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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 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 Hotel info

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
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Passport & visa requirements

• Valid government-issued identification is required for air travel within the United States. 

• If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be sure to have any additional required identification with you as well.

Tour pace

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

• If you have any mobility and/or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800.597.0350 so that we can review all necessary information with you.

Transportation & arrival information

• Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in San Francisco and depart from Los Angeles, or San Diego on the post tour extension. 

• When you first arrive, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and will escort you via private motor coach 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.

• If you did not book your flights through Go Ahead, airport transfers are available upon request and at an additional cost. Please call our Customer Relations Team at 1.800.597.0350 for additional information.

• All included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. 

Baggage allowance

• Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Most domestic airlines impose charges if you choose to check any baggage, and you are responsible for any such costs. Please contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight.

• Go Ahead travelers are allowed only one checked bag per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). 

• Please note there may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. 

• Please label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

• We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. 

• For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. 

• If you’re planning to visit a high-end restaurant or show , you may also want to bring dressier attire. 

Health

• Please be aware that at times, you will be traveling at altitudes between 4,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level on this tour. These high altitudes can sometimes cause difficulty breathing and other health problems with 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.

• Even healthy travelers may sometimes experience altitude sickness, a temporary condition featuring  symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea and light-headedness. Until your body acclimates to the higher altitudes, we suggest that you drink plenty of fluids and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

• There are no major health risks when traveling to this region. During the summer months, take care for sun exposure and heat. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements.

• Travelers should be in reasonable health to take our included walks, and we will make every effort to accommodate those who choose to stay behind.

• 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 www.cdc.gov.

• 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.

• If you have food restrictions and/or allergies please notify Go Ahead prior to departure by calling our Customer Relations Team at 800.597.0350 or by updating your online account.

Cuisine

• The United States contains some of the most varied food in the world. Most of the cuisine on this tour is well-known to Americans, but one of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local foods—even if you’re not traveling abroad. 

• Fusion cuisine is popular in California, where a diverse array of cultures influenced 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 remains 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 regions operate on the U.S. standard 110 volts.

• The majority of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning.

• Hotels on this tour will provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. 

Connectivity

• 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 cell phone provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

• Your tour will fall 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. 

Currency

• U.S. dollars will be the currency on this tour. 

Tipping

• At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in your tour country’s currency.

• We recommend tipping $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. 

• We recommend tipping $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.

• If applicable, we also recommend $2USD/ CAD per local guide. 

• Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

• If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while 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 the “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

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

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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