Spectacular national parks. Glorious, seemingly endless, sandy beaches. Cities filled with sky-high buildings - there are so many places in the USA to explore that it can be hard to choose where to head to first, can’t it?
CLASSIC CALIFORNIA FOR THE FAMIL
The drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles down the famed Route 1 is the ultimate family holiday. Sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and then bike over it, meet whales and dolphins up close from a fantastic eco-raft in Monterey Bay, followed by an animal encounter at the famous Aquarium.
Learn to surf as a family in Santa Barbara and then kayak into caves in the remote Channel Islands. See where your favourite movie was filmed in Los Angeles, helicopter over the stars' homes, and end with a relaxing time in Laguna Beach.
Day 1: SAN FRANCISCO ARRIVAL
On arrival in San Francisco, you will meet your driver and transfer to your hotel, with its unparalleled views of both bridges and Alcatraz. The rest of the day is yours to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
DAY 2: SAN FRANCISCO CITY TOUR
Meet your expert guide this morning for a fun day exploring the many unique neighbourhoods in San Francisco. Explore the hilly landscape, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colourful Victorian houses of San Francisco. Learn about the rich history and unique landscape of the city as your guide takes you to the most popular sites! A visit to San Francisco wouldn't be complete without a stop at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, this is a must-see on your first visit to San Francisco.
Next, head to the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Stop at Fisherman's Wharf where you will meander the bustling Pier 39, and catch a stunning view of the infamous Alcatraz Island. Pass by the Ferry Building, historical in nature but now symbolic of the city's cutting-edge food scene. See Lombard Street, known as the "famous crooked street". Other stops potentially include North Beach, Nob Hill, Twin Peaks, and more!
Then in the evening, head to the most notorious monument – Alcatraz Island. Formally, the Nation's highest security prison, today the Island is on of the most visited touristic attractions in Northern California. Make your way down to Pier 33 to board your Ferry to go to Alcatraz Island. Your self-guided experience will last approximately 2 hours.
DAY 3: SAN FRANCISCO BIKING AND YACHTING
In the morning, you will have the opportunity to sail with a seasoned sailor on an International America's Cup Yacht! You will arrive at Pier 39 at the designated time to meet your captain and crew over at Gate B. They will make sure you have everything you need for a perfect, comfortable ride on the water for the next 2.5 hours. You can choose to participate in the sailing with the instruction of your captain, taking turns driving, working the controls or you can choose to just just
sitting back and enjoying the thrill of the ride over the deep blue!
Then take a guided bike trip through San Francisco, riding across that same bridge you went under earlier into Sausalito. Your guide will be waiting to greet you and get you and your group fitted to your bikes. Your knowledgeable guide will lead you along the San Francisco waterfront past Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina and the Presidio, through Crissy Field and to Fort Point. Get ready to pedal through the clouds across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a lively experience you
won't soon forget! Now that you are in Sausalito, your guide will bring you to take fantastic photos at Vista Point! Next, you will make your way to the historic Old Fort Baker, as your guide lets you in on its role in US history. Your tour will come to an end in Sausalito where you will be able to enjoy the shops, art galleries and delicious food before ferrying back!
DAY 4: SAN FRANCISCO TO CARMEL
Pick up your rental car to begin your driving adventure along America’s famous Pacific Coast Highway. On your way, meet your experienced pilot who will guide you onto your private seaplane! Soar through the clouds as your pilot points out some of the most beautiful and iconic sites below you. Fly over sandy Stinson Beach and follow the shoreline, passing over ancient and imposing redwood forests. Loop around and fly over the legendary Golden Gate Bridge before passing above Crissy Field, enjoying views of downtown San Francisco's shimmering skyline. You may even be lucky enough to spot a whale or two! Make sure to take a few pictures of Alcatraz Island to capture
this incredible experience before your pilot brings you safely back to land at Sausalito's Richardson Bay
DAY 5: MONTEREY BY SEA AND LAND
Today you will head over to Moss Landing (30 minutes north of Monterey/Carmel), where you will speed through the beautiful waters of the bay in an exciting private half-day eco-raft ocean safari!
Once at the dock, you will meet your experienced captain, who will get you comfortable on your open boat which was originally designed for military patrol use. Get up close and personal with magnificent whales, including humpbacks, orcas, and blue whales. Dolphins are known to make frequent appearances as well! Not only will you explore the magnificent coastline of Monterey Bay; but you will also have the chance to explore Point Lobos or Elkhorn Slough, one of California's
spectacular wetlands full of otters, seals and sea lions. Be sure to dress in layers, as the regional weather can change without warning.
Then make your way over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Built in 1984, the aquarium is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey. Meet your local, expert guide who will lead your group behind the scenes of this fascinating aquarium. Start with a detailed explanation of the most popular exhibits, and then move on to the most exclusive areas of the facility to see how it works! With more than 35,000 species of plants and animals, you can be sure there are plenty of stories to tell. Your guide will let you in on the interesting day-to-day upkeep of an aquarium, including the ins and outs of how to care for a jellyfish, the process behind creating a home for a shark, and the secrets to growing a live kelp forest. Your private tour lasts approximately 90 minutes!
DAY 6: CARMEL TO PISMO BEACH
Depart Carmel in the morning, driving to Pismo Beach. As Highway 1 will be closed south of Big Sur indefinitely for repair, the drive will take about an hour and a half longer than usual, coming off the highway for a while, before rejoining it later. End your day with a gorgeous sunset meal by the beach.
DAY 7: DRIVE TO SANTA BARBARA
Begin your day with a family surfing lesson in Pismo. Your 90-minute lesson is good for young and old, experienced or novice. Continue on to Santa Barbara. This afternoon, spend a couple of unforgettable hours horseback riding along the pristine Santa Barbara coastline. Your private guide will set you up with the right horse for your stature, and your journey will begin. Trot along the beautiful beaches as waves crash around you. Gaze out onto the crisp horizon as the setting sun sets the sky ablaze. Starting from either Padaro Beach or Rincon Beach, this leisurely adventure is surely going to be one-of-a-kind!
DAY 8: KAYAKING THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
In the morning, head out for a relaxing day of kayaking along the Santa Barbara waterfront. You will then board a ferry over to Channel Island. Keep an eye out on this ride over, guests often spot migrating whales and pods of dolphins! Upon arrival to Santa Cruz Island, your guide will outfit you for the day with wetsuits, paddle jackets, and helmets; then provide a paddling demonstration and safety briefing.
Once on the water, paddle a glorious 3 miles along the coast surrounded by beautiful kelp forests and rugged cliffs. Paddle in and out of breathtaking sea caves while your guide provides insight into
the marine ecology and natural history of the islands. Abundant marine life and sea birds offer great opportunities for wildlife viewing throughout the trip. Opportunities to hike Channel Islands National Park abound. After the tour, take out your snorkelling gear to explore the kelp beds of Scorpion Anchorage
DAY 9: LA BREA TAR PITS
In the morning depart Santa Barbara and drive to Los Angeles.
After checking in at your hotel, immerse into the world of Los Angeles 11,000 years ago on a privately guided tour through La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Once a vivacious location for animals of all shapes and sizes, only a few of the smaller species survived, leaving behind some truly exotic, captivating fossils that can now be viewed on your tour! This prehistoric adventure will take you out to explore Hancock Park, where your guide walk you around on a 45-minute adventure to see
multiple tar pits, including Pit 91, which the organization is currently excavating! While walking through the park, your guide will explain the history of the tar pits, as well as explain how the methods and findings have changed since the very start of the excavation process. You will also have the opportunity to view the original excavation pit, where it all began, before making your way over to the museum to explore a bit on your own. The museum boasts a stunning collection which has solely been created with the fossils excavated from their own tar pits.
DAY 10: UNIVERSAL VIP
Today, go behind the scenes of Universal Studios! Start your day in the exclusive VIP lounge where you will be presented with a variety of refreshments. Next, prepare to be immersed in the complete Universal Studios Hollywood experience with a personal tour guide who will escort you to a special trolley that will transport you through the world’s largest working movie studio. Covering four acres and 13 city blocks, Universal Studios houses everything from an award-winning
sound department to giant prop warehouses. Watch as your favourite cinematic scenes come to life when you encounter the eerie plane crash from War of the Worlds, see the Wisteria Lane from ABC’s hit series Desperate Housewives, and come face-to-face with Norman Bates at the legendary Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s Psycho! Many of these sites are closed off to the general public, making this a truly unforgettable experience
DAY 11: HOLLYWOOD & BEVERLY HILLS
Today your driver and expert guide will take you to see the most popular sights in L.A., as well as some lesser-known gems frequented by true locals, all with a fresh perspective! Sights and stops may include the Hollywood Sign, where you will hear the true story of why it was built; a walking tour of the Hollywood Bowl, a world-famous amphitheatre; Hancock Park, with its stately mansions and art deco apartments built for the stars of Hollywood’s heyday; the Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards; Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where so many movie stars made an impression – in cement!
Check out the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, the famous gates at Paramount Pictures, beautifully-landscaped cemeteries where some of Hollywood’s most famous stars are buried, Rodeo Drive, Melrose Avenue, and the Sunset Strip.
DAY 12: SANTA MONICA BEACH ADVENTURE
Accompanied by a local journalist in the know, today you will enjoy the warm California sun at sea and on land! Make sure to wear your bathing and bring a towel as your first experience is a stand-up paddle board lesson. You will start your day on a stand-up paddle board, gliding past yachts and catching a glimpse of a sea lion or two. Explore marine life below you as you paddle through the calm waters at Mother’s Beach. After two glorious hours in the sun, make your way to the world-famous Venice beach boardwalk on a bike! Embark on a leisurely ride along a gorgeous stretch of beach, stopping often to enjoy the plethora of entertainment that Venice is known for the world over. From colourful shops to even more colourful local characters, enjoy the performances of mimes, musicians, jugglers and jesters. Immerse yourself in the eclectic culture that makes this neighbourhood so unique!
DAY 13: DRIVE TO LAGUNA BEACH
In the morning, drive to Laguna Beach where you will check into your family-friendly luxury resort perched on a coastal bluff with pristine, white sand beaches below and the picturesque arts community all around. Your afternoon is at your own leisure to enjoy the beach.
DAY 14: VIP LEGOLAND
Spend the day like a real VIP at Legoland. Let your private host lead the way, granting you priority access to all the rides, attractions, and shows. You will become an expert in hearing little-known facts about Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium. Choose your behind-the-scenes adventure, whether it be a special building experience in the workshop or a private tour of the factory where the legos are made. If you prefer, tours of the Aquarium are available instead, with options to feed the sharks, play with reptiles, or 'wake up the fish' with a visit before the park opens
DAY 15: SAN DIEGO
Drive south to San Diego and have a VIP Experience at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo! Your personal tour guide will ensure your entry to some of the most exclusive areas of one of the most famous zoos in the world. This is your chance to check out off-exhibit areas and interact with animals. Spend up to five hours exploring the Zoo as your personal tour guide offers you inside stories and facts about the zoo's history. Completely customizable, visit areas of the zoo that
you've always wanted to see but never had the chance to visit.
To book this amazing trip, contact your Travel Counsellor today and you’ll benefit from our 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.
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