CALIFORNIA’S BEST

SELF-DRIVE

15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS

Los Angeles | Pacific Coast | Santa Maria | Monterey | San Francisco | Napa | Sacramento

Yosemite NP | Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP | San Diego | Santa Monica

Journey from the glamour of Los Angeles through the beautiful cities of California’s west coast. Continue to the metropolis of San Francisco, followed by a bit of respite in Napa Valley and into the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park. Visit SeaWorld in San Diego before returning to Los Angeles via the seaside town of Santa Monica.

 

INCLUSIONS

  • 14-night accommodation

 

Not included

International and domestic airfare · Car rental · Tolls · Parking fees · National Park admission · Meals · Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides · Beverages · Optional excursions

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DAY 1 LOS ANGELES

Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and proceed to your hotel in Hollywood. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the United States. Home to famous movie stars and the infamous landmark, the Hollywood sign, it is a city brimming with culture and happenings. This big metropolis has many regions with distinct flavors and communities

Accommodation: Los Angeles for 1 night

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DAY 2 LOS ANGELES · SANTA BARBARA · SANTA MARIA

Depart Los Angeles this morning and drive toward Santa Barbara. On the beautiful Pacific Coast, Santa Barbara is a gem. The pristine city’s climate gives rise to a number of natural attractions. Stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens to view breathtaking flora or hike a scenic nature trail in Los Padres National Forest. The beaches all have their own allure. East Beach attracts the trendy and young while fishing and whale watching are the favorites at Arroyo Burro. Enjoy the fine collection at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or explore the Old Mission. Fresh seafood can be found in the many restaurants on Stearn’s Wharf. Continue to Santa Maria for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Santa Maria for 1 night

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DAY 3 SANTA MARIA · MONTEREY · SAN FRANCISCO

Depart Santa Maria this morning for a luxurious drive up the Pacific Coast toward Monterey. After being swept away by the stunning Pacific coast views, spend the afternoon enjoying Monterey. Settled in 1770 as one of the first European outposts on the West Coast, many of the early American Colonial buildings still stand. Monterey eventually became the sardine capital of the Western Hemisphere when the first packing plant was built in 1900. Today, the old sardine factories have been converted into quaint restaurants and boutique shops. This area, called “Cannery Row”, was made famous by the author John Steinbeck and still remains an amusing place to explore. Monterey Bay is a fantastic place to whale watch and tours are offered locally. Consider taking the scenic and famous 17-Mile drive up the coast. Stop at the famous Pebble Beach and enjoy the sights of luxury mansions along the coast. Continue to San Francisco for a two-night stay. Home of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco boasts rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city.

Accommodation: San Francisco for 3 nights

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DAY 4 SAN FRANCISCO

Depart Monterey this morning on your way to San Francisco home of majestic Wine Country and the Golden Gate Bridge. Rows of elegant houses, the famous cable cars, clusters of ethnic neighborhoods, and the colorful waterfront all add to the distinctive international flavor of the city. Today, you are free to enjoy one of the many sights and sounds of San Francisco. Take a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf for shopping, great food and entertainment. Another major attraction is Alcatraz, a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It served as lighthouse, a military fortification and finally as a federal prison until 1963. The rangers give excellent guided tours detailing the history and legends surrounding “The Rock.” Spend the day in Golden Gate Park; it offers dozens of fun things to do. Top sights are the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the local resident buffalo herd. This evening dine in one of San Francisco’s many distinctive neighborhoods; from Chinatown to the very Italian flavored North Beach, each offers its own distinctive culture and cuisine.

Accommodation: San Francisco for 3 nights

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

GUIDED BIKE TOUR GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE TO SAUSALITO – COMFORT BIKE (SFO-BIKE):

The up to 3 hr tour begins in Fisherman’s Wharf at our 2661 Taylor Street Tour Center. After a proper bike fitting where guests are outfitted with a current year model bike with front handlebar bag, rear gear rack, and takeaway map. Daily Guided tour guests depart & follow the guide along the San Francisco waterfront past Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina, and the Presidio, through Crissy Field and to Fort Point. Riders cross the Golden Gate Bridge on wide bike path, then through the Vista Point to Old Fort Baker. The tour finalizes in Sausalito where riders can enjoy the shops, the many art galleries, and the delicious food. Guests may choose to keep the bike until closing hours enjoying an additional adventure out “biking the bay”!

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DAY 5 SAN FRANCISCO

Enjoy touring the city by cable car today. Visit the dramatic curves of Lombard Street, one of San Francisco’s most photographed sites. The beautifully landscaped, one-block descent from Hyde Street to Leavenworth Street, has given Lombard the title of “crookedest street in the world.” At the intersection of Hyde and Lombard, a cable car route provides spectacular views of Alcatraz, Angel Island, Coit Tower, Yerba Buena Island and the Bay Bridge. For a change of pace, consider a visit to Muir Woods National Monument. This grove of coastal redwoods has been protected for a century, and the amazing specimens rank among the tallest trees in the world. Some reach 252 feet are 14 feet across and are more than 1000 years old. Paved trails make for easy exploration and unpaved trails offer more of a challenge for the hiking enthusiast. This evening, explore Chinatown, along its streets, exotic ingredients are sold, silks and jade are tendered, and wonderful native food can be found at the many restaurants.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

ALCATRAZ ISLAND CRUISE & TOUR (SFO-ALCA):

Alcatraz and history go hand in hand. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. The presence of infamous inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone, and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud helped to establish the island’s notoriety. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as one of the world’s most legendary prisons. Many people, though, are unaware of the wealth of other stories to be learned on the island. Alcatraz is now home to rare flowers and plants, marine wildlife, and thousands of roosting and nesting sea birds.

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DAY 6 SAN FRANCISCO · NAPA VALLEY · SACRAMENTO

Today, you will drive through the majestic wine country as you head toward Sacramento. Many of the wineries offer tastings and tours of the facilities. A unique experience can be found on the Wine Train, which tours the Napa wine making region aboard elegant Pullman lounge and dining cars. Circa 1915, the Honduran mahogany, polished brass, imported linens, and etched glass hark back to a time when such luxuries were reserved for the rich. Passengers may elect for brunch, lunch, or dinner trips, all of which include seasonal gourmet dishes and opportunities to sample the finest Californian wines. Continue to the capital city of the state of California, Sacramento. Originally established as a supply town for gold miners, modern-day Sacramento is the hub of commerce for the central valley area. Guided tours of the California State Capitol and Museum are available. This museum highlights regional and state political history in the very building that has served as the seat of the government since 1869. Consider a visit the Governor Mansion. From 1903 to 1967, this lovely Victorian mansion was home to thirteen governors. Guided tours lead visitors through well-appointed rooms with lavish decorations. You will be entertained by “inside” stories about the mansion’s occupants and families. An overnight stay has been arranged here.

Accommodation: Sacramento for 1 night

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DAY 7 SACRAMENTO · YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

This morning enjoy a railroad excursion. This popular attraction takes visitors on a 40-minute train ride along the Sacramento River. Enjoy cruising along in open-air gondolas and vintage coaches pulled by real steam locomotives while marveling at the scenery. Depart the capital city and drive toward Yosemite National Park. The striking beauty of Yosemite is due in part to the Yosemite Valley whose flat floor contrasts with nearly vertical granite walls. The granite cliffs, including the El Capitan monolith, Glacier Point, and Half Dome all tower as major waterfalls tumble over them. In addition to the Valley, Yosemite includes an extensive high-mountain wilderness of peaks, rivers, and meadows, and groves of giant sequoia trees. Extensive visitor activities, facilities, and services are available.

Accommodation: Yosemite for 2 nights

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DAY 8 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Today is yours to explore the many wonders of this park. At Yosemite Village, you can visit the Valley Visitor Center and see its orientation film, publications, theater programs, and exhibits highlighting the natural and human history of the area. Numerous self-guiding trails of varying difficulty grades start nearby. Elsewhere in Yosemite Valley, you can gaze up at the waterfalls; visit Mirror Lake/Meadow in the East Valley and the famous “Tunnel View” of Yosemite Valley at Wawona Tunnel.

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DAY 9 YOSEMITE · SEQUOIA / KINGS CANYON NP · BAKERSFIELD

Leave the Bakersfield behind and enjoy a visit to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These twin parks hold monuments to nature’s size, beauty, and diversity. Immense mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns and the world’s largest trees all reside here making it a very unique place. Located in the foothills and mountains of the south-central section of the Sierra Nevada range, Sequoia is famous for big things—some of the largest trees in the world and some of the highest mountains in the U.S., including Mt. Whitney, at 14,495 ft. Visit the tallest sequoia, 275-foot-tall General Sherman, who has a trunk that weighs 1,385 tons and a circumference of nearly 103 feet. Spectacular views can be seen from Moro Rock. Guided cavern tours are available, and the visitor center contains much information about park history and seasonal activities. Continue to Bakersfield for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Bakersfield for 1 night

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DAY 10 BAKERSFIELD · SAN DIEGO

Depart Bakersfield this morning and drive to San Diego. Visit San Diego’s most famous attraction, SeaWorld® Adventure Park. This first-rate visitor attraction features a variety of spectacular sights and activities. Ride the waves of Shipwreck Rapids, and see manatees, polar bears, and dolphins. A variety of animal-themed shows are featured and it’s even possible to take a behind the scenes tour. Another well-known attraction in this area is the world-class San Diego Zoo. This first-rate facility is where more than 3,800 animals of over 800 different species makes their home. The zoo grounds cover 100 acres including more than 6,500 different species of plants. The zoo is well known for its efforts to recreate the natural habitats of the animals. Specialized habitats include Tiger River, Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest, Polar Bear Plunge and Ituri.

Accommodation: San Diego for 2 nights

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DAY 11 SAN DIEGO

For a taste of San Diego’s history and tradition, visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. It presents the opportunity to experience the history of early San Diego by providing a connection to the past. Experience the life of Mexican and early American periods, from 1821 to 1872. Even today, life moves more slowly in this part of San Diego, where the hustle and bustle is balanced with history and fiestas. Visitors are offered a glimpse into yesteryear, as converging cultures transformed San Diego from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement. The buildings are old or built to look that way, and the departure from urban sprawl is preserved. Five original adobe buildings are part of the historic park, which includes museums, unique retail shops, and several restaurants.

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DAY 12 SAN DIEGO · SANTA MONICA

Depart San Diego at your leisure toward Santa Monica where you will enjoy a three-night stay. Both a seaside town and bustling city, Santa Monica has activities for both young and old, from beach games and bike paths to art galleries and nightclubs, from shopping and fitness to theater and concerts. Santa Monica’s cultural offerings run the gamut, with over 75 museums and art galleries within the walkable 8.3 square mile city limits. Not to mention the array of public art and sculpture exhibited in the streets.

Accommodation: Santa Monica for 3 nights

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DAY 13 SANTA MONICA

Today, explore the neighboring City of Angels. Visit the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Shop the famous Rodeo Drive, where luxury retail commands the street. Have lunch in Venice Beach, home to famous Muscle Beach, where the sand and surf are secondary to the lively scene of people that inhabit the sidewalk. Or make your way to Anaheim and visit the “Happiest place on earth.” Disneyland is home to your favorite characters like Mickey Mouse. Here you will find entertainment for the young and the young at heart. For a behind the scenes look at movie making, visit Universal Studios. Tour the sets and cast yourself in the thrilling rides shows and attractions that bring the movies to life. In the evening, enjoy Universal City Walk, filled with restaurants and nightclubs.

Today’s Suggested Optional Experience (at an additional cost)

HOLLYWOOD BEHIND-THE-SCENES WALKING TOUR (LAX-BEHI):

The Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes is a 75-minute immersive walking tour experience utilizing the world famous “live audio” listening system. The tour covers 100 years of Hollywood history in a 3-block leisurely stroll including the history of the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Egyptian Theatre, Chinese Theatre, Dolby Theatre (home to the Oscars), El Capitan Theatre (Disney premiere theatre), Awards Walk (Oscars red carpet venue) and filming locations.

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DAY 14 SANTA MONICA

Visit Santa Monica Pier, once known as the “finish line” of legendary Route 66. It features an aquarium, an amusement park and the famous Hippodrome building, a mix of California, Byzantine and Moorish architecture that has been featured in many films. Spend some time at the beach; with 3.5 miles of Southern California beaches and over 300 days of sunshine, the Santa Monica Beach is a welcome retreat for vacationers and locals alike with a range of activities for everyone. Swimming, surfing, volleyball, skating, and biking are among the favorite beach-side past times of this area. In the evening, countless dining experiences are available; Santa Monica is the reputed birthplace of “California” and “fusion” cuisines which are marked by an artistic blending of culinary styles and the freshest of organic ingredients.

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DAY 15 SANTA MONICA LOS ANGELES

Depart Santa Monica at your leisure this morning in route to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment The prices indicated exclude the contribution to the Customer Compensation Fund of $3.50 per $1,000 of tourism product or service purchased from a travel agent in Quebec.