she’ekboutique USA USA There are as many different holiday itineraries in the USA as there are states – enjoy the buzz of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, holiday in style in Miami and the Keys, strike it rich in Las Vegas or explore the wilderness of Alaska. We have visited the US on a number of occasions and below is an idea of the type of itinerary we would be delighted to arrange for you. Choose your budget, style of accommodation and things you would like to see and then relax and let us create your ideal holiday. Los Angeles and San Francisco have much to offer from theme parks and shopping to world famous architecture and international cuisine. Our itinerary combines the best of these with a drive along world famous Highway 1 through dramatic cliff tops and broad-palm lined beaches to complete your perfect holiday. CALIFORNIA Day 1 – San Francisco On arrival into San Francisco, transfer to your hotel where you will be spending the next two nights. The best cure for jetlag is to live at the local time as quickly as possible so, after checking in, head out for the day. The centre of San Francisco is only 6 square miles which make it eminently explorable in a few days. Travel on foot or use the famous trolley car system to get up the hills! Spend the afternoon at leisure getting a feel for the city. Why not make your way to Coit Tower for fantastic views. Keeping an eye out for the wild parrots, take the 800 stairs to the bottom of the hill and head east toward the Bay. At the Embarcadero you will pick up the trolley to Castro. Rest your weary feet as you rattle past the Wharf onto Market Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares, and on to Castro Street station, the end of the line. San Francisco's Castro was initially settled by gay servicemen discharged here from the Armed Forces (for being gay) during World War II. The area has seen many changes. At the turn of last century, it was known as Little Scandinavia; then it became an Irish neighbourhood, until the Gay Pride Movement of the 1960s made it safe for all the ex-servicemen to come out. Overnight: San Francisco she’ekboutique USA Day 2 – San Francisco Morning at leisure. Get up early and go to Fisherman's Wharf to check out the sea lions that lounge around Pier 39. Going early means that you can experience the sights and sounds of the Wharf before too many tourists arrive. Relax in the historic wharf area and be entertained by magicians, mime acts, musicians, jugglers, clowns and fire-eaters. The Wharf is home to a plethora of restaurants for lunch why not head to the light, bright dining room at The Slanted Door (at 1 Ferry Building Number 3, Fisherman's Wharf. Taste the signature "shaking beef" to find out why the modern Vietnamese cuisine served here is rated as among the best food in this city. This afternoon take a cruise from Fisherman‟s Wharf across the Bay to the island of Alcatraz. Over the course of its history Alcatraz – known as The Rock – has been a Civil War fortress, infamous federal prison, bird sanctuary, the first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the Native American Red Power movement. Today, more than a million people visit Alcatraz each year to learn about the island's human history and to see its birds, tide pools and gardens. No visit to San Francisco would be complete with a visit to its most famous landmark. From Fisherman‟s Wharf take the Muni northbound to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Overnight: San Francisco Day 3 – San Francisco to Carmel Check out of your hotel this morning and collect your car. Follow Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and visit Steinbeck's Cannery Row. No trip to California is complete with a drive along the famous 17-Mile Drive, with its gorgeous seascapes and chances to spot wildlife. European in feel, Carmel hugs the coastline and is surrounded by beautiful Monterey Pine. There are unique shops, interesting art galleries and fabulous restaurants that have captivated visitors for generations. A visit to Carmel Beach along Scenic Drive will be an unforgettable experience, with white magical sandy beaches, vineyards and a relaxing atmosphere. Overnight: Carmel she’ekboutique USA Day 4 – Carmel to Cambria Depart Carmel this morning and continue your drive south along the breathtaking Big Sur where steep cliffs meet the Pacific Ocean and the winding road hugs the coastline. Stop at Point Lobos State Park and enjoy a hike into the hills. The park is full of pine, cypress and eucalyptus; see the rocky shoreline with huge rocks catching spray. If you are lucky you may also see pelicans and deer. See more wildlife further down the coast at Piedras Blancas where a large colony of Elephant Seals nest – an incredible sight and sound to behold! Continue to Cambria a charming artists‟ village in an idyllic setting halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles where you will overnight. Cambria is home to pristine beaches, wild and rugged hiking trails, quirky Nitt Witt Ridge, unique shops and art galleries and the very best in casual and fine dining. Overnight: Cambria Day 5 - Cambria to Santa Barbara The portion of the Pacific Coastal Highway between Cambria and Santa Barbara is called the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway. This section of the highway is considered a National Scenic Byway because of the natural beauty of the coastline, as well as the historical significance of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded by Father Junipero Serra. Enjoy the coastal scenery en route to Santa Barbara which is sometimes referred to as the "American Riviera." Santa Barbara is the location of beautiful beaches as well as beautiful celebrities. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the late Kurt Douglas and Oprah are just a few of the many celebrities who have made their home here. Stroll around the town to take in the Spanish influenced architecture of this stunning setting. See how the "other half" live as you meander along beautifully landscaped and cobblestoned streets called "passeos," with their trendy (and pricey) shops. Overnight: Santa Barbara she’ekboutique USA Day 6 – Santa Barbara Visit the Santa Ynez Valley where the cult film “Sideways” was filmed and home to Santa Barbara‟s peaceful wine country with over two hundred vineyards and wineries. Many vineyards in Wine Country offer professionally guided tours complete with a picnic lunch, and of course wine tastings. A wine tasting tip: swirl, smell, and taste the wine but then throw it out without swallowing. In this way you can visit more wineries without getting tipsy in the process! As you are already in Santa Ynez, why not visit the Chumash Casino Resort and try your luck on the many slot machines there? Overnight: Santa Barbara Day 7 – Santa Barbara to Santa Monica The last leg of your drive along Highway 1 – this morning travel the 86 miles from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica through the affluent beach community of Malibu, home to Hollywood A listers. Santa Monica is a city on the Pacific Ocean coast, anchoring the West Side of Los Angeles County in Southern California. Santa Monica was originally developed as a seaside retreat at the turn of the last century. The railroad owners built the first version of the amusement park on Santa Monica pier as an attraction to fill empty train seats on weekends. Santa Monica grew into an urban, eclectic, and prosperous beach city with a progressive community. There are plenty of hotel, restaurant and entertainment options, as well as close accessibility to major sights like Venice Beach offering miles of sand, an eclectic nightlife, and the infamous Muscle Beach. Marina del Rey, known as the “marina of the king,” is home to a vast number of restaurants, hotels, and the largest man-made pleasure craft harbour in the world. And let‟s not forget a bit of star spotting in Beverly Hills with its wide boulevards and fabled shopping. she’ekboutique USA Day 8 – Santa Monica A day to relax in Santa Monica visit the famous pier, shop on 3rd Street Promenade or try your hand at roller blading – Santa Monica‟s premier form of transport from Santa Monica Beach. The beach is a large, wide, beautiful lying on either side of the pier. Hire a bike or roller blades and travel along the world famous strand that links all of the Westside beach cities. Santa Monica pier is a bustling boardwalk whose huge Ferris Wheel is the city's icon. The long pier has an old- fashioned amusement park, including a small roller coaster. The Pier has restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and some street performers. At almost all hours you'll find at least a few people fishing as well. The Santa Monica Pier has terrific coastline views of Malibu and the Southbay. On Thursday evenings starting at 7.30pm the Twilight Dance Series is a free concert series that has been running since 1983 Third Street Promenade is very successful Urban mall project: a vibrant, outdoor street full of restaurants, movie theatres, shopping, bookstores, and bars. Those who enjoy street performances will be impressed by the quality of musicians, dancers, and others. The Promenade is located only three blocks from the beach and is one of L.A.'s most popular places to "hang out" for people of all ages. Day 9 – Santa Monica to Los Angeles Leave the beach behind and head in to the city for to experience all that the „city of Angels‟ has to offer. Why not base your stay in Los Angeles in West Hollywood - the centre of gay California life offering luxurious spas and unparalleled shopping and dining. Located at the foot of the Hollywood Hills West Hollywood (or "WeHo" as the locals call it) is at the leading edge of culture, entertainment and design. With trend setting hotels, unique cultural attractions, and legendary nightlife, the 1.9-square mile enclave of WeHo invites you to be yourself in the city that prides itself on "living forward." There is much to see and do in Los Angeles outside of West Hollywood from the well known to the less obvious. Take a tour around the city, to a famous film studio or around the „Homes of the Stars‟ or visit the home of the Oscars – the Kodak Theatre – and take a stroll along the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Surprisingly, this honour does not come without a price - a hefty $15,000! Since money plays a major role, many so-called celebrities have been able to buy their way onto the "Walk," so don't be surprised if you're unfamiliar with some of the names! Alternatively appreciate art and culture at the Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where exquisite antiquities sit alongside cutting-edge contemporary art. Or, depending on the season take a whale watching cruise or sit down to watch a premier baseball or basketball match. Overnight: Los Angeles she’ekboutique USA Day 10 – Los Angeles It is hard to visit Los Angeles without taking time out to visit a theme park. Choose from Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World or Magic Mountain for a day of thrills and spills! The Magic Kingdom opens its doors for an officially unofficial celebration of gay pride twice a year. Spring brings a one day Mini-Gay Day at Disneyland, while in the Autumn there is an entire three-day weekend of fun and games for people both gay and straight. Overnight: Los Angeles Day 11 – Home Check out of your hotel this morning and spend some final time at leisure in Los Angeles. Why not head to Beverley Hills and the three blocks of shops that go to make up the epicentre of luxury fashion that is Rodeo drive? Explore over one hundred world-renowned boutiques and you may even bump in to a movie star! This afternoon transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.