California and Nevada Dreaming
From the iconic trees of Sequoia to the bright lights of Las Vegas, California and Nevada offer an iconic slice of Americana to all who visit. On this seven day road trip, you’ll experience unique, colorful destinations, culinary delights, and the rich culture that makes anyone feel right at home in the U.S. Death Valley’s mysterious sand dunes beckon you to explore. Spectacular landscapes await in Fresno, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite, while the unexpected gems of Las Vegas call out your name. So, pack your bags and get ready for a dreamy trip through California and Nevada.
Fresno, California and National Parks
Kick off your trip in Fresno, California. With 3 national parks and 300 days of sunshine (so the city proclaims), Fresno is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Don’t miss the iconic and colossal wonders of Yosemite, like Glacier Point and the awe-inspiring El Capitan. And after taking in the views of these towering landmarks, change up your perspective and look from below at the Forestiere Garden, a subterranean wonder and gem of Fresno. This city is full of outdoor beauty and favorable weather aplenty, so make sure to pack those walking shoes and sunscreen.
Where to Stay:
- A stay at Sonesta ES Suites will have you rested and relaxed for a day of adventure around Fresno.
- Known as the crown jewel of national park lodging, The Ahwahnee is a historic hotel in Yosemite National Park that highlights Native American architectural and design influences.
What to Eat:
- Mixing tried and true with new, Yosemite Ranch brings local ingredients into its flavorful dishes.
- Chef Paul’s Cafe in Fresno has been lauded as one of 30 must-try black-owned eateries in the U.S. Menu favorites include braised oxtails, shrimp & grits and fried chicken & waffles.
- The Ahwahnee Dining Room provides guests with delicious meals to match a stunning view of Yosemite National Park. Proper attire is required but worth every bit of the tasty dishes you’ll find.
What to See:
- Built in the early 1900s, the Forestiere Garden is Fresno’s hidden gem. Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere used shovels and picks to excavate land to grow fruit trees, many of which can be found there today.
- Explore the Kearney Historic Site that highlights the life of the Raisin King of California, M. Theo Kearney. Tour a turn-of-the-20th century mansion that served as the headquarters of the Kearney’s Fruit Vale Estate.
- Visit one of the country's oldest national parks, Yosemite, where sequoia trees stand tall and nearly 760,000 acres are yours to explore. Popular highlights include Glacier Point, El Capitan and Tunnel View.
Death Valley, California
Ready to trade the lush California landscapes and towering Redwoods for Death Valley? Far less intimidating than the name might imply, Death Valley is a mandatory stop to all who appreciate American western culture and history. Spend an afternoon learning about the silver screen legends at the Museum of Western Film History. Then, enjoy a pint at the only brewpub in the county, Death Valley Brewing. For the best view of the badlands, hike Zabriskie Point for an incredible sunset or sunrise view. And while you’re out and about, keep an eye on the temperatures: Death Valley once clocked the hottest temperature in the world at 134 Fahrenheit / 56.6 Celsius!
Where to Stay:
- Contrary to its location, you’ll find life and wilderness at The Ranch at Death Valley, a resort that’s been welcoming guests since 1933. The newly renovated hotel offers an 18-hole golf course (the lowest elevation course in North America), horseback and carriage rides, an on-site restaurant and a refreshing spring-fed pool.
What to Eat:
- The Last Kind Words Saloon brings the bygone era of the wild, wild West to Death Valley. The extensive menu offers filet mignon, wild Alaskan salmon, BBQ baby back ribs and more.
- Enjoy a hearty meal at the Toll Road Restaurant and cool off with a cold one at Badwater Saloon in Death Valley.
- As the only brewpub in Eastern Inyo County, Death Valley Brewing is a popular watering hole for locals and tourists alike.
What to Do:
- Death Valley is an iconic location in and of itself but watch the area really sparkle with a sunset hike at Zabriskie Point.
- The west is known for its legendary western films and what better way to learn about the early days of silent screen than with a visit to the Museum of Western Film History.
- The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, known for the mesquite trees who twist to avoid being buried, are some of the most beautiful and photographed landscapes in Death Valley.
Exploring the Las Vegas Area
When one thinks of Las Vegas, the bright lights, big bets, and show business may come to mind. But just outside the hustle and bustle of the Boulevard lay equally enticing - and far less frequented - wonders of Southwest Nevada. So before heading into the big city, carve out a little time to live like a cowboy in the Western days. Take a trail ride on horseback through Red Rock Canyon, explore the epic ghost town of Rhyolite, and even take a selfie at a neon sign museum. And don’t trade in the cowboy way of life before dinnertime; you won’t want to miss a helping of Happy Burro Chili and Beer.
Where to Stay:
- Stay in a piece of history at the Boulder Dam Hotel where past presidents, business tycoons and Hollywood actors and actresses have stayed. Providing grand accommodations since the 1930’s the hotel has welcomed guests from near and far.
What to Eat:
- Gourmet burgers + craft beer - can you ask for much more? The Dillinger in downtown Boulder City takes a creative approach to American favorites with an ever changing beer list.
- Visit Happy Burro Chili & Beer, a unique restaurant offering local favorites like their award-winning chili atop hotdogs and burgers.
- Inspired by the owners Hispanic heritage, Gemas Cafe in Beatty Nevada serves exceptional Mexican-inspired cuisine in a quaint cafe.
What to Do:
- Live like a cowboy and book a sunset horseback trail ride through the picturesque Red Rock Canyon.
- Neon signs play a distinctive role in Las Vegas’ vibrant history and the curators at The Neon Museum exhibit these iconic bright lights in magnificent ways. Be sure to take a tour at night when the beautifully lit signs shine the brightest against the dark sky.
- Rhyolite, a once booming town known for its gold in the early 1900’s, is one of the west’s most photographed ghost towns.
- Visitors to this region can also never go wrong with a trip to a little town called Las Vegas. Between the casinos, restaurants, entertainment options and museums, this city is a vacation all its own.