BEST OF AMERICA

SELF-DRIVE

22 DAYS / 21 NIGHTS

New York City | Niagara Falls | Washington D.C. | San Francisco | Yosemite NP
Sequoia NP | Death Valley | Las Vegas | Zion NP | Bryce Canyon NP | Moab | Durango
Albuquerque | Monument Valley | Grand Canyon NP | Sedona | Palms Springs

 

This tour starts on the East Coast at the City That Never Sleeps, New York and continues to the seventh natural wonder of the world, Niagara Falls. Next is the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. before departing to the West Coast from New York. Once in San Francisco, the tour continues to Yosemite National Park, through Sequoia National Park and into Nevada’s exciting Las Vegas. Visit two of Utah’s best National Parks, Zion, and Bryce before continuing to Arizona where the beauty of Lake Powell and the majesty of the Grand Canyon await you. To culminate this experience, travel through Sedona, Phoenix and Palm Springs before heading to Los Angeles for departure.

 

INCLUSIONS

  • 21-night accommodation

 

Not included : International and domestic airfare · Car rental · Tolls · Parking fees · National Park admission · Meals · Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides · Beverages · Optional excursions

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DAY 1 NEW YORK

Arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and proceed to the hotel. There is much to see and do in this worldly metropolis. Tonight, consider a visit to one of New York’s most popular destinations, Rockefeller Center. It is a hub of activity, with thousands of visitors and New Yorkers alike taking in an array of exciting attractions. Whether you’re looking to spend the afternoon ice-skating, joining the audience of a television show, or shopping at its world-class retail stores, the Rock has something for everyone. Enjoy a two night stay in New York City.

Accommodation: New York for 2 nights

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DAY 2 NEW YORK

Get ready for an unforgettable day of sightseeing. New York City, deservingly called “the city that never sleeps”, offers something for everyone at all times of the day or night. Among the most visited attractions are Time Square, Central Park which houses the City Zoo, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the famous Brooklyn Bridge. After dark, the twin Gothic towers and strong steel cables make a striking silhouette against the night sky. Walking across the bridge is a huge thrill, particularly if you start from the Brooklyn side and view the Manhattan skyline as your stroll across. Of course, no tour of New York would be complete without a visit to America’s highest representation of freedom, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, and the Empire State Building. For the artist at heart, the more established arts like dance, theater, and music are superbly catered for. If shopping is what you fancy, you have come to the right place; the choice of shops is so extensive that it is almost numbingly exhaustive. In between sights, you can eat just about anything, at any time, cooked in any style.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

ALL AROUND TOWN DOUBLE DECKER BUS 48 HOUR TOUR (NYC-CHOP):

The most convenient way to take in all of New York City as you can get on and off the double-decker coach at all the highlight you want to visit. Enjoy our Downtown Loop Tour, where you’ll experience Greenwich Village, Chinatown and beyond. Take in the Uptown Loop, for a view of Central Park West, the Dakota Apartment Building and Harlem’s Apollo Theatre. Or hop aboard the Brooklyn Loop, for a view of the Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Antique Furniture District.

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DAY 3 NEW YORK · NIAGARA FALLS

Enjoy a scenic drive through upstate New York to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Nature has left an indelible mark on the Niagara region. The Canadian Falls, with a height of 54 meters (177ft), and the American Falls, at 56 meters (184ft) high, are true wonders of nature. You may choose to drive along the Niagara Parkway which connects Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls. This lovely trek takes you passed many attractions. You might choose to stop at the White Water Walk, a scenic boardwalk that runs beside the raging white waters of the Great Gorge Rapids. Stroll along and marvel at the mighty torrent, where the river rushes through the narrow channel at an average speed of 22 mph. Or take a ride on the Whirlpool Aero Car. This cable-car contraption soars up on a 1,097m (3,600-ft.) jaunt between two points in Canada. High above the Niagara Whirlpool, enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. A two-night stay has been arranged here.

Accommodation: Niagara Falls for 2 nights

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DAY 4 NIAGARA FALLS

Today is yours to explore the seventh natural wonder of the world. Venture beneath the falls using the elevator at Table Rock House, which drops you 46m (151 ft.) through solid rock to the tunnels and viewing portals of the “Journey Behind the Falls”. Rain ponchos are provided, and you will find them a welcome site. For a different perspective entirely, view the raging, swirling waters in Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic, shown on a six story-high screen. This IMAX movie captures on film the wonder of the falls. You might also consider taking a short drive to Toronto. As the capital of Ontario and Canada’s largest city Toronto has become known for entertainment, culture, sports, high fashion, and big business. There are more than 20,000 retail stores and restaurants. Yet for such a large city it’s miraculously clean, safe and friendly. Stroll through the charming Lake Ontario waterfront district and explore the trendy shops and quaint cafés along College and Queen Streets. Built as a TV transmission antenna, the CN tower is the symbol of the city. At 1815 feet, it’s the tallest tower in the world. It has a range of attractions and exhibits including digital animation shops and a Simulator Theatre, which mimics air flight. All which can be reached via the famous glass-faced elevator, which takes less than a minute to reach the observation deck.

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DAY 5 NIAGARA FALLS · WASHINGTON

Today, depart Niagara Falls and continue southward through Pennsylvania and Maryland for an afternoon arrival in Washington D.C., the nation’s capital. Consider an evening tour of the city as many of the monuments are illuminated at night creating quite a spectacle. Among the most impressive are the Lincoln Memorial, where the solemn beauty of his historic speech is carved in the walls of this monument and the Washington Monument, which offers spectacular views from the top. The White House and the Capitol building are also lit in the evening. For a different perspective, take a dinner cruise along the Potomac River. This riverboat tour offers an entertaining and relaxing way to see the city from the water.

Accommodation: Washington for 2 nights

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DAY 6 WASHINGTON

Today you will have a chance to explore the nation’s capital. Washington, DC attracts nearly twenty million tourists each year making tourism the second biggest industry of the area just after the federal government. Surprisingly, admission to most major attractions is free. Accommodations Explore the city’s most famous sites which are mostly concentrated along the National Mall, often called the “Nation’s Front Yard”; it expands from the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac to the Capitol Building and Supreme Court on Capitol Hill. Along the Mall are the majority of the 18 museums which comprise the Smithsonian Institution, the War Memorials, and the Washington Monument which offers rides to the top of the obelisk and lies south of the illustrious White House. Other points of interest are Arlington National Cemetery, the Library of Congress, the National Cathedral, and the National Zoo. Of course, there is more to Washington than historical site-seeing. Washington has also developed an active nightlife. Besides the world-class restaurants, you can see Broadway shows, Washington only political satires, and live music of all types.

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DAY 7 WASHINGTON · SAN FRANCISCO

Depending on your prior arrangements, today you will depart from either Reagan National Airport (DCA) or Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) to make the cross-country flight to San Francisco. Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), proceed to the hotel and take some time to relax. There is a three-hour time difference between the Coasts, so you have time to explore a bit of San Francisco. Enjoy stunning views of the Pacific coastline, jagged cliffs set against the backdrop of blue sky and rushing waters. Home of the black bear and other mammals, this postcard scenery will capture the imagination. Here is home of majestic wine country and the Golden Gate. The term “melting pot” is used to describe many American cities and towns. This is indeed true for San Francisco. Rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city. A two-night stay has been arranged here.

Accommodation: San Francisco for 2 nights

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DAY 8 SAN FRANCISCO

Today, you are free to enjoy the many sights and sounds of San Francisco. Take a cable car ride from Fisherman’s Wharf. Another major attraction is Alcatraz, a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It served as lighthouse, a military fortification, and finally as a federal prison until 1963. The rangers give excellent guided tours detailing the history and legends surrounding “The Rock.” Spend the day in Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park offers dozens of fun things to do. Top sights are the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the local resident buffalo herd. This evening dines in one of San Francisco’s many distinctive neighborhoods. From Chinatown to the very Italian flavored North Beach, each offers its own distinctive culture and cuisine.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

ALCATRAZ ISLAND CRUISE & TOUR (SFO-ALCA):

Alcatraz and history go hand in hand. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. The presence of infamous inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone, and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud helped to establish the island’s notoriety. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as one of the world’s most legendary prisons. Many people, though, are unaware of the wealth of other stories to be learned on the island. Alcatraz is now home to rare flowers and plants, marine wildlife, and thousands of roosting and nesting sea birds.

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DAY 9 SAN FRANCISCO · MONTEREY · MODESTO

A morning drive will bring you to Monterey, an artisan city on the water famed for the abundance and diversity of its marine life. Here you will see Old Fisherman’s Wharf Cannery Row, an old sardine packing plant and many historic buildings depicting its Spanish past. Travel the famous 17-Mile Drive; this scenic road winds through the prestigious gated community of Pebble Beach in Carmel, past the Del Monte Forest, ocean-front mansions, secluded coves, pristine beaches, and esteemed golf courses. This drive is also home to natural attractions including the famous Lone Cypress tree, Fanshell Beach, and Seal Rock. Afterwards, visit the city of Carmel, voted as one of the most beautiful towns in California, and is a Mecca for the performing and visual arts. In the afternoon the journey continues to Modesto for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Modesto for 1 night

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DAY 10 MODESTO · YOSEMITE · NATIONAL PARK BAKERSFIELD

This morning you will take a scenic drive toward the country’s most famous National Park, Yosemite. Yosemite offers breathtaking views and natural variety of plants and animals. Within the Park, Yosemite Valley’s seven square miles is the most known area. It encompasses Yosemite Falls, the famous El Captain and Half Dome granite monoliths, and misty Bridalveil Falls. The overall scenery is spectacular; views of sheer granite walls, ice sculpture domes, thundering waterfalls, alpine peaks, giant sequoia trees, glaciers, and flowered meadows are a common occurrence here. In the afternoon, continue to Bakersfield.

Accommodation: Bakersfield for 1 night

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

YOSEMITE VALLEY FLOOR TOUR (YSM-TVFT):

On this two-hour tour, Rangers introduce some of Yosemite’s most famous sightseeing points in Yosemite Valley and describe the history, geology, plant, and animal life of the region. This year-round Yosemite Valley Floor tour provides a fuller knowledge and enjoyment of the park. Open-air trams operate from late Spring through early Fall. Late October through April, ride in an enclosed and heated motor coach with large windows allowing unimpeded views of Yosemite’s famous sights. Bring your camera along for postcard-perfect pictures.

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DAY 11 BAKERSFIELD · DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK · LAS VEGAS

Depart Bakersfield via Death Valley National Park to the “city of lights”, Las Vegas. Death Valley is a desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, and multicolored rock layers. It is also one of the most arid places on earth and the hottest and driest of the National Parks within the United States with temperatures reaching 134°F (56.6°C) in the summer. Surprisingly, an average yearly rainfall of 2 inches (5 cm) has proven sufficient for the over 900 species of plants and animals that thrive in this harsh environment. Stop at Father Crawley and Zabriskie Point for a spectacular view of the Panamint Mountains and Sand Dunes and at Furnace Creek where you may want to choose to have a light lunch. Our journey continues to the exciting city of Las Vegas. Las Vegas is the most dynamic and spectacular city on earth; it boasts the vast majority of the world’s largest hotels which attract thirty-seven million visitors each year who come to see the amazing spectacle that are the hotels themselves

Accommodation: Las Vegas for 2 nights

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DAY 12 LAS VEGAS

Today you are free to explore the city of Las Vegas. You may want to visit the Stratosphere Tower, the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and one of the most exciting attractions among Las Vegas Strip hotels. In the evening catch one of the world-famous Vegas shows feature legendary stars and the best of Broadway and shows are offered by virtually all hotels. There is also Las Vegas Boulevard, commonly known as “The Strip”; this “the main drag” is lined at either side with spectacular hotels, casinos, shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities. For a different side of Vegas, visit Fremont Street. This historic street features shops, restaurants and casinos; above you hang a canopy screen where more than 12 million lights put on a spectacular show.

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DAY 13 LAS VEGAS · ZION NATIONAL PARK · BRYCE CANYON NATURAL PARK

Leave the glitter of Las Vegas behind and travel to Utah to visit Zion National Park. A million years of water flow has cut the red and white beds of Navajo sandstone that form the sheer walls of Zion National Park. Unlike the Grand Canyon where one stands on the rim and looks down, Zion Canyon is viewed from the bottom looking up. Continue to Bryce Canyon, known for some of the most colorful rock formations in the world which have been sculpted by erosion into pillars called ‘hoodoos ‘and other fantastic forms. Walk into the canyon for an up close experience. Iron oxides give red, yellow, and brown tints to the limestone, while manganese oxides lend a lavender hue. The most brilliant hues in the park come alive with the rising and setting of the sun. Do not miss the opportunity for star gazing, as the clean air and lack of lights create a spectacular view.

Accommodation: Bryce Canyon for 1 night

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DAY 14 BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK · CAPITOL REEK NATIONAL PARK · ARCHES NATIONAL PARK · MOAB

This morning Travel through Canyon Country to Capitol Reef National Park which is known for its vivid sandstone formations and fruit orchards. Stop at Panorama Point which offers excellent photo opportunities and to enjoy the views, then at the Park’s Visitor Center to view their displays. After a Scenic Drive through the park depart toward Arches National Park. This Park contains the largest number of natural stone arches in the country; of these, the most famous is Delicate Ach. Along with more than 2,000 arches are many red rock canyons, spires, fins and balancing rocks. Continue to Moab for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Moab for 1 night

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DAY 15 MOAB · CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK · MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK · DURANGO

In the morning visit to Dead Horse Point from where you may view Canyonlands with its spectacular formations and great variety of colors. Immediately after, continue via Cortez to Mesa Verde National Park. This Park consists of more than 4,000 ruin sites, which include 600 cliff dwellings; these magnificent sites include the famous Balcony House and Cliff Palace. Visit Spruce Tree House, constructed between AD 1211 and 1278 by the ancestors of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwest. The dwelling contains about 130 rooms and 8 kivas, or ceremonial chambers, built into a natural cave. Continue to Durango. This great city, nestled in the picturesque San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado was built as a mining supply and smelting center during the gold and silver era.

Accommodation: Durango for 1 night

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DAY 16 DURANGO · CHAMA · SANTA FE · ALBUQUERQUE

After we cross the continental divide, we make a stop in the surprising green valley of Chama, the last leg of the Rio Grande Railway. A lunchtime arrival in Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico and the second oldest city in the USA, will allow for an orientation tour of Old Town Santa Fe with its three different cultures, Spanish, Indian and American. Some of the tour highlights are the State Building, San Miguel Church, which is the oldest church in the US, Loretto Chapel with its Miraculous floating staircase, and Governor’s Palace which houses the most extensive museum collection spanning the history of Santa Fe and the Southwest. After the tour you will have time to explore the city on your own. Native Americans ply their arts and crafts outside the buildings facing the central Plaza just as they have for over 400 years. Jewelry, pottery, and more are spread out on blankets for you to admire and purchase. The tour continues in route to Albuquerque.

Accommodation: Albuquerque for 1 night

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DAY 17 ALBUQUERQUE · CANYON DE CHELLY · KAYENTA

Start the day with a visit to Old Town where you can walk through history around its original central plaza. Uniquely distinctive Southwestern items can be found in numerous shops and boutiques. The tour continues west for a visit to Canyon De Chelly and its magnificent vistas. Canyon de Chelly is part of the Navajo Reservation. Stop at the Visitor Center and proceed via the South Rim from which you can admire the Ancient Ruins and geologic structures. These ancient ruins were once home to the thriving Anasazi Indian community. The steep, stained walls of the canyon have helped preserve these petroglyphs and cliff dwellings. From here you will also see Spider Rock; this spectacular geologic feature is a sandstone spire that rises 800 feet from the canyon floor. You may recognize it, as it has served as the scene of several television commercials. Continue to Kayenta for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Kayenta for 1 night

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DAY 18 KAYENTA · MONUMENT VALLEY · GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Today we visit Monument Valley. This Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, advertisements, and holiday brochures. Because of this, the area may seem quite familiar, even on your first visit. Stop at the Cameron Trading Post where you can have lunch and purchase local Indian crafts. The tour continues to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where you can visit Desert View, Mather Point, Yavapai and Bright Angel Lodge. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, its amazing landscape awes and inspires. It is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River over a six-million-year period. The Canyon is between 1500 and 2700 meters above sea level.

Accommodation: Grand Canyon for 1 night

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

MONUMENT VALLEY TOUR 3.5 (FMN-TRUG):

This tour covers all the famous monoliths of Monument Valley, continuing to explore the spectacular rock formations of the restricted areas. After a Navajo rug weaving demonstration, photo stops will be made at “The Mittens”; “John Ford’s Point”; “Three Sisters”; “North Window”; “Totem Pole” and “Yei Bi Cheis”; and “Artist’s Point”. The restricted area is home Anasazi Petroglyphs and to some magnificent rock formations, such as: “Ear of the Wind”; “Sun’s Eye”; “Moccasin Arch”; and “Big Hogan Arch”.

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DAY 19 GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK · SEDONA · PHOENIX-SCOTTSDALE

The journey continues as you depart the Grand Canyon through scenic Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona for a lunch stop. Oak Creek Canyon is a spectacular 16-mile gorge with streams and waterfalls between sheer rock walls. Breathtaking in its red rock beauty, the Canyon with its clear perennial stream provides a strong contrast to the Sedona’s red rocks. After lunch continue to Phoenix or Scottsdale for a mid-afternoon arrival. This evening visits the “Old Town” area of Scottsdale. In addition to multiple galleries and exclusive shops, here you will find excellent collection of Southwestern and Native American art and handicrafts for sale. Enjoy the regional flavors of the southwest cooking style at one of the multiple restaurants in this area.

Accommodation: Phoenix for 1 night

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DAY 20 PHOENIX-SCOTTSDALE · PALM SPRINGS · LOS ANGELES

Leave Phoenix or Scottsdale behind and head west toward Los Angeles through scenic desert country where you will encounter the exclusive resort town of Palm Springs. Situated in the shadow of the San Jacinto Peak, Palm Springs serves as a playground to the rich and famous; it brims with lush farming land and manicured golf courses which does not conform to the typical desert image. Take a ride on the Aerial Tramway, a popular attraction that takes you from the desert to snow-capped mountains. This cable car ride ascends Mt. San Jacinto. At the top, there are hiking trails, mule rides, a cocktail bar and a restaurant. Afterward, continue to Los Angeles for a two-night stay. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the United States. Home to famous movie stars and the infamous landmark, the Hollywood sign, it is a city brimming with culture and happenings. This big metropolis has many regions with distinct flavors and communities.

Accommodation: Los Angeles for 2 nights

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DAY 21 LOS ANGELES

Today, explore the City of Angels. Visit the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Take a stroll along the Walk of Fame and see the names of celebrities commemorated in pink stars along the sidewalk. Visit Mann’s Chinese Theater, the best-preserved of the movie palaces from Hollywood’s golden era. Known for its celebrity hand and footprints in the forecourt, over 200 impressions are yours to discover. Drive through Beverly Hills, the most famous neighborhood in the United States and glimpse exclusive homes of celebrities. Shop the famous Rodeo Drive, where luxury retail commands the street. Have lunch in Venice Beach, home to famous Muscle Beach, where the sand and surf are secondary to the lively scene of people that inhabit the sidewalk. Or, make your way to Anaheim and visit the “Happiest place on earth.” Disneyland is home to your favorite characters like Mickey Mouse. Here you will find entertainment for the young and the young at heart. In the evening have dinner at one of the many ethnic neighborhoods and experience the distinct flavors of authentic dishes.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

HOLLYWOOD BEHIND-THE-SCENES WALKING TOUR (LAX-BEHI):

The Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes is a 75-minute immersive walking tour experience utilizing the world famous “live audio” listening system. The tour covers 100 years of Hollywood history in a 3-block leisurely stroll including the history of the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Egyptian Theatre, Chinese Theatre, Dolby Theatre (home to the Oscars), El Capitan Theatre (Disney premiere theatre), Awards Walk (Oscars red carpet venue) and filming locations.

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DAY 22 LOS ANGELES

Depart at leisure to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment The prices indicated exclude the contribution to the Customer Compensation Fund of $3.50 per $1,000 of tourism product or service purchased from a travel agent in Quebec.