Day 1 ARRIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO.
Welcome to the Golden State! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day 2 SAN FRANCISCO.
Enjoy morning sightseeing in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. See Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio. Next, visit the [LF] JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. Learn about the history of the park and enjoy time to explore the five acres of native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds, pagodas, and more. Afterward, there’s still plenty of time for pursuing your favorite interests and activities—ride the world-famous cable cars, shop in Union Square, or visit the Museum of Modern Art. This evening, enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 3 SAN FRANCISCO–SAUSALITO–NAPA VALLEY.
Travel across the Golden Gate Bridge this morning to the charming town of Sausalito. Enjoy waterfront views, breathtaking scenery, and a vibrant downtown area with a large variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. This afternoon, visit a local VINEYARD for a tour and tasting. This evening is free to explore more on your own. (B)
Day 4 NAPA VALLEY–YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
Travel southward through the Sierra Nevadas to YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK. Yosemite has innumerable lakes, meadows, ice-sculpted domes, forests, waterfalls, and unspoiled alpine scenery. Descend into the 4,000-foot valley, where you’ll board an open-air TRAM to explore the famous sites of El Capitan, Cathedral Spires, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular!
Day 5 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK–MONTEREY.
Before departing Yosemite National Park, visit Mariposa Grove, home to 500 mature sequoias. Stand in awe as you look skyward at these massive giants, the Earth’s largest and longest living organisms. Then, on to Monterey and Cannery Row, immortalized by John Steinbeck in his novel of the same name. Stay alert for humpback whales in the bay.
Day 6 MONTEREY. EXCURSION TO CARMEL.
Enjoy a visit to the resort town of Carmel, a popular haven for writers, artists, and celebrities. A high point on today’s journey is the beautiful 17-MILE DRIVE, with views of famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and the tenacious Lone Cypress. Return to Monterey for a [LF] behind-the-scenes tour at the world-famous MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM. Learn about the marine life found in the bay, such as sea otters, humpback whales, great white sharks, and more.
Day 7 MONTEREY–BIG SUR–SAN SIMEON–SOLVANG.
This morning, journey south through Big Sur to San Simeon and visit HEARST CASTLE, the opulent mansion of wealthy newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, which houses splendid antiques, art treasures, and exotic possessions purchased at an estimated $50 million. The tour shows off the highlights of the impressive 123-acre estate. Continue to Solvang for an overnight stay.
Day 8 SOLVANG–SANTA BARBARA–LOS ANGELES.
After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of Solvang and learn how Denmark has been recreated with picturesque buildings and windmills. [LF] Enjoy coffee and a DANISH SPECIALTY at a local bakery. Then, travel through the Santa Ynez Mountains to beautiful Santa Barbara, where the Spanish influence is apparent in quaint whitewashed and tile-roofed buildings. Visit the impressive 200-year-old MISSION with its world-famous twin bell towers. Continue to metropolitan Los Angeles, the motion picture capital of the world.
Day 9 LOS ANGELES.
Morning sightseeing of this gigantic metropolis takes you from Olvera Street—the oldest thoroughfare in the city—to Hollywood. Step into the shoeprints of famous movie stars at TCL Chinese Theatre, and see the Sunset Strip and Beverly Hills. Later, visit the GETTY MUSEUM, housing a collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner. Wonderful conversation and cuisine make the perfect finale for your vacation.
Day 10 LOS ANGELES.
The tour ends this morning after breakfast with guests departing on individual schedules.