Day 1: San Francisco, California - Tour Begins
Join us on a scenic journey along California’s thrilling coast. Your tour opens in “the City by the Bay,” San Francisco. Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner on Pier 39, overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Day 2: Choice of San Francisco Bay Cruise or City Tour of San Francisco
After breakfast the choice is yours! Take an hour-long cruise on San Francisco Bay featuring an in-depth narration on its history and landmarks including Alcatraz* and the Golden Gate Bridge. Or, join a local guide for a sightseeing tour of the city; hear stories of the city’s past and present as you drive past its famous landmarks including the Twin Peaks, Seal Rocks and the Golden Gate Bridge. Your afternoon is at leisure to explore the shops at either Fisherman’s Wharf or Union Square. Perhaps you’ll take a ride up and down the city’s thrilling hills on a classic cable car.
Day 3: San Francisco - Carmel-by-the-Sea – Monterey
Travel to Carmel-by-the-Sea, populated by creative locals who take pride in offering one-of-a-kind items and experiences. Enjoy time to explore and have lunch on your own before venturing to the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Take a leisurely hike amid beautiful headlands, coves and rolling meadows. From here we set out on the famed 17-Mile Drive, along one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world. During our drive you will pass through the Del Monte Forest and see such famous sights as the Lone Cypress Tree, Seal Rock (where the seals may actually bark at you) and the prestigious Pebble Beach Golf Course. End your day in Monterey, a place often called the greatest meeting of land, sea and sky. Time is available to independently explore charming Monterey and shop at Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck.
Day 4: Monterey - San Simeon - Santa Barbara
Upon arrival in San Simeon, visit one of the world’s greatest showplaces, the palatial mountaintop retreat of Hearst Castle, a National Historic Landmark. Built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the castle was built on a 40,000 acre ranch that Hearst frequently camped on as a child. Hearst was constantly building and rebuilding what he simply called "the ranch." As a result, the estate was not completed during Hearst's lifetime and was donated to the State of California in 1957. Explore some of its 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. Later, drive north to Ragged Point to view more of the coast. Then we head south towards enchanting Santa Barbara, famous for its dramatic mix of mountains, valleys, beaches, islands and the sea.
Day 5: Santa Barbara
This morning your Tour Manager will show you some of Santa Barbara’s most historic sites. Then a docent guides you through the Old Mission Santa Barbara, established in 1786. It is often called the “Queen of the Missions.” Visit a local farm and gather for a special olive oil tasting made from olives grown there; learn about the different oils from a local expert. Explore the famous Santa Ynez wine valley, making a stop at a vineyard for a wine tasting before returning to Santa Barbara. After dinner with a view of the waterfront, stroll the downtown area laced with pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and paseos, with the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains as a lovely backdrop.
Day 6: Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego
Welcome to “Tinseltown.” Stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, and learn all about the movie stars on an incredible walking tour of Hollywood. Later, arrive in San Diego, a city known for its ideal climate, miles of pristine beaches, and world-class attractions.
Day 7: San Diego
This morning, join a local guide for a comprehensive tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, including the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado Island and Old Town San Diego. The afternoon is yours to experience San Diego on your own. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers and celebrate your trip during a farewell dinner.
Day 8: San Diego - Tour Ends
Your tour comes to an end today, but the memories will stay with you forever.