Grand Tour of California: San Francisco to Los Angeles

10 days
From San Francisco’s Painted Ladies and Yosemite National Park to Monterey’s Cannery Row and star-studded Los Angeles, there’s plenty to love about California. Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit the vineyards of Napa Valley. Drive along the stunning coastline of Big Sur, and see what makes the Golden State one of a kind.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: This tour involves a moderate level of walking, sometimes on uneven terrain or uphill.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Expert Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of California

San Francisco 3 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in San Francisco

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to California! Arrive in San Francisco and transfer to your hotel. Then, meet your fellow travelers at an included welcome dinner.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of San Francisco

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today’s guided tour introduces you to the highlights of San Francisco, the City by the Bay.

• Pass the iconic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, location of cultural movements in the 1960s, and the posh neighborhoods of Pacific Heights and Nob Hill

• Drive through North Beach and see the iconic Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill 

• Visit Golden Gate Park and enjoy stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge

Enjoy a free afternoon strolling along Fisherman’s Wharf or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Alcatraz Island $49pp* Details

Embark on a short ferry ride from the Embarcadero Pier for an up-close look at the infamous “inescapable” federal penitentiary at Alcatraz Island. Enjoy a self-guided audio tour of this iconic American landmark and uncover its intriguing history, including details of the great 1962 escape.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 3: Free day in San Francisco

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a free day exploring San Francisco on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Tasting $105pp* Details

With over 600 wineries between Napa and Sonoma Valley, California’s wine country stands out among the world’s renowned viticulture areas. Visit a vineyard in Napa Valley for a tour and wine tasting, then enjoy an included lunch in Napa. Later, head to Sonoma Valley to tour another local vineyard, followed by wine tastings. Please note: The order of the day’s events are subject to change.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $115)

Yosemite Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Transfer to Yosemite National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel through the Central Valley, taking in the scenery on the way to Yosemite.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Yosemite Valley

Learn about the Yosemite Valley’s history and geology on a guided sightseeing tour with a park ranger.

• View Bridalveil Fall, named for the ethereal mists that surround the cataract

• Drive up Inspiration Point for phenomenal photos of Half Dome and El Capitan, icons of the Yosemite Valley 

• Take in the sights at the historic Tunnel View overlook, offering one of the most famous views of the park

Enjoy a free afternoon in Yosemite National Park or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Yosemite's Glacier Point $55pp* Details

Depart from Yosemite Lodge for a sweeping tour of the Yosemite Valley. First, ride up to Glacier Point and take in spectacular panoramic views of the park from 3,200 feet above the valley. From this viewpoint, you’ll see iconic landmarks including El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite’s many beautiful waterfalls. Choose to ride back down to the bottom or hike to the base on your own. Please note: this excursion is seasonal and runs from late May through October. This excursion includes high altitudes and walking on uneven terrain, which may be difficult for some travelers.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Monterey 1 night Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to Monterey

  Included meals: Breakfast

Drive from Yosemite to Monterey, a coastal city brimming with rich history and cultural diversity. Spend free time exploring Cannery Row before visiting the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Santa Barbara Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Hearst Castle via Big Sur

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Journey south along  the Pacific Coast Highway, a cliffside roadway boasting exhilarating views, crossing the mountainous region of Big Sur. Stop for a guided tour of Hearst Castle, the storied hilltop mansion of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, before arriving in the Santa Barbara region.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Santa Barbara

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, get to know the city of Santa Barbara, “The American Riviera.” 

• Visit Old Mission Santa Barbara, a Franciscan mission established in 1786

• See Stearns Wharf, an iconic wooden pier in the Santa Barbara Harbor

• Pass the historic County Courthouse, a Greek Revival-style building decorated with beautiful interior murals

• View El Presidio, a former Spanish military outpost in downtown Santa Barbara 

Take time to explore Santa Barbara on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Santa Barbara Wine Country $55pp* Details

Travel through the Santa Ynez Valley outside of Santa Barbara, a wine region famous for its pinot noir. On the road, stop in the charming town of Solvang and soak in its Dutch-influenced art and architecture, including a replica of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue, honoring Hans Christan Andersen. Later, enjoy tours and wine tastings at local vineyards, which helped inspire the movie “Sideways.”

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Los Angeles 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Los Angeles

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue on the Pacific Coast Highway as you travel to Los Angeles, stopping  for lunch at a West Hollywood farmers’ market. Then, immerse yourself in lively L.A . on a guided sightseeing tour. 

• Ride down Rodeo Drive through glamorous Beverly Hills 

• Stroll through Hollywood, passing Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the star-studded Walk of Fame 

• View the iconic Hollywood Sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center, a bustling entertainment complex 

Tonight, celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue on to explore San Diego.

Add San Diego Starting from $529 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Discover what makes San Diego “America’s Finest City.” From its pristine beaches to the historic downtown, this coastal California hot spot delights at every turn.

San Diego 2 nights

Day 10: San Diego via La Jolla

  Included meals: Breakfast

Continue on to San Diego, stopping in the seaside town of La Jolla along the way. In the afternoon, get an introduction to “America’s Finest City” on a panoramic tour. 

• Pass through Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban cultural park and location of the world-famous San Diego Zoo

• Explore Coranado Island, a peninsula  city with small-town coastal charm 

• Visit the historic Gaslamp Quarter and admire the neighborhood’s beautifully restored Victorian buildings

• See the Cabrillo National Monument, which commemorates Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s landing at San Diego Bay

Day 11: Free day in San Diego

  Included meals: Breakfast

Explore San Diego on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - USS Midway Museum & Harbor Cruise $65pp* Details

Begin with a self-guided audio tour of the USS Midway, the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, narrated by sailors who lived or worked on the ship. See over 60 locations throughout the museum during your visit, from the engine room to the control tower. Then, drive to the north side of the harbor, where you’ll enjoy free time for lunch before heading out on an afternoon cruise on the San Diego Bay.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • San Francisco, United States
  • Monterey, United States
  • Santa Barbara
  • Los Angeles, United States
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
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  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • U.S. citizens need valid government-issued identification for air travel within the United States.
  • In order to enter the United States, Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, please be sure to have any additional required identification with you as well.          

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and dirt paths, with some hills and stair. Some activities will take place at high altitudes.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.        

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in San Francisco and depart from Los Angeles (or San Diego on the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.      

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Most domestic airlines impose charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.          

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.          


  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to this region.
  • Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
  • Please be aware that you will be traveling to altitudes as high as 6,000 feet above sea level. These high altitudes can sometimes cause breathing difficulties for travelers who have heart problems or respiratory ailments. If you suffer from any of these conditions, please speak to your doctor regarding any potential health risks.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • During the summer months, take proper care with sun exposure and heat.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.           


  • Fusion cuisine is popular in California, where a diverse array of cultures influence local dishes. Be sure to try meals with Asian or Latin origins, like dim sum and sushi or tapas and tacos. French, Italian and Mediterranean flavors also feature in many meals. California is also a hub of healthy eating, and is famous as a vegetarian-friendly destination. Owing to the region’s warmer climate, many restaurants make use of fresher, locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms.   

Electricity & air conditioning

  • All of North America operates on 110-120 volts and uses Type A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
  • The majority of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning.
  • Some of the hotels on this tour will provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances, but these amenities cannot be guaranteed for hotels in more remote locations.    


  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.  

Time zones

  • California is on Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is three hours behind Eastern Standard Time (EST).
  • When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 9am in California.           


  • The U.S. dollar is the currency you will be using on this tour. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • Many banks and businesses now primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.                   


  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.


Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on your tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/16/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Grand Tour of California, San Francisco to Los Angeles

I had the best time In California, considering that it was Go Ahead first trip to California, they did an amazing job! Our tour Director Christina and our bus driver Daniel made sure we were all being taken care of. Thanks Go Ahead, I'm already thinking on which Go Ahead trip to go next! Antoinette from Florida


Hi Antoinette! We’re glad that you enjoyed discovering beautiful California. Thank you for traveling with Go Ahead, and let us know when you’re ready to plan your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | October 20, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/20/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director and Assistant

Very helpful Tour Director to ensure a most enjoyable Trip for expected and unexpected occurrences!


Hi Johanne! We're pleased you enjoyed your trip and that your Tour Director enhanced your overall experience. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 23, 2016