California & National Parks Explorer (incl. San Francisco)
Are you itching to discover America? This western USA bus tour will take you from San Francisco to Vegas and back again. Along the way we'll see some of the best scenery the US has to offer. We'll discover hidden gems and visit famous sites, and enjoy plenty of free time to experience cities like Los Angeles at your own pace.
This region has so much natural beauty to share. We’ll take you through forests, canyons and national parks. We'll visit Monument Valley in the American West, where many an epic western has been filmed, see the Grand Canyon and drive part of the iconic Route 66. For contrast we'll also enjoy a big dose of good old American glamour in its most glitzy city, Las Vegas.
Visiting a grand total of five national parks, you’ll experience Arches’ natural sandstone arches, the giant natural amphitheaters in Bryce Canyon, the deep sandstone canyon in Zion, Death Valley’s arid salt-flats and sand dunes, and the granite cliffs, picturesque waterfalls and diverse wildlife of Yosemite.
Photos of the Tour
Why this Trip
- All tour dates are guaranteed to depart.
- No minimum numbers required.
- All accommodation has free wifi & air-conditioning.
- 12 month National Parks pass included.
- Only 10% deposit or minimum $80.00 required and no booking fees.
Itinerary PrintView full Itinerary here
DAY 1: Arrive in San Francisco, CA
Welcome to the Golden City! Take your time to settle into your room, take a look around and start planning your time here. You have a full free day to explore further tomorrow!
DAY 2: San Francisco, CA - Free day
Today you have a free day to explore San Francisco in whichever way you please. Visit the iconic Golden Gate bridge, ride a cable car, or get lost along streets lined with Victorian buildings. There are also gorgeous places to eat, and the nightlife is legendary. San Francisco has a magic you'll find nowhere else; so set out to experience it to the full.
DAY 3: San Francisco, CA - Monterey Area, CA - Paso Robles, CA
This morning we set out for Moss Landing Harbor, where we'll make a quick photo stop. Moss Landing is known for its rich marine life, so if we're lucky we'll see some sea otters and dolphins from the shore. Then we're off to Monterey Fisherman's Wharf, where you'll have some free time to explore and grab some lunch at the many great restaurants. We'll then make our way along the stunning 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula to Paso Robles, enjoying views of the Big Sur along the way. This quaint settlement on the banks of the famous Salinas river is all about the wineries and hot springs. We'll check in at our hotel, before heading out to enjoy a welcome dinner.
DAY 4: Paso Robles, CA - Santa Barbara, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Cheers Paso Robles, we're off to Los Angeles! Along the way we stop in Santa Barbara, also called the 'American Riviera'. This beautiful city is set against the dramatic Ynez Mountains and known for its Spanish heritage. After some free time to explore and grab lunch, we'll continue on towards LA. It wouldn't be La La Land without a tour of the hot spots, so we explore Hollywood before dinner.
DAY 5: Los Angeles, CA - Free day
We wake up in beautiful Los Angeles and you have the whole day to explore this world-famous city. Follow your nose or join us on one of our exciting optional outings. Your tour leader can arrange a day trip to Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach, or help you to get Disneyland tickets. There is also the option to go on a full-day trip to San Diego and Tijuana in Mexico. Silver screen fans could enjoy a Warner Bros Hollywood Studio Tour and Movie Stars' Homes Tour. Alternatively, dress up for a medieval times dinner and show! The choice is yours, so tailor an LA outing that suits your style.
DAY 6: Los Angeles, CA - Free day
When it comes to a city like Los Angeles, one day is simply not enough. This is why this we're giving you a second free day to roam this gorgeous destination. Continue on your own way, or choose an optional outing from the Expat Explore selection. Like yesterday, you have the choice to go on a day trip to Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach. Or you could chase a childhood dream and go to Disneyland! You could also hop the border to Mexico for a day trip to Tijuana via San Diego. Alternatively, learn more about Tinseltown on a Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour and Movie Stars' Homes Tour. Or maybe you'd like to venture on our own way and join in on a Medieval Times dinner and a show this evening. You have free reign, so take your pick.
DAY 7: Los Angeles, CA - Calico, CA - Mojave National Preserve, CA - Lake Havasu, AZ
Goodbye LA! Today our US holiday continues as we head towards the San Bernardino National Forest. We also visit the ghost town of Calico and the stunning Mojave National Preserve. Our day is full of fascinating sights like singing sand dunes and volcanic cinder cones. We'll also encounter Joshua tree forests and carpets of wildflowers.
DAY 8: Lake Havasu, AZ - Grand Canyon West, AZ - Route 66, AZ
Onward! Today our USA coach tour takes us to the iconic Grand Canyon. This natural wonder is Arizona's most famous landmark and measures 277 miles from end to end. Marvel at steeps rocky walls that drop more than a mile to the wild Colorado River that courses beneath.
DAY 9: Flagstaff, AZ - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - Monument Valley area
Today we visit the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This majestic area is home to the famous Painted Desert and John Ford Point. We'll show you all the must-see sights and there is plenty of time to take keepsake pictures. There's also a stop at the historic Cameron Trading Post. Feel like adding to your experience? Join a Navajo guide on an optional drive through the mythical Monument Valley rock formations.
DAY 10: Monument Valley area - Arches National Park - Canyonlands National Park - Moab, UT
Your US holiday is about to get even more epic! Today we're off to see the famous stone formations at Arches National Park. We leave the bus to see the arches up close. Then we depart for Canyonlands National Park, where we drive onto the 'Island in the Sky'. This dramatic flat-topped hill overlooks dramatic sandstone formations from 1000 feet up!
DAY 11: Moab, UT - Bryce Canyon - Zion National Park
Our holiday in the Western US gets even more exciting as we make our way towards Capital Reef National Park. This magnificent park is known for the famous Waterpocket Fold - a 160 km-long warp in the crust of the earth. Afterwards, we're off to Bryce Canyon National Park. Here we marvel at the world's largest concentration of hoodoos. A hoodoo is a lowering limestone spire that rises from the desert floor. Next, we travel to Zion, where we learn more about the region's fauna and flora, and see the Checkerboard Mesa, an ancient sandstone formation that will take your breath away.
DAY 12: Zion National Park - Las Vegas, NV
No USA coach tour would be complete without a visit to Las Vegas! Today we make our way to this hub of glitz and glamour in the Nevada desert. More than 41 million travellers visit Vegas each year and it's easy to see why. This bustling city is home to more than half of the world's largest hotels and 150+ casinos. Not to mention all the theatres and live performance venues. When we arrive we'll take you on a driving tour of the famous Strip - a boulevard known for its many glitzy hotels and casinos.
DAY 13: Las Vegas, NV - Free day
Today you have a full day to explore Las Vegas as you please. Your Expat Explore tour leader can assist you in arranging a trip to the Hoover Dam. Or you could join us on an optional outing to an evening show. Alternatively, try your hand at some roulette or black jack! There is a lot to see and do in Las Vegas. Get in touch before your US coach tour departs if you want more info on concerts and events you can attend.
DAY 14: Las Vegas, NV - Death Valley - Mammoth Lakes, CA
Goodbye Vegas! Today our guided USA coach tour takes us back to California via Death Valley. Death Valley is a national park where some of the highest temperatures EVER have been recorded. Along the way we stop at Badwater basin to see the iconic salt flats & take photos as a viewpoint. You also have the option to enjoy a soak at the Travertine Hot Spring at an extra charge. We journey through an amazing landscape to our evening destination. Tonight we sleep on the edge of the Sierra National Forest. From here we overlook the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains.
DAY 15: Mammoth Lakes, CA - Yosemite National Park - Stockton, CA
Today is the last full day of your US holiday vacation package. If the weather plays along we will travel via the scenic Tioga Pass to the Yosemite National Park. If not, we simply take another route to this beautiful destination. Yosemite is known for its waterfalls, meadows and granite monoliths. We will also stop over at Mono Lake. This afternoon is yours to explore as you please. Chat to your Expat Explore tour leader about private guided tours and bike rental. You could also go zip-lining! Tonight we stay over in Stockton, California.
DAY 16: Stockton, CA - Napa Valley, CA - San Francisco, CA
This morning we head for the wine region of California, stopping off in the Napa Valley wine region. Here we will visit a winery and have some free time in the quaint town. We'll then head for San Francisco and cross the Oakland Bay and Golden Gate bridges on the way. Our Expat Explore US coach tour concludes here in San Francisco. We hope you had an amazing experience and made memories to last you a lifetime!
- 15 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- Services of your Expat tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip. You can also book any of the optional excursions available during your tour with your tour leader – please see the 'Essential Information' tab for more details.
- 15 breakfasts, 7 dinners
- Local taxes and fees
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- 25 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- Free Expat Explore tour souvenir – a memorable gift of your once in a lifetime trip.
- 12 month National Parks pass.
Optional ExcursionsOptional excursions are payable in cash currency to your tour leader whilst on tour.
- Hop-on, hop-off bus tour
- Sunset dinner cruise
- Santa Monica Pier & Venice beach day-trip
- Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio tour & Movie Stars' Homes tour
- Experience Monument Valley with a Navajo guide
- Vegas evening show
- Hoover Dam Excursion
Return customers get 10% off!
If you have traveled with us before you qualify for a 10% rebate. To claim your rebate, simply type your previous Booking Number in the "Special Notes" box at the final Payment step of the checkout.
Save - without compromising on quality - by booking directly with the leading tour operator
How we make awesome trips affordable
- No intermediary: You book directly from the tour operator so you don't have to pay any travel agent.
- As a Europe leading bus tour operator we have 11 years of experience finding the best hotels for your budget and continuously optimizing our selection based on customer feedback.
- We book our hotels well in advance so we get early bird rates that we can pass on to you!
- Thanks to the great number of people who travel with us each year, we can negotiate great deals that would be quite impossible for you to find on your own.
Detailed Info Pack
- Tour start & end points
- Pre-departure information
- Pre-tour accommodation
For more information on, starting points & times, emergency contact details, budgeting for your tour & much more you can download our information pack here.
Helpful Pre-Trip Info
Most nationalities will require a pre-arranged visa or Electronic System for Travel Authorization's (ESTA's) for this tour. Please see our visas page for more information. It is your responsibility to contact the relevant embassy to confirm your visa requirements. Where a visa is required Expat Explore can provide support documentation upon request - please contact us for more information.
On tour costs
Please refer to the tour itinerary for full details of the activities and meals that are included in the tour cost, and those which are optional/extra. We would recommend budgeting $50-75 per day (this excludes optional excursions, see the essential tour information page for details and prices).
Please note, by default all rooms are twin bed rooms.
- Partners: When you book for more than one person, we will by default group you together in a room (unless you specifically request us not to). If you are unequal numbers (3, 5, 7 etc.) and we are unable to secure a triple room then the the remaining traveler will be roomed with another passenger of the same gender.
- Single Travelers: If you are travelling alone there is no compulsory charge - you will share a twin room with another passenger of the same gender. There is an optional single supplement/private room upgrade available for single travellers who wish to have a private room. This can be added at the time of booking or by contacting our customer services team. Please note that the room provided may be a single room with a single bed.
- Triple Room requests: We can generally provide a triple room on request; however it is not guaranteed to be available in every destination. Please contact our customer services team to request a triple room. Please note that in some hotels, the triple may be a double and a single bed, or the third bed may be a pull-out or bunk-bed. Where we cannot provide a triple room the rooming will consist of one twin room and the third passenger sharing with another single traveller of the same gender.
In some destinations you will have a full free day, where you can choose to join our optional excursions or explore on your own.
Your tour starts and finishes in San Francisco, California. Please have a look at our essential tour information page for detailed information.
This should be valid for at least six months after you have returned home from your trip. You should also have at least two blank pages as visas and entry/exit stamps can take up a whole page.