NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE

California | Santa Monica

The beach resorts of Greater Los Angeles have recently been under the spotlight in a whole host of US films and television programmes, providing great exposure of their boutique shopping, chic dining and of course superb beaches. If you want to wake each morning to the sound of the surf and enjoy days in a seaside atmosphere, yet still have easy access to Los Angeles’ attractions, one of California’s beaches is an ideal choice.

Just 20 minutes from downtown LA, Santa Monica is perhaps one of the states most popular spots, and rightly so. Infamous Santa Monica Pier, bustling with fairground rides and candy stores jets out above the glorious golden beaches, where you can hire a bike and cycle the boardwalks down to Venice Beach. Main Street, 3rd Street Promenade and Montana Avenue collectively provide all the shopping options you could desire. Watch out for celebrities, it’s widely recognised that many prefer the boutiques of Santa Monica to Rodeo Drive!


10 Reasons to Visit Santa Monica

    1. A top 10 beach city of the world.

    2. Just 8 miles from LAX Airport – that’s the closest destination to the airport.

    3. Santa Monica Beach was the beach setting for Baywatch!

    4. Home to one of the USA’s oldest pleasure piers and the world’s first Solar-Powered ferris wheel, which was one of the most Instagrammed images of the world in 2012.

    5. It’s at the end of Route 66.

    6. It’s an entirely walkable city – pedestrians and cyclists are king of the road.

    7. It’s one of the best places for happy hour in USA, infact the Shangri-La hotel in Santa Monica was recently voted as the best bar in the USA for happy hour.

    8. Santa Monica is the birth place for many of the world’s most famous fitness movements. Stroll along the beach and you will no doubt see people working-out right on the sand.

    9. There are over 90 art galleries and museums in this cosy city.

    10. It’s rated the best place to dine in LA with a variety of food movements, famous chefs and an organic farm-to-table mantra.


Things to see and do in Santa Monica

The Beach:

• Home of Baywatch

• 35km bicycle path.

• Original Muscle Beach by the pier.

• Segway along the beach path.

• Electric Bike Tours.

• Bikes, roller blades, surf and paddle board lessons.

The Pier:

• Pacific Park on the Pier is LA’s only free admission amusement park.

• The Loof Hippodrome on the Pier is a local landmark housing a vintage, working carousel.

• The End of Route 66 Sign is a popular photo spot.

• The Aquarium is great for all the family.

Shopping:

• Santa Monica Place Shopping Mall houses world-famous designers and department stores.

• 3rd Street Shopping Promenade offers the best of the highstreet.

• Montana Avenue is home to designer boutiques.

• Main Street offers eclectic and original boutiques and stores.

Art & Culture:

• Santa Monica is home to 90 galleries and museums, street performers and architectural landmarks.

• California History Museums

• Santa Monica History Museum

• Santa Monica Museum of Art/Bergamot Station Centre


Dining & Drinking in Santa Monica

Our favourites for…

• Healthy brunch - Huckleberry Café & Bakery

• Watching sports: Barney’s Beanery

• Happy Hour: The Misfit

• Local chefs: JiRaffe

• Farmers markets: Every Wednesday and Saturday

• Steak: Boa Steakhouse

• Romance: Michel’s Santa Monica

• Raw foodies: M.A.K.E.

• Michelin star lover: Melisse

• Street food (during the day): Food Truck Tuesdays, every Tuesday

• Family dining: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

• Seafood with Pacific views: The Lobster

• Celeb spotting in the daylight: Any café on Montana Avenue

• Trendy night crowd: Bungalow at The Fairmont hotel

• Evening drinks with rooftop views: Suite 700 Bar at The Shangri-La hotel

• 360 views of LA: The Penthouse at The Huntley hotel

• Food on the beach: Back on the Beach Café

Route 66


One of the most renowned driving routes in the world, historic Route 66 spans across North America, from Chicago in the east to Los Angeles in the west. Covering over 2,000 miles, it takes three weeks or longer to complete the journey in its entirety so we have created three options to choose from: the entire journey (Chicago to Los Angeles); Chicago to Albuquerque or Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. The journeys shown are based on car rental, however motorbikes or motorhomes can be substituted should you prefer them.

YOUR FLY DRIVE INCLUDES:

• Round trip scheduled flights
• Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
• Accommodations as stated

ITINERARY 1

23 days / 22 nights
Starts Chicago and ends Los Angeles
Departures: year round

Days 1, 2 & 3 - Chicago, Illinois
Hotel: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

Driving distance (Chicago to Springfield): 202 miles

Day 4 - Springfield, Illinois
Hotel: Hampton Inn, Springfield

Driving distance (Springfield to St. Louis): 96 miles

Days 5 & 6 - St. Louis, Missouri
Hotel: Hilton St Louis Downtown at the Arch

Driving distance (St. Louis to Joplin): 289 miles

Day 7 - Joplin, Missouri
Hotel: Best Western Oasis Inn & Suites

Driving distance (Joplin to Tulsa): 113 miles

Day 8 - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Hotel: Doubletree by Hilton, Tulsa

Driving distance (Tulsa to Okla.City): 107 miles

Day 9 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Okla.City to Amarillo): 260 miles

Day 10 - Amarillo, Texas
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Amarillo to Santa Fe): 279 miles

Days 11 & 12 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe

Driving distance (Santa Fe to Albuquerque): 61 miles

Days 13 & 14 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Executive Suites

Driving distance (Albuquerque to Gallup): 140 miles

Day 15 - Gallup, New Mexico
Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Gallup

Driving distance (Gallup to Flagstaff): 186 miles

Days 16 & 17 - Flagstaff, Arizona
Hotel: Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Driving distance (Flagstaff to Kingman): 167 miles

Day 18 - Kingman, Arizona
Hotel: Best Western Plus, A Wayfarer's Inn

Driving distance (Kingman to Barstow): 207 miles

Day 19 - Barstow, California
Hotel: Best Western Plus Desert Villa Inn

Driving distance (Barstow to Santa Monica): 131 miles

Days 20, 21 & 22 - Santa Monica, California
Hotel: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Day 23 - Journey Home

From £2639 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

ITINERARY 2

15 days / 14 nights
Starts Chicago and ends Albuquerque
Departures: year round

Days 1, 2 & 3 - Chicago, Illinois
Hotel: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

Driving distance (Chicago to Springfield): 202 miles

Day 4 - Springfield, Illinois
Hotel: Hampton Inn, Springfield

Driving distance (Springfield to St. Louis): 96 miles

Days 5 & 6 - St. Louis, Missouri
Hotel: Hilton St Louis Downtown at the Arch

Driving distance (St. Louis to Joplin): 289 miles

Day 7 - Joplin, Missouri
Hotel: Best Western Oasis Inn & Suites

Driving distance (Joplin to Tulsa): 113 miles

Day 8 - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Hotel: Doubletree by Hilton, Tulsa

Driving distance (Tulsa to Okla.City): 107 miles

Day 9 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Okla.City to Amarillo): 260 miles

Day 10 - Amarillo, Texas
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Amarillo to Santa Fe): 279 miles

Days 11 & 12 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe

Driving distance (Santa Fe to Albuquerque): 61 miles

Days 13 & 14 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Executive Suites

Day 15 - Journey Home

From £1989 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

ITINERARY 3

15 days / 14 nights
Starts Oklahoma City and ends Los Angeles
Departures: year round

Day 1 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Okla.City to Amarillo): 260 miles

Day 2 - Amarillo, Texas
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

Driving distance (Amarillo to Santa Fe): 279 miles

Days 3 & 4 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe

Driving distance (Santa Fe to Albuquerque): 61 miles

Days 5 & 6 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hotel: Best Western Plus Executive Suites

Driving distance (Albuquerque to Gallup): 140 miles

Day 7 - Gallup, New Mexico
Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Gallup

Driving distance (Gallup to Flagstaff): 186 miles

Days 8 & 9 - Flagstaff, Arizona
Hotel: Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Driving distance (Flagstaff to Kingman): 167 miles

Day 10 - Kingman, Arizona
Hotel: Best Western Plus, A Wayfarer's Inn

Driving distance (Kingman to Barstow): 207 miles

Day 11 - Barstow, California
Hotel: Best Western Plus Desert Villa Inn

Driving distance (Barstow to Santa Monica): 131 miles

Days 12, 13 & 14 - Santa Monica, California
Hotel: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Day 15 - Journey Home

From £1975 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of the route involved and locations visited, some hotels featured are tourist class only. Should you wish to stay in higher graded properties please let us know and we will amend the route accordingly. One way drop off fees are applicable on these routes and are payable locally.

Winner of ‘Top Tour Operator to the USA & Canada 2012’ voted by readers of Selling Long Haul magazine.

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