Maybe you’ve always dreamed of taking the classic American road trip. Or touring California’s wine country. Or even – yes, really – driving a bulldozer.
Maybe you want to wake up in a luxurious Airstream trailer, then take to the skies in a state-of-the-art stunt plane. Or maybe you just want to track down the best tacos in LA.
For travellers like you, we’ve created Virgin Holidays Experiences: a collection of bespoke adventures, attractions, ;experience days and tours that are all but guaranteed to become best-ever memories. No matter what you’re into – adventure holiday or cultural excursion – Experiences let you take the things you love and use them to create truly personal, tailor-made holidays.
You already know what moves you. Now, let us turn it into the trip of a lifetime. Just call 0344 557 1725 to learn more about Experiences – available now for West Coast USA – or pop in for a chat at the following Virgin Holidays stores »
We’ve picked a handful of our favourite experiences to get you started. But there are dozens more to discover. Just give us a call or visit one of our designated stores to find out more.
You’ve seen the bright neon lights of Vegas from afar but now’s your opportunity to see them up close at the little-known but wholly wonderful Neon Museum. Its fascinating two-acre campus – known by everyone here as The Neon Boneyard or Graveyard – houses beautifully unrestored pieces of vintage Las Vegas signage that each have a story to tell about their place in the evolution of this unique city in the desert. There are guided tours that bring these otherworldly artefacts to life, plus sessions specifically for those wishing to photograph the Boneyard’s residents at their leisure. Either way, this makes for a thoughtful and unusual Las Vegas experience that we can’t recommend highly enough.
If you feel the need (the need) for speed, then this once-in-a-lifetime experience has to be in your crosshairs. Having been briefed and given a suitably menacing call sign, you’ll climb into the cockpit of an Extra 330LC – the world’s most advanced certified aerobatic plane – with a super experienced pilot and take to the skies. Whether you choose to loop, barrel roll and Hammerhead Stall your way through an aerobatic run, take on an opposing plane in a keenly fought dogfight or combine the two, you’ll be given control 90% of the time. And while (sadly) you won’t get clearance to ‘buzz the tower’, you will have your entire experience recorded for the mission de-brief back at base, and to take away with you.
If you ask us, growing out of childhood ambitions is highly overrated. And while we can’t help you to be a unicorn farmer or billionaire cyborg ninja, we can give you an amazing, grin-inducing experience playing with full-size bulldozers and excavators in a giant sandpit for adults, and that’s easily as much fun. This digger driving experience is located a short 10-minute drive from The Strip and, once there, you’ll be taught the basics (via nifty headset) by a friendly instructor before being guided through a series of incredibly fun activities, such as building (and climbing over) huge mounds, stacking 2,000lb tyres and even playing “bucket basketball”.
We missed the meeting where it was decided only billionaires could travel by helicopter. It’s why we think everyone visiting Las Vegas needs to experience Sin City and the Grand Canyon National Park by chopper. Flying in a state-of-the-art ECO-Star helicopter you’ll leave McCarran International en route to the Grand Canyon, scoring some amazing Vegas views as you go, before –if you’re anything like us – mouthing the word ‘wow’ repeatedly as you soar above this epic natural phenomenon. Some flights land at a secluded spot in the Hualapai Indian Territory, where you can enjoy a glass of bubbly before flying back via the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, while others are snappier and take you directly to the canyon’s rim before returning to the mesmerising neon of Las Vegas. Either way, your feet won’t touch the ground long after you land from your helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
What is Area 51? If 10 seasons of the X-Files taught us anything it’s that a.) no good ever comes of not turning the lights on when you enter a building, and b.) that the truth is out there. With this fun, fascinating and unashamedly geeky day-long tour you’ll finally get to visit ‘there’ for yourself – driving along the ‘Extraterrestrial Highway to visit a host of sites at the heart of America’s UFO capital. Led by a knowledgeable guide – who knows just how far civilians can venture – you’ll see mysterious desert pictographs, the site of the infamous ‘Black Mailbox’, and stop for lunch at the world-famous Little A’le Inn before visiting the perimeter of Area 51 itself. Although the US Government has denied the existence of this military base for years, you can wave at the heavily armed guards patrolling – just don’t expect them to wave back!
Did you know that La La Land isn’t just a prime location for spotting human celebs? Departing from Newport Harbour, this two and a half-hour boat tour off the Orange County coast gives you the opportunity to see giant blue, minke, finback, humpback and grey whales at close quarters, along with dolphins, sea lions and other indigenous marine life. Guided by an experienced crew, and employing some clever techniques to get you the best views – drones are used to spot activity from up high – you may even get close enough to feel the whales’ tail slaps on the surface and smell their fishy breath when they spout!
There are few better holiday experiences than getting a real feel for a destination; that unmistakable moment where you cease to be a tourist and tap into the underlying vibe and energy of a place. This low-key, leisurely bike tour around Santa Monica offers a wonderful way to feel at home in this quirky and creative area of LA. Following a friendly and knowledgeable guide, you’ll cycle to see some of the awesome architecture, stunning sculptures and world-class graffiti that make this one of Los Angeles’ most vibrant neighbourhoods, as well as swinging by the pretty canals that gave Venice its name, plus the deeply arty, fashionable and foodie-friendly Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Do you fancy a genteel and leisurely boat cruise around San Francisco Bay to a classical symphony soundtrack? Us neither. So how about a high-speed, twisting, turning, 30-minute blast around the Bay, in a sleek powerboat with a hot-rod-style, flame paint job instead? That sounds more like it. In fact, with no two rides quite the same, you may well want to do this one again and again…
Tuning into San Francisco’s hippy heritage isn’t the only reason this vintage VW minivan tour of 14 of the city’s famed districts is neato, but it’s a great place to start (man). Actually, aside from looking groovy, these classic six and seven-seaters – all characters themselves with names like Lillie, Harvey and Jerry – are compact enough to reach fascinating corners of San Fran that regular tour buses can’t reach, giving them an edge that goes beyond their undeniably cool appearance. Driver guides are knowledgeable and super fun with it, and you’ll make plenty of stops for photo ops as you take in The Castro, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and many other San Fran highlights.
Wind your way into the heart of the world-famous Napa Valley wine region in style aboard a beautifully preserved antique Pullman railcar with this very special experience. Your tour begins in Napa itself before taking you through some of the area’s prettiest communities such as Yountville and St Helena, as well as a number of the country’s most prestigious and expensive wineries. And while you take in the soothing scenery, you’ll be served a gourmet meal prepared in one of this unique restaurant’s three onboard kitchens. And naturally, your meal will be paired with superlative local wine. Why not add on a winery tour and make a sublime experience even better, or indulge in a romantic, sunset train ride, and watch the sun set over Napa Valley?