Enjoy a leisurely drive down the famous California coast on this relaxing 14-night self-drive tour of the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway. Starting in San Francisco – one of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cities – be sure to ride the cable cars, visit Fisherman’s Wharf and take a cruise across the bay to Alcatraz! Journey south along the spectacular coastal road stopping at Monterey, San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Anaheim and finish with three relaxing nights in lovely San Diego. The tour operates between mid-April and the end of September. Just America will be pleased to add extra nights in any of the locations visited – just ask and we’ll take care of it!
Day 1. Arrive San Francisco. Days 2 & 3. San Francisco. Day 4. San Francisco – Monterey/Carmel (approx. 110 miles). Day 5. Monterey/Carmel. Day 6. Monterey/Carmel – San Luis Obispo (approx. 150 miles). Days 7 San Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara (approx. 105 miles). Day 8. Santa Barbara – Santa Monica (approx.90 miles) Days 9. Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Day 10. Santa Monica – Anaheim (approx.30 miles). Day 12. Anaheim – San Diego (approx 100 miles). Days 13 & 14 San Diego. Day 15. Depart San Diego.
Day 1. Arrive San Francisco. Upon arrival at San Francisco Intl. Airport transfer to your hotel in the city centre. We recommend that you take a taxi (not included) and pick up your rental car on day 4 from the downtown rental depot. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf (Superior).
Days 2 & 3. San Francisco. Two full days to enjoy this lovely city. We recommend that you take a double-decker sightseeing tour of the city with Big Bus San Francisco which will not only help you get around the city, but the narration provided by the guide will inform you as you ride the bus. If you plan to include a visit to the former prison on the island of Alcatraz, then you need to book this yourself well in advance. There’s so much to see and do, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, great restaurants and shopping, Chinatown, bay cruises, walking tours and much more. Just America will be pleased to prebook sightseeing tours for you. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf (Superior).
Day 4. San Francisco – Monterey/Carmel (approx. 110 miles). Collect your rental car from the downtown depot this morning and begin your journey south along famous Route 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The coastal route is slower than the Interstate Highway, but more interesting as you meander through the Golden Gate National Recreation area, stop at small towns, and enjoy the scenery on your leisurely journey to Monterey and Carmel. You might want to take time out to visit the famous boardwalk amusement park in Santa Cruz before arriving in the Monterey Bay area this afternoon. You should have time for a stroll along the beach, a browse around the shops or a visit to the famous Monterey Aquarium before choosing from the wide range of restaurants for dinner this evening. Overnight: Hotel Abrego (Standard & Superior).
Day 5. Monterey/Carmel. A free day to relax and explore the attractions of the Monterey Bay area. The beaches, the local wineries, the Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Cannery provide a wide choice of sightseeing and shopping. Overnight: Hotel Abrego (Standard & Superior).
Day 6. Monterey/Carmel – San Luis Obispo (approx. 150 miles). Take your time today and enjoy the stunning scenery on the most spectacular section of the PCH. Shortly after leaving the Monterey Bay area you will arrive at Big Sur – stop for a coffee at the lodge, take a stroll to savour the views and then continue south to San Simeon. At San Simeon you can visit the amazing home of William Randolph Hearst – Hearst Castle (prebooking is a must!), before arriving at San Luis Obispo this afternoon. Overnight: Best Western Plus Royal Oak (Standard) or The Inn At The Cove, Pismo Beach (Superior).
Days 7 San Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara (approx. 105 miles). Explore the small towns Guadalupe and Lompoc and the many state beaches as you continue south along Route 1. Before you arrive in Santa Barbara you might want to visit Solvang whose Danish immigrant founders re-created the old country in food and architecture. Arrive in Santa Barbara this afternoon and enjoy the Old California heritage and atmosphere as you browse the shops, the beautiful “Queen of the Missions” – Mission Santa Barbara; the famous botanical gardens and beaches of this lovely town. Overnight: Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn (Standard), or Harbor View Inn, Santa Barbara (Superior).
Day 8. Santa Barbara – Santa Monica (approx.90 miles) For the first part of the journey this morning the PCH disappears under the freeway – Highway 101 and you have no option but to follow it through Ventura and Oxnard, and then pick up the PCH for the final part of the drive through Malibu to Santa Monica. Take time out to visit the ocean playground of the rich and famous – Malibu before arriving in LA’s hippest beachfront location – Santa Monica. Overnight: Best Western Plus Gateway Hotel (Standard) or The Huntley, Santa Monica, (Superior).
Days 9. Santa Monica and Los Angeles. A full day to pack in all the attractions of the LA area – Universal Studios, Six Flags California – home to some of the most spectacular ‘white-knuckle’ rollercoaster rides, The Getty Center, Venice Beach and much more. We recommend you stroll, bike or roller-blade along the palm tree lined beach path – boardwalk – that links Santa Monica with Venice Beach and Marina Del Rey – this is where you’ll experience the true California beach lifestyle! Overnight: Best Western Plus Gateway Hotel (Standard) or The Huntley, Santa Monica, (Superior).
Day 10. Santa Monica – Anaheim (approx.30 miles). A short drive this morning takes you Anaheim. You might want to visit Long Beach and tour the Queen Mary en route, or spend the day at one of the Disney parks – Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure – walking distance from your hotel!. Overnight: Sheraton Park At Anaheim (Standard & Superior).
Day 12. Anaheim – San Diego (approx 100 miles). Take your time on the short drive to San Diego and visit some of the small oceanside villages and towns along the way – places such as Dana Point, San Clemente and Carlsbad are worth exploring. You could take the passenger ferry (approx 1 hour) from Dana Point to Santa Catalina Island and enjoy the beaches, shops and restaurants of the lovely town of Avalon. Overnight: The Dana On Mission Bay (Standard) or Catamaran Resort (Superior).
Days 13 & 14 San Diego. Two full days to enjoy many attractions of San Diego and to relax at the end of your tour. SeaWorld San Diego, the beaches, Old Town, the Gas Lamp District, the Mexican border town of Tijuana, Balboa Park, the museums and San Diego Zoo are all top attractions well worth your attention. You might just want to relax by the pool, or on the beach, do some last minute shopping before your return home. Overnight: The Dana On Mission Bay (Standard) or Catamaran Resort (Superior).
Day 15. Depart San Diego. Return your rental car at San Diego airport and check in for your onward or homebound flight to the UK.
Just America provides a full tailor-made holiday service and will be pleased to quote for flights, car rental, excursions and variations of this itinerary. So if you want to extend your stay at any of the itinerary locations, vary the itinerary, change hotels etc., please let us know at the time of booking.
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* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, optional excursions, meals, petrol, national park admissions & personal expenses.
Children under 12 years are free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels. Max.2 children per room.
Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels San Francisco 3 Comfort Inn By The Bay Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Monterey 2 Hotel Abrego Hotel Abrego San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach 1 Best Western Plus Royal Oak The Inn At The Cove Santa Barbara 1 Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn Harbor View Inn Santa Monica 2 Best Western Plus Gateway Inn The Huntley, Santa Monica Anaheim 2 Sheraton Park At Anaheim Sheraton Park At Anaheim San Diego 3 The Dana On Mission Bay Catamaran Resort Just America provides a full tailor-made holiday service and will be pleased to quote for flights, car rental, excursions and variations of this itinerary. So if you want to extend your stay at any of the itinerary locations, vary the itinerary, change hotels etc., please let us know at the time of booking.
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Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
Just America specialises in tailor-making holidays and we will be pleased to design this or any of our tours to your specifications. Just America is pleased to provide prices inclusive of transatlantic flights from the UK, onward travel within North America and sightseeing excursions mentioned in the itinerary.
All mileages are approximate. Hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking.