From the rolling Pacific surf, verdant vineyards, vibrant coastal cities and magnificent redwoods of the north to southern California’s dreamy desert resorts, golden beaches and cosmopolitan cities, there’s so much to discover in California at any time of year. In fact, there’s so much to experience that you can’t see it all in one visit so be prepared for a need to return, time and time again.


Cosmopolitan cities and
Quaint Towns

San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the 1,000 acres of surrounding Golden Gate Park lead you into the cultural capital of California. Must-sees include Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square and you won’t want to miss a cable-car ride up and down the city’s roller-coaster hills. Head south for historic Monterey, home to an outstanding aquarium, before taking the famed 17-Mile Drive and reaching charming Carmel, with its quaint antique stores, galleries and boutiques. Ocean front Santa Barbara will enchant you with its tiled terracotta roofs and white stucco buildings whilst the altogether more hip San Diego, home to Sea World, has a hint of Mexican flavour. Greater Los Angeles ticks all the boxes with some of the best beaches from Malibu and Santa Monica to Long Beach as well as glamorous Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the entertainment centre of Anaheim, where the original Disney theme park awaits.


Wine tasting and
Natural Wonders

The climate of Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino is the secret of California’s great wines. Discover your favourite vintage, as you taste your way around charming vineyards, staying in equally charming inns and hotels. Head for Lake Tahoe, the vast plains of Death Valley National Park or the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a generous slice of fresh air and solitude. Wonder at the sheer beauty of Yosemite, 1,165 square miles of untamed wilderness. We can’t think of a place with a more spectacular coastline than California. Take to the road or relax on an escorted tour.


Resort living

Cushioned between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Jacinto Mountains are the prestigious desert resorts of Palm Springs, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and Palm Desert. Quite apart from the year-round sunshine, there’s a wealth of recreational activities on the doorstep of these outstanding luxury retreats. Back on the coast, the typically Californian towns of Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and Newport Beach are home to spectacular beachfront resorts, the perfect base from which to explore or simply soak up the sun in the lap of luxury.


North Coast Grandeur

Just a few hours drive North of the San Francisco Bay Area is one of America’s most alluring localities, the North Coast Region of California. You can’t fake the natural features of the North Coast. There’s no imitation for a towering and ancient Giant Redwood, a locally produced wine, fresh caught Dungeness crab or the thrill of a river rafting trip down a wild and scenic river. Approximately the size of Massachusetts, this region comprises 10,922 sq. miles/17,577 sq. km of rugged beaches, old growth forests, vineyards and farmland. Rugged cliff-side beaches are backed by forests of some of the most ancient trees in the world, opportunities for outdoor adventure exist around every bend and between the local restaurants, farms, breweries, and wineries there is a coastal taste experience to satisfy everyone.


Our Top Tips

1. Everyone should drive Highway 1 - the Pacific Coast Highway, but our tip is to do it from north to south. Whichever direction you take the scenery is stunning but you get a better view going south because you're on the ocean side of the road.

2. Hearst Castle is a must-see stop as you drive along the coast, taking you back to the early days of Hollywood.

3. Wine tasting tours are plentiful in Napa and Sonoma. Our favourites are Jordan's and Chalk Hill. Try the Library Tasting tour, a wine and cheese pairing at Jordan's and the Culinary Tour at Chalk Hill, a wine and food pairing prepared by Chef Didier. Both are exceptional experiences and amazing value.

4. Visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. On Thursdays, from 6pm, enjoy music, cocktails and entertainment whist experiencing world class exhibits and star gazing on the living roof.

5. San Francisco - where do you start? Visit North Beach for the cafe culture, take a tour to Alcatraz (we recommend you pre-book it), see Lombard Street, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a sightseeing tour of the city on a fire engine, shop in Union Square.

6. For spectacular scenery, and to escape from the desert heat, take a ride on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway. If you're in downtown Palm Springs on Thursdays, you'll enjoy VillageFest, offering live entertainment and an array of stalls selling food and gifts.

7. Yosemite National Park is one of California's great natural wonders. Stay for a couple of nights and include a guided horseback ride for a tour with a difference.

8. Follow the scenic 17-Mile Drive coastal route between Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove for stunning views of the Monterey Peninsula. There's a small fee to drive this route but it's worth it.

9. Rent a bike or rollerblades and enjoy people watching along the boardwalk at Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

10. When visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, book the VIP ticket which allows you to jump the queues and includes behind-the-scenes access.

California's Gold Coast

12 Days/11 Nights

Begins in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles


April, May, June, July, August, September and October

Your Tauck Itinerary includes:

• Round trip scheduled flights
• Accommodation for 10 nights as specified
• 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 7 dinners
• Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
• Services of a Tauck Tour Director


Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to San Diego. Upon arrival, transfer to the US Grant. This evening, join your travelling companions for a welcome reception and dinner.
Hotel: US Grant
Dinner included


This morning, enjoy a city tour, which starts with the Gaslamp Quarter and the extensive harbor area. Then it is on to historic Point Loma before viewing the city’s unforgettable skyline from the Juan Cabrillo National Monument. There is time to explore Seaport Village at leisure before departing on an evening champagne cruise aboard a private yacht, showcasing San Diego’s beautiful harbour and skyline.
Hotel: US Grant
Breakfast and dinner included


Following breakfast, your journey continues north to the historic ruin of Mission San Juan Capistrano which was founded in 1776. Next it’s on to glittering Los Angeles where lunch is enjoyed at the legendary Los Angeles Farmer's Market. A tour of the city includes the sights and sounds of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills before reaching the TCL Chinese Theatre, where celebrities’ autographs, handprints and footprints are immortalized in concrete.
Hotel: The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
Breakfast and dinner included


This morning’s highlight is a visit to The Getty Museum, set high in the Santa Monica Mountains. Next, it’s just a short journey to Mediterranean-inspired Santa Barbara, filled with soft white beaches, terracotta buildings and an eclectic mix of shopping options. Your afternoon is at leisure to wander picturesque Stearns Wharf, before checking into your deluxe hotel and deciding where you’d like to enjoy dinner from a choice of restaurants.
Hotel: Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore
Breakfast and dinner included


There is so much to see outside of downtown Santa Barbara and all is revealed on this morning’s city tour. Highlights include the city’s historic 1929 Courthouse and Mission Santa Barbara which is still active after 225 years of service. The afternoon is yours to relax by the hotel pool or explore further.
Hotel: Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore
Breakfast and lunch included


This morning, you’ll travel along infamous Highway 101 to the Central California wine region, where a vineyard tour and tasting introduces you to the wine varieties of the region. Lunch is in Pismo Beach, before arrival into Morro Bay and a walking nature tour of the area.
Hotel: The Inn at Morro Bay
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


Whilst in San Simeon you’ll visit Hearst Castle, before continuing on scenic Highway 1 – perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in America, along the famed Big Sur Coast. Your destination is the small coastal city of Monterey, where you’ll dine at your hotel on the pristine bay.
Hotel: InterContinental, The Clement Monterey
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


Take a tour of the Monterey Peninsula, including 17 Mile Drive, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach before heading to pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch. A short stroll from your hotel is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where this afternoon you’ll discover the unexpected delights of marine life.
Hotel: InterContinental, The Clement Monterey
Breakfast included


This morning, you drive through the farmlands, orchards and vineyards of California’s Central Valley before heading high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite National Park. Dinner is enjoyed at your hotel.
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


Today, enjoy a full day exploring this famous landmark on a tram tour, including visits to the world-famous El Capitan and Half Dome cliffs, and the plunging waters of Bridalveil Falls. Following lunch at Wawona Village, you’ll visit Mariposa Grove – prepare to be amazed by the sheer size of the Giant Sequoias.
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


Your final destination is beautiful San Francisco, filled with amazing landmarks such as Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelling companions.
Hotel: The Westin St Francis
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


There may be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Breakfast included


From £3865 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

Winner of ‘Top Tour Operator to the USA & Canada 2012’ voted by readers of Selling Long Haul magazine.


© North America Travel Service