9. California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles
This 3-day tour includes highlights of the Golden State, such as Santa Barbara, Solvang, the famous Pacific Coast Highway, Carmel, San Francisco, and Yosemite National Park.
Day 1: Monday
Departing north, travel along the spectacular and scenic California Coast to Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community, and browse the local shops.
Your trip continues along Highway 1 through Big Sur to charming Carmel, home to actor Clint Eastwood. Enjoy some free time to stroll through town before heading on to Silicon Valley for overnight.
Overnight: Santa Clara – La Quinta Inn & Suites
Day 2: Tuesday
See for yourself why San Francisco is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Start your day at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise on the world famous San Francisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge and around the notorious Alcatraz Island.
Visit Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch and a peek at the sea lions before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, Chinatown, and the magnificent Nob Hill neighborhood, home to the rich and famous. The tour ends with a night view of the city from the Bay Bridge.
Overnight: Modesto – Best Western Palm Court Inn (In Winter: Monterey/Holiday Inn hotel)
Day 3: Wednesday
Today’s route goes through farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. This 1,200 square mile wonderland of forests, lakes, and waterfalls is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and the Half Dome before walking to the Yosemite Visitor Center to reach the highest waterfalls in North America, the 730-meter-high Yosemite Falls.
In the winter, depart south to route no 1, for a visit to the world famous Hearst Castle, built by the newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst. Tour the famous house filled with antiques and see why the castle served as a playground for the rich and famous for the first half of the 20th century.