Fri, June 9: Fly to San Francisco, California. Travel across the Golden Gate Bridge to the beautiful coastal town of Sausalito with quaint shops, art galleries, and waterfront restaurants. Enjoy lunch at Scoma's Sausalito, a local treasure with unobstructed views of Angel Island, Tiburon, Sausalito and San Francisco. Have some free time to explore Sausalito before checking into the Courtyard San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf. Evening and dinner at leisure. (Meal: Lunch)
Sat, June 10: Today is free to explore the city on your own. From your ideally situated hotel you can grab a ride on a cable car, visit Chinatown or Ghirardelli Square, tour one of the many museums or Golden Gate Park, or wander Fisherman’s Wharf. This evening, take the exclusive Alcatraz Night Tour, which includes a narrated boat tour around the island and several special programs and presentations offered only at night. From the island, take in the sunset and breath-taking views of San Francisco as night falls.
Sun, June 11: Check out of the hotel and depart for Roaring Camp Railroad near Santa Cruz to ride the Redwood Forest Steam Train. Roaring Camp's steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines in America. Learn the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest as you travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain. Continue on to Monterey and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species fill 34 major galleries. On a private VIP tour, an expert guide takes you through the most popular exhibits and exclusive behind the scene areas. Learn how to care for a jelly, what it takes to make a home for a shark, and how they grow a living kelp forest. Check into the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay for the next three nights and enjoy the evening and dinner at leisure. (L)
Mon, June 12: Discover the cultural and natural history of the area with a local guide. Take the 17-Mile Drive past Cannery Row, immortalized by John Steinbeck, to Pacific Grove with its beautiful Victorian architecture. See the legendary golf course at Pebble Beach, situated along the rocky Pacific shoreline and visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. The afternoon is free to explore Monterey’s Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, unique shops and galleries and historic sites on your own. (B)
Tue, Jun 13: Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, a twisting, cliff-hugging route along the central California coast, to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Now a National Historic Landmark, the castle was built on a 40,000-acre ranch by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Watch the construction and history of the Castle come to life on a five-story screen with breathtaking original cinematography combined with vintage clips and stills from the 1920s and 30s. Then travel back in time and experience what it was like to be a guest at the castle as you tour the opulent social rooms including the Assembly Room, Refectory, Billiard Room, Theater, Gardens, Neptune Pool and Roman Pool. Tonight, join the group for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant back in Monterey. (B,D)
Wed, June 14: Transfer to San Francisco for flight home. (B)
Courtyard San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf
Located in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, the hotel is an easy walk to Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square and North Beach. Nearby cable car or F-line Trolley stops make for easy exploration of the city. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker and mini refrigerator • complimentary in-room high-speed Internet • restaurant • fitness center • snack shop.
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Surrounded by unique shopping, fine dining, spectacular coastal trails and beaches, this waterfront hotel in Monterey Bay boasts an ideal location. Highlights: nautically inspired guest rooms • in-room Keurig® coffee & tea services • complimentary high speed Internet access • fitness center • Jacuzzi • heated pool with cabanas • spa facilities • on-site shops & galleries • room service • 2 restaurants.