Travel the rugged California coast from LA to San Francisco

Kick off your California coastal adventure from the sprawling megalopolis of Los Angeles. Stop in Santa Barbara - also known as the American Riviera - and take in the incredible Spanish influences. Spend the night in beautiful Pismo Beach and travel the spectacular Cabrillo Highway to Monterey, stopping in for lunch at Big Sur along the way. Finish in San Francisco. This is a great way to witness the stunning Cali coastline in all its glory.

Los Angeles, United States
San Francisco, United States
United States
Explorer, Short Breaks
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
290kg pp per trip


  • With its widespread beaches and relaxed atmosphere, Santa Barbara is a great place to escape the bright lights and buzz of major cities
  • Due to the nature of this trip, it allows you to see a lot of the Californian coast in such a short period of time
  • Mexican influence runs throughout Monterey, with the city offering a glimpse into the history of California before it became a part of the USA
  • San Francisco has a completely unique landscape that’s extremely rewarding to explore by foot. With cable cars navigating its steep hills and the Golden Gate Bridge forever in its backdrop, it’s worth getting to know


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 16 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Los Angeles, USA. Meet your group and leader at 7:30 am in the hotel lobby for an important briefing about the trip. Please eat breakfast and pack your bags before the meeting, so that you're ready to leave soon after. Drive north to your first stop of Santa Barbara (approximately 1-2 hours). The traffic around Los Angeles can be very bad so please be prepared for delays. You'll have some free time to explore Santa Barbara before continuing up the coast to Pismo Beach where we stay the night. Spend the rest of the afternoon walking along the beach, swimming in the ocean, or take a trip to the nearby town of San Luis Obispo - the happiest town in the USA. Optional activities here include a visit to the Spanish mission of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Bubblegum Alley, or sample a local brew or wine.
Special Information
Notes: We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at the welcome meeting this morning, so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader. If you'd like to see the sights of Los Angeles, we recommend you arrive a few days early. We'd be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
In the morning head up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Monterey. Drive time is approximately three to four hours but with stops it takes us most of the day. The views along this route are particularly spectacular around the Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise out of the Pacific Ocean. Stop in the area for a picnic lunch and to take some pictures, before continuing onto Monterey. On arrival into town, check in to your hotel and perhaps head out on an optional activity. Paddle a kayak around the bay, do some whale spotting or visit Steinbeck's Cannery Row. The rest of the evening is free to do as you please.
Head to San Francisco this morning, arriving into the city around lunchtime (approximately two hours). This afternoon take part in the Temples, Tea and Beatniks Urban Adventure day tour. Make your own fortune cookie in Chinatown, explore the city's oldest temple and discover the Beatniks of North Beach. Your California Coast Express trip comes to an end after the tour, and you're free to depart at anytime. As there's a great deal to do in San Francisco, we recommend you stay a few extra days to make the most of the city.
Special Information
This trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements to visit the island prison. Tickets must be booked in advance, as they're limited and sell out quickly. You can make your own Alcatraz reservations online at or call +1 415 981 7625 between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm, Pacific Standard Time (USA). We recommend booking your tickets for the day after the trip finishes. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist (subject to availability). Also consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of San Francisco through
View trip notes to read full itinerary


1 lunch
Private vehicle
Hotel (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • Temples, Tea, & Beatniks Urban Adventure


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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip
2. This trip starts at 7:30am on day 1 and finishes at approximately 5pm on day 3.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes