We love the USA and one of our favourite areas is between San Francisco and Las Vegas, via breathe taking Yosemite National Park and unworldly Death Valley. Mark recently did this trip with a hire car and had an amazing time.
Mark suggests starting in vibrant San Francisco before collecting a car and driving to stunning Yosemite national Park. Continue to Death Valley and finish your USA fly-drive in Las Vegas. The best time to travel is from April to September, when the weather is best and Tioga Pass should be open.
Day 1 - UK to San Francisco
Fly from London to San Francisco, arriving later the same day. On arrival into this amazing city, make your way to your chosen hotel, for I would suggest a three night stay, this should give you plenty of time to enjoy this cosmopolitan city.
Days 2-3 - San Francisco
Spend the next few days exploring San Francisco. Perhaps prebook our San Francisco Helicopter tour, the ultimate San Francisco sightseeing trip - witness stunning views of the city skyline. Take time to visit San Francisco Bay and world-famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, which I would strongly suggest prebooking as it books up fast. Head down to Fishermans Wharf for a the sea lions and a bay cruise.
Day 4 - San Francisco to Yosemite
After taking in all the San Francisco has to offer, collect your rental car from the San Francisco depot, and head out of town towards stunning Yosemite (approx 200 miles / 3 hours 15 mins) starting by crossing the vast Oakland Bay Bridge. If you’re in good time head straight in to Yosemite National Park and the spectacular Yosemite Valley (extra 50 miles / 1 hour 30 mins), in the heart of the park. I’d suggest two nights in the area to take in the fantastic scenery.
Day 5 - Yosemite
Spend the day exploring this spectacular national park - tomorrow you’ll cross the stunning Tioga Pass (weather dependent), so today we’d recommend focusing on the Yosemite Valley area. Maybe spend sometime hiking or just simply sit back and take in the scenery.
Day 6 - Yosemite to Death Valley
It’s a long drive today, but totally spectacular and extremely dramatic (approx 340 miles / 6 hours 30 mins, plus stops). As you head from the high altitude of Yosemite to the lowest place in the USA at Death Valley. From your hotel head across the spectacular Tioga Pass (weather dependent), and onwards to beautiful Mammoth Lakes - this is about half the journey time-wise, and Mammoth makes a good place to stop. Continue on via Bishop and Independence in to Death Valley National Park, visiting features such as Stovepipe Wells. As the names suggests, it’s pretty hot in Death Valley, and when I was there it reached a balm 100F, so glad the car had good aircon! On arrival in to Furnace Creek check in to your hotel for one night.
Day 7 - Death Valley to Las Vegas
This morning we’d suggest exploring Death Valley a little more - the views from Zabriskie Point are spectacular and at Dante’s View you can see the lowest and highest points in the contiguous USA. From Death Valley continue to Las Vegas (approx 145 miles / 2 hours 15 mins), perhaps detouring to stunning Red Rock Canyon before arriving in to the part capital of Las Vegas. On arrival in to Las Vegas drop your car off at the airport depot and make your way to your chosen hotel, for I would suggest a five night stay. This will give you time to relax a little after all that driving and sightseeing and also time to enjoy, mad, lively Las Vegas.
Days 8-11 - Las Vegas
Spend the next few days exploring Las Vegas. There are plenty of trips you can do from here and I’d recommend a trip to the Hoover Dam (from £41 per person), a must do if you are visiting Las Vegas! Enjoy a fascinating visit to the Hoover Dam, one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. Constructed in 1935, the impressive structure stands more than 700 feet high and spans the width of Black Canyon. Or treat yourself and head out to the amazing Grand Canyon by helicopter, I have to say I think this was one of the main highlights of my trip.
Day 12 - Return
Finally make your way back to Las Vegas airport for your return flight the UK, arriving the next day.
The above is just a suggestion and the type of thing Mark did on his trip. It takes in a great mix of cities, sightseeing, partying and relaxation. All holidays to the USA are very flexible so why not let us help you design your perfect trip.
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