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Western Highlights: Touring America's Wild West with Contiki

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Contiki’s Western Highlights tour took me on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition through Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas, stopping at some of the best destinations and attractions out west. There was plenty of action and excitement along the way, and an abundance of nature’s finest sights on display—beautiful beaches, rocky deserts, the majestic Grand Canyon and so much more. Here are a few highlights from the legendary trip that any young adventurer would appreciate. #NoRegrets
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200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
The Santa Monica Pier embodies what Southern California is all about: fun in the sun. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this iconic boardwalk adjacent to the Pacific Ocean—filled with all the amusement rides, midway games, fried food, ice...
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Venice Fishing Pier, Venice, CA 90292, USA
The boardwalk and bike path from Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades to Torrance County Beach in Torrance is a stretch of activity some 20 miles long. Rent a bike, roller or in-line skates, or a Segway and cruise as much of the...
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San Diego, CA, USA
Get in touch with your wild side at the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This sprawling wildlife showcase—which sits on 100 acres within beautiful Balboa Park—houses more than 3,700 animals in exhibits designed to replicate the animals' natural...
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1450 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Feed your need for speed by driving your own boat! During our stop in the beautiful city of San Diego, we got to play captain for the afternoon with Speed Boat Adventures. After suiting up in a life jacket, you can grab the wheel of a 13-foot mini...
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Mission Beach, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
There’s a reason why Southern California is known for its beaches: they are some of the finest in America, if not the world. And spending the day in San Diego’s Mission Beach didn’t disappoint. Located at the center of the Golden Strand, this...
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702 W Deer Valley Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85027, USA
It’s not until you’re floating high above the horizon that you truly start to appreciate the magnitude of Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert. Sailing in a hot air balloon offers a fresh perspective of the towering Saguaro cacti, rolling purple mountains...
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301 N State Rte 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
During our stopover in Sedona, a serene mountain town with incredible views of the towering, vividly-colored red rocks, our group went on an off-road adventure (appropriately called “Canyons & Cowboys”) with Red Rock Jeep Tours. We saddled up in...
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North Rim, AZ 86052, USA
If you know your flight path is going to go over the Grand Canyon, get a window seat. Even from thirty-some-thousand feet above, the chasms within chasms stretch on to the horizon...
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Seligman, AZ 86337, USA
Known as the country’s “Mother Road,” historic Route 66 represents the heart of American culture. Along this famous highway—which originated in 1926 and stretches from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California—road trippers can “get their...
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3595 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
During our free time in Las Vegas, I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at GIADA tucked inside the Cromwell. With celebrity chef and TV personality Giada De Laurentiis at the helm (this is her first-ever restaurant), the expectations were high; and to my...