Family California By Car

California, The American Southwest

Duration: 10 nights

Price: From £2,900 per person in low season based on two adults and two children under 12 travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, car hire and taxes

From the bright lights of the big city to the eerie landscapes of the desert, this family holiday to California and the Southwest is a mash up of family-friendly hotels, thrilling adventures and a fantastic scenery that’ll keep even the children absorbed. Diving into the deep end, you’ll start in Las Vegas before journeying across the border into California to go horse riding across Death Valley, hiking through Yosemite National Park and sightseeing in San Francisco.
Perfect forEarly rising active families who want to go rafting, horse riding, hiking and sightseeing through America’s iconic Southwest.
In the knowIf you want a few days resting on the beach, add a few nights and drive down Big Sur to Laguna Beach, just outside of Los Angeles, or if you are avid hikers, venture through the Ansel Adams Wilderness on a 4 night camping trip in the High Sierra.

Best for

  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • Road Trip
  • Adventure
  • Couples

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Itinerary details

Las Vegas

3 nightsLAS VEGAS

Going all in on your first night, you’ll start this family adventure in the middle of the dazzling lights and non-stop buzzing energy of the famed resort town Las Vegas. Though known for its heady mix of casinos, clubs and cabarets, Las Vegas also offers plenty of wonderful, kid-oriented things to do and see. Shift some of the surrounding sand and go racing through the desert in a dune buggy, take the children to the Shark Reef Aquarium to touch rays and see the impressive collection of colourful fish or watch acrobats twist and spin from the trapeze to the trampoline at the exhilarating Cirque du Soleil Mystere. Staying in the family-friendly Waldorf Astoria, you’ll be tucked away from the Las Vegas Strip, so when you have had enough of celebrity spotting along the main boulevard return to the your stylish sanctuary to make use of its  ‘Younger Fans’ facilities, two swimming pools and enchanting Children’s Afternoon Tea service.
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Death Valley


With rolling waves of sand dunes breached by tiny pupfish and bizarrely shaped Joshua trees, Death Valley National Park is a natural sandbox for kids. Having driven from Las Vegas to Death Valley, spend your days exploring the millions of acres of desert scenery, rare desert wildlife and historic sites, taking breaks to wallow in the waters of your hotel, the Inn at Death Valley. Learn about Furnace Creek’s history at the Borax Museum, filled with mining artefacts, antique stagecoaches and a railroad steam locomotive or take part in a horse riding tour through the valley floor to the foothills of the Funeral Mountains. If you don’t ride, climb into a wagon or carriage to be driven through the lowest golf course in the world to the famous Death Valley date palm grove. After you’ve dined on an eclectic menu of southwestern fare, head out onto the veranda to catch the unobstructed views of the desert salt pan, and as the sun sets, watch as the stars spread out in front of you, in one of the largest designated Dark Sky National Parks in the country.
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Yosemite National Park


If the desert has left you a bit parched, then the waterfalls, lakes and shady forests of Yosemite are the perfect antidote. From Death Valley, you’ll head further north into California to be sequestered in Yosemite National Park for three nights of evergreen excursions. Feel dwarfed by the giant sequoia trees, career down the Merced river on a raft, ‘bike and hike’ your way along the rim of Tuolumne River Canyon to Granite Gorge or catch your dinner with a perfect ‘10 and 2’ cast as you go fly fishing with the professionals. Located just 1 mile from the Hetch Hetchy Entrance, Evergreen Lodge is the ideal base for day trips into the park, but, with a fort made from tree trunks, a giant outdoor chess set and a jungle-gym of ropes, it is also a superb lodge for keeping the children entertained and the parents relaxed.
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For the final adventure on this family holiday, you’ll drive across California to the revered coast and pitch up inside the quirky Marker hotel, located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Cram your last few days full of activities, whether you want to build sand castles and fly kites on the former army airstrip at Crissy Field, take a spin on the vintage San Francisco Carousel before watching the sea lions sun themselves at PIER 39, hop onto a ferry and dock at Tiburon for one of the best views of the city or indulge in a guided tour through a chocolate factory, sampling the molten cacao as you go. When the energy levels start to drop, jump on a cable car and shoot back to refuel on the rustic Italian cuisine at your hotel – bound to satisfy even the fussiest of little eaters.
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