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Palm Springs

Desert to coast: Southern California self-drive tour

11 days from $4,075pp

Palm Springs
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Tour highlights

  • Fly high above Las Vegas in a helicopter, before landing at the bottom of the mighty Grand Canyon.

  • Learn about the unique biology in Joshua Tree National Park on a guided hike and tour.

  • Relax under the swaying palm trees and the impressive mountain backdrop of Palm Springs.

  • Enjoy a coastal retreat in laid-back Orange County.

  • Spot humpback whales breaching onboard an America's Schooner Cup racing yacht.

Price includes:

  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • As you arrive in Las Vegas, you'll be immediately captivated by the city's dazzling lights and vibrant energy. The iconic Las Vegas Strip beckons, with its world-renowned casinos, extravagant shows, and lavish dining options. This evening, we highly recommend you enjoy dinner in one of the city’s fine dining restaurants or, alternatively, admire the daredevil acrobatics at one of Cirque du Soleil’s famed shows.

  • Spend the morning embracing the desert heat with some poolside relaxation and perhaps a spa treatment to ease into the time difference. In the afternoon, you’ll embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, flying out over Las Vegas and Hoover Dam to the mighty Grand Canyon by helicopter. Once you're over the vast red rocks, your pilot will descend to the bottom of the canyon to land and allow you some exploration time.

  • Collect your car to begin your California road trip. Today’s four-and-a-half-hour journey takes you past the serene Mojave National Preserve. Enveloped by its rugged beauty, you'll witness the landscape change as the vast desert expands, opening up to Joshua trees, and unique rock formations. Upon reaching Palm Springs, you'll be greeted by an oasis of luxury and relaxation. This desert paradise boasts palm-lined streets, stylish boutique shops, and panoramic mountain views; the perfect balance of rejuvenation and exploration.

  • In Palm Springs, a day at leisure promises endless possibilities. Soak up the Southern Californian sun lounging around the pool at your hotel or explore the town’s vibrant art scene. With over 50 golf courses in the area, there is an excellent chance to enjoy a round of golf on a course designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer. The natural landscapes around Palm Springs are perfect for adventure, and we recommend embarking on a scenic hike in the nearby San Jacinto Mountains for the best views over the area. You can easily take the cable car to the top of the mountain if you’d prefer an easier ascent. This evening try one of the area’s many exquisite restaurants that offer worldwide cuisine, created using the freshest Californian ingredients.

  • Head north from Palm Springs on today's tour to Joshua Tree National Park, a truly unique wilderness area. Your experienced guide will teach you and your small group about the biology of this park as you enjoy a short hike and tour around the national park. Marvel at the unspoiled desert vistas, spectacular rock formations, and diverse plant and animal life during the day.

  • Begin today with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, before enjoying a captivating guided architecture tour in Palm Springs. Delve into the city's rich mid-century modern design legacy, as your expert guide unveils iconic structures and hidden local gems. In the afternoon, take a leisurely drive down to the coast, just a two-hour drive to Laguna Beach. Relax on the sun-soaked beach in the afternoon or take a wander along the cliffs to watch the sunset over Orange County.

    Stay at Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa   
  • Spend the day at your own leisure, relaxing in Laguna Beach, where the beaches of Orange County are some of the finest and there is ample opportunity to enjoy water sports or sunbathing. We can highly recommend a trip to Dana Point, the Dolphin & Whale-Watching Capital of the World, where you may be lucky to spot some marine mammals.

    Stay at Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa   
  • Leaving Laguna Beach, you'll set off down the coast to La Jolla. This northern suburb of San Diego is Spanish-inspired, with terracotta roofs and hacienda-style accommodation. Begin your first day in San Diego with a refreshing stroll along the beach, taking in the soothing sounds of crashing waves and the invigorating sea breeze.

    Stay at Grande Colonial   
  • An exciting trip awaits today as you head out on the ocean to spot whales from the yacht 'America'. This America's Schooner Cup yacht is unique in its use as a whale-watching vessel and on board you'll have a chance to get up close to these magnificent marine mammals in relative comfort. The guides on board the ship will provide commentary on the ecology of the whales spotted and will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

    Stay at Grande Colonial   
  • For your final day in San Diego, visit Balboa Park, where you can immerse yourself in its cultural offerings. Explore museums, lush gardens, and historic architecture, followed by a delightful lunch at one of the park's charming cafés. In the afternoon, head downtown to experience the USS Midway Museum or hop on and off one of the local trolley tours. For golf enthusiasts, we can highly recommend a round at the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, which boasts wild coastal views and challenging fairways.

    Stay at Grande Colonial   
  • On your last morning in San Diego, head to the famed Coronado Island for a delightful breakfast experience overlooking the ocean. Wander along the golden sands as you pass the famous Hotel del Coronado and enjoy the morning on the beach before catching your flight home later this afternoon.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley Travel Specialist Shannon
Contact a US specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to the US will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Las Vegas
 
Palm Springs
 
San Diego
 

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