California Calling

StudentUniverse  »  California Calling

California Calling

from £731
Duration: 7 days
Countries: United States of America
Hear the distant tune of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas? Or perhaps the echo of a bird’s call swooping through the Grand Canyon? That’s California ,travellers. She’s calling for you.

California Calling

Begin this epic west coast wander in La La Land, before moving on to Sin City for three days of wicked shenanigans. Catch up on slumber whilst driving to Mariposa, where we’ll regenerate in Yosemite National Park amongst nature at its best. When you’ve finished getting your Yogi Bear on, it’s time to hit the home of Californian wine: Napa Valley. Pinot or Sav Blanc? It’s your call. Finally, end the adventure in San Fran with a flower in your hair.


Day 1: San Francisco, CA to Napa Valley

Hop off that trolley, we're off across the big red bridge to wine country via Sausalito. Don't know much about Sausalito? Spectacular views looking back at mainland San Fran, to-die-for Mexican ceviche and lashings of could-get-used-to-this vibes. The Napa Valley is the home of Californian wine and well worth the ride (says 3.3 million people coming here every year). Mind your manners and down every last drop on an included winery tasting. Pinot or Sav Blanc? Your call.

NOTE: If you want a 'get into jail pass' to visit Alcatraz, do the crime (of booking) BEFORE you come on tour. You won't have time to do the tour today so make sure you've arranged an extra day in San Fran beforehand - we can even take care of accommodation for you too if you like.

Included today:
-Winery tasting
-Stop at Sausalito

Meals: Dinner.

Did you know:
-Every year, Napa Valley hosts a Mustard Festival that celebrates the food, wine, art and rich, unique agricultural bounty of the Napa Valley.
-The Napa Wine train has its own police department of one. You know, to keep away all those pesky train robbers.
-Napa Cabbage are named after the Japanese word 'nappa', not Napa Valley, despite being used to make the region's famous wine.
-The iconic Windows XP background image 'bliss' was taken in Sonoma by former National Geographic photographer Charles O'Rear on a regular Friday trip to meet his girlfriend.
-Sonoma County is the present day colonisation settlement of the Russians who attempted it in 1812. They called it “Fort Ross”. It didn't last.
-Sonoma was the catalyst place for the formation California Republic - a short-lived unrecognised state that lasted all of a few weeks in 1846.

Day 2: Napa Valley to Mariposa

We exchange vineyards for mountains as we grab our flannel and grow our beards for nature time - Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Mirror Lake await. Hiking boots aren't sexy, but the view of Yosemite Valley sure is. And they're your best bet to get up close and personal with the Miranda Kerr of the national park world.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Did you know:
-Yosemite literally means “those who kill”. It was so named due to a misunderstanding between the Ahwahneechee warriors and Mariposa Battalion, who thought it was the local Indian name. They tried.
-Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America at 739 m. Yep, bigger than the Niagaras (51 m).
-Sequoia trees (some of which reside in Yosemite National Park) can live up to 3000 years. That's some old trees right there.
-A man named Chongo illegally lived inside Yosemite National Park for almost 10 years, scavenging for food, scaling rock faces and eventually writing a book entitled “The Homeless Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics”.

Day 3: Yosemite National Park/Mariposa

There's national parks, and then there's Yosemite. Sheer granite cliffs, ridiculously good looking waterfalls and giant sequoias provide the designer landscape coveted by discerning black bears, bobcats, marmots, deer and white-tailed jackrabbit. Hiking boots aren't sexy, but the view of Yosemite Valley sure is. And they're your best bet to get up close and personal with the Miranda Kerr of the national park world.

Included today:
-Free day

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 4: Mariposa to Las Vegas, NV

We're not going to lie. Today it's all about the bus, but the live-action film happening outside your window is stunning enough to rival Samsara. And you'll want to charge your batteries because tonight it's Vegas baby! To warm you up you're on the guest list for a party bus tour of the strip before you really let the dogs out.

Included today:
-Party Bus

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Did you know:
-There are more than 130,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas. Imagine all the free pillow chocolates, shampoo and soap (but not the salt and pepper shakers).
-Each year, more than 100,000 couples get hitched (Elvis as a priest is optional). We don't know how many couples end up living happily ever after.
-Fedex's CEO Fred Smith bet his last $5000 to keep his company alive at a Blackjack table and won. Thanks Vegas.
-Planning on partying all night and all day without a hangover? There is a company that comes to you to deliver sweet relief in the form of IV vitamins and fluids.

Day 5: Las Vegas

Gamble your time in Vegas away on the roulette of activities available at your doorstep: circle the globe without leaving the strip (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Pyramids of Giza), take a leave pass to tour Hoover Dam or Death Valley, go white-water rafting, bet high with indoor skydiving, put everything on a night with Britney or take your winnings straight to the skies with a helicopter flight. Whichever way you choose, you're winning.

Included today:
-Free day

- Helicopter Flight over LV Strip
- Gun Range
- Go Karts
- Club Crawl
- High Roller Observation Wheel

Day 6: Las Vegas (Day trip to Grand Canyon)

Have a break from the strip with some fresh air and open spaces. And by open, we mean grand. And by spaces, we mean canyon. The OMG view around the canyon rim or from the (optional) chopper is well worth the journey along Route 66. Or just relish in a food coma from Big Mama's Rib Shack. You'll drool over both.

Included today:
-Day trip to Grand Canyon

Optional activities:
-Helicopter ride

Did you know:
-Over a billion years of history is missing from the geological record of the Canyon, due to uneven erosion and nondeposition in the area.
-There is a small town located at the bottom of the Canyon, only accessible by mule or on foot.
-Google street view is available inside the Grand Canyon of the different vantage points and rims - you can watch the Canyon from your couch..or the bathroom.
-The Grand Canyon caverns 22 stories underground conceal the largest, oldest, deepest, darkest and quie. hotel suite in the world, in a 65 million year old cave.
-There is a conspiracy that the Smithsonian covered up the discovery of Egyptian treasures and tunnels in 1909 in the Canyon. Many of the rock formations of the Canyon have Egyptian and East Indian names.

Day 7: Las Vegas to Los Angeles, CA

It may only be 269 miles (433 km) from Vegas to LA but it's a parallel universe. Come down from the glitter high in time to sob goodbye to the West Coast.

Did you know:
-Los Angeles' original name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula”, which translates into “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.”
-Before 1949 the Hollywood sign read Hollywoodland.
-Approximately 65 inhabitants of Los Angeles are named Jesus Christ.
-After a blackout in LA in 1994, hundreds of calls were placed to 911 with panicked residents on the other end reporting seeing “strange clouds”. They were looking at the Milky Way.

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Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £731


Call 0333 333 9952 to enquire or book


Yosemite National Park
Party bus in Las Vegas
Grand Canyon
Wine tasting in the Napa Valley

More Inclusions

3 breakfasts (B), 3 dinners (D)
6 nights in hotels, motels & lodges
Modern air-conditioned coach/mini-coach
Sightseeing tours of all major cities
Awesome Trip Leader
National Park entry fees

Group Size

Maximum 50 people


Air-conditioned coach (maximum 50 people) or spacious mini-coach (maximum 20 people)

About StudentUniverse

StudentUniverse has been supplying the best flight, hotel and tours deals to students around the world for years now and we’re delighted to be the preferred travel partner of and to make your travel experience even more amazing.

We have a great team of travel gurus that understand what a gap year is all about just waiting to help you, and since we are part of the Flight Centre Travel Group we are able to offer the best flights, gap year packages, hostels, tours, volunteer placements and insurance - the works. This is not your average travel agency, it’s the ultimate backpacker travel agency.

If you’d like to get in touch to chat about your travels, even if you’re in the preliminary stages and you’d just like some advice, give us a call on 0333 333 9923 or submit an enquiry to StudentUniverse – we’d love to hear from you.

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