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STA Travel Blog

California Dreaming: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip! (Part 1)

There’s something really special about going on a road trip, isn’t there? It screams adventures, great tunes and freedom. Some would say it makes the best kind of holiday. So, with my bags packed, playlist created and fancying myself as a bit of an explorer, I knew an American road trip was the way to go…
Where best to embrace the great open road, than a Californian adventure – where Hollywood movies are made. A trip like this needed a lot of planning as I was covering a huge distance in two weeks. So to help all you would be travellers, I’ve documented my journey, sharing my itinerary and top sights along the way! I’ve broken my adventure down into a three part series, so grab a cuppa, settle down and get inspired to travel.

Day 1-3 VEGAS



Okay – so my California road trip didn’t actually start in California, but in its naughty neighbour Nevada. VEGAS BABY! It’s always great to start a trip with a bang, and where has more of a bang than Sin City? I spent my time exploring the maze of hotels, ogling at the Eiffel Tower and Coliseum and chilling by the pool.
Vegas does really come alive at night, for the best view of the strip (without splashing out on a helicopter ride), head to Ghost Bar at the infamous Palms hotel for some cocktails with a view! You have to check out Le Reve at the Wynn – an incredible cirque du soleil-esq show. For nights out I would recommend XS at The Wynn and Marquee at The Cosmopolitan. Think of the best night out you’ve ever had in your life and now triple it… that’s what you can expect from Vegas!

Favourite restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory – Caesar’s Palace

Day 4- 6 Grand Canyon


The drive out of Vegas to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is approximately 4 hours. It’s slightly longer if you go via The Hoover Damn but it’s 100% worth it. The Grand Canyon was the highlight of my trip, this natural wonder of the world cannot be missed off any West Coast itinerary. If you are short on time there are day trips from Vegas which take you to the South Rim.
We spent two nights in the National Park, which gave us a whole day to do some serious, and I mean serious, hiking. There are two main trails to choose from: The South Kaibab Trail and The Bright Angel Trail, we chose the former as it’s quieter and more ‘rugged’. Do your research before you go and be prepared. It was the toughest (and most beautiful) hike I have ever done. To get a different perspective of the canyon try a helicopter tour or boat trip along the Colorado River.

Accommodation: Yavapai Lodge

Day 7 – Day 8 San Diego


The drive from the Grand Canyon to San Diego was LONG, the longest of the whole trip (8 hours, 30 minutes). We made a slight diversion via Palm Springs for lunch on the way, because well, why not? We stayed in the Gaslamp Quarter, which is perfect for a bustling nightlife and eating at great restaurants. If you are into your rooftop bars like me, check out Altitude Sky Lounge at the Gaslamp Marriot hotel. The next morning we headed to the laid back ‘beachy’ area of La Jolla, enjoyed an ice-cream, walked along the cove and said hello to the seals.

Best Breakfast: Café 222 – and be sure to get there early to avoid the queue

That’s my first few days in a nutshell, I’ll let you digest that and dig out your STA Travel brochure to see how you could also start planning this trip. Helps that we’ve got cheap flights to Las Vegas!
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