By: Linda Koehler, CTA & Travel Consultant
Day 1/2 Arrive Los Angeles -Transfer to Long Beach
Our Southern California with Globus tour started out with a two-night stay it the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, CA. The highlight of this day, was when we boarded a high-speed ferry for an hour, that took us to Catalina Island. This included an island tour in an open air vehicle, and a day at leisure to shop, relax, and sample some local seafood at the pier in Avalon.
Day 3/4 Long Beach – San Diego
Our next stop was San Diego, for 2 nights of exploring! Our tour included sightseeing at the Cabrillo National Monument, which had amazing views overlooking San Diego Bay, and continued on to a lunch at the historic Hotel Del Coronado Resort, where we had free time to explore a Victorian beachfront hotel’s shops. We then had a nice walk on the beach.
In San Diego, we had a free day to explore, so we choose to purchase a Globus optional excursion for a two- hour, narrated harbor cruise to view the military ships and waterfront landmarks. The marine life we were able to view included dolphins, sea lions, and plenty of pelicans and sea gulls, all enjoying the beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 80’s.
After this relaxing, bay cruise, we walked over and toured the USS Midway Museum, which is the longest serving aircraft carrier in the American fleet. We visited the bridge and the galley, and viewed all the vintage aircrafts on board. This is all a must see when visiting San Diego. Afterwards we walked the boardwalk, and headed back to our hotel, which was located across the street, and enjoyed dinner on our own at a local eatery.
Day 5 San Diego – Temecula – Palm Springs
Enroute to Palm Springs, we visited Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula Valley, where we learned about wine production, and enjoyed sampling a glass or two of wine along the way. Our host did an exceptional job educating us on the wine making process as he walked us through the winery.
Before reaching our hotel, we visited Southern California’s highest peak, Mount San Jacinto, where we took a 10 minute Aerial Tramway 5873 ft up to Mountain Station, to view the desert vistas and the valley below. Breathtaking!
We then made our way to the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel for a 2-night stay, and enjoyed an inclusive outdoor BBQ under the stars with our traveling companions to cap off this action packed day.
Day 6 Joshua Tree National Park
After a fabulous breakfast at our hotel, we continued on to Joshua Tree National Park, where we took an open air jeep tour to view this amazing park. We stopped at scenic overlooks to view miles of stunning desert scenery from the overlooks, and the San Andreas Fault. Our driver guides offered commentary during the short walking tours, where we were also given the choice to sit and relax, and enjoy the scenery if we didn’t feel up to the desert walks.
Day 7 Palm Springs – Barstow – Death Valley National Park
After a goodnight’s sleep and a full breakfast, we said farewell to Palm Springs, and continued our journey to Barstow, CA to visit the famous Route 66 Mother Road Museum. There, we saw a collection of historic photographs and memorabilia related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert Community. We also learned about the Route 66 history and visited the fabulous little gift shop.
We also got to see Death Valley National Park before we arrived at The Ranch at Furnace Creek, where we spent our next two nights. We made our way into the outdoor Borax Mule Team museum exhibit, general store, gift shop. We then dined and had cocktails while watching the sunset outdoors at the 19th hole restaurant and bar, and returned for a late night swim in the outdoor pool.
Day 8 – Death Valley National Park
After breakfast, we ventured out into death valley to learn more about borax mining, which originated in the late 1800’s, and the history of the mule teams. We also visited the Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. We were 282 feet below sea level, and we walked the salt flats which went on for miles! That afternoon was spent relaxing at the hotel in the hot desert sun.
That evening, we loaded back on to the coach for a quick drive over to The Inn Dining Room at the Oasis for a group dinner, where we had a menu choice of salmon, steak or chicken. This was followed by an evening of stargazing, which was led by a local expert. We viewed the stars through his telescope, seeing Mars, The Milky Way and all the star formations that were visible that evening, this was truly a tour highlight for many.
Day 9 – Ash Meadows National Refuge
Today, we had an early stop at Ash Meadows National Park Wildlife Refuge, “where the desert springs to life.” This is located in the Mojave Desert. First, we viewed a 20 minute video about the refuge, and then walked along the boardwalk to experience the incredible diversity of plants and the amazing blue waters of the springs. The boardwalk has benches, viewing areas, scopes and colorful information panels along the way, and the Park Visitor Center was complete with gift shop to purchase some last minute dessert souvenirs before we left for Las Vegas.
Day 10 – Las Vegas
The scenery on this tour was amazing and October was the perfect time to visit Death Valley, because of the mild desert temperatures in the mid 80’s. We enjoyed the pace of the tour with the 2-night hotel stays, and we had ample free time to explore on our own. We made some new friends amongst our traveling companions, and I can’t say enough about our fabulous tour director, Derek! I would recommend this Southern California with Globus tour to desert enthusiasts, and those wanting to cross off a few more U.S. National Parks off their bucket lists.
CTA and Travel Consultant
Toll Free: 1-800-627-3753 Ext: 160