through the vast plains of the San Joaquin Valley and arrive in Visalia.

    hotel:Wyndham Visalia
  9. Nothing can quite prepare you for the incredible scenery of Yosemite National Park. Be surrounded by breathtaking panoramas of lush forests and verdant meadows framed by El Capitan and iconic Half Dome. Overnight in Modesto, the heart of one of the greatest agricultural areas in the nation.

    hotel:Baymont Inn and Suites
  10. Travel back toward the California coast, across the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco. Enjoy a city tour that includes some of the most famous sites in this fascinating city.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
    hotel:Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
  11. In the morning, enjoy an Iconic Breakfast at Boudin Bakery, a San Francisco institution since 1849. The rest of the day is free; your Travel Director will be happy to assist you in planning your day.

    meal(s):Iconic Breakfast
  12. Today, head for Monterey, California's first capital. Stop in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea and enjoy a stroll down Ocean Avenue. Drive along renowned 17 Mile Drive. Enjoy some of the most beautiful coastal scenery anywhere and watch for sea lions, sea otters and other marine life along the way. Take in the views of Pacific Grove and soak in a bit of California history at Monterey's Cannery Row before arriving at your hotel in Pismo Beach.

    hotel:Oxford Suites Pismo Beach
  13. Travel through the scenic wine country of the Central Coast before arriving at the popular Mediterranean resort town of Santa Barbara. This old mission town is famous for its Spanish look of red tiled roofs and bougainvillea-covered walls. Stroll down the main street before settling in at your hotel.
    hotel:Best Western Plus Carpinteria Inn
  14. Continue down the coast and back to Los Angeles. Soak in the sun and sea air with a stop in Venice Beach before your trip comes to an end at Los Angeles International Airport.
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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
16 May 19 29 May 19 checkmark $2,360pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
6 Jun 19 19 Jun 19 checkmark $2,095pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
10 Oct 19 23 Oct 19 checkmark $2,360pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now

All prices are per person twin-share. Single rooms available at a supplement.

Single Supplement: $950

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay tips to Travel Director and Driver $159 per person.

Airport Transfers: Complimentary transfers are available. Conditions apply.

Airport arrival will be at approximately 2 pm. Please be aware when booking your flights.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips

Meal Summary

3 Breakfasts.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Feel like a movie star as you stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Santa Monica
  • Visit the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park and Historic Old Town in San Diego
  • Witness the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with your Local Specialist
  • Explore the entertainment-filled city of Las Vegas with its grand hotels and shops
  • Take in the breathtaking views of the valley floor of Yosemite National Park
  • Enjoy an Iconic Breakfast at the famous Boudin Bakery, a local institution since 1849
  • Get familiar with San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square and Chinatown
  • Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea and stroll down Ocean Avenue
  • Learn about Steinbeck's infamous Cannery Row in Monterey
  • Unwind in the Mediterranean resort town of Santa Barbara along the coast and discover the downtown area
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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend $4-5 per person/per day for your driver and $6-7 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Los Angeles

Grasslands BBQ and Churrasco

A unique meatery & eatery! Grasslands delivers the best meats, poultry, and fresh seafood from across the grasslands of the Americas. Every dish is prepared by crafting deliciously authentic regional flavors that reflect the bounty of all that the grasslands of both North and South America have to offer. After starting off with a fresh green salad, you will then select your choice of two meats (sirloin steak, slow smoked brisket, roasted chicken, bbq shrimp, pork ribs, grilled salmon). Your meal is served with garlic rice and grilled fresh vegetables. Enjoy cheesecake for dessert. Approx. duration: 2 hours
Adult Price: $47 

San Diego

San Diego Scenic Harbor Cruise And USS Midway Museum

Embark on a one-hour narrated boat tour of San Diego Harbor that provides up-close access to scenic waterfront architecture, military crafts, historical landmarks, natural sea life and spectacular photo opportunities. Your professional guide will share entertaining facts and history that helped to shape the city’s distinctive waterfront. The ship features three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an onboard snack bar. After your harbor cruise, visit the USS Midway Museum where every admission includes a self-guided audio tour of 25 restored aircraft and 60 exciting exhibits; from the powerful engine room to the Captain’s bridge. Stop and listen to one of the many story-telling docents throughout the ship. Approx. duration: 3 hours.
Adult Price: $50 

San Diego Zoo

Explore the world-famous San Diego Zoo, located in beautiful Balboa Park. Caring for over 4000 animals of 800 different species from the forests and jungles of the world, the zoo is a unique walking experience that exhibits animals in the most natural way possible, adding shows and animal presentations throughout the day. Take the zoo bus tour to help you decide which areas you want to spend more time in – be sure to visit the Lost Forest to watch the gorillas in action and stop at the Giant Panda Research Station, which is now home to three Giant Pandas including Xiao Liwu born in 2012. Your admission includes the zoo bus tour, round-trip Skyfari Aerial Tram Ride, all shows and children’s zoo. Transfers included. Approx. duration: 4 hours.
Adult Price: $57 

1 Hour San Diego Scenic Harbor Cruise

Embark on a one-hour narrated boat tour of San Diego Harbor that provides up-close access to scenic waterfront architecture, military crafts, historical landmarks, natural sea life and spectacular photo opportunities. Your professional guide will share entertaining facts and history that helped to shape the city’s distinctive waterfront. The ship features three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an onboard snack bar. Approx. duration: 1 hour
Adult Price: $28 

Scottsdale

Easy On The Asphalt

A “Sedona snapshot” with great photo opportunities! Join us on this informative and relaxing, yet breathtaking, tour of some of Sedona’s most magnificent overlooks including Cathedral Rock, one of the most photographed sites in all of Arizona. On-road tour. Approx. duration: 1 hour
Adult Price: $54 

Old Bear Wallow

An exclusive experience as our jeep tour operator is the only company permitted by the U.S. Forest Service to take you on this historic trail—climb this early stagecoach route along Schnebly Hill Road through Bear Wallow Canyon, just below the Mogollon Rim to enjoy stunning views of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon 2000ft below. Step onto Munds Wagon or Huckaby Trail and hear stories of Sedona's early pioneer days. Approx. duration: 1 hour.
Adult Price: $54 

Grand Canyon

North Canyon Tour Helicopter Flight

Your tour takes you over the Kaibab National Forest and into the deepest portion of the Grand Canyon, through the Dragon Corridor, and continues to the North Rim, where you view the incredible geological differences between the North and South Rims. During your return to the South Rim, enjoy breathtaking views of temples, shrines and rock formations sculpted by time while flying above the widest portion of the mighty Colorado River. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 25-30 minutes.
Adult Price: $219 

North Canyon Tour Helicopter Flight, Bell Aircraft (April 1 - October 31)

Your tour takes you over the Kaibab National Forest and into the deepest portion of the Grand Canyon, through the Dragon Corridor, and continues to the North Rim, where you view the incredible geological differences between the North and South Rims. During your return to the South Rim, enjoy breathtaking views of temples, shrines and rock formations sculpted by time while flying above the widest portion of the mighty Colorado River. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 25-30 minutes.
Adult Price: $220 

Grand Kingdom EcoStar Helicopter Flight

Fly the EC 130, the “newest and quietest” helicopters in the Grand Canyon with larger windows, and all seats facing forward. Embark on this 45-50 minute tour of the Eastern Grand Canyon that combines with the renowned beauty of The North Canyon tour. Enjoy spectacular views of the Painted Desert and Colorado River. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 40-50 minutes.
Adult Price: $310 

Grand Discovery South Rim Airplane Tour

The original air tour of the Grand Canyon and the best value! Board an ultra-quiet small aircraft for a 40-45 minute Grand Discovery flight over the Grand Canyon. The Vistaliner airplanes feature oversized windows that make every seat the best seat and allows for postcard-quality pictures! This tour covers the most famous and beautiful parts of the Grand Canyon including the Eastern Zuni Corridor, the Confluence and the North Rim and returns through the Western Dragon Corridor. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 40-50 minutes.
Adult Price: $160 

The Ballooning Experience

Your Arizona flight begins with the inflation of the balloon by motorized fans. Upon inflation, you will join your pilot in the beautiful hand-crafted wicker basket. The luxurious, over-sized basket has plenty of room to allow everyone to enjoy the Arizona flight to the fullest. As you gently leave the Earth, you'll be amazed at how light the balloon feels. During the flight you have unobstructed 360-degree views, allowing for breathtaking photographs. Your pilot will explore a variety of altitudes, up to 3,000 feet in the air for a marvelous overview of the valley. While in flight, commonly seen are jackrabbit, quail, roadrunner and coyote, and from time to time encounter deer, javelina and other desert animals. Your pilot will point out exotic desert plant life below and descend within inches of trees and cacti, much to everyone's delight. Breakfast, champagne and juice are included. Subject to weather conditions. Approx. duration: 3 hours
Adult Price: $210 

Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sights And Lights

Join this exciting night on the town in the 'City That Never Sleeps!' You’ll be amazed by the brilliant Fremont Street Experience, see countless wedding chapels, and, of course, be awed by the most spectacular collection of casino hotels in the world. There will be plenty of stops along the way to see some of the most extravagant casinos and attractions, each trying to outdo the other. Be prepared for an evening that’s full of surprises! Approx. duration: 2.5 hours.
Adult Price: $36 

Hoover Dam Excursion and Mob Museum

Depart Las Vegas with your Travel Director to one of the most famous modern marvels of our time- the Hoover Dam. First view the dam from the newly completed Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the largest concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere just completed in 2010. Stand 900 feet above the Colorado River and gaze in amazement at the largest dam of its time, holding back the United State’s largest man-made reservoir, Lake Mead. Includes admission to the Visitor Center and the Powerplant tour. The visitor center features exhibits that highlight the history of the region and how the Hoover Dam was constructed and the Powerplant Tour offers exhibits and other media that provide a comprehensive view of the massive dam and its operations, as well as highlight many of the unique features around the site. Then visit the Mob Museum to explore the fascinating interactive exhibits, artifacts and digital experiences, learning more about the lives of Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, J. Edgar Hoover and many other criminals from Sin City and beyond. Approx. duration: 6 hours.
Adult Price: $66 

Hoover Dam Excursion

Depart Las Vegas with your Travel Director to one of the most famous Modern Marvels of our time, the Hoover Dam. First view the dam from the newly complete Mike O' Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the largest concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere, just completed in 2010. Stand 900 feet above the Colorado River and gaze in amazement at the largest dam of its time, holding back the United State's largest man-made reservoir, Lake Mead. Enter the base of Hoover dam on a guided tour and hear the vibrating hums of rushing water and Hydroelectric Turbines. Approx. duration: 4 hours.
Adult Price: $53 

Black Canyon Float Trip with Transportation

Accompanied by your friendly and informative guide, you'll travel to the launch area at the base of the Hoover Dam for a view of the dam that very few people have the opportunity to see. The large, comfortable rafts have multiple air chambers and are outfitted with all the Coast Guard required and recommended safety equipment. The Black Canyon's high walls will leave you breathless, so remember to bring your camera! You may spot desert bighorn sheep, osprey and great blue heron in their natural setting. The raft stops along the shore to give you a chance to swim or paddle in the cool clear waters below Hoover Dam. You could take this opportunity to enjoy the box lunch provided while watching and listening to the sights and sounds of this magnificent desert. Your trip ends on the Arizona side of the river at Willow Beach before returning to your Las Vegas hotel. Approx. duration: 6 hours
Adult Price: $174 

Cowboy Trail Ride with Breakfast

Your cowboy adventure begins with a rise-and-shine pick-up at your hotel. Your arrival at the ranch will be just in time to enjoy an authentic western-style breakfast. The ranch hands will then pack the horses and get ready to show you the ride of your life. You’ll be surrounded by peace and serenity with majestic views of nearby mountains and breathtaking views. This is for the rider who doesn’t mind waking up early to start the day reminiscent of the cowboys that made the American West famous. Approx. duration: 5 hours
Adult Price: $141 

San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge Walk and Sausalito

Stroll across the 1.7-mile span of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge and learn how the bridge was an engineering marvel and about the people who gave so much time to build this icon of San Francisco. Arrive in the quaint seaside community of Sausalito and have time to leisurely browse the charming shops or have lunch along the picturesque bay. Your adventure concludes with a wondrous ferry cruise across the bay, passing haunting Alcatraz Island and catching an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Approx. duration: 3.5 hours
Adult Price: $40 

Guided Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinese Dinner and City Illuminations Tour

Explore the Chinese markets, herb shops, a fortune cookie factory and more (weather permitting), before dining family-style with a Chinese feast. After dinner, board your motorcoach for the City Illuminations Tour. Drive past the colorful signs and glittering lights of North Beach, the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, the Broadway Strip and the historic Ferry Building. After crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge to Treasure Island, catch a spectacular night panorama of sparkling San Francisco! Approx. duration: 3 hours
Adult Price: $67 

Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods

Travel north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods National Monument, one of the few remaining groves of Virgin Coastal Redwoods which are among the oldest and tallest trees in the world reaching heights of up to 258 feet and averaging 500-800 years of age. Explore the trails leading you into the heart of its cathedral-like grove. On your way back to the city, stop in Sausalito, an alluring village of art galleries, quaint shops and waterfront restaurants with views of San Francisco across the bay. Its cliff-hanging cottages and houseboat community create a Mediterranean ambiance, but the locals you will see are pure “California.” Approx. duration: 3.5 hours.
Adult Price: $88 

Wine Country Tour

During your full day tour from San Francisco, you will visit renowned Napa and Sonoma wineries. Taste the finest wines of Napa Valley, have lunch in Yountville, and enjoy the picturesque drive through fantastic Napa wine country. You’ll learn the area’s history of winemaking, from the early Spanish missionaries who brought grapevines from Europe to the Forty-Niners who served wines in their saloons. Then tour three wineries and see how grapes are picked, crushed, blended and bottled; walk through beautiful vineyards with your tour guide and then taste the finished product. The tour includes stops at the following locations Nicholson Ranch Winery (Sonoma); Madonna Estate, Mt. St. John (Napa); lunch in Yountville at V Marketplace (Yountville); Sutter Home (Napa). Approx. duration: 11 hours
Adult Price: $136 

San Francisco Bay Cruise

Come aboard one of San Francisco’s most popular bay cruises. Sail past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. As you head west towards the Golden Gate Bridge, cruise along Fort Mason and the Marina District, which was devastated in the 1989 earthquake. Don’t miss incredible photo opportunities when sailing directly under the massive 4,200-foot (1280 meter) span of the 746-foot-tall Golden Gate Bridge. As you steam back into the bay, travel past Angel Island State Park and slowly cruise around the infamous Island of Alcatraz. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, see the Oakland Bay Bridge, and Coit Tower. This cruise tour has both indoor and outdoor seating with full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by them. You haven’t experienced San Francisco until you’ve taken a Bay Cruise! Approx. duration: 1 hour
Adult Price: $34 

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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.