Best of California

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9 day tour

Rate: USD3,050.00 per person*


The lively and glamorous cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles contrast with the rugged beauty of the California coast and grandeur of Yosemite National Park.

Premium Experiences & Dining: More than just a train ride, enjoy a culinary journey through the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley aboard meticulously restored vintage rail cars. Visit a Sonoma winery for a tour and wine tasting. Ascend the ‘Enchanted Hill’ for a guided tour of Hearst Castle, one of America’s grandest private estates. Visit Mission Santa Barbara, a historic Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order in 1786. Visit the world-class art collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, one of most popular museums in the US. Step beyond the red carpet! A behind-the-scenes look at the Oscars on a private tour of the Kodak Theater. Enjoy a walking tour through San Francisco’s famous Chinatown, followed by an authentic Chinese banquet. Enjoy spectacular views of the bay as you enjoy a private dinner and an insight into the amazing marine life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Dinner with wine is available from a selection of Santa Barbara restaurants on your Dine-Around evening. Enjoy an end-of-tour Celebration Dinner with wine.

For more North America Insight Vacations, click here.


Welcome to California! On arrival at San Francisco International Airport, your airport transfer takes you to your tour hotel. Early evening, gather with your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception including drinks and a light informal meal. Spend the following morning taking in the sights of the city – the bustling activity in Union Square, famous cable cars, the stately Victorian homes of Alamo Square and beautiful Golden Gate Park. After a free afternoon, join your Tour Director and fellow passengers for an informative walking tour through Chinatown, including stops at various shops and landmarks, followed by an authentic Chinese banquet at a local restaurant.

Hotel: The Stanford Court Renaissance

Meals: Welcome Reception / Full Breakfast / Highlight Dinner


Enter the Napa Valley in California’s lush premier wine country. After free time in Napa, step aboard the beautifully restored Napa Valley Wine Train. Enjoy elegant rail travel, fine dining and wine tasting while breezing through Napa Valley’s leafy landscape. Later, drive along the scenic Carneros Highway for a tour and tasting at a Sonoma Valley winery, followed by some time to peruse the quaint shops at Sonoma’s historic plaza. The evening is at leisure.

Hotel: The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa

Meals: Full Breakfast / Lunch


Travel through California’s Gold Country and into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States. Explore the valley floor with its spectacular waterfalls, the imposing rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome and abundant wildlife. Receive the red carpet treatment tonight with newly refurbished rooms at your hotel, located inside the park, close to North America’s highest waterfall.

Hotel: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls

Meals: Full Breakfast


Early risers can enjoy the peace and quiet of Yosemite Valley, or take a short walk to the magnificent Yosemite Falls. Then drive down the Sierras and through the fertile San Joaquin Valley, the breadbasket of California. Purchase local fresh fruit at a historic fruit stand en route to picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea. Browse the art galleries and shops on Ocean Avenue, before a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along the scenic 17-Mile Drive. Pass the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links and multi-million dollar mansions before arriving in charming Monterey, California’s former capital until 1849. End the day with a lecture and private dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with superb views of Monterey Bay and time to view some of the outstanding exhibits.

Hotel: InterContinental The Clement Monterey

Meals: Full Breakfast / Highlight Dinner


Head south to La Cuesta Encantada, ‘The Enchanted Hill’ high above the ocean at San Simeon, for a guided tour of Hearst Castle – the grandiose estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Continue south through the vineyards of the Central Coast to the resort town of Santa Barbara, often billed as the ‘American Riviera’. After an orientation tour of this seaside paradise, check into your beach-front hotel. For your dining pleasure this evening, you are offered a selection of local restaurants.

Hotel: Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort

Meals: Full Breakfast / Dine Around


Visit the beautiful Mission Santa Barbara and learn about the chain of 21 California missions along California’s El Camino Real. Then journey along spectacular Santa Monica Bay, passing through glamorous Malibu on your way to Santa Monica. Take time to stroll along the popular Third Street Promenade. Visit the J. Paul Getty Museum with its world-class collection of Western art set against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens and breathtaking views. Continue on to your luxurious hotel at L.A. LIVE, the city’s newest and one-of-a-kind entertainment destination. This evening, set out for a popular restaurant to enjoy a glittering Celebration Dinner L.A. style. The next morning, spot the Hollywood Sign during your sightseeing tour, view Grauman’s Chinese Theater and stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Experience the glitz and glam of Hollywood on a private tour of the Kodak Theater, home to the Academy Awards ceremony.

Hotel: JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at LA Live

Meals: Full Breakfast / Celebration Dinner / Full Breakfast


Your California vacation comes to an end with a departure transfer to Los Angeles International Airport. Or perhaps extend your vacation? This itinerary forms part of our Great Western American Adventure where you can continue on to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Las Vegas.

Meals: Full Breakfast

Included Premium Highlights

  • San Francisco: See the cable cars, Union Square, Alamo Square and Golden Gate Bridge. Chinatown walking tour.
  • California Wine Country: Travel aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Visit a winery and taste the wine. Explore the shops of Sonoma’s Spanish Plaza.
  • Yosemite National Park: Experience the natural beauty and wildlife. See the El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations.
  • San Joaquin Valley: Stop at a historic fruit stand.
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea: Browse the art galleries and shops.
  • Monterey: Enjoy a presentation about the array of fish, animal and plant exhibits of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • San Simeon: Enjoy a guided tour of Hearst Castle.
  • Santa Barbara: Drive down State Street, view the Court House and Stearns Wharf. Visit the Mission Santa Barbara.
  • Santa Monica: Stroll along the Third Street Promenade.
  • Los Angeles: Visit the J. Paul Getty Museum. Enjoy a private guided tour of the Kodak Theater. Drive along Sunset Boulevard, see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
  • Scenic Drives: 17-Mile Drive past the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Premium Hotels in Desirable Locations

  • These First Class and Superior Hotels are perfectly located in each destination for your maximum enjoyment.
  • Your luxurious boutique San Francisco hotel is a sophisticated, urban retreat located in Nob Hill near many exciting attractions.
  • Insight has worked behind the scenes to ensure you receive only the newly renovated rooms at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.
  • Stay just steps from Cannery Row and the world-famous aquarium at your picturesque and stylish Monterey hotel

Included Quality Dining

  • At 6.00 pm on Day 1 join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception including drinks and a light informal meal. (WR)
  • 8 Full Breakfasts (FB), 2 Highlight Dinners (HD), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) and 1 Lunch onboard the Napa Valley Wine Train (L).

Included First Class Services

  • Escorted by a professional Tour Director
  • Headsets for all guided visits and walking tours
  • Luxury air-conditioned, 40-guest coaches with extra legroom and onboard restroom
  • Insight Hotels include all service charges, taxes and porterage
  • Insight Traveller Welcome pack
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers on Day 1 and Day 9

Best of California tour map

Tuolumne Meadow, Yosemite.Walk Of Fame
Glow in the Dark

Package Inclusions

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