San Fran to LA: Ultimate National Parks

Trip Code: SSKUC

Why we love it

Beginning in the eccentric city of San Francisco, explore the sights of the bay on a sunset catamaran cruise, sailing around the infamous Alcatraz Island and beneath the legendary Golden Gate Bridge., From shimmering blue waters in summer to snow-dusted pine forest in winter – enjoy a full day of optional activities to suit every adventurer, in every season, during your 2-night stay in Lake Tahoe., Featuring sequoia forests, granite cliff faces and cascading waterfalls – get the most out of your Yosemite experience by spending three nights in the park, meaning two full days of exploration., With undulating sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and fields of wildflowers that blossom in the spring: Death Valley is a geological paradise., From flashy Las Vegas continue to the red rocks of Zion National Park and the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon., Admire the oasis of Emerald Pools during a hike past waterfalls and lush vegetation in Utah’s Zion National Park., Ride a jeep through Utah's iconic Monument Valley, and then share stories and a meal by the campfire with members of Navajo Nation., Be amazed by the size and beauty of the Colorado River’s Horseshoe Bend, then travel to the Grand Canyon where you’ll be left gobsmacked by its steep red-rock escarpments and gorges., Explore a city that’s home to dreamers, fortune seekers, and celebrities in the City of Angels: Los Angeles.

Is this trip right for me?

Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter.

Death Valley in the summer is extremely hot and dry. It does hold the record as the hottest place on earth after all. Hiking at this time of year isn't recommended. Although our private vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.

Some of the best scenery in Yosemite is found on hikes. So, while this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

This trip includes time spent travelling in a vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

If you wish to spend more time in San Francisco or Los Angeles, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Important information

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 3:00 PM on Day 1 in San Francisco. This trip ends on Day 10 in Los Angeles.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.
4. During the months from November to June the Tioga Pass can sometimes be closed due to snow. During these months we will need to find an alternative route of the pass is closed which means we will be unable to pass through the Eastern Sierras. The alternative route will be to go around the West Side of the mountains through Fresno visiting Death Valley on the way to Las Vegas.

What to bring/pack

All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

ESSENTIAL:
- Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Clothing you can layer. You may encounter a wide variety of temperatures en route due to altitude and unforeseen weather conditions - so be prepared! Make sure to pack a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer.
- Closed-in shoes. If you are planning on doing any hiking during your trip we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.

RECOMMENDED:
- Power adaptor (if you are not from the USA or Canada)
- Insect repellent
- Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but it is always a good idea to carry a spare.
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.

OPTIONAL:
- Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives
- Reusable coffee cup such as a travel mug or KeepCup if you are a coffee drinker. Not only is it much better for the environment, but many places in the US and Canada also give a discount for bringing your own cup.
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate
- A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives.
- Swimwear

CAMPING:
If you are booked on one of our camping trips please bring with you:
- Sleeping bag. Please bring one from home or purchase one before your trip starts - you may not have time once we're on the road. Sleeping bags can easily be bought in the US and Canada at big stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target or at sports and camping supply stores. Renting sleeping bags isn't possible on our trips. As we offer trips throughout the year and travel in diverse climate zones, we recommend you carefully consider the weather and choose an appropriate sleeping bag. Please bear in mind that nights can be very cold even in the warmer months. We can experience temperatures as low as -5C and even snow.
- Towel
- Travel pillow

WINTER:
If you are travelling on one of our winter trips in North America be prepared for temperatures can drop to well below zero (Celsius). We recommend you bring shoes for walking across snow or ice (good waterproof walking boots with a good grip), a warm wind and waterproof jacket and trousers, gloves or mittens, thermals and base layers, fleece, good head wear and sunglasses., What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the places you are visiting and when you are travelling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you can carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase per person. Your luggage may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. You'll also need a daypack to carry water, camera, jacket, etc when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Physical rating

 
2

We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.

Many of the National Parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks of up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options. Throughout the trip there are more adventurous optional activities that require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity.

Joining your group

Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf, 1300 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

The Georgian Hotel, 1415 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, 90401, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Georgian Hotel boasts a rich historical background in the city of Los Angeles. First established in 1933, the hotel features classic Romanesque Revival and Art Deco architecture. You will be a 5minute walk to the 3rd Street Promenade which is home to shops and restaurants and the beach is across the road. The famous Santa Monica pier is a quick 5 minute walk to watch the sunset. The hotel has 56 guest rooms all with plush beddings, in-room minibars, complimentary WiFi, flat-screen TVs, and daily turn-down service.

The Georgian Hotel is home to The Veranda Restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner daily, as well as room service during restaurant hours.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 7

Dinners included: 2

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

WEATHER IN NORTH AMERICA
Due to the size and topography of the US and Canada, there's a huge amount of variation in the climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of North America you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure.

USA NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
The following national holidays are observed in the US, which can affect our itinerary as traffic can be extreme, and shops, restaurants and attractions can be closed:

New Year's Day (01 January)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday of January)
Washington's Birthday (third Monday of February)
Memorial Day (last Monday of May)
Independence Day (4 July)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (second Monday of October)
Veterans Day (11 November)
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November)
Christmas Day (25 December)

LEGAL DRINKING AGE
In the US the legal dringing age is 21.
In Canada the legal drinking age is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, and 19 in the remaining provinces and territories.
Our leaders are not able to help underage passengers buy alcohol.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

Intrepid’s Local Operator:: +1 (435) 767-0002

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation

NORTH AMERICA VEHICLES
Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your luggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.

The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well-established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

While your group will have a van for all included activities on the trip, the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.


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