Best of California
California here we come. From the unique mix of modernity and bohemian influence in San Francisco, the rugged beauty of Yosemite, the idyllic charms of Monterey and Santa Barbara, to the lights of Los Angeles, the Golden State has so much to offer.
8 nights from £3105pp
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Explore California's colourful past, stand in awe of the striking scenery and savour unique wines on this exceptional journey of contrasts along the Pacific Coast.
Best of California Itinerary
Day 1 San Francisco, the City by the Bay.
California here we come. You'll be picked up at San Francisco International Airport and whisked straight to your upscale hotel. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner with wine. Meals: Dinner with Wine
Day 2 Exploring San Francisco.
Get ready for a fun-filled day exploring the city. Hop aboard an iconic cable car for a ride along the picturesque streets. Visit the Cable Car Museum in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Afterwards, take in the city with a few photo stops. Visit the Conservatory of Flowers and Golden Gate Park, before walking across the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge and travelling on to the city of Sausalito. A scenic ferry ride will bring you back to San Francisco, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Your Travel Director is on hand to make suggestions for making the most of your evening. Meals: Breakfast
Day 3 Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today you’ll witness the mountainous scenery of Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelling through California's Gold Country, you'll drive through the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains. Explore spectacular waterfalls and striking rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome on a private, ranger-led valley floor tour. Rest up on your free evening at your lodge, located inside the park and close to Yosemite Falls, North America's highest waterfall. On a clear evening you’ll be able to take in the sparkling night sky over the park. Meals: Breakfast
Day 4 Yosemite National Park to Monterey.
Leave Yosemite behind as you take in the Sierras before you are swept through the fertile San Joaquin Valley, also known as the “food basket of the world”. Stop at the Merced Fruit Barn which features its diverse produce. In Salinas, the heart of "The Salad Bowl of the World", enjoy a famer's agricultural tour of a local farm, known for heirloom artichokes. Once in Monterey you'll head to your hotel situated on the waterfront street Cannery Row. Meals: Breakfast
Day 5 Monterey, the Cradle of History.
Today you'll journey to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a quaint seaside community where you’ll have ample free time. As you travel along Pacific Coast Highway, enjoy a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along 17-Mile Drive. Stop at Pebble Beach Visitor Center and its world-renowned links, as well as Lone Cypress and Seal and Bird Rocks for a glimpse of sunbathing seals and sea lions. A Dine-Around Evening awaits upon your return to Monterey, with your choice of three local restaurants. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 6 The American Riviera.
Head on to sunny Santa Barbara. Along the way, experience a guided tour and wine tasting served at a Paso Robles winery. On arrival, Santa Barbara greets you with its white buildings, terracotta roofs, beautiful weather and an array of bars and restaurants. Walk along Santa Barbara's Historic State Street to Stearns Wharf. In the evening, dinner awaits at a local restaurant. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 7 Santa Monica and the City of Angels.
Visit iconic Mission Santa Barbara, before making your way to Santa Monica and Venice. A Local Expert will take you on a walking tour of Venice Beach, Muscle Beach, the Canals and Walkways and explain Abbot Kinney's role in the development of the ‘Venice of America’. Continue on to your modern L.A. hotel, in the city's entertainment district. Meals: Breakfast
Day 8 The Glitz and Glam of L.A.
Today you’ll ride the Angel's Flight Railway. Later, a Local Expert will treat you to an exclusive and private guided visit of the Los Angeles Theatre. Visit Hollywood and Highland Center, see TCL Chinese Theatre and Sunset Strip before walking along Rodeo Drive. Select a guided visit to either the Petersen Automotive Museum or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will replace LACMA after it opens in September 2020) for a Your Choice experience. Tonight, your Highlight Dinner is at Nick and Stef's Steakhouse. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 9 Depart Los Angeles.
It's time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers before a transfer takes you to Los Angeles International Airport. If you would like to see more, perhaps extend your stay in the City of Angels. Meals: Breakfast
- San Francisco: Enjoy a delightful Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers and Travel Director.
- Santa Barbara: Savour a delicious dining experience at one of sunny Santa Barbara's local restaurants.
- Dining Summary: 8 Breakfasts (B) and 4 Dinners with wine (DW).
- Los Angeles: Join a Local Expert for a behind-the-scenes tour of a historic downtown theatre.
Stay in Style
- San Francisco: Hyatt Regency Embarcadero
- Yosemite National Park: Stay in the park and enjoy Yosemite after the crowds have left, just a short walk to Yosemite Falls.
- Monterey: Located on Cannery Row, InterContinental The Clement Monterey is a beautiful waterfront hotel in California, overlooking Monterey Bay.
- Santa Barbara: Stay at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Enjoy beautiful views and a serene stay right on the beach.
- Los Angeles: Stay at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown situated within walking distance of the city's most noteworthy attractions.
Top Rated Highlights
- San Francisco: See the iconic cable cars, Union Square and Golden Gate Bridge.
- Yosemite National Park: Experience the park's natural beauty and wildlife. See the El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations.
- San Joaquin Valley: Stop at a historic fruit stand where seasonal delights are grown, farmed, and sold.
- Carmel-by-the-Sea: Browse the art galleries and shops in this quaint beach city.
- Scenic Drives: 17-Mile Drive past the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
- Santa Barbara: Visit Mission Santa Barbara, a historic Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order in 1786.
- Los Angeles: Drive along Sunset Boulevard, see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre.
Included Insight Services
- Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
- Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
- We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
- From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
- If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.