Our memorable journey through California has guests traveling from hip, glamorous Beverly Hills and iconic Los Angeles up the dramatic Pacific Coast Highway 1 to magnificent Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Monterey, ending in San Francisco – one of the world's favorite cities.
The “Golden State” may refer back to the riches discovered in California in 1848, but the state’s scenic gems extend far beyond the bounds of Gold Rush Country... California... a state of mind as beautiful as the place. Discover both as you explore California dreams – amazing one-of-a-kind cars and architecture in Los Angeles... the glamour and glitter of Hollywood... the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, featuring Air Force One... the "American Riviera" of Santa Barbara, a celebrity getaway where flowers bloom big in a renowned botanic garden... Central Coast wine country, lush farmlands, and extravagant Hearst Castle... the stunning beauty of Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula... and lovely San Francisco Bay by boat and on foot – a city that will forever steal your heart!
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. A transfer is included from Los Angeles International Airport to Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, an urban oasis of understated glamour; keep your eyes peeled for celebrities. Join us this evening for a private welcome reception followed by dinner in the hotel's Wetherly Gardens.
Because Southern Californians have a legendary passion for cars, you’ll begin exploring the dynamic city of Los Angeles with a tour of the historic automobiles, Hollywood cars, hot rods, and altogether extraordinary vehicles at the acclaimed Petersen Automotive Museum... including a private, early-opening visit to the museum's recently renovated "Vault" – now featuring more than 250 remarkable vehicles from around the world. Batmobile, anyone? Then you’re off to downtown Los Angeles for a walking tour. Tonight, there's magic in the air at a private Tauck dinner – featuring a presentation by a veteran LA warm-up comedian whose credits include American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and over a decade with The Ellen DeGeneres Show... and a performance by a two-time Close Up Magician of the Year from Hollywood's celebrated private club for magicians, The Magic Castle.
Enjoy a tour through Beverly Hills, along Sunset Boulevard, and to the TCL Chinese Theatre movie palace on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you’ll see the handprints of many celebrities; Groucho Marx left an imprint of his cigar, Jimmy Durante his nose, and the stars of Harry Potter immortalized their magic wands. Then you’re off to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for a guided tour and lunch. The museum and grounds are spectacular, with sweeping views of the Simi Valley, the surrounding mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. View an Air Force One aircraft that flew seven presidents, a recreated Oval Office, an exhibit on the Berlin Wall featuring parts of the wall itself, and more. Drive north to Santa Barbara, on the “American Riviera,” where you’ll dine at your hotel tonight.
Embark on a guided tour of 18th-century Old Mission Santa Barbara, home to an active Franciscan parish for more than 200 years. On a city tour, get a feel for the quiet beach community of Santa Barbara, long a celebrity hideaway, and visit the 1929 Courthouse, surrounded by lush gardens. Inside you’ll find murals depicting scenes of the city’s past, painted by a self-taught artist whose illustrations appeared in the novels of Joseph Conrad and Jack London. This afternoon, a choice is yours in Santa Barbara. One is a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, California’s oldest botanical garden. Here, a guided tour reveals the diversity of the state’s native flora and vegetation. Your other choice is a city tour through Santa Barbara. This evening you’ll have free time to enjoy your resort or explore downtown Santa Barbara as you please.
Get ready for scenic delights as you pass through rolling hills to begin today’s road trip. Entering the Central California wine region, you’ll find microclimates where morning fog and ocean breezes encourage varieties such as pinot noir and chardonnay, and others where low-lying mountains are ideal for full-bodied reds. Discover picturesque Solvang, a town with a distinctive Danish heritage (and a location featured in the wine-lovers' film, Sideways), and enjoy a Tauck Exclusive lunch, tour, and tasting at Presqu’ile, a small family-owned winery. Continue on to Pismo Beach, known for its long white beaches and ocean views. The evening is spent at The Cliffs Resort, overlooking the Pacific.
Drive along stunning Pacific Coast Highway 1 to San Simeon and Hearst Castle, a national and California Historical Landmark designed by revered California architect Julia Morgan. A guided walking tour of this elaborate estate, created for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, takes you back to the opulent era of the early 20th century; the castle was the inspiration for Xanadu, the over-the-top, never-finished mansion of publisher Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles’ film classic, Citizen Kane. After your guided tour, it’s nature’s opulence that will impress you as you continue along the Pacific Coast, hundreds of feet above crashing surf and remote, rocky beaches, to the Big Sur Coast. Your destination today is the coastal city of Monterey, where you’ll dine at your hotel on Monterey Bay.
Today’s tour of the incredibly scenic Monterey Peninsula takes in the beauty of Pacific Grove, famed 17-Mile Drive, and Pebble Beach, before you arrive in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which was named one of the “most romantic cities of the world” by Travel + Leisure. Enjoy free time to explore the town’s galleries and find an appealing spot for lunch, before heading off to the award-winning Monterey Bay Aquarium on historic Cannery Row to discover the delights of marine life, from cuttlefish to whales.
Make your way from Monterey up the coast to San Francisco, arriving early this afternoon; feel the breezes of San Francisco Bay (and enjoy a boxed lunch courtesy of the famed Boudin Bakery) on a private catamaran cruise. Then check in to The Westin St. Francis and enjoy time to rest, relax, or explore the area surrounding Union Square. Your hotel is in a vibrant retail and cultural area in the heart of the city – and at your doorstep you’ll discover a favorite city square where you might just see musicians, artists, or speakers doing what they do best. Your Tauck Director can recommend restaurants in this city known for its range of cuisines inspired by fresh ingredients.
A sightseeing tour takes you up and down San Francisco’s hills with views of San Francisco Bay as you see Chinatown and the Marina District, rows of Victorian gingerbread houses, Lombard Street, Coit Tower and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Head to the salty atmosphere of Fisherman’s Wharf for free time for lunch and checking out its historic ships, sea lions, seafood stalls, and sourdough bread bakeries as you please. This evening, join us at your hotel for our farewell festivities – a Tauck Exclusive farewell reception and dinner at your historic hotel in the heart of Union Square, complete with a live swing band.
Tour ends: San Francisco. Fly home anytime. A transfer from The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square to the San Francisco International Airport is included; you should allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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Tauck has been a family run business since its first tour through New England in 1925. Spanning three generations and currently run by six family members, their 90 years of experience is clearly seen in more than 140 unique travel experiences.
Tauck makes dreams come true with inspiring journeys of discovery all over the planet. Wherever you travel with Tauck, their aim is to help you explore the world’s treasures, discover people and cultures you may not have known existed and experience extraordinary, life-changing moments. From North America’s magnificent West to the land of the Incas in South America’s Andes; from Alaska’s glaciers to New Zealand’s fjords; from Europe’s cultural capitals to the wildlife-rich plains of Africa; from Melbourne to Moscow and Bangkok to Bucharest. Choose from land journeys, river cruises, family adventures, small group tours or small ship cruises for your hassle-free adventure with Tauck.
Tauck have built their company on the personal referrals and recommendations of their guests as they can think of no higher testament to their trips and commitment to customer satisfaction. Guests speak of how powerful travel can be and how much they enjoy exploring the world with Tauck, explaining that their special access lets them become part of the culture they are discovering. They appreciate that the trips are seamless and inclusive, with all the details taken care of, so they can relax and enjoy. Travelling well includes getting the best value for your money and Tauck guests feel that it’s not about spending as little as you can, but about what you get for what you spend. A Tauck trip is worth every penny; they say the exclusive experiences provided, the great hotels they stay in, and the exemplary service they receive often far exceeds their expectations.