Best of California
9 days with Insight Vacations Rating:
Day 1 San Francisco, the City by the Bay.
California here we come. A mix of modern glamour and bohemian charms, you’ve arrived in the Golden Gate City, a location famous for its rolling hills, colourful houses and eclectic architecture. You’ll be picked up at San Francisco International Airport and whisked straight to your centrally located hotel, the Westin St. Francis, situated in the vibrant heart of the city and the only one on Union Square. There you’ll be left to settle in or go for a quick wander, before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner and wine.(Dinner with Wine)
Day 2 Exploring San Francisco.
Get ready for a fun-filled day exploring the city. Experience the bustling activity of Union Square, famous for its shopping, theatre and dining options. Head to the iconic Golden Gate Park. Rich in culture, the park boasts 10 lakes and more than 1,000 acres of land. This striking landmark is modelled on New York City’s Central Park and includes a wide range of show stopping features. From a Japanese tea garden to its botanical garden and conservatory of flowers, you won’t be disappointed.(Breakfast)
Day 3 Haight-Ashbury and a Taste of Wine Country.
Delve into San Francisco’s flower power history and revisit the ‘Summer of Love’ with a former hippie, your Local Expert. Tour Haight-Ashbury, the original iconic hippie district, where you’ll find colour and charm aplenty. Move on to California wine country, where you’ll walk through one of the state’s lush vineyards and enjoy a private wine tasting. End your day with a Highlight Dinner served with a local wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 4 Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Say goodbye to the city lights of Sonoma and embrace 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 the valley floor with its spectacular waterfalls and striking rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome. The park is abundant in wildlife, so look out for Mule deer, and if you’re really lucky you may catch a glimpse of a black bear. Rest up at Yosemite Valley Lodge, located inside the park and close to Yosemite Falls, North America’s highest waterfall.(Breakfast)
Day 5 Monterey, the Cradle of History.
Take in the lush landscapes of the Sierras before you are swept through the fertile San Joaquin Valley to Carmel-by-the-Sea. There you will have the opportunity to browse a range of art galleries, local shops and the chance to stock up on souvenirs. Enjoy a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along 17-Mile Drive, where you can take in the stunning ocean views, Pebble Beach Golf Links and multi-million dollar mansions, before arriving in the city of Monterey. Enjoy a delightful Highlight Dinner this evening.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 6 Hearst Castle and the American Riviera.
Today you’ll move south to La Cuesta Encantada, otherwise known as 'The Enchanted Hill', which rests high above the ocean at San Simeon. Once there you’ll join a guided tour of Mediterranean-style Hearst Castle, the grandiose estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The residence was also the inspiration for the Xanadu mansion in the famous movie classic, Citizen Kane. Make your way to sunny Santa Barbara and check in to your idyllic beachfront hotel, ideal for making the most of your stay in the grand ‘American Riviera’. You’ll be presented with white buildings, terracotta rooves, beautiful weather and an array of bars and restaurants.(Breakfast)
Day 7 Santa Monica and the City of Angels.
No trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without a visit to the iconic Mission Santa Barbara. Here you’ll learn about the chain of 21 missions along California's El Camino Real and explore its blooming grounds. Journey along the spectacular Santa Monica Bay, passing the hidden coves and coastal mountains of Malibu as you make your way to Santa Monica, L.A.’s exciting upscale counterpart. Continue on to your modern L.A. hotel, in the city's entertainment destination.(Breakfast)
Day 8 The Glitz and Glam of L.A.
Channel your inner movie star and join a Local Expert on a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the historic Los Angeles Theater, one of the city’s iconic movie palaces. Continue exploring Hollywood with your Travel Director. Visit the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where stars leave their shoeprints in cement, and stroll along the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, which honors icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Feeling peckish? Head to the renowned L.A. Farmers Market with your Travel Director and enjoy time on your own to delve into fresh local delicacies. As your California adventure draws to a close, you’ll dine against a backdrop of glimmering lights and an incredible downtown cityscape as Café Pinot welcomes you for your Celebration Dinner.(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. Alternatively, if you want to see more, extend your stay in the City of Angels.(Breakfast)
All This Included
California here we come. From a unique mix of modernity and boho influence in San Francisco, to the lively charms of Los Angeles, and rugged beauty of Yosemite national park, you'll be spoilt for choice in the Golden State. Delve into San Francisco’s flower power history and savour the unique wines in California's wine country with a Highlight Dinner overlooking Sonoma Plaza. Nature lovers, fear not, you'll be introduced to the striking scenery of Yosemite National Park, with a once in a lifetime stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge, a hotel located inside the park itself.
100% Risk Free National Parks Booking Guarantee: A full refund of the land-only portion on select Insight Vacations trips inclusive of U.S. National Parks will be provided if the park(s) visited are closed due to the U.S. Government shutdown at time of trip departure. Trips available for this guarantee are: Best of California; Enchanting Canyonlands; American Parks Trail; Wonders of the American West; Great Western American Adventure; America’s Magnificent National Parks; Grand Journey of America’s West; America the Beautiful; and Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Coast. Not valid if full refund is issued as part of an insurance claim. Further conditions apply.
Included Insight Services
San Francisco: Westin St. Francis on Union Square, San Francisco
Sonoma: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Valley Lodge
Monterey: InterContinental The Clement Monterey
Santa Barbara: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Los Angeles: JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.