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Grand Tour of California: San Francisco to Los Angeles

with San Diego extension
  • Duration: 11 or 13 days
  • Group size: 15-35
  • Reviews: 11
Experience California on a sweeping, scenic tour.

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.

Your tour package includes
  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 4 dinners with beer or wine
  • 4 guided sightseeing tours
  • Expert Tour Director & local guides
Included highlights
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Bridalveil Fall
  • Half Dome and El Capitan
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Big Sur
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Day-by-day itinerary
San Francisco3 nights
Day 1: Arrival in San Francisco
Included meal: 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 meal: Breakfast

Today’s guided tour introduces you to the sights and tastes of San Francisco, "the City by the Bay.”

• Pass the iconic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, epicenter of the counter-cultural movement

• Visit Golden Gate Park and enjoy stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, a marvel of engineering

• See the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the Pacific Heights and Nob Hill neighborhoods

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

• Stroll through Chinatown, the largest outside of Asia, and stop at the bakery that's credited with inventing the fortune cooking

• Watch a demonstration to learn how the cookie is created and enjoy a tasting

• End in Ghirardelli Square and enter the factory store to sample some of the decadent chocolate

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

Alcatraz Island
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 3: Free day in San Francisco
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day exploring San Francisco at your leisure or add an excursion.

Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Tasting
Excursion (additional cost)
Yosemite Region2 nights
Day 4: Yosemite National Park via Muir Woods National Monument
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Visit Muir Woods National Monument to see the towering redwood trees. Then, travel through the Central Valley, taking in the scenery on the way to Yosemite. Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Yosemite Valley
Included meal: Breakfast

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 free time to explore the park’s many natural wonders, including the breathtaking Giant Sequoia trees of the Mariposa Grove

Monterey1 night
Day 6: Transfer to Monterey
Included meal: Breakfast

Drive from Yosemite to Monterey, a coastal city brimming with rich history and cultural diversity.

• Drive through the scenic areas of Pebble Beach and Carmel-By-The-Sea

• Spend free time exploring Cannery Row, a waterfront street made famous by author John Steinbeck

• Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Santa Barbara Region2 nights
Day 7: Santa Barbara Region via Hearst Castle
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and along the scenic Big Sur coastline, stopping to visit Hearst Castle. Here, you'll take a guided tour of the storied hilltop mansion of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Then, continue on to the Santa Barbara region and sit down for an included dinner.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Santa Barbara
Included meal: 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 at your leisure or add an excursion.

Santa Barbara Wine Country
Excursion (additional cost)
Los Angeles2 nights
Day 9: Transfer to Los Angeles & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Continue on the Pacific Coast Highway as you travel to Los Angeles, stopping to enjoy free time for lunch at a West Hollywood farmers’ market.

This afternoon, immerse yourself in lively L.A. on a guided sightseeing tour.

• Pass Rodeo Drive as you make your way 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

Day 10: Free day in Los Angeles
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend a free day exploring Los Angeles or add an excursion.

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

Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 11: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

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

Extension to San Diego

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 Diego2 nights
Day 11: San Diego via La Jolla
Included meal: 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 12: Free day in San Diego
Included meal: Breakfast

Explore San Diego on your own or add an excursion.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

USS Midway Museum & Harbor Cruise
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 13: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Reviews
5
11
4.1 average
Fabulous.
by 2nd time traveler 

Thank you, Go Ahead Team, You guys are doing a Fabulous job! Doing all the work (schedules, taking care of the details), all I had to do was be on time. It really was a Fabulous - Stress Free vacation. Time & Money well spent. Once again, thank you each one of you, Olga (here should be the smiling ...

Read more +
California Dreamin'
by 14th time traveler 

This is a great tour for seeing the beautiful Golden State. Special moments on the trip were the Monterey Aquarium for animal lovers and the extension to San Diego.

by 1st time traveler 

Please reach out to all of the people who just completed the Grand Tour of California. During the Wine Tour/tasting, one family was dropped off downtown. They believed they would be picked up. Two grandmothers, husband, wife and kids walked 6 miles to get back to the hotel. The tour director wou...

Our trip through California
by 1st time traveler 

Our guide was Carol Adams, she was extremely knowledgably and revealed many interesting facts along our tour. Her enthusiasm was infectious. The value of the tour was outstanding. The tour of Muir woods was by accident, but was one of my most vivid memories of the entire trip. Go Ahead should inc...

Awesome Sights!
by 5th time traveler 

I had never been to California before and wanted a trip with the highlights covered. This was it! Although the Yosemite trip's travel time was longer than I expected, the sights were awesome to see! On the Napa & Sonoma Valley wine tasting excursion, we spent too much time traveling. Instead, we...

Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
Hotels, flights, & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

Hotels

We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Hilton Financial District San Francisco

This upscale hotel is located in the financial district. Guests enjoy a fitness center, spa, and on-site restaurant and bar. Nearby, you’ll find China...

Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites

This quiet hotel is located in Oakhurst, minutes from the south gate of Yosemite National Park. Guests enjoy a fitness center, pool, and free Wi-Fi. N...

Flights

Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
FAQ
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.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • 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 Tours arrive in San Francisco, California and depart from Los Angeles, California (or San Diego, California on the tour extension). A representative from Go AheadTours 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 Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • 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.
Health
  • 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 cdc.gov.
  • 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 Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
Cuisine
  • 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.
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 mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones
  • California is on Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is three hours behind Eastern Time (ET).
  • When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 9am in California.
Currency
  • 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.
Tipping
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in USD.
  • We recommend tipping $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend $2USD 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. Travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
Choose your dates to start a quote
1 Departures
Tour prices are per person, before flights, and based on two travelers per hotel room.
Sep 20–Sep 30, 2019
$3,699$3,249
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