family in yosemite

Pacific & Parks Family Holiday

12 days
from
£2,099
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Family
Suitable for:
Age 9+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
P2D
Way to Travel:
Family Group
Activity:
Family
Group size:
6–13
Designed for:
Ages 9-12
Also for:
Ages 13-16

Explore California and the Wild West with the whole family.

This all-encompassing California holiday for families showcases the gems of Western USA, leaving you with amazing memories of a very special family holiday. Hidden coves and ocean beaches give way to desert vistas as you take in the best that Southwest USA and California has to offer. Unwind on San Diego's beaches, follow snaking trails into the Grand Canyon, be dwarfed by towering Sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park, discover Universal Studios and visit the neon desert city of Las Vegas. 

Highlights

  • Admission to Universal Studios in Los Angeles
  • Sunset pizza dinner overlooking the Grand Canyon
  • San Diego beach time and optional water sports
  • Two nights exploring Yosemite National Park trails and searching for wildlife
  • Visit Seligman on Route 66
  • Cruise the Las Vegas Strip
  • Swim in the Keough Hot Springs

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus with trailer for luggage and equipment
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader
  • 7 nights participatory camping, 4 night hotel
  • Countries visited: USA

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 9 breakfasts, 9 lunches & 7 dinners
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3945
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Los Angeles
to
San Francisco
  • Day 1

    Start Los Angeles.

    Welcome to the 'City of Angels', Los Angeles. Feel the California sunshine on your face as you have a free day to take a bus over to Venice Beach and enjoy some family time on the shore. Visit the Venice Skatepark to watch the skaters' tricks, then stroll to Santa Monica Pier to ride the giant ferris wheel. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs, where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions.

    Fairfield Inn & Suites (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Los Angeles.

    Today will bring out the child in everyone! Enjoy an included visit to Universal Studios where you can take a behind-the-scenes studio tour and ride the most exciting roller coasters on the planet. This is entertainment central for the whole family and the perfect way to experience Los Angeles after touring Hollywood.

    Fairfield Inn & Suites Los Angeles LAX (or similar)

  • Days 3-4

    San Diego.

    Our California tour continues with a visit to the golden sandy beaches of San Diego. If you're looking for the perfect place to relax, but with enough activities to keep the kids entertained, then make sure you visit Mission Beach. Rent bikes, or rollerblades to cruise around on. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, try your hand at surfing the Californian waves. Enjoy an included picnic dinner on the beach - the perfect end to a perfect day.

    Optional Activities:

    • Ocean Beach Surf and Skate - Surf Lessons: US$105 
    • Rollerblading US$7
    • Bike rental US$7

    Participatory Camping 

    Campland on the Bay (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Lake Havasu.

    Home to the original London Bridge and designated as a recreational area, this desert oasis has become a mecca for water sports enthusiasts throughout the Southwest. With 300 days of sunshine a year and all the adventure you could possibly wish for, Lake Havasu is a great way to keep the kids entertained. Simply relax and go for a swim to cool off after a long day.

    Optional Activities:

    • Watersports - Prices Vary (US$)

    Quality Inn and Suites Lake Havasu (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Days 6-7

    Grand Canyon (South Rim).

    Desert turns to pine covered plateaus as the earth opens to reveal one of the world's natural wonders, the Grand Canyon. This incredible spectacle is something truly special to witness, especially through the eyes of a child. Whether you decide to hike along the rim or take the more adventurous route into the canyon itself, you'll be amazed at the sheer beauty of the place. Carved over several millennia, this massive wonder of nature is 277 miles (445 kilometres) long, up to 18 miles (29 kilometres) wide and over a mile deep (1.6 kilometres). Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 1450 miles (2330 kilometres) through seven American states and two Mexican states.

    You can explore the park at your own pace and we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, which offers a unique bird's eye view that will amaze the whole family. Pop in to the Grand Canyon Visitor Centre to learn how the canyon was formed, then venture down the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point to let off some steam, or just stroll along the more leisurely West Rim Trail and catch the shuttle bus to Hermit's Rest. Finish off the day by enjoying a dinner with a view as you tuck into pizza and watch the sunset over the canyon, perfection!

    Optional Activities:

    • Helicopter flight US$289
    • IMAX Theater US$10

    Participatory Camping

    Campsite varies depending on departure

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Route 66 - Las Vegas.

    Before arriving to the ultimate desert show stopper, Las Vegas, you'll travel down a section of the original Route 66 and stop at the town of Seligman, filled to the brim with pure Americana. Why not try a super thick milkshake at the all-American Snow Cap Diner? Next, is the desert city of Las Vegas - the ultimate entertainment experience. With its roller coasters, thrill rides, magic shows, amazing swimming pools and all-you-can-eat buffets, there's plenty for the whole family to see and do. Family friendly recommendations include Circus Circus and Treasure Island which are guaranteed to be a hit. In the evening walk the Strip and enjoy the bright lights and fountain displays.

    Alexis Park (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Keough Hot Springs.

    Make your way across the desert towards Keough Hot Springs, one of the largest natural hot springs in the Eastern Sierras. After all the excitement and the hustle and bustle from the previous day, this is the perfect place to relax and cool off in the sunshine.

    Participatory camping

    Brown's Campground (or similar)

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Days 10-11

    Yosemite National Park.

    Yosemite is one of California's most treasured national parks and it's easy to see why. Nestled high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this is a natural playground of unspoilt forest and sheer granite walls rising thousands of feet over the valley floor. There's also plenty of wildlife to be spotted, including bears and coyotes. Whether inner-tubing down the meandering Merced River (in season) or hiking to the top of thundering Nevada Falls, Yosemite's towering cliffs, waterfalls and Giant Sequoias are sure to impress the entire family.

    Yosemite embodies the spirit of America's natural parks and its rugged, towering peaks and magnificent waterfalls have been immortalised by countless photographers. Trails throughout the park are as varied as the landscape and you'll no doubt find a trail that will appeal to you and your family. Take in the quintessential vistas of El Capitan, a 3,000 foot sheer rock face famous with rock climbers the world over. Other popular spots in the park are Bridalveil Falls, one of the most prominent waterfalls in Yosemite, and the famous granite Half Dome, a rock formation you will have seen before on countless postcards. At night, it's the ideal place to stargaze around the campfire as you toast marshmallows.

    Optional Activities:

    • Bike Rental US$12-$34
    • Float Trip on the Merced River US$31

    Participartory camping

    Yosemite Lakes RV Resort (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    San Francisco.

    Continue on to San Francisco, or the 'City by the Bay', as it is commonly known. Why not stay on a few extra days and hop on a cable car, taking in Chinatown, before visiting the Aquarium of the Bay and the city's playful sea-lions at Pier 39? Head over to Golden Gate Park with a picnic and stroll across Golden Gate Bridge for inspired views of the city. A 'must do' in San Francisco is the offshore prison of Alcatraz, where you can learn all about the infamous inmates and their failed escape attempts. If you plan on doing this, you'll need to book in advance directly with the Alcatraz Cruises as it tends to book up fast.

    Your California family holiday ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on flights departing from most UK airports.

If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.

Visas

United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found on our USA visas page.

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

9 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 7 dinners

 

Most of the meals are included whilst camping. Your tour leader will coordinate local shopping and assist the group in preparing healthy, hearty breakfasts, picnic lunches and delicious dinners. Occasionally, you will eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for these meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please be aware that a tip of approximately 17%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

Weather

The West is known for its very dry spring, summer and autumn weather and outstanding blue, sunny skies. Being as far south as Southern Europe and Northern Africa, temperatures are normally much warmer than in Northern Europe. However, temperatures vary greatly depending on the elevation you are at. Generally, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. In summer, Yosemite, Bryce and the Grand Canyon offer pleasant temperatures ideal for hiking whereas some of the deserts might experience hotter temperatures. On warmer days, the leader will opt for early morning and late afternoon walks, leaving time for midday rest. The hottest time of day in the desert is actually 3pm, and most nights will be mild to warm. Be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months, and look out for the plentiful mountain wildflowers.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely). 

This is a busy tour aimed at families travelling with children aged 9 and over. You will need to be reasonably fit to do some of the hikes, but all are optional day walks and there are a variety of routes and trails for all abilities.


Please note that due to federal laws in the Grand Canyon N.P your tour leader can't hike with you. They will, however, prepare you for all available walks. The leader will also advise those who do not wish to participate of the other options available in the area. Some of the areas are remote and hiking or relaxing will be the only possible entertainment, so you should be prepared for this.
The trails vary a great deal - in the more developed parks they are well maintained and defined, whilst in the remote parks we might be following a sandy, rocky creek bed or hike cross country over open desert terrain. Crossing shallow streams (Zion) can be expected. Most of the walking is at moderate altitudes and therefore should not cause any altitude-related problems. Hiking options in Yosemite are quite varied and can be strenuous.
This tour will visit many of the most famous National Parks. Driving distances are considerable but we have tried to ensure a steady pace with time for relaxing. On several of the days we will leave early. Please do note that the West is a big place and the distances might seem long compared to Europe!

While camping, members of the group are expected to fully participate, including erecting and dismantling your own tent, and preparing meals and washing up after meals.

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year. There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. You’ll find the main optional activities listed above under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.

Our tours are a unique holiday experience and much of your enjoyment will come from the team spirit of your group and the fun you’ll have together, as well as from the local setting. We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of bringing a positive attitude with you on tour; a sure guarantee to enjoying each and every moment, even in the adversity of the odd rainstorm!

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3945
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Camping

We use National and State Park campsites and also a wide assortment of private campgrounds. Most will have flush toilets and hot showers, however please be aware that some campgrounds may charge an additional fee of $1-$3 for showers. You will sleep in tents, which 2 people will share. Our camping equipment also includes field kitchens, inflatable sleeping pads, food storage and camp lanterns and chairs. Most campsites have a quiet time from 22:00 hrs to 07:00 hrs. Please respect your fellow campers who are there to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of camping.

An essential part of a camping tour is helping out with the day to day camp duties and everyone will assist with the setting up and packing up of the campsite. Your tour leader will provide guidance on what to do, and typically it will only take 15 minutes to set up or break down the tents and camp kitchen. Before you know it you’ll be enjoying ‘home sweet home’ in the great outdoors.

Your tour leader will also co-ordinate and assist the group with food shopping, preparing meals and cleaning up. Sharing the camp duties is a great way to bond with your fellow travellers and the group camaraderie is all part of the experience.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3945
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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