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Western Discovery

17 days Guided Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

America’s hideaways for work and pleasure come together on this cover-it-all tour of America’s vast West. It embraces the studio-packed city of Los Angeles; the western ‘on location’ sets of the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, and Kanab, aka Little Hollywood; and LA’s equally cool urban neighbours, San Diego and San Francisco.
But Westerners aren’t just about business, and their big backyard’s packed with heady pleasures in the shape of fresh air recreation, lose-yourself scenery, and party playgrounds like Las Vegas, which you get to experience like a local.
Places like Palm Springs, Mammoth Lakes, and Lake Powell lure natives with their glorious golf courses, snow and water sports, and other outdoor pursuits, reaffirming the West coast’s famous addiction to anything healthy.
The plentiful national parks provide incomparable scenery for you to dip into, and you’ll witness the crimson monoliths of Sedona, the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the forests, waterfalls, and rugged landmarks of Yosemite, and the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, where campfires and constellations await on clear nights.
Back on the coast, seaside hideouts of in-the-know Californians trail down the Central Coast, and you’ll check off scenic Carmel, the canneries of Monterey, and the beaches of Malibu and Santa Barbara on your way back to LA.

Itinerary

Day 1: UK – Los Angeles

Fly from the UK to Los Angeles. Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport where you will be met by an ATI representative and transferred by Supershuttle to the Holiday Inn Anaheim or similar. Once you’re all checked-in and settled, the rest of the day is at leisure to relax. Accommodation stay – 3 nights in Anaheim Area.

Day 2: Los Angeles

Today is free for you to go out and explore Los Angeles, in the afternoon return to your hotel, where you will meet your ATI Tour Director.

Day 3: Los Angeles – The O.C. – San Diego – Los Angeles (approximately 278 miles)

Travel south through San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente to San Diego, the second largest city in California, renowned for its year-round mild weather. Following a city tour, visit picturesque Seaport Village and San Diego’s relaxing bayfront marketplace. Perhaps enjoy the opportunity for shopping. Return to Los Angeles for the evening.

Day 4: Los Angeles – Palm Springs – Phoenix (approximately 431 miles)

Today your journey takes you through Palm Springs, the winter playground for Hollywood royalty, with its lively downtown and immaculately kept golf courses at the base of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. A sea of wind turbines marks the entrance to this desert oasis. Afterwards you will pass through Indio, home to the Int’l Date Festival in the Coachella Valley. Accommodation stay – 1 night stay in Phoenix area.

Day 5: Phoenix – Sedona – Grand Canyon (approximately 263 miles)

Travel through the Sonoran Desert, the richest, most biologically diverse desert ecosystem in the Americas. Continue to Sedona, a city situated in a unique geological area and encircled by distinctive red-rock monoliths with such names as Cathedral and Coffee Pot. Then drive through the breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon before arriving at Grand Canyon National Park. Majestic Grand Canyon National Park is one of the 7 great natural wonders of the world. Stop at the rim to fully experience this mile-deep colorful canyon’s plunging gorges, and rising spires formed by the mighty Colorado River. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Grand Canyon area.

Day 6: Grand Canyon – Monument Valley – Page/Lake Powell (approximately 363 miles)

As you journey further today, you will enter the Navajo Indian Reservation, passing the trading post of Cameron. Continue through the Painted Desert to visit Monument Valley, an area that embodies perhaps the most iconic images of the American West. In the afternoon, enter the town of Page, situated on a mesa above the Colorado River. Evening at leisure. Accommodation stay – 1 night stay in Lake Powell area.

Day 7: Page/Lake Powell – Kanab – Bryce Canyon (approximately 143 miles)

Visit the mighty Glen Canyon Dam, the second highest concrete-arch dam in America. From here you’ll enjoy views of stunning Lake Powell, where crystal blue water laps against towering red-rock canyon walls. Enter the Mormon state of Utah, pass through the town of Kanab before visiting spectacular Bryce Canyon, where a tour through a multi-coloured world of sandstone spires and pinnacles will dazzle the eye. This evening, weather permitting, be sure to gaze upon the spectacular night sky filled with sparkling stars and brilliant constellations and take in the aroma of pinewood campfire. Accommodation stay – 1 night stay in Bryce Canyon area.

Day 8: Bryce Canyon – Zion – Las Vegas (approximately 304 miles)

Travel today to Zion National Park and see the massive rock formations carved by wind, time, and the Virgin River. This afternoon experience the contrast of Las Vegas, the dazzling “Entertainment Capital of the World,” where round-the-clock shopping, nightly shows, and of course gambling are available. Accommodation stay – 2 nights stay in Las Vegas.

Day 9: Las Vegas

Today is at leisure for you to enjoy the many attractions that Las Vegas has to offer. In addition to world-class shopping, bustling casinos, and Broadway-caliber shows, you might simply stroll the famous Strip to take in its amazing sights, or “shop ‘til you drop” at designer outlets.

Day 10: Las Vegas – Death Valley – Mammoth Lakes** (approximately 385 miles)

Today starts with a stop at the iconic Las Vegas Welcome Sign where you may wish to capture your photo memory of Las Vegas. Having enjoyed glamorous Las Vegas, it will be a sharp contrast this afternoon to enter the quiet and extreme environment of Death Valley. Stop at Zabriskie Point and Furnace Creek Ranch before continuing across the valley and ascending the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the alpine resort town of Mammoth Lakes**. The area gained prominence as a gold mining town in the 19th century and today is renowned for the superior skiing terrain and staggeringly beautiful mountain vistas. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Mammoth Lake area. In the winter months, you will spend 1 night in Fresno area.

Day 11: Mammoth Lakes** – Yosemite (approximately 77 miles)

Arise with the morning sun and join us for an optional seasonal scenic gondola ride to the summit of Mammoth and enjoy a tasty breakfast as you survey a most stunning view of California from its desert floor to its lofty peaks. Next, your journey today brings you to the Tioga Pass** into the scenic wonderland of Yosemite National Park. Here, you will experience the valley floor and its splendors including the glacial-shaped granite formations of El Capitan, Half Dome, the magnificent Bridal Falls and Yosemite Falls. Overnight in nearby Modesto. Accommodation stay – 1 night stay in Yosemite area.

Day 12: Yosemite – San Francisco (approximately 223 miles)

Depart early this morning to arrive in San Francisco, one of the most beloved cities in America. “Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair". Enjoy a comprehensive sightseeing tour before arriving at your hotel. This evening take a memorable City by Night Tour (optional). Accommodation stay – 2 nights San Francisco area.

Day 13: San Francisco (Napa Valley optional tour*)

Day at leisure! Your ATI Tour Director is on hand to assist with making your plans for the day: perhaps a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf where you may enjoy a “Taste of San Francisco”: local seafood, famous sourdough breads or decadent Ghiradelli’s Chocolate. Or take a stroll by Sea Lions’ Marina to watch them frolic. Be sure to gaze across the bay to Alcatraz island where “America’s Most Wanted” such as Al Capone and ”Machine Gun” Kelly were incarcerated. Or visit Union Square for a shopping stop at Macy’s Department Store. You also may choose to embark on a wine tasting tour to Napa Valley, world renowned for its fine wineries and beautiful scenery (optional).

Day 14: San Francisco – Monterey/Carmel – Shell/Pismo Beach (approximately 310 miles)

Depart San Francisco this morning for the drive to the Monterey Peninsula, known for its magnificent homes and lovely beaches. In Monterey, visit Fisherman’s Wharf and famous Cannery Row. Then tour charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, noted for its quaint houses, upscale art galleries and unique stores. In the afternoon your tour continues through Paso Robles, home of fine wineries. Overnight in a quaint Central California Coast town. Accommodation stay – 1 night in California central coast area.

Day 15: Shell/Pismo Beach - Santa Barbara - Malibu - Beverly Hills - Los Angeles (approximately 216 miles)

Journey south through the Santa Ynez Valley into Santa Barbara, where palm-lined walkways border white sandy beaches. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, you’ll stop in Santa Monica, home to the “Finish Line” of Historic Route 66, where you may enjoy an optional lunch on the pier or a beach bike ride. Your afternoon tour of “The City of Angels” continues with Beverly Hills and Hollywood before arriving at your hotel. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Los Angeles area.

Days 16-17: Los Angeles Airport – UK

Check out of your hotel in Los Angeles and receive a shuttle transfer from the hotel to Los Angeles Airport, in time for you overnight flight back to the UK. Arrive into the UK on day 17.

**Winter Routing The Tioga Pass may be closed due to weather or road conditions, in which case you will overnight in Fresno or Visalia and a visit to Mammoth Lakes will not be possible (winter routing applies to all departures between Oct-May under normal snow conditions).

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -8 hours

Hotel List

Final hotel list confirmed 10 days prior to travel.

Tour inclusions

  • Private air-conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English speaking guide

Tour exclusions

  • International flight in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required ESTA application
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

Room Only

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Maximum approximately 56 passengers (full coach).

Visa requirements

It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website atwww.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.

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Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice


Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of options ready to book. But if you need more help, just give us a call on 0344 472 9499.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist. Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

For extra piece of mind, new bookings made before 30 September 2020 for travel up 30 April 2021 also have the flexibility to amend free of charge. If you need to change don’t worry, you can move your holiday as far out as 31 December 2021 subject to availability.

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Let’s talk


If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon


To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?


You can contact our team by emailing feedback.backhome@virginholidays.com to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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