US National Parks: California to the Grand Canyon
If you want to live in the moment, ignite your curiosity, and explore the national parks containing the tallest trees, driest deserts, and colossal-est canyons in the continental U.S.A., then this trip is for you. Experience the best of the west on this 11-day road trip from San Francisco to Phoenix. Start in California’s cultural capital, San Fran, drive through the granite-cliff lined spectacle of Yosemite National Park, across the might-as-well-be-Mars dunes of Death Valley, along the unparalleled Grand Canyon, and more as you make your way to sunny Phoenix.
What are the top highlights?
- Gaze into the great void of the Grand Canyon at a loss for words
- Stroll through redwood sequoia groves in California and wonder if you’re really small or they’re really big (spoiler: they’re really, really big)
- Snap pics of the most famous rocks in America: El Capitan & Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
- Breathe new life into your travel game as you cross Death Valley: the hottest point in the US
- Stroll the Las Vegas strip, each step increasing the odds that you yell “Vegas, baby!”
- Tour the out of this world landscape of Zion National Park in Utah
- Feast your eyes on the natural rock bridges & arches of Bryce Canyon National Park
Your trip includes
- Round-trip flights & airport transfers
- Tour Director & local guides
- Private deluxe motorcoach
- 10 nights in hand-picked accommodations
- Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
- Daily breakfast & a three-course Farewell Dinner
- Entrance to Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park & more
You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.
Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:
- Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
- Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
- Flights are booked with major airlines
- 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
- One checked bag included on most flights
- Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure
Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.
Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco & Welcome Dinner
Welcome to California! After you land in the city of more-than-six but less-than-eight hills (catchy new nickname we just made for San Francisco), settle into your hotel and meet the rest of your group before you embark on this great American road trip.
- Arrive in San Francisco where you’ll meet an EF representative.
- Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
- Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
- Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Mixer.
In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with fellow travelers while you get to know one another.
Day 2: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoia Trees
Go Sequoiadendron Giganteum, or go home, right? In other words, go see Big Trees, or go home. Today, you get to stroll through the famous sequoia groves of Yosemite National Park, home to the giant sequoia trees. These trees can grow as tall as skyscrapers, live for millennia, and have the thickest bark of all. If you’re lucky enough, you may get to walk through the base of one of these bad boys.
- Board your private bus bound for Yosemite National Park.
- Walk through serene Merced Grove and check out the giant redwood sequoia trees.
- Snap a pic of these gigantic grove-dwellers to inspire the pine tree in your backyard to grow big and tall when you get home #treegoals.
- Check in at your hotel near Yosemite National Park.
Day 3: Yosemite National Park & Optional Starry Skies Over Yosemite
Lucky you! Today you get to enjoy a full day in Yosemite National Park and learn about Yosemite Valley’s history, geology, and most iconic spots like Half Dome and El Capitan with your Tour Director. After a guided tour through the park to catch the must-sees, enjoy free time on your own to explore all the park has to offer.
- Enjoy a guided tour of Yosemite National Park with your Tour Director.
- Drive up Inspiration Point for phenomenal photos of Half Dome and El Capitan, granite icons of the Yosemite Valley.
- Take in the sweeping sights at the iconic Tunnel View lookout while it takes your breath away.
- Enjoy free time to explore the park’s many natural wonders.
Starry Skies Over Yosemite(extra cost)
See Yosemite like you’ve never seen it before. At night! Take an interstellar voyage in Yosemite Valley where you’ll lay under the stars, learn about the galaxy above, meteors, constellations, comets, and folklore of the valley. The stars will be the clearest you’ve ever seen, and this is a truly galactic experience you won’t want to miss.
Day 4: Death Valley National Park
You’ve been up, now it’s time for some down. Today you’re visiting the lowest point in North America: Death Valley National Park. Stop in Death Valley, the hottest, driest, and lowest park in the U.S. on your way to Las Vegas.
- Stop at Death Valley National Park en route to Las Vegas.
- Enjoy a guided tour of the park’s towering peaks (hot), flat sand dunes (also hot), and canyons (yep, these are hot too) with your Tour Director.
- Raise your eyebrows in surprise—yeah, like that—that this desert park is somehow home to lush wildflowers, oases of tiny fish, and a diversity of other wildlife.
- Arrive in Las Vegas and check into your hotel for a night out.
Day 5: Las Vegas Sightseeing
Enjoy a free day in Las Vegas before join your Tour Director for an evening tour of the legendary Las Vegas Strip. We can’t guarantee you an Elvis Wedding or a penthouse sweet in Caesar’s Palace, but we think you’ll still have a great time. Afterwards, the night is yours!
- Pass by the famous replicas of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower and check out the gold MGM lion statue.
- Admire the Venetian and the Bellagio, two of Las Vegas’ most iconic casinos and hotels.
- Have a staring contest with the Luxor Sphinx before continuing to the older parts of Las Vegas for a short walking tour on Fremont Street, a famous casino street.
Day 6: Zion National Park
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but you happen to be moving on to Utah. Once you arrive in Zion, take a tour of Zion National Park, Utah’s first—and some say most beautiful—national park, located at the intersection of the Great Basin, the Colorado Plateaus, and the Mojave Desert.
- Travel to Zion National Park, Utah’s first National Park.
- Walk the same Zion trails blazed by native Anasazi people thousands of years ago.
- Stare in wonder at 2,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs that line the canyon you’re in.
Day 7: Bryce National Park
The Utah fun continues! Make your way through scenic southwestern Utah to tour Bryce Canyon National Park by bus and your own two feet. The park’s crimson-colored rock formation, pink limestone, arches, natural bridges, are more will make you wish you were a sandstone formation so that you could stay in the park forever and ever.
- Explore Bryce Canyon National Park with your Tour Director.
- Get up-close and personal with the funky pink limestone and sandstone formations.
- Feel inspired by the nature-made arches, bridges, and pinnacles known as hoodoos that dot the sprawling national park.
- Rest up after a long day of “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” at your hotel nearby.
Day 8: Travel to Flagstaff via Kanab
If you’ve ever pictured yourself in an old Western cowboy movie, today is your day. En route to Arizona, stop in Kanab, a city in southwestern Utah that has attracted filmmakers for decades by way of its scenic natural backdrop. If you’re on your best behavior, we’ll stop to let you live out your rootin-est tootin-est dreams. Just kidding, you get to stop and check it out no matter what.
- Journey through gorgeous southwest Utah to Kanab, the gateway city to the Grand Canyon.
- Take your metaphorical horse to the metaphorical Old Town Road with Kanab’s Wild Wild West vibes.
- Check in at your hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona to chill out for the night.
Day 9: Grand Canyon National Park
What better way to end the grand tour than with the grandest of canyons? That’s right, today is a full day in the Grand Canyon. A Natural Wonder of the World, the Grand Canyon is carved out by the Colorado River, and its miles of different colored rock layers are a testament to the billions (yes, billions) of years of geology and nature. And hey, it’s not too bad on the eyes either.
- Enjoy a guided tour of the Grand Canyon with your Tour Director.
- Make photo stops at the majestic rock formations surrounding Sedona, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte (no laughing at “butte,” please).
- Continue on to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for your first glimpse at the legendary fissure and enjoy the spectacle of its colorful rock walls at sunset.
- Post that final trip Insta with the world’s best backdrop – no filter needed.
Day 10: Travel to Sedona, Phoenix, & Farewell Dinner
This is it folks, your last day on the road. Get sentimental listening to that road trip playlist, stare out the window in deep reflection, and journal in your journal like a true road-tripper as you drive to your final destination, Phoenix, Arizona. But first, stop in sunny Sedona for a last look at the red rocks and bright green trees of the great American West.
- Stop and smell the evergreen vegetation of Sedona, Arizona while gazing at the red rocks in the distance
- Slip and slide at Slide Rock State Park, a park formed by a natural water slide from Oak Creek Canyon
- Arrive in Phoenix and check into your hotel
- Say your goodbyes to your new best friends at an included Farewell Dinner
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner and drinks with the group.
Day 11: Travel Home
Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?
– or –
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.