America is a country that lives up to all of its Hollywood-esque expectations yet still surprised us with its natural wonders and kooky culture. Here’s a rundown of our time on the Canyons to California Tour. My name is Ava and I went on the America group tour in March 2022 and here is my day to day account of m y experiences.
Day 1- Las Vegas:
I actually arrived a day late to the tour due to travel delays, however the tour directors were more than helpful with this. One of the guides provided us with tons of options to try and get us to Vegas earlier, and though we were unable to, she stayed in contact the whole time, taking a lot of the stress out of the delays.
Day 2 – Las Vegas:
Once we arrived in Vegas we soon found it lived up to all its glamorous expectations. Despite us being under 21, the guides were sure to provide suggestions for more accessible activities for us, such as sights to see along the strip, meaning we still felt we got the true Vegas experience.
Day 3 – Vegas to Grand Canyon:
After finally meeting the rest of the tour group we hit the road. We headed to the Hoover Dam at the border between Nevada and Arizona. Although we had few expectations of the dam, its sheer size is a sight that would take anyone by surprise, whether you were interested in its construction and history or not. We later stopped off at an all-American restaurant and brewery where we had a taste of the infamous burger-and-fries cuisine.
Day 4 – Grand Canyon:
Due to cold weather in the canyon we were lucky enough to stay in shared cabins fairly close to the park. With an early start we headed to the canyon where even those of us who had already seen the canyon found themselves speechless. We were given a variety of routes to hike or activities within the visitor centre and so were able to see the views we came for from the top of the rim. After a bourbon tasting at sunset (one of the most unique and creative activities of the tour) we drove home for some hard rest.
Day 5 – Flagstaff to Vegas:
This was one of my biggest surprises of the trip. The town of Flagstaff became one of my favourite stops. It delivered the classic American small town vibe while still boasting adorable bohemian shops and coffee shops. After Flagstaff we headed back to Vegas on one of the most scenic drives I experienced in my month in America.
Day 6 – Vegas to Los Angeles:
Embarking on yet another scenic drive through the southwest, we then headed to L.A. With it being such a massive city, we were almost overwhelmed with choices for our first night but luckily our California-native tour guide showed us all of the spots worth hitting.
Day 7 – Los Angeles:
Our first day in L.A gave us a taste of the Californian lifestyle, with a morning volleyball lesson, which I enjoyed way more than I had expected. The Santa Monica pier tournament proved to be a great bonding excercise, and something we would have otherwise never thought to do. Once again the knowledge of our guides proved valuable when we then navigated the LA metro to get to Hollywood. While not my favourite neighbourhood, we were able to move through at the pace we wished and next headed to the hills for a tour of the houses that gave LA its reputation. While we were too tired to head out, I know that some of our group managed to hit the lesser-visited downtown area.
Overall the trip was an absolute godsend in that the USA is a fairly difficult country to navigate by public transport and the tour made this undoubtedly easier. We never ran out of options for things to do and touring the state with the guidance of a local Californian was a truly unique experience we would not have found elsewhere.
I cannot recommend this tour enough for other gap-year age travellers who wish to explore the USA! It will not only make life so much easier, but you will definitely be surprised by the creativity of the guides, far beyond your expectations of the states.