Tuesday, July 30 - Muir Woods National Monument, Sausalito, Golden Gate Bridge (B)
Today we will drive to Muir Woods National Monument for a leisurely walk to view thousands of old-growth redwoods, the tallest living things in the world. The star attraction of the Muir Woods is the Coast Redwood whose average age is between 500 and at least 1,100 years old.
On our return to San Francisco, we will stop in Sausalito, a small town best known for its spectacular waterfront views. It's a quiet, charming town that some say reminds them of the Mediterranean. You might want to stroll along the water and watch the sea lions play, rest in the plaza and listen to the splashing fountain, soak up the ambiance in the many open air cafes, or browse through the unique boutiques.
Another special stop will be the Golden Gate Bridge State Park. The Golden Gate Bridge is acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful bridges with its tremendous towers, sweeping main cables and great span. There will be time this evening for you to try the many cuisines found in San Francisco's restaurants.
Wednesday, July 31 - Monterey, Monterey Aquarium; Free Time (B,D)
We begin our journey south from San Francisco to Monterey along the Pacific Coast Highway. Superlatives don't do justice to the views you'll see while twisting and turning along this highway from San Francisco to Big Sur. It's one of the most thrilling roads in the country as it passes through some of the most dramatic scenery in the world -- from coastal redwood forests to ocean cliffs and secluded coves.
This afternoon will find us at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest and most respected aquariums in the world. You will want to stroll along Cannery Row and Old Fisherman's Wharf. This is a great place to take in the sights and sounds and smells of Monterey. This historic waterfront district was immortalized in John Steinbeck's novel, Cannery Row. Now you will find restaurants, shops and galleries to enjoy. We will have dinner together this evening.
Thursday, August 1 - 17 Mile Drive, Carmel Mission, Carmel-by-the-Sea (B)
17-Mile Drive is the scenic road through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, known for its golf courses and mansions. The famous portion of 17-Mile Drive runs adjacent to beaches and up into the coastal hills providing scenic viewpoints. The most famous is the Lone Cypress Tree, the official symbol of Pebble Beach. Also on today's schedule is Carmel-by-the-Sea. There will be free time to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of the most charming small towns in California. The primary attraction here is shopping, and the Carmel-by-the-Sea streets are lined with galleries, restaurants and shops of all descriptions. We will return to Monterey for the evening where you will have time to try some of the area's restaurants.
Friday, August 2 - Big Sur and the Pacific Coast Highway (B,D)
The drive from Monterey to Big Sur and beyond is where the Pacific Coast Highway really shines with its stunning views. To really appreciate this area, we have planned an easy walk along the McWay Waterfall Trail to the single most popular image of Big Sur. You've probably seen the pictures, but of course it's better in person. After a full day we will return to San Francisco and spend the night near SFO airport for convenience sake. We will gather for our group farewell dinner later this evening and look back on the fun we've had.
Saturday, August 3 – Return Home (B)
Alas, it is time to return home. Depart at you convenience, remembering that check-out is by 11am. Transfers to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are provided by the hotel shuttle.
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