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San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge at dusk
20 August, 20193 minute read

30 years of California & the Golden West

Back in 1989, California and the Golden West was born. Selling out 10 departures within the first two weeks of being on sale, it was immediately one of our bestselling tours. And 30 years later, it’s still just as popular (and remains the #1 choice of tour for first-time Titan travellers).

What is California and the Golden West?

This 16-day itinerary covers off countless incredible sights, from the natural wonders of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Big Sur, to the city skylines of San Francisco, LA and Las Vegas. A roll-call of the best places to visit in California and beyond!

It’s not changed much from the original itinerary, first put together in six days by Irwin Ferry (our chairman at the time) and Richard Cuddington (our former product director) as they journeyed around California. There have been a few tweaks here and there (we now start the tour in LA, rather than San Diego, and we’ve swapped a day at Disneyland for extra time at the Grand Canyon). By and large, though, it’s a tour that’s stood the test of time – the route you’ll follow today is almost identical to the one taken by guests on the very first departure.

A little look back...

We reckon 30 is a birthday worth celebrating, so we decided to take a little look back at ‘California and the Golden West’ in numbers…

  • 1989 the year we launched the tour – our first in the States

  • 2 weeks the time it took to sell out the first 10 departures

  • 1 the scenic highway that runs along the Cali coast

  • 6,093 feet the depth of the Grand Canyon

  • 15 stops from the original itinerary that we still visit today

  • 18 one of our Facebook fans took their daughter with them as an 18th birthday present. 

  • 14 the number of times one lucky customer has taken the tour

  • 3 tour managers have led the tour a dozen or more times in the last 5 years

  • 229 departures in 2001 – the most ever in one year

  • 2,737m the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

We also delved deep into the archives to dig out a vintage tour page. This one featured in our 1990 USA and Canada brochure – we love the hand-drawn illustrations.

The original brochure page for Titan's California and the Golden West tour

What you've said about California and the Golden West

We also had a read back through some of the lovely comments from Titan travellers over the years... 

“Absolutely brilliant holiday.  This was our first holiday of this kind, and we couldn't fault it. You get taken to places you'd never see if you were driving yourself, from ghost towns to Wild West shootouts. The driver was great and the tour guide had so many facts, figures and information about the area you happened to be in – it made it all the more interesting.” Michael, Devon

We ticked a lot off our bucket list on this trip and have memories that will stay with us forever. We had an unbelievable holiday.

“This was an amazing holiday. My son and I loved every minute of it and were just spellbound at some of the amazing things we saw and did every day.” Linda, Shropshire

“We booked this to celebrate my 50th and it’s a birthday I will never forget for all the right reasons. Several places we visited, such as Sedona, Flagstaff and Oak Creek Canyon, would never have been on our list - but they were beautiful places and I’m so glad we went there. Whale watching in San Francisco was worth every penny and flying over the Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring must.” Steven, Bristol

We had a fantastic time. We've done the same trip 5 times, over the years. Every day there was something wonderful to see.

“An experience of a lifetime, from small towns on Route 66 to big cities like Las Vegas, the fountains at the Bellagio hotel to Bell Rock in Arizona. Fabulous scenery that kept changing throughout the journey – high up in the Grand Canyon, waterfalls at Yosemite Park, Pebble Beach and along the Big Sur coastline. Absolutely amazing.” Elaine, Shropshire

If you have any special memories or photos of our California and the Golden West escorted tours, share them on our Facebook page.

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Although she loves a lie-in at home, Laura is often up and about before dawn on holiday. She’s watched the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, Uluru and Angkor Wat, but her favourite was seeing the first light of the New Year sweeping across the yacht-dotted waters of Sydney Harbour.

Laura | About the author
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