Get the most out of the City's most famous highlights in a limited time...
Day 1, San Francisco City Highlights:
Spend your first day in the City by the Bay visiting iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Presidio, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, Union Square and the Embarcadero. These sites offer fantastic photo opps and plenty to see and do. And along the way be sure to stop for classic SF culinary experiences, like authentic pizza in North Beach, dim sum in Chinatown, or sourdough bread, tasty crab or the original Irish Coffee in Fisherman's Wharf!
Day 2, Golden Gate Park, Pacific Heights and Alamo Square:
San Francisco's cultural and recreational heart, Golden Gate Park, is the great urban oasis of the West, offering miles of trails that meander past waterfalls, ponds, meadows, statues and Cypress, Pine and Eucalyptus groves. The Park features a wealth of cultural attractions like the DeYoung Art Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences. Plus the beautiful Botanical Garden, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers and outdoor recreation like tennis, golf, soccer fields, and much more. The park runs from the heart of the City to the beach - an ideal place to take in the crashing waves of the Pacific. On the way, stop for a photo at Alamo Square, known for its iconic row of Victorian homes, made famous in countless postcards, movies and tv shows. The nearby Pacific Heights neighborhood features some of the most beautiful (and expensive) homes in the City.
Day 3, The Northern Waterfront:
For your final day in San Francisco, take in some of the best views and scenery, from Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf all the way to the Golden Gate. It's easy to rent bikes here, or just stroll along the waterfront from historic Fort Mason, past the gorgeous Marina Green all the way to Crissy Field in the Presidio, as you enjoy incredible views of the Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Golden Gate. The trail takes you all the way to the Bridge, where you can venture out as far as you want onto the walkway - but be sure to bundle up when the late afternoon breeze ushers in our famous Northern California fog. If you are on a bike, its a short ride to quaint Sausalito, where you can enjoy more great views as well as dozens of inviting shops, cafes and galleries before taking a relaxing ferry ride back to the City.
San Francisco highlights and the best of the Wine Country - a great combo adventure!
Day 1, San Francisco City Highlights Tour:
Like our 3 day itinerary's first day, today can be spent enjoying some famous landmarks of the City.
Day 2, The Napa Valley:
With over 1000 wineries to choose from, the Sonoma and Napa Wine Regions offer something for everyone looking to experience the "Nectar of the Gods" that has drawn worldwide acclaim for nearly a century. During the summer growing season, evening breezes gently cool vineyards that can warm to over 90 degrees in the afternoon sun. This daily heating and cooling creates a complexity of flavors that is on par with some of the greatest and most historic wine regions in the world. In creating your own personal Wine Country adventure, choose from legendary names like Robert Mondavi or Charles Krug, or historic wineries that catapulted the region to acclaim like Chateau Montelena and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Or, if smaller, "boutique" style spots are your preference, there are hundreds of small, charming and intimate growers that continue to set the standard for vintages and varietals that are on par with the world's best. Tasting the wines here, like Napa's legendary Cabernet Sauvignon, rises to a new level when experienced in the very place where it is grown and made. And not to be outdone, the area's culinary scene provides the ideal complement to the amazing wines. Choose from the many wonderful markets or delis for a memorable vineyard picnic!
Day 3, Golden Gate Park, Museums, and the Waterfront:
As in our 3-day suggestions, on this day you might visit the cultural highlights of the City, then enjoy outstanding views and beautiful scenery along the waterfront. Twin Peaks is also worth a visit for amazing panoramic views from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge, and stunning at night!
Day 4, Sonoma Wine Country:
Like Napa, Sonoma is a town, a county, a valley and an entire wine region that offers a tremendous variety of experiences for visitors. The area is much larger and generally features more wide open spaces than Napa, and is made up of at least 4 distinct areas, each with its own unique character. Choose your region and your varietals, from jammy Zinfandel to delicate Pinot Noir or fruity Chardonnay - whatever your palate or mood craves!
Day 5, Carneros Wineries / SF Culinary Highlights:
If you are hankering to visit more great wineries, there is plenty to choose from in both Napa and Sonoma. A good option is the close-by Carneros Wine Region, the only wine region that includes parts of both Napa and Sonoma. Generally cool due to its location on the Northern edge of the Bay, it is blessed by fog and ocean breezes that roll in each evening from the Golden Gate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the standouts - some of the best of these varietals anywhere! If you prefer to spend a final day in San Francisco, a great option is to explore the City's great culinary destinations. Start at the Ferry Building Gourmet Marketplace, home to outlets from some of Northern California's best purveyors. Here you will find everything from fine meats and produce to wine, tea, dessert and cafes to enjoy a delicious lunch. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and especially Saturdays, an excellent farmer's market here offers even more delectable delights. If you wish to visit Alcatraz, one of San Francisco's most famous attractions, the Alcatraz ferry is just a short walk or drive from the Ferry Building and worthy of a detour. Next, nearby Chinatown offers authentic cuisine from all over Asia. Across Columbus Avenue from Chinatown is North Beach, San Francisco's historic Italian neighborhood and a great place to discover fantastic Italian restaurants, coffee houses and more. Between these 2 ethnic neighborhoods, there are more small restaurants than almost any similar-sized area in the entire country. Next, head to the Mission District, where cultural experiences and cuisine from Mexico and Latin America await, like the famous SF Mission Burritos!
Visit the best of San Francisco, Wine Country, Monterey and more of Northern California for a rewarding and memorable tour experience...
Day 1, San Francisco City Highlights:
Again, use your first day to tour some of the grand highlights of the City and prepare for a great week of adventure and excitement.
Day 2, Parks and Museums of the City and the Waterfront:
On this day, Golden Gate Park and its cultural attractions or a bike ride along the waterfront are just a few of the great activities to choose from.
Day 3, Wine Country - Napa or Sonoma:
Plenty of options with more than 1000 wineries plus culinary excellence in Wine Country!
Day 4, The Monterey Peninsula:
This beautiful destination has been called "the most stunning meeting of land and sea". Start with a visit to the fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium, where hundreds of exhibits await that are dedicated to the ecology of the Earth's oceans. Then, stroll along Cannery Row, a great place for souvenir shopping or a delightful lunch. Next, head to Pebble Beach and the famous 17-Mile Drive that rolls past multi-million dollar estates and some of the best ocean views in California, including the iconic Lone Cypress. Another stop is the Pebble Beach Lodge at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. This pristine postcard-worthy locale is the most famous golfing destination on the West Coast, and the scene of some of the most famous specatcles in the history of the sport. Treat yourself to lunch or a drink overlooking the famous 18th hole adjacent to the Pacific, and a visit to the many shops that feature golf-themed mementos. Your Monterey Peninsula adventure can conclude with a stroll along the charming cobblestone streets of delightful Carmel-by-the-Sea, as you take in the galleries, shops, cafes, inns and ambience that make this quaint seaside enclave one of Northern California's most treasured destinations.
Day 5, Muir Woods and Sausalito: Today, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge is often followed by a stop at the North Viewpoint before continuing to the most accessible grove of California’s native redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument. Here, you can spend an hour or 2 strolling along park paths that meander through the forest as some of most majestic trees in the world tower above. Next, head to the nearby enclave of Sausalito, for shopping and lunch in the bayside town known for quaint and charming galleries, cafes, shops and great views of the Bay, harbor, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. An option is to then travel by Ferry back across the Bay to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf or Embarcadero.
Day 6, Silicon Valley "Tech Tour":
In recent years, the global explosion of technology has brought the world to this suburban area an hour south of San Franicisco known as "Silicon Valley". Originally known mainly as home to renowned Stanford University and sleepy bedroom communities, the past 50 years has seen an explosion of growth as sprawling office complexes resembling college campuses were built to house thousands of workers drawn here by a new world of innovation, creativity and opportunity. Our "Tech Tours" will take you past headquarters of many of the companies that have paved the way for the technology of the last 50 years, and are creating the future in ways that we can only dream of. Google, Apple, Facebook, and hundreds more are just some of the companies that were founded or expanded here due to the tremendous financial and human capital available in the region. Highlights include walking tours of the beautiful Stanford University Campus, the unique Computer History Museum and the fantastic Tech Museum of innovation in downtown San Jose, Northern California's largest city.
Day 7, Alcatraz and the Waterfront:
A final day in Northern California might be spent with a bike ride or stroll along the path that runs from Fisherman's Wharf to the Golden Gate. A visit to the famous island of Alcatraz requires advance reservations but the experience is definitely worth it. Tours feature a self-guided audio tour that tells the story of some of the former prison's most notorious inmates as well as the still-unsolved mystery of the escape attempt that has long been a favorite subject of Hollywood movies and legends. Finally, a walk along the City's famous hills can take you to Lombard Street, the "World's Crookedest Street" and Coit Tower, 2 of San Francisco's most iconic attractions. Make sure you allow time to take a ride on the famous Cable Cars - the country's only mobile officially designated national historic monument. For your final night in San Francisco, a meal at one of the great restaurants that continue to set the pace for America's Culinary landscape would be excellent conclusion to your grand Northern California experience!
A breathtaking drive along the Coast, from Sonoma County just North of San Francisco through the Central Coast region to Los Angeles and San Diego, with memorable adventures every step of the way...
The California Coast is fantastic scenery, quaint country towns, beautiful parks, hidden coastal enclaves, pristine beaches and an exciting adventure, experience and vista at every turn. Our California coast itinerary is a great way to experience the coast, as you make your way from North to South. This trip will give you a good overview and a taste that leaves you longing for more on your next visit.
Day 1, Sonoma Wine Country:
Starting in Santa Rosa, the Northern Sonoma Wine Country features some of the most beautiful and inviting wineries in California. We suggest an overnight in Healdsburg or Santa Rosa, offering plenty of excellent dining, wine tasting, shopping and siteseeing.
Day 2, Russian River Wine Country - Sonoma Coast - Pt. Reyes - Sausalito - The Golden Gate - San Francisco:
Our coastal adventure begins with a westward drive from Santa Rosa along the gently winding Russian River, home to some of the most revered, and often less-crowded wineries in the entire region. The vineyards here garner high praise for the quality of the wines as well as the beauty and peaceful, inviting character of the area. A good stop for a snack or lunch is Guerneville, a delightful town and the hub of the Russian River region. Continue along the river until it meets the coast at Jenner, where you will have your first of many fantastic ocean vistas. The nearby Sonoma Coast State Park offers trails, beaches and excellent picnic spots!
From here, we head South to quaint Bodega Bay, known for its perch on the bluff with excellent views of the waves crashing onto the shore. Continue past Tomales Bay as you trace along the path of the San Andreas faultline - responsible for the geologic forces that have shaped the topography of theis area for millions of years. We soon come to Point Reyes National Seashore, a highlight destination that is one of the best-preserved marine sanctuaries and wildlife parklands on the West Coast. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to open grasslands and forested ridges, Point Reyes features over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. And the historic lighthouse is the first of many along the coast.
Next up is the delightful town of Sausalito - a worthy stop for a late afternoon snack or dinner or just a chance to relax and stroll among the many cafes, shops, galleries and take in amazing views of the Bay, San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate. From here, its a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco. A fantastic place for phenomenal views of the Bridge and the city skyline is the Marin Headlands, a quick detour just 1 exit north of the Bridge itself. Several spots offer constantly changing views, as the dynamic weather patterns afford a new experience on every visit.
Day 3, San Francisco:
You might want to spend 2 nights and 1 full day as you take in the many sights and sounds of the City by the Bay. Alcatraz (advance reservations required) and the Ferry Building Marketplace are some of our favorite destinations for visitors and a perfect start to a walk along the Embarcadero all the way to the fun and colorful shpping and dining areas of Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. Continue along the waterfront trail past the Marina Green and Crissy Field in the Presidio for more fantastic views of the Golden Gate and Alcatraz.
Day 4, San Mateo County Coast - Half Moon Bay -
From San Francisco, head West to Pacifica and from there you start your journey on Highway 1 - your own main street for much of the next several days. This famous highway is known for scenic vistas and jaw-dropping bridges over precarious natural obstacles that the road's engineers had to overcome. Even though winter slides have caused sections of the roadway to be blocked or washed out in recent years, the road is 100% open again and again can be explored by both locals and visiting adventurers in its entirety. You will shortly arrive at Half Moon Bay, the shining star of San Mateo County's surprisingly quiet coast - just over the hills from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, yet seemingly worlds away. The 5 star Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay Resort is one of California's grandest, highlighted by a stunning golf course. From here it is a short but beautiful drive south to Santa Cruz, one of Northern California's most popular destinations and a fantastic place for a family getaway. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been a popular attraction for generations, and is still one of the oldest amusement parks in California, offering rides, games and fun for all ages. The hills surrounding the waterfront and downtown feature excellent hiking and biking trails and lots of great ocean views.
Day 5, Monterey Bay:
From Santa Cruz, a drive south along the Monterey Bay brings you to Moss Landing and the ecological marine treasure of Elkhorn Slough, a habitat for hundreds of species of plants, animals and birds. Rent a kayak or take a guided trip to experience all the natural beauty of this amazing wetlands preserve. From here, continue south to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, where exciting adventures await. As in our Northern California Highlights Tour description above, we recommend starting with a trip to the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium, followed by the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. A stop at the iconic Lodge at Pebble Beach Golf Links is a must!
Day 6, Carmel-Big Sur-Hearst Castle-Cambria:
Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of California's most revered seaside destinations, and worthy of a few hours to stroll along the quaint streets, packed with galleries, cafes, shops and more. From here you continue south on Highway One to Big Sur - with so many places to stop for photos of the iconic coast that there simply isn't time to see them all. The famous Bixby Bridge is an engineering marvel, built in 1932, soaring 260 feet above the bottom of a steep canyon. With several parks and rest areas along the way, this is one of the greatest scenic stretches of coastline in the world. Continue on about 1 1/2 more hours and you soon come to the seaside town of San Simeon, the closest town to majestic Hearst Castle, one of the California Coast's greatest attractions. (Hearst Castle remains closed due to the Corona Virus, with re-opening expected later in the year). The charming town of Cambria is one of the delights of the Central Coast and a great place for a lunch, dinner or overnight stop on this part of your journey.
Day 7, Hearst Castle - Cambria - Morro Bay -
San Luis Obispo:
Morro Bay Rock is an iconic postcard-worthy landmark that marks the beginning of the Morro Bay Estuary. The area is full of coast-side trails for biking, hiking and exploring, with interesting places to discover, like the unique Elfin Forest. From here, a short drive takes you to San Luis Obispo - or "SLO Town" as the locals like to say, one of the largest towns on the central coast, but uniquely charming and quiet. Here you will find plenty of dining and lodging options, as well as lots of exciting things to see and do.
A great detour here is the nearby Paso Robles Wine Region - an exciting destination of its own with over 200 wineries to explore. The wines coming from this area in recent years are among the most highly regarded in the state!
Day 8, Santa Barbara:
Welcome to the "California Riviera" - Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful stretches of the coast. Here, glamour and scenery blend together in an eclectic mix along with natural beauty that is difficult to match anywhere. The mountains, rising sharply from the ocean, are the setting for a relaxing wine country, and the beaches nearby are some of the best in the US. Plan to spend 1 or 2 nights here to experience the beauty and magic of the area.
Day 9, Santa Barbara - Malibu - Santa Monica -
Our journey continues through Ventura County where you will exit the freeway to continue southbound on Highway One to the glamourous Los Angeles suburb of Malibu. One trip past these impressive estates and you will soon understand why this seaside enclave that stretches for more than 20 miles from north to south is highly prized by Hollywood stars and wealthy Southern California elite. A perfect overnight stop on the Southern California coast is Santa Monica, providing plenty of options for both lodging and excellent dining and shopping. Many hotels here offer bike rentals to enjoy the bike path that runs through colorful Venice Beach, known for its bohemian spirit, funky shops, street performers and colorful murals. Nearby you will also find upscale shopping, eclectic coffee shops and excellent dining.
Days 10 - 12, Los Angeles - Hollywood - Beverly Hills:
Take a couple of days to explore the many sights and sounds of Los Angeles and its most famous attractions. The shops at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Walk of Fame are memorable attractions. And while Universal Studios Hollywood is perhaps the most well-known of the Hollywood Studio Tours, the less-visited Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures or Paramount Studios are less like theme parks and offer tours that are more in-depth movie studio experiences.
Days 13 - 14, Orange County - San Diego:
After a possible detour to Disneyland, our West Coast Adventure concludes with a trip to the city of San Diego, famous for attractions like Sea World and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park offers cultural highlights galore, including 17 museums, and nearby Old Town is known for Mexican themed shopping and dining. Legoland and the USS Midway Museum are also worth checking out, and to conclude your adventure be sure to hit the beaches, which are some of the best anywhere! La Jolla Cove in particular is one of the best spots to enjoy the scenery and spirit of the beach.
This "Western Triangle" tour, popular for years with visitors from Europe and South America, is a great way to see some of the West's best highlights, with plenty of fun and excitement at every stop. The tour for anyone looking for the most star-studded spots in California, ending with a visit to the thrilling lights of "Sin City"!
This glamorous tour of the best of the Golden State starts in the Bay Area, with the major highlights of San Francisco, world class wines in the Napa Valley and the magical Monterey Bay. From there, head down the coast to Santa Barbara and the glimmer of Hollywood. Your tour in Los Angeles includes the famed shops of Beverly Hills, the eclectic and unusual that come together on Venice Beach, and a fabulous day at world-famous Universal Studios! Next, head across the California desert with a possible detour to the desert oasis of Palm Springs on route to Las Vegas and accommodations on the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Take in a glittering Vegas show, treat yourself to gourmet dining and marvel at the larger-than-life mega resorts in the desert.
(Additional highlights for days 1-7 in the below tour can be found in the previous tour descriptions above)
Days 1-2, Highlights of San Francisco:
Spend your first couple of days enjoying the magical highlights of the Bay, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz.
Day 3, Napa Valley Wine Country:
Choose from hundreds of wineries to create your own pesonalized adventure.
Day 4, Monterey Bay:
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive and Carmel are our recommended highlights.
Day 5, Carmel - San Luis Obispo:
After a visit to charming Carmel, travel through the Salinas Valley farmland to the Paso Robles Wine Country on route to San Luis Obispo for the night.
Day 6, Santa Barbara - Los Angeles:
Visit the glamor and spectacular beaches of the "California Riviera" on your way to the lights and excitement of Los Angeles and Hollywood!
Days 6-7, Los Angeles - Hollywood -Beverly Hills:
2 days is barely enough to visit the most famous attractions of Southern California's most famous attractions. Add more time if you wish to include theme parks like Universal or Disneyland.
Day 8, Palm Springs and the Desert:
From LA, a trip to the desert oasis in Palm Springs is a worthy detour. Here, world-class shops, great restaurants and several excellent museums and unique desert scenery are highlights. Several excellent botanical gardens offer excellent displays of the abundant desert plantlife.
Days 9-10, Las Vegas:
Not much can be said that hasn't already been written about the "Entertainment Capital of the World". From the larger-than-life mega resorts of the strip to legendary shows and over-the-top dining and shopping, Las Vegas truly has something for everyone. Or, for an exciting experience away from the glitter of the Strip, we love to suggest a visit to "Old Vegas" in Downtown, where you can venture back to the days of the "Rat Pack" and enjoy attractions like the amazing light show of the Fremont Street Experience the unusual Mob Museum and the fun Neon Museum.