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If you need a day away from LA, this trip is really worth doing. While it is a long day, the scenery along the coastal drive is outstanding before you reach your first stop of Santa Barbara. The town of Solvang is very pretty and our guide allowed plenty of time for us to wander through this unique place and enjoy it's ambiance. If you're a lover of pastries, you won't be disappoint with the number of bakeries on offer, all within a short walking distance of each other. Hearst Castle is a highlight and the guides are so knowledgable about the history behind the building of the castle and family. Due to the distance travelled, you get to do the Grand Rooms tour only and to see the pools, tennis courts and outside the three guest houses. Our guide planned a special stop for us on the drive back to LA, this was great as it allowed you to stretch the legs and have a break from the drive. Our guide was very friendly and had the challenge of having to impart knowledge to both English and Italian languages, but he handled this wonderfully and was always mindful that both groups were looked after.
Hi I'm Sue. Firstly let me say that Dorit was an extremely knowledgeable, caring and patient guide. This tour packs a lot into the three days, but you never felt rushed. The hotel rooms were all acceptable and there were many stopovers to enable us to take photographs of the magnificent scenery. I especially enjoyed the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. we even managed to see elephant seals. Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterrey and Hurst Castle were also great places to visit. I would recommend this trip to anyone.
This 3-day Tour was a 30th wedding anniversary gift for my husband and myself, and it was the best gift ever. As it turned out we were the only ones who booked the tour for Jan. 29-31, and it was like we had booked an exclusive tour for ourselves. This meant a more relaxed schedule for us and more flexibility for stops and more opportunities for photos.
Kelly was a punctual guide from the moment she picked us at 9am at our hotel in San Francisco. She was very conscientious in giving us the details of the overall tour itself, and the itinerary for each day. Kelly was likewise a very good driver and very knowledgeable about the sights along the Pacific coastline along which our tour ran. We stopped to be awed by the hardy surfers in Santa Cruz braving the winter cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, though Kelly warned us about the dangers that sudden surf surges could cause. We stopped at a quaint roadside store to get some coffee - quite good by the way - and were surprised to learn that there were small pockets of civilization in the US which didn't have indoor plumbing!
After that we spent the good part of an hour strolling around Santa Cruz and browsing the bookshelves of a real bookstore - more books rather than novelty items. Next stop was Monterey where we marveled at the magnificent creatures of the deep, including quite a creepy octopus. I was fascinated by the corals and the fishes and even the jelly fishes. Watching these creatures gliding gracefully in the aquariums in all their magnificent colors was mesmerizing. And the food in the cafeteria was tasty too. Nice! We loved the vibe of Monterey. It was very dynamic and young and quite hip.
Day 2 had us driving towards Carmel via the 17-mile route to Pebble Beach. The houses were quite awesome in that part of the world. We got a glimpse of the Big Sur, and enough time to look around, take some pictures, and admire the dramatic meeting of sea, sky, rocks, and mountain. Because of the storms in the previous week, we had to turn back because of road closures on 101. Carmel itself was pretty, almost like the postcard version of a real town. In this case it was truly a really lovely part of the world. I enjoyed looking at the shops which offered items beyond the usual tourist souvenirs. I bought some lovely stationery from a specialty store and a Christmas trinket from a Christmas store. We also looked at the different posters of houses for sale posted at the window of the realty agents. Husband and I were quite amused at the prices at which these houses were offered. They were not for the faint of heart and for the slim of pocketbook.
The afternoon part of this day was spent in the Hearst Castle, doing a tour of the cottages and the kitchen. Again we had the luck of the draw whe it came to the guide. He was a master storyteller who combined history and romance to the usual description of house details and idiosyncracy. We would gladly visit this castle again just to hear more about the life of the Hearst family. Finally we spent the night in Cambria, very charming with stores that had names like Love Me 2 Times Thrift Shop and a restaurant which went by the name The Sow's Ear. That's where we had a delicious dinner and felt quite young again amid a clientele who mostly looked comfortably retired.
Next morning, we had coffee and Danish at Solvang. Solvang is another lovely town, with a hint of European. We ended this part of the tour in Santa Barbara where we bid a fond goodbye to Kelly. Santa Barbara was enjoying almost tropical weather, allowing us to shed the winter layers of our wardrobe for the day. The train station itself looked like a movie set, but it was a real train station and the Amtrak train which rolled in almost on the dot at 2 pm was a real train. A train ride was a very relaxing and ultra-comfortable way to get to Los Angeles to the end of our tour.
We definitely can recommend this tour to other people. My husband and I enjoyed every minute of the tour, most specially because we had it on an exclusive basis. We will always remember our 30th wedding anniversary with gladness, made memorable by these three days of meandering along the Pacific coastline from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
We booked this tour as I had always wanted to see the Hearst Castle. Dorit and Sam picked us up at the designated spot and we ended up having our own private tour the other tourists didn't show up. We had plenty of stops along the way and even a bonus quick stop to look at the elephant seals at San Simeon beach. This was definitely a bucket list trip for myself and I highly recommend going.
The worst tour I have ever been on. It was a bilingual tour with Hebrew as the language. Could not tell when Hebrew stopped and English began. The entire tour was EXTREMELY worried about the TRAFFIC and driving navigation thru it. Used a NY tour before with the same traffic and was not a problem yuk
Doing what: San Diego Day Trip from Los Angeles
This is a long drive, but you will be so happy that you have a driver! And that he knows just where to take you, so that you get a great taste of the area.
Great scenery, good accommodation, very informative. Great small group.
This was a well paced, and well organized tour. The size was just right-- only 6 of us, and the tour guide was wonderful. Hotels were well located and comfortable and there was time to enjoy the stunning natural sites and shop or eat in the gorgeous coastal towns. I hadn't thought visiting an aquarium would be a high point, but the Monterrey Aquarium is something special. It was a fantastic trip!
It was an amazing trip and we can recommend it without any reservations!!!
Mark our tour guide, was very attentive and friendly, a safe driver, and ensured that we had a stress free experience. He was also very knowledgeable and fun to have around!
We were 5 woman in our group of different ages and from different countries and it was so interesting to get to know everybody, certainly a huge benefit of such a small tour group.
The tour was well balanced with beautiful coastal scenes, small villages to explore and visits to bigger cities like Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Wish we had time to linger longer in Carmel, a picture perfect little town. Hearst Castle was also a highlight.
The train ride to Los Angeles was a positive experience, with our luggage being taken care of, - a smooth ride!
Loved this tour! I wanted a trip down the coast from San Francisco that included Big Sur and Hearst Castle, and I did not want to drive it myself. Adam was a very informative guide, and the small group of 7 travelers was a fun and friendly mix of people from Turkey, Brazil, New Zealand, Seattle, and Ohio. This tour also included Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Cambria, Solvang,Santa Barbara,
and a train ride to Los Angeles where it ended. I'd definitely recommend this one!
Wonderful day with a great guide Michael. Delayed twice by accidents so we were late arriving in Solvang so didn't get to explore. A long day but wonderful
Hi, my name is Tim. I and #39;ve just done the 3-day-tour to San Francisco. These past 3 days were absolutely amazing! Our tour guide Giovanni and our driver Jeff were super friendly and very well organized. Giovanni gave us so much inside information about California and brought us to the most stunning views all over the Westcoast. He took very good care of us and you can really feel his passion and excitement for guiding this tour. He said: and #34;If you are happy, I am happy and #34;. And so it was, I enjoyed every second of our tour and thus highly recommend to experience it on your own. At last, I just want to thank Giovanni and Jeff for everything they have done for us. It was a pleasure!
Great tour! Staff was knowledgeable and had great stops along the way to really see the coast! Spindrift Inn in Monterey was fantastic!
This tour was amazing! Dorit was an outstanding guide, she made everyone feel valued. Her shared her knowledge of each area that we visited. Be prepared to be exhausted and amazed!
The tour was great, and our guide Richard was full of information and a good sense of humor.
We found this a geat way to take the scenic route from San Francisco to LA. We could relax and enjoy the view and the ride with our great guide, Mark. He was friendly, had great local knowladge and looked after his passengers expertly. The accomodation was also very comfortable and more that we expected.
Loved this trip. Our tour guide Richard was fantastic and the drive itself with his local knowledge made the trip. Wished we had longer in Santa Barbara as it was so beautiful. Hearst Castle was a little rushed and we saw very little, took ages to take us through just a few rooms so that was a little disappointing. However would recommend doing this trip, its a very long day but so worth it. A little tip, make sure you eat lunch in Solvang NOT Hearst Castle, the food at the Castle is appalling.
The overall day was very good, the driver and tour guide were excellent. We weren't so interested in the Queen Mary tour and would have preferred to have it optional or a shortened version as would rather have had longer at the other places.
Wonderful tour. Driver and tour guide were very good, very helpful showing us many sights in the 3 days. Highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the sights between LA and San Francisco.
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