Day 1: San Francisco – Monterey After pickup from your San Francisco accommodation in the morning, begin your drive south on Highway 1 along the California coast. Stop at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse for views and continue to Santa Cruz for a walk along the beach.
When you arrive in Monterey, spend the afternoon exploring fascinating marine exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (admission included). You can also sightsee at your leisure or rent a bike (own expense) and cruise down a coastal path. Enjoy dinner (own expense) at one of the many downtown restaurants before heading to your hotel an overnight stay.
Overnight: Your chosen accommodation type in Monterey
Day 2: Monterey – Cambria (B)After breakfast at your hotel, start your second day with a journey along famous 17-Mile Drive, a scenic route on the Monterey Peninsula that runs from Pacific Grove to world-famous Pebble Beach. You’ll be treated to views of the stunning Pacific coastline, passing impressive golf courses and mansions along the way. Stop in the small coastal resort town of Pebble Beach to check out the world-famous golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Continue south to Hearst Castle, and stop at a beach where you can spot elephant seals lounging on the beach.
Next, you’ll take a guided tour of Hearst Castle, an awe-inspiring mansion and estate designed in the early 1900s for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Your guide will tell you all about the history of this National and California Historical Landmark, which sits atop a hill of the Santa Lucia Range overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
After your tour, head 15 miles (24 km) south to the charming seaside village of Cambria. Enjoy free time here to take an evening beach stroll and have dinner at your leisure and expense.
Overnight: Your chosen accommodation type in Cambria
Day 3: Cambria – Solvang – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles (B)Have breakfast at your hotel and then relax on a 2-hour drive south to Solvang, a Danish town whose many bakeries, restaurants and merchants offer an authentic taste of Denmark. Explore the town by foot to appreciate the traditional Danish architecture and learn some local history.
Continuing toward Santa Barbara, take in views of the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley with its rolling vineyard-covered hills, and stop at a scenic overlook to take in the beautiful Lake Cachuma and its environs.
Spend time wandering through downtown Santa Barbara and along the city's world-renowned beaches. You’ll then board a train for a brief ride to your final destination, downtown Los Angeles, where you’re free to continue exploring on your own.
Please note: This is a one-way trip and does not include return transport to San Francisco. If you wish to return to San Francisco with your guide, you can choose to join the 6-hour return drive by van for an additional cost, payable directly to the tour operator. Road Conditions Update: Highway 1 through Big Sur will be closed to through traffic at least until the end of 2017. On this tour, we will see some of the spectacular northern section of Big Sur before taking an alternative route to Hearst Castle.