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A roller coaster of a tour of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah incl Yosemite, Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon in 16 days!
Arrive in LA evening. Do one day city tour next day. Following day start driving!
Approx 2.5 hrs from LA without stops. Have a look at Santa Monica/Venice Beach/ Malibu en route if you want. One night here.
Approx 4.5 hrs from Santa Barbara without stops along Highway 1/Pacific Coast Highway/Big Sur. Stop at elephant seal colony and Julia Pfeiffer country park lookout. Don't bother with Cambria or Pismo. Carmel looked better but we had no time to stop. One night here. Before you leave town do a whale watching trip!
Approx 2 hrs from Monterey without stops. 3 nights here. Do Alcatraz, a bus tour and avoid Pier 39.
Approx 4 hrs from San Francisco without stops. 2 nights here. Spend every free minute in the park - it's open 24 hrs - outstanding (apart from Mariposa Grove - don't bother with that). [N.B. Buy an annual park pass for $80 and it'll save you a few dollars if you visit all 4 parks. On entry to each park you're given excellent information about how to go about getting the most of your visit].
Drive 4 hours back to San Francisco airport. Catch a flight to Vegas arriving early evening.
2 nights here. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...
Approx 3 hrs to Zion from Vegas. 1 night here. Beautiful small park well worth seeing.
Approx 2.5 hrs from Zion along the scenic Mt Carmel highway. Great views en route (checkerboard mesa). Stay 1 night. Beautiful park, brilliant rock formations. Go to Inspiration Point at night and check out the stars!
Approx 5.5 hrs from Bryce. Stay 2 nights. Hop on the shuttle buses and be blown away...
Approx 5 hrs from Grand Canyon. Stay 1 night. Fly home next day thinking that was the best holiday you've ever had :-)