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Wonders and Flavours of the Golden State 2014

  • Duration: 14 Days
  • Rating: Read Reviews
  • Brochure: America and Canada 2014
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  • Style: Regional
  • Description: It's all crystal blue skies, palm-tree lined streets and starry nights on this guided trip of the Golden State of California. Explore the old stomping grounds of Hollywood's original Rat Pack, discover the Joshua Tree National Park and visit the magnificent castle of William Randolph Hearst. Your tastebuds will jump for joy at the Hilmar Cheese Company and sipping on date shakes in the Coachella Valley.
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Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1

    ARRIVE LOS ANGELES (2 NIGHTS)

    Welcome to Los Angeles! Relax, get settled or do some exploring before gathering at the hotel at 6 p.m. with your Travel Director and travelling companions for a Welcome Reception.


    Meal(s): (Welcome Reception)

    Hotel: Westin Long Beach (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 2

    LOS ANGELES SIGHTSEEING

    As the sun rises over the City of Angels, set out to see some of Hollywood's most famous sites including Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive. At lunchtime, wander around the LA Farmers Market, and be delighted at the food choices offered by local farmers and vendors. This afternoon, experience a VIP tour of Warner Bros. Studios.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

  • Day 3

    LOS ANGELES – PALM SPRINGS

    Travel to Palm Springs, a desert oasis known for its crystal blue skies, year-round sunshine, stunning landscape, palm tree lined streets and starry nights. Visit the Coachella Valley to learn about the local agriculture and date farms in the desert before trying a date shake, a Local Speciality of the area. Then discover Palm Spring's mid-century modern architecture reflecting a bygone era when Rat Packers, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin spent time in this sultry desert haven. This evening, ascend two and a half miles to a pristine wilderness aboard the world's largest rotating gondola, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, to the top of San Jacinto Mountain for beautiful views of the city below. Enjoy the evening at leisure.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs (MD)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 4

    PALM SPRINGS – JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK – SANTA BARBARA

    Visit Joshua Tree National Park and discover the Joshua Tree, an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem. Next, head to the coast to idyllic Santa Barbara situated between the expansive Pacific and chaparral-clad hills of Los Padres National Forest. Savour some time to relax this afternoon and enjoy the seaside town.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

    Hotel: Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 5

    SANTA BARBARA – SOLVANG – SHELL BEACH

    Visit the Old Mission and its beautiful grounds and gardens before delighting in a culinary adventure at a Be My Guest lunch. Your host, a local chef and author, shares the bounty of local, seasonal foods for the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Travel to Solvang, in the heart of Santa Barbara's wine country, to stroll the quaint Danish-style village. Continue up the coastline to Shell Beach and arrive at your hotel, perched atop bluffs overlooking some of the world's most unspoiled beaches.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining)

    Hotel: The Cliffs Resort (F)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 6

    SHELL BEACH – HEARST CASTLE – MONTEREY (2 NIGHTS)

    Travel north to "La Cuesta Encantada"—the enchanted hill—upon which William Randolph Hearst built his magnificent castle. A guide leads you through the property with its many rooms and acres of gardens and pools—and brings the story of the newspaper mogul to life. Then it's up California's Central Coast Highway 1, hugging the rocky cliffs, high above the dazzling Pacific, to stunning Big Sur. Arrive in Monterey, made famous by native Californian author John Steinbeck. Enjoy dinner with your travel companions this evening.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast / Dinner)

    Hotel: Hotel Pacific (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 7

    MONTEREY SIGHTSEEING – CARMEL – MONTEREY FREE TIME

    Cruise the scenic 17-Mile Drive past the famed Lone Cypress Tree and Pebble Beach Golf Links on the way to the quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Browse the many shops, wander down to the water's edge or enjoy a cappuccino at a pavement cafe. Back in Monterey, enjoy Cannery Row, where the rest of the day is free.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

  • Day 8

    MONTEREY – SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

    Travel through California's Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. Arrive at Sequoia National Park, home to towering trees, spectacular valleys and inspiring waterfalls. As California's very first National Park, and the country's second, Sequoia has been a protected place for more than a century.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast / Dinner)

    Hotel: Wuksachi Lodge (F)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 9

    SEQUOIA – KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK – BASS LAKE

    Take the scenic ride to Kings Canyon National Park this morning. With its deep valleys, soaring trees, and distinctive rock outcroppings, few visitors to Kings Canyon National Park are surprised to discover that John Muir once called this place "a rival to Yosemite." Spend the night at a lakeside resort, amongst the forest of trees on beautiful Bass Lake.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast / Dinner)

    Hotel: The Pines Resort (MF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 10

    BASS LAKE – YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK – SAN FRANCISCO (2 NIGHTS)

    Travel into magnificent Yosemite National Park, passing the misty splendour of Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls. After an exploration of the park, head to San Francisco, stopping to visit the Hilmar Cheese Company. Sample the award-winning American-style cheese and tour the hands-on exhibits displaying how cheese is made. This Local Speciality cheese has won numerous Gold medals at the California State Fair! This evening, arrive in the City by the Bay and revel in the remarkable tableau of San Francisco's twinkling city lights.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

    Hotel: Hyatt Regency San Francisco (MD)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 11

    SAN FRANCISCO SIGHTSEEING

    Take an intimate culinary stroll through San Francisco's famed Ferry Building Marketplace. Here, discover a Local Speciality where business owners, artisans and purveyors share their personal stories and their passion for local, organic food. Then embark on a city exploration that takes you from Fisherman's Wharf to the magnificent Golden Gate Park, stopping at the Cable Car Museum for a Unique Insight. There's a story around every corner of the city, and the rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

  • Day 12

    SAN FRANCISCO – SONOMA – NAPA (2 NIGHTS)

    Travel inland into wine country and the beautiful Sonoma Valley, taking in breathtaking views at every turn. Enjoy a Local Speciality during a visit to an olive press to tour and learn about the harvesting process and making of olive oil. This afternoon find yourself in historic Sonoma Plaza, flanked by the Presidio and Mission San Francisco de Solano – the last California mission built – where you can browse the unique shops.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

    Hotel: Embassy Suites Napa Valley (SF)

    Hotels are subject to change.
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  • Day 13

    NAPA FREE TIME & SIGHTSEEING

    Relish a free day in Napa. Stroll downtown Napa in search of food and wine tastings at its world-renowned wineries and outstanding restaurants. Choose to take an optional ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train for lunch for a taste of the golden age of travel in the lovingly restored Pullman cars. This afternoon, savour an experience at Domaine Carneros with a tour of the grounds and a tasting of their wines. Tonight, gather with your newfound friends for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)

  • Day 14

    NAPA – DEPART SAN FRANCISCO

    Travel back to the City by the Bay stopping first for a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory. See the real working candy factory, a Local Speciality, where over 150 different sweet treats are created. Learn the secrets of the legendary jelly bean, and discover why it takes more than a week to make a single bean. Say farewell today as your journey comes to an end with a complimentary transfer to San Francisco International Airport or to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco if you choose to extend your stay. Please do not schedule any flights before 3 p.m.


    Meal(s): (Full Breakfast)

What's Included

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest Delight in a lunch of local and seasonal food hosted by a local chef and author in Santa Barbara.
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Local Speciality Try a date shake, one of the Coachella Valley's most famous refreshments.
  • Local Speciality See how the Hilmar Cheese Company produces award-winning cheese.
  • Local Speciality Learn about the harvesting process and making of olive oil in Sonoma.
  • Local Speciality Take a culinary stroll through the famed Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco.
  • Local Speciality Tour a real working candy factory at the Jelly Belly Factory.
  • Unique Insight Visit the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Los AngelesSee the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive; visit iconic Downtown LA.
  • Coachella ValleyVisit a date farm and learn about one of California's largest agricultural landscapes.
  • Palm SpringsExplore the desert oasis and old stomping grounds of Hollywood's original Rat Pack; ride up the mountain on the world's largest rotating tramway; visit Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Santa BarbaraVisit this beautiful beach resort dubbed "America's Riviera."
  • SolvangStroll this Danish-style village in the Santa Ynez Valley.
  • Shell BeachExperience one of the world's most pristine beaches.
  • MontereySee Cannery Row and lively Fisherman's Wharf.
  • Sequoia National ParkStand beneath the giant, towering trees of this National Park.
  • Yosemite National ParkSee Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.
  • San FranciscoEnjoy a city tour exploring the main attractions.
  • SonomaStroll the quaint plaza and see Mission San Francisco de Solano.
  • Napa ValleyDrive along scenic Carneros Highway.

Dining

  • 13 full breakfasts
  • 1 lunch:
    • Be My Guest lunch with wine in Santa Barbara
  • 5 evening meals:
    • Welcome Reception with light appetisers and drinks with your Travel Director in Los Angeles
    • 3 three-course dinners
    • Farewell Dinner with wine in Napa Valley

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • Complimentary keepsake photo and map.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Airport transfers are provided on the first and last day of your guided trip
  • 13 nights First Class accommodation

Airport Transfers

  • For full details on transfers, please click here.
Disclaimer
  • These prices are LAND-ONLY and are correct at the time of the website going live, however prices are subject to confirmation at the time
    of booking.
  • All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking.
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  • Hotels are subject to change.
Notes
  • * For single travellers purchasing the twin-share option, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 
  • ^Twin-share option not available for trips to South America., Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey.

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