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Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles

star-4.5120 Reviews
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Los Angeles, United States
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Safety measures
icon11 to 13 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 9 more
Safety measures
icon11 to 13 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 9 more

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Why you are seeing these recommendations

Safety measures
icon11 to 13 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 9 more

Overview

Explore the incredible scenery and fascinating history along the Southern and Central California coast on this 12-hour day trip from Los Angeles. Enjoy one of the world’s most picturesque oceanfront drives as you head north, stopping first at Santa Barbara to visit its harbor, gorgeous beaches and historic Spanish Mission. Then see Solvang, a Danish-themed town near Santa Barbara. Finish the day with a visit at the sprawling Hearst Castle, constructed by famed publisher William Randolph Hearst. Your California coastal day trip also includes coach transport, live on-board commentary and Hearst Castle admission.
  • Full-day trip from Los Angeles
  • Scenic tour of the Southern and Central California coasts
  • Visit Santa Barbara and see the Spanish Mission
  • Stroll through Solvang, an authentic Danish town
  • Tour Hearst Castle
  • Entertaining and informative commentary from your tour guide
  • Air-conditioned transportation in a deluxe van or bus
Why you are seeing these recommendations
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Professional tour guide
Transportation by 15-passenger van or a full-sized bus
Sightseeing in Santa Barbara and Solvang
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Gratuities
  • Parking lot , Parking lot, 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

    6:30AM Departure Los Angeles Farmers Market Corner of West 3rd Street and Fairfax Boulevard Meet at entrance of Starbucks Coffee Shop

  • Four Points Sheraton, 5990 Green Valley Cir , Four Points Sheraton, 5990 Green Valley Cir, Culver City, CA 90230, USA

    7:00am Departure Four Points Sheraton Culver City Meet in the hotel lobby

  • This activity will end right where it started.
    Get a sense for the amazing scenery and incredible history just beyond the urban center of Los Angeles during this 12-hour day trip to visit Santa Barbara, the magnificent Hearst Castle and much more. It's a great way to go beyond the typical tourist hot spots in Los Angeles and San Francisco for a unique look at the diverse attractions of California.

    Start your trip in the morning, leaving from either the Los Angeles Farmers Market or the Four Points by Sheraton in Culver City. Head north by coach along the jaw-dropping California coastline, making your first stop of the day in the town of Solvang. This quiet hamlet, situated in the Santa Ynes Valley and originally founded by Danish settlers, played a key role in the iconic film Sideways. Admire the city’s unique Danish-inspired architecture and Little Mermaid monument, based on the story by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The statue is a reproduction of a similar public artwork in Copenhagen. Don't forget to stop by Solvang’s tasty Danish bakeries and Danish-themed shops before leaving town.

    Continue your trip at the renowned Hearst Castle. Your memorable visit to the estate of William Randolph Hearst takes you on an in-depth visit inside the luxurious home of this renowned media magnate. Once a frequent hotspot for Hollywood’s elite, Hearst Castle is packed with a floor-to-ceiling collection of artwork and antiquities that spans the globe. Check out Greek pottery that dates from 800 BC alongside priceless oriental rugs and elegant statues. In Hearst’s heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, invitations to this estate were a hot commodity, so be sure to document your visit to prove to others you were there.

    Proceed next to Santa Barbara. When you arrive in town, head to the city’s Old Mission, a religious structure that helped give the city its name. You’ll also hear from your guide about the role these Spanish settlements played in the founding of the state of California. Then check out Santa Barbara’s harbor and explore its sublime beaches.

    After finishing your excursion in Santa Barbara, continue back along the coast as you return to Los Angeles. It’s a laid-back, scenic way to end your wonderful day along California’s incredible diverse coastal areas.
    Itinerary
    Stop At:  
    Old Mission Santa Barbara
    Depart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Then we visit the harbor and amazing sandy beaches, it will be easy to understand why movie stars and the rich and famous make this area their home.
    Duration: 1 hour 
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Solvang Antiques
    We continue north to Solvang, an Authentic Danish village with European architecture stroll down the main street and browse in the local shops.
    Duration: 1 hour 
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Hearst Castle
    After our visit we continue to the world famous Hearst Castle. Built by the newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, Art treasures can be found in every room of Hearst Castle. Antique ceilings, Greek vases dating from 800 B.C., rare oriental carpets, and myriad works of art can be seen throughout William Randolph Hearst's vast home see why the castle served as a playground for the rich and famous for the first half of the 20th century.
    Duration: 1 hour 
    Admission Ticket Free
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • For tours with fewer guests, vans may be substituted
    • Tours can be bilingual/multilingual as they are offered in many different languages
    • Children under the age of 2 are free, please advise at time of booking if infant is traveling
    • Tour of Mission Santa Barbara is not guaranteed
    • Stroller accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Near public transportation
    • Infant seats available
    • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
    • OPERATED BY Empire Vacations
    You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
    • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
    • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
    • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
    • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

    Learn more about cancellations.

    The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
    Q:
    What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles?
    A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

    • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
    • Face masks required for guides in public areas
    • Face masks provided for travelers
    • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
    See all safety measures taken by Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles.
    Q:
    What is the policy on sanitization during Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles?
    A:The policies on sanitization are:

    • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
    • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
    • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
    • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
    See all safety measures taken by Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles.
    Q:
    What is the social distancing policy during Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles?
    A:The policy on social distancing is:

    • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
    See all safety measures taken by Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles.
    Q:
    What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles?
    A:The policies on staff health & safety are:

    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    • Regular temperature checks for staff
    See all safety measures taken by Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles.

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    Traveler Tips


    • "Hearst Castle is located 245 miles north of LA, so be prepared to spend quite a lot of time in the mini-bus, but it you want to see it, just do it!" See review

    Reviews

    4.5
    star-4.5
    120 Reviews

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    We perform checks on reviews

    Showing 1-10 of 120 reviews
    star-5
    A big day trip but worth doing
    Alison_M
    , Feb 2020
    I took this tour on 5 February 2020 - turned out I was the only client, but fortunately the policy is to run the tour in these cases, even for 1 passenger. My driver was Jacob, who was knowledgeable and amusing. The SUV we had was comfortable and quiet. It was a long day, but a very worthwhile one for me, as I had limited time in LA, so this tour, which took in Santa Barbara Mission, the Danish town of Solvang, and the Hearst Castle, was great. The Hearst Castle was the highlight and the tour cost included entry and the main tour fees. Solvang and Santa Barbara were also interesting but the focus is (rightly in my view) the Hearst Castle. As I was the only passenger, we had some extra time which Jacob utilised to take me to an elephant seal colony near the Hearst Castle - an unexpected bonus, which I really appreciated. The journey home is a long one, longer in this case due to terrible traffic, but a very worthwhile day. Be prepared to buy your lunch and snacks to eat en route, and you will save time you can better spend on visiting locations. Thanks, Jacob!
    HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-3
    Highs and lows
    Carole_M
    , Feb 2020
    Could have skipped fisherman’s wharf. All closed Night stop for gas and get food was bad. In an extra 15 minutes could have stopped by a fast food place that was decent Guide good. Danish the best ovee
    icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
    Dear Mehman, Thank you for taking the time to review our tour. Fisherman's wharf is a important landmark and our stop is very short. Definitely will take in consideration your food stop suggestions. We hope to have another opportunity to serve you. Thanks Mike Amadeo Team
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Hearst Castle
    chriscorradi1
    , Feb 2020
    The Tour Guides were friendly and always were there on time and were extremely professional and helpful. Loved the day. Didn’t want it to end!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Outstanding
    Jody S
    , Dec 2019
    This tour far exceeded my expectations, especially as I found out at pick up that I was the only person to book this tour on this winter day. My tour guide, Jacob, was incredibly informative and knowledgeable. As an Australian visiting the area for the first time, he was able to answer all of my questions. The Santa Barbara stop and Mission tour was a highlight, and the Solvang lunch stop was enjoyable. The stand out was the tour of the incredible Hearst Castle, which has been on my bucket list for many years. To top the day, Jacob drove me to a nearby cove to see elephant seals. This was undoubtedly a highlight of my holiday in the US. Thanks to Jacob and to the tour company!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-4
    LA nice day trip
    Emanuela_L
    , Oct 2019
    It's a nice trip if you already know LA. Hearst Castle is located 245 miles north of LA, so be prepared to spend quite a lot of time in the mini-bus, but it you want to see it, just do it! They have some original pieces inside, like a Canova's statue and some antique Egyptians statues. The 2 pool are amazing :-). I will suggest a stop in Santa Barbara, not only see the main street by bus, and I'll go first to Heartst Castle and then Santa Barbara, if you arrive at 8AM everything is closed, there is no fun... Solvang for a European is nothing special, looks very "fake", but can give an idea of ancient Denmark. Very appreciated to be in a small group (11 people)
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-4
    the castle was great, the trip was not
    Elizabeth_H
    , Jul 2019
    Perhaps my group was just unlucky, but the tour took a really long time- traffic and roadworks didn't help. BUT the tour guide (who never introduced himself so I didn't catch his name) didn't talk about anything other than how long we had in each spot and to make sure we used the restroom. That's not guiding. In contrast, Huan came along with a Chinese client and they chatted away in Mandarin for the whole tour. He was lovely. So, the castle was terrific, and the state rangers do a great job touring. So if you want to see the castle, I would recommend driving yourself if possible.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Involves a lot of driving from/to...
    Hao_Z
    , May 2018
    Involves a lot of driving from/to LA, but an excellent overview of the 3 sites, with the focus being on the castle.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    I took this tour as a single woman...
    Jaclynne_M
    , Jan 2018
    I took this tour as a single woman on January 13, 2018. The tour was AMAZING! We accomplished so much in one day -- Hearst Castle, lots of sightseeing and views of mountains, visiting the elephant seals, stopping by the Madona Inn and visiting San Luis Obispo. There were mudslides in Santa Barbara when I took this tour, so unfortunately, we were not able to go there all roads were closed. But the tour guide made up for it by showing us things we would never have seen otherwise such as the elephant seals. We traveled about 720 miles on the tour and I was seriously impressed with how much we accomplished in one day. The driver was also great and played a movie for us on the long drive back about William Randolph Hearst. Take this tour!!
    HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Very well organised, our tour leader...
    Qun_Z
    , Jan 2018
    Very well organised, our tour leader Richard was very friendly and resourceful, and the driver made all of us feel absolutely safe and enjoyable! All 6 of us truly appreciated their service.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Three different locations to visit...
    Marina K
    , Dec 2017
    Three different locations to visit in one day-great experience! Want to go back and revisit soon, Thank you!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Awesome way to see santa barbara...
    eileenc
    , Dec 2017
    Awesome way to see santa barbara, solvang and hearst castle all in one day. Our guide was very knowledgeable and funny to boot! Shuttle drive was very comfortable and we were provided with complimentary bottled water and cookies along the way. Took this tour solo but thoroughly enjoyed it. Felt safe the whole time and even made new friends! My favorite was catching the sunset with the elephant seals at san simeon.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-4
    This was a great trip! Richard is a...
    Pegs
    , Nov 2017
    This was a great trip! Richard is a terrific tour guide and very knowledgeable. My only complaint is that we didn't have enough time to explore Hearst Castle on our own after the tour, but that was more the fault of disorganisation at the castle rather than the tour, and was outside Richard's control. I'd definitely recommend this trip to others.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    The tour was amazing! Thanks to our...
    Gale_F
    , Oct 2017
    The tour was amazing! Thanks to our knowledgable tour guide Giovanni, and our driver, we were able to cover a lot in such a short time. I loved the surprise stop to see the Elephant Seals after we completed the day trip from Santa Barbara to Solvang then to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Thank you.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Everything was great except long...
    Edwin B
    , Sep 2017
    Everything was great except long trip but we stopped at Santa Barbara and Solvang great driver and guide did everything to help us enjoy the trip THANKS
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-1
    We were excited to do this tour as a...
    Callum C
    , Jul 2017
    We were excited to do this tour as a young couple after reading the viator descriptor, seeing the 4.5 star review and reading recent reviews however we feel we have been misled. The descriptor states a 12hour tour with 3 sightseeing stops. Santa Barbara was stop one. We stopped at the mission for 20 minutes and drove quickly through the rest of the place. This was extremely disappointing as previous reviews stated a stop at the harbour also. Santa Barbara seemed more of a restroom break than a sightseeing destination in the tour as specified in the descriptor. In Solvang the stop was 40 minutes which was enough for a quick coffee and browse in the small town. Hearst Castle definitely was the highlight of the tour, with a great tour from California State Park workers and time to explore and have lunch approx 2.5 hours. The biggest downfall to this tour, that is not made clear in the descriptor, is the time it takes to drive to places. After the castle it was a 4 hour trip back to LA with minimal talking from the tour guide and no radio on in the bus. It felt like an extremely long ride home. Reading the viator descriptor Santa Barbara seems to be the last stop which would have broken up the drive however this was not the case for us and added to an unenjoyable trip. Another aspect of the trip that let it down was the tour guide fell asleep during the tour. Many towns along the drive were left unspoken about, a real change to all towns previous which were discussed. We felt this was a little unprofessional. The driving of the minibus was questionable at times, immediate slams on breaks at red lights, driving in middle of the lanes, fast speed (71mph in a 55mph) and at one point flying over a speed bump. This made us feel unsafe at points. A point to note also this tour is way more than 12hours. From last pick up to first drop off we were on the road for 14.5hours. This was not altered because of traffic as the tour guide stated this at the start of the tour, another misleading selling point on the tour descriptor. If the tour guide knows the tour is a good 2hours more why is this not on the website?Considering as a couple we have paid $340 this trip really was not worth the money and extremely disappointing with some unprofessional elements. We would be grateful to hear a response from the company as we feel this tour was misleading.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-4
    The itinerary was great and the tour...
    A P
    , Jul 2017
    The itinerary was great and the tour manager was very informative. I liked the trip. Mostly driving. But it could be better if there was a long stopover in Santabarbara especially near the beach and where it looks beautiful at the entrance. We only drove pass.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    This was a great trip to cover a lot...
    shirlcheung
    , Jun 2017
    This was a great trip to cover a lot in a short time, but it is a very long day out as distance covered great. Stop at Santa Barbara very short, but a nice drive around over view. Solvang a quaint town. Only half an hour but managed to buy a souvenir and grab some great danish do-nuts. All too short but wouldn't want to miss. Hearst castle spectacular but unfortunately undergoing renovations of the pool area.Local guides very informative. Not a wide range of food choices and expensive so pack your own or pickup in stop ahead was advised.Good idea. My guide for day jacob was very knowledgable and considerate. Bottled water provided, so thanks. I was the only client so most appreciative did not get cancelled. thank you!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    This tour was amazing! Jacob was my...
    Natasha B
    , Jun 2017
    This tour was amazing! Jacob was my tour guide for the day! He was very knowledgeable and ensured that I was comfortable during the ride to and from our destination. It just so happens I was on the tour alone because no one else had booked, but I wouldn't change a thing! Hearst was the best!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-3
    A VERY long daytrip, and most of the...
    DitteSimona_J
    , Mar 2017
    A VERY long daytrip, and most of the tour is spend in a car driving on the freeway. Hearst Castle was beautiful, however I don't recommend it if you are afraid of heights since the tour bus drives up the small curvy mountain road to get to the castle. Solvang is a very charming little town, but it really looks nothing like Denmark.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    We were highly impressed! Our tour...
    Jennifer J
    , Mar 2017
    We were highly impressed! Our tour guide, Giovanni, was friendly, prompt, and very knowledgeable! We wouldn't have enjoyed the trip as much, or learned as much if we'd gone on our own. Driver, Sam, was great as well. I usually get car sick, but no issues! Van was comfortable and needs were provided for: phone chargers, bottled water, trash can. We went during the slow season and were the only two people on the tour. I was surprised and grateful it wasn't cancelled! Santa Barbara first, then Solvang, and then Hearst Castle. After leaving Hearst Giovanni added a special surprise stop. We saw the Elephant Seals on a beach nearby. We took Highway 1 as much as possible. Morro Rock at Morro Bay was one of many amazing views that day! Thanks for a great day! Jennifer and Carol on 2/25/17
    HelpfulHelpful

    Product code: 3857CACOAST

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