From the epic grandeur of Big Sur to the Mediterranean-style stretch of Santa Barbara coastline nicknamed “the American Riviera,” this region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs, and rolling wine country has long attracted—not surprisingly—writers and artists mesmerized by its dreamlike beauty.
We will take the epic Highway One drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles to discover secret beaches and soaring cliffs along Big Sur, stroll a redwood trail, spy a sea otter at the incomparable Monterey Bay Aquarium, and sip Pinot Noir at sunset in the romantic Santa Ynez Valley.
ARRIVAL TO SAN FRANCISCO (WD)
We welcome you to “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.
SAN FRANCISCO (B)
A local guide showcases the popular Landmarks of San Francisco, including the Golden gate Bridge and Chinatown. Later enjoy some leisure time to explore Fisherman’s Wharf where you may sample cracked crab and sourdough bread. Shop at Union Square or visit Ghirardelli Square. For a true local experience, ride the famed cable cars up and down San Francisco’s thrilling hills as you sightsee.
SAN FRANCISCO – YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (B)
Today, we will be on route to Yosemite National Park through Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite’s amazing waterfalls, unique rock formations, deep valleys and groves of beautiful trees will leave you awestruck. Upon arrival, join your fellow travelers on an open air tram to view sites such as Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as learn about the park’s history, geology and wildlife.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK – MONTEREY (B,D)
Travel to Monterey, home to the famed 17 Mile Drive, also known as one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world. Along the drive you will pass through the Del Monte Forest and see such famous sites as the Lone Cypress Tree, Seal Rock, where the seals may actually bark at you the Pebble Beach Golf Course. Next travel to Old Monterey, the place that California’s statehood began in 1849. In the afternoon arrival, you will have time to independently explore charming Old Monterey and shop at Cannery Row made famous by John Steinbeck.
MONTEREY – SAN SIMEON – SANTA BARBARA (B,D)
Journey 92 two miles along the Big Sur Coast for a trip that will surely take your breath away. Upon arrival in San Simeon, visit one of the world’s greatest showplaces, the palatial mountaintop retreat of Hearst Castle, built by newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst. Tour the castle, built on a 40,000 acre ranch that Hearst frequently camped on as a child. Explore some of its 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces and walkways. Later arrive in Santa Barbara, famous for its breathtaking setting and natural beauty fused from the dramatic mix of mountains, beaches, islands and the sea.
This morning your local guide will show you some of Santa Barbara’s most historic sites. You will be fascinated by a guided tour of the Old Mission Santa Barbara, established in 1786. A walk through the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is breathtaking and the view of the city from the top of the clock tower is one of the best views in California. Continue your tour and drive through the neighborhood of the rich and famous, Montecito. Some free time allows you to explore the downtown area with the Santa Ynez Mountains as lovely backdrop. You may prefer to grab a pedicab or hop aboard an eco-friendly electric shuttle to the waterfront area famous for Stearns Wharf.
SANTA BARBARA – LOS ANGELES – SAN DIEGO (B)
This morning travel to glittering Los Angeles “The City of Angels”, and home to a host of your favorite musical and film celebrities. See the TCL Chinese Theater, where nearly 200 movie stars have left their hand and foot prints, as well as the popular Walk of Fame and other famous gems. Tonight arrive in California’s second largest city, San Diego. Known for its ideal climate. 70 miles of pristine beaches and world class attractions. San Diego is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Mexico, the Anza-Borrego Desert, and the Laguna Mountains.
SAN DIEGO (B,D)
This morning to join a local guide for a tour including downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Coronado Island and Old Town San Diego. The afternoon is yours to experience San Diego at your leisure. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
DEPARTURE FROM SAN DIEGO (B)
Your tour ends today but the memories will stay with you forever. You may either extend your stay to explore more or cross the border to Tijuana.
Surrounded by shops and less than a block from Union Square, this high-rise business hotel is a 4-minute walk from Chinatown and 11 minutes by foot from the Moscone Center.
Modern rooms with free Wi-Fi feature work desks, flat-screen TVs, minifridges and coffeemakers; some offer bay views.
There’s an American bistro, a cocktail lounge, and a coffee bar with snacks. A 35th-floor gym has floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. Room service is available.
Set in a charming, hacienda-style building (parts of which date from 1824), this upscale hotel is a mile from both the nearest beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, and 2 miles from the Monterey Bay. Warm, traditionally furnished rooms have free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, plush bedding and flat-screen TVs. Amenities include parking (fee), a posh day spa and a Mediterranean restaurant/bar with patio dining. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, a gym and a 24-hour business center, as well as bike rentals.
Hollywood glamour in a modern classic. Perched high in the Santa Barbara hills, this iconic hideaway offers the best views of the American Riviera.
Spread across seven acres of secluded gardens, Belmond El Encanto opened in 1918 and has been part of Santa Barbara’s social scene ever since. The resort is gleaming and glamorous, yet relaxed and low key. The kind of place that invites you to recline poolside, breathe in the ocean air, and sip a glass of crisp local wine.
Surrounded by revitalized downtown streets, hotel guests at Sheraton Grand Los Angeles are welcomed with pet-friendly rooms, luxury amenities and superb service. Unwind in spacious, updated rooms and suites, which feature contemporary decor, our signature beds, flat-screen TVs, over sized work desks and Wi-Fi. Savor farm-to-table cuisine at District on the Bloc or sample libations and light bites at The Lobby Bar. Take advantage of our state-of-the-art fitness center with impressive views of the city.
The hotel’s location places guests in a booming shopping, dining and entertainment hub. It’s also close to the Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, the Convention Center, Koreatown and the Fashion District.
La Valencia Hotel and Spa exudes Hollywood Glamour on the California Rivera – a hospitality classic since 1926. With her signature pink exterior and iconic tower, the elegant “Pink Lady” remains a renowned landmark on La Jolla’s distinctive Prospect Street commanding the village bluffs with panoramic views of the Pacific coastline and beautiful La Jolla Cove. All rooms, suites and villas offer a cast of options from cozy boudoirs to a captivating penthouse or exclusive villas.
Hotels are subject to change with a similar hotel based on availability