Immy Kelly, Scott Dunn guest and blogger, went on the ultimate west coast America road trip over the summer and now gives her top tips for fellow teenagers heading to sunny California.
Our three week adventure began in Las Vegas, one of the most insane places I’ve ever been to or am likely to go. From volcanoes and indoor canal systems to tigers and world record breaking chocolate fountains, the hotels have it all. This place is crazy. Tip number 1: See a show. My family and I saw David Copperfield, an illusionist known to do the impossible. I wasn’t a huge fan of illusionists however I was completely blown away; I still do not understand how a huge mechanical dinosaur can appear out of nowhere. I now know why Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Tip number 2: Helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon. Being a geography student, flying over the Hoover Dam and landing on a remote ledge in the Canyon was an amazing experience and something I’d never imagined I’d be able to do.
After Las Vegas, we moved on to San Francisco. We stayed in Hotel Zetta which is a really cool, quirky hotel with a games room and photo booth. Riding (or sometimes hanging off) the cable cars up and down the film set streets of San Fran was definitely a highlight. Tip number 3: Visit Alcatraz. Alcatraz was so fascinating to see and the audio tour brings this harrowing place alive with true stories and escape adventures. Tip number 4: Cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge. We hired bikes and cycled to Sausalito for a gorgeous lunch by the seafront. The view from the bridge (providing Karl the fog, as known by San Franciscans, has lifted) is breath taking and definitely worth a photo or two. I would recommend taking the ferry back from Sausalito to San Francisco… the return cycle ride includes a very steep hill!
We picked up a car and headed to Yosemite. Some people may think this is just another national park full of long, boring hikes in complete wilderness however Yosemite is stunning. Watch out for bears – we spotted one throwing apples at tourists which was hilarious. Tip number 5: Watch the sunset from Glacier Point. In my opinion, this was one of the best views of the whole holiday. The spectacular mountains, including half dome, were turned pink by the last rays of sun as we enjoyed our sundowners with our feet dangling precariously over the edge of the sheer drop…! It was beautiful.
Our next stop was Carmel and Monterey. Tip number 6: Visit Monterey Aquarium – not just for kids! From sea otters to stingrays and a giant octopus to jellies, this aquarium was spectacular. It is a must see.
From Carmel we headed down Big Sur staying in amazing yurts at Treebones Resort. A human nest is available for you to stay in if you don’t mind sleeping in a tree with no home comforts. Where’s Bear Grylls when you need him!? The Whale Watcher’s Café is a lovely place for a delicious lunch whilst scanning the sea for any signs of whales. Tip number 7: Go and smell the hilarious Elephant Seals just before you reach San Simeon, flopping around on the beach making a huge amount of noise.
Our adventure continued down to beautiful Morro Bay. We stayed at the gorgeous Anderson Inn hosted by Mollie and Jeff who were so lovely. Tip number 8: Go sunset kayaking. We kayaked over to the sand spit followed by a couple of inquisitive harbour seals only to see another stunning sunset whilst having yet more sundowners. It was absolutely perfect. Tip number 9: Whale watching *HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHT*. Watching whales swim ten feet away from us, blowing water and showing their tales was the most amazing experience, made even more incredible when three swam under the boat. It was breath-taking and emphasised to me how beautiful these creatures are in their natural habitat. This was definitely one of, if not my favourite bit of our three week adventure. It is also worth taking a kayak out into the harbour to go and see the sea lions, harbour seals and sea otters in their natural habitat. Our time at Morro Bay was the happiest 36 hours of my dad’s life (he said!)
We left the serenity of Morro Bay and headed to La La Land. Los Angeles is definitely an eye opener but I loved it. Tip number 10: Tour of the celebrity houses. It was really cool to see where the famous people live and see how awesome some of their houses are. Also it was really fun to walk down the walk of fame and see all the stars. Tip number 11: Do the VIP pass at Universal Studios. Universal was one of my favourite bits of LA. With the VIP pass, we were able to see the prop warehouse and costume fittings as well as a stop off tour of the sets. We also went to the front of the queues as many times as we liked and it made it a really enjoyable experience. Tip number 12: Visit Santa Monica and Venice Beach. It’s just something you have to do when in LA. We hired bikes and cycled along past Muscle Beach and the beach gym. It’s a nice thing to do if you want a chilled day.
We headed to gorgeous Laguna Beach after LA for the last part of our adventure. For us, this was the relaxing part; we spent most of our time on the beach or by the pool. Tip number 13: Go surfing. We had a surfing lesson (we had never surfed before) and it was so much fun. The waves were perfect and the sun shone so it was awesome. One of my favourite things from Laguna was just being in the sea; the waves were quite big so were really good for diving through and swimming with. This was a perfect end to an incredible holiday.
For more information on Scott Dunn tailor-made holidays to America call one of our Consultants on 0203 603 3555 or visit scottdunn.com