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"Christmas" in Monterey & Carmel Search Tour Calendar
Featuring a Single-Hotel Stay in Monterey, Coast Starlight Train, 17-Mile Drive, Steinbeck Home

Tour Dates: December 17 - 21, 2017

5 Day Package
8 Meals Included
New Itinerary

$1199 Per Person / Double Occupancy
$1549 Per Person / Single Occupancy

The Monterey Peninsula has been described “the greatest meeting of land and sea...” For centuries, artists, poets, explorers and novelists have been drawn to the rugged beauty here; from the crashing surf to the towering redwoods and unspoiled wildlife. The Monterey Peninsula is the embodiment of the quintessential California spirit, and when it’s charmingly decorated for the holidays, these exceptional qualities join together, delivering a sense of timelessness and re-connection. We invite you on this unique and festive coastal escape to California’s Central Coast to explore with us the cypress groves, historic towns, world-renowned aquarium and exceptional stories that make the Monterey Peninsula so special.

Tour Highlights:

  • Enjoy 4 leisurely nights in the heart of Old Monterey at an upscale AAA four-diamond hotel that is within walking distance of Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and beautifully decorated for the holidays
  • Ride along California’s coast from Oxnard to San Luis Obispo aboard the deluxe Coast Starlight train featuring a dining car and observation car for spectacular ocean views
  • In the forested coastal mountains of Santa Cruz, ride the historic Roaring Camp Railroad steam train through the giant Redwoods 
  • Guided tour of the Monterey Peninsula with a local guide highlighting Cannery Row, Pacific Grove, historic Monterey, the sights along 17-Mile Drive and an optional visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Enjoy leisure time to explore the quaint boutiques and galleries in Carmel and an included visit to the Carmel Mission
  • Travel to the Salinas Valley to visit the National Steinbeck Center and enjoy an included lunch in John Steinbeck’s boyhood home – charmingly decorated for the holidays
Fine Hotels / Great Locations:
  • Nights 1-4: Portola Hotel & Spa - Monterey, CA
Day By Day Itinerary:
Day 1
Sunday, 12/17/2017 - Central Coast by Rail
This morning we set out from our departure points for the tranquility of California’s Central Coast. We’ll travel by motorcoach to Oxnard to board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train. Here begins a memorable four-hour rail journey along California’s coastline and through its fertile valleys to San Luis Obispo. We’ll travel along Point Conception and through Vandenberg Air Force Base where you’ll see the beautiful undeveloped coastline only visible by train. You are free to move around the train, get lunch from the snack bar or enjoy lunch on own in the dining car. Check out the view from the observation car or just relax in your comfortable seat. Upon our arrival in San Luis Obispo, we’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue our journey to Monterey. Our accommodations for the next four nights are at an upscale bay- front AAA four diamond hotel deluxe hotel in the heart of Old Monterey and within walking distance of Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Enjoy dinner at leisure this evening at the hotel or Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
Day 2
Monday, 12/18/2017 - Monterey Peninsula
After an included breakfast at our hotel we embark on a driving tour of the Monterey Peninsula with a local guide. We’ll travel through historic Monterey, Cannery Row, Pacific Grove, and along 17-Mile Drive. Take in the views of the tenacious Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, Pebble Beach Golf Course and the celebrity homes. Enjoy time at leisure in the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch and browsing on your own. This popular retreat for writers, artists and celebrities has great boutiques and galleries. Later, we visit the Carmel Mission, considered one of the most beautiful missions in the chain of nine missions that stretches along California’s Central Coast.  Officially Mission San Carlos Borrome Del Rio Carmelo, it sits behind adobe walls and features Moorish architectural elements including a bell tower and golden exterior.  At the foot of the main altar lies the final resting place of the founder of the Californian Missions, Father Junipero Serra. Enjoy an included dinner at a locals’ favorite this evening.
Day 3
Tuesday, 12/19/2017 - Redwoods, Aquarium
Following an included breakfast at our hotel this morning, we’ll journey north along the coast to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here in these forested mountains is the Roaring Camp which resembles an 1880s logging town. Shop in the old-fashioned general store or explore vintage western structures, such as the opera house, depot and covered bridge. We’ll then board a 100-year-old steam train and travel beneath towering California Redwoods to Bear Mountain. This forest of coastal Redwoods was first preserved in 1867.  Enjoy an included chuck-wagon barbecue lunch back at the Camp before we return to Monterey. This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to relax at the hotel or explore downtown Monterey and Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck. The ocean canyon surrounding Monterey Bay is deeper than the Grand Canyon and harbors a rich variety of sea life, which can be seen this afternoon during an optional visit to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium available for an additional $40 per person. Explore the hidden world of this spectacular ocean realm at the heart of the nation’s largest marine sanctuary. 
Day 4
Wednesday, 12/20/2017 - Salinas & Steinbeck
After an included breakfast, we embark this morning on a scenic journey to the Salinas Valley. This agriculturally lush valley is where John Steinbeck grew up and where he drew his inspiration for his most famous novels, such as East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. Enjoy a self-guided visit to the National Steinbeck Center located in historic Salinas. It boasts priceless artifacts, entertaining displays and interactive, multisensory exhibits. Later, enjoy an included plated lunch at the Steinbeck House, the beautifully restored Victorian house that was once the home of John Steinbeck and his family. This time of year the home is charmingly decorated for the holidays. We return to Monterey this afternoon with the balance of the afternoon at leisure. An included dinner at a locals' favorite this evening.
Day 5
Thursday, 12/21/2017 - Solvang, Journey Home
This morning, following an included breakfast at our hotel, we begin our journey home. We’ll make a stop this afternoon in Solvang, America’s famous “Little Denmark.” This time of year, the quaint old-world architectural styles and flower-lined streets are beautifully decorated for the holidays. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch and shopping in this very walkable village that features wonderful shops offering imported European wares and collectibles, delicious bakeries and a variety of restaurants. We continue south along the back roads towards Southern California arriving at our drop-off points this evening. We’ll all relish in the memories of our time relaxing on the Coast Starlight train and exploring the Monterey Peninsula during our Christmas-time getaway to the Central Coast.
Tour Inclusions:
  • 4 Nights deluxe hotel accommodations
  • 8 Meals: 2 dinner, 2 lunch, 4 breakfasts
  • Services of a professional Good Times Travel Tour Director
  • Admissions per itinerary
  • Transportation on a deluxe touring motorcoach and aboard Amtrak's deluxe Coast Starlight train
  • Luggage handling throughout the tour

Additional Information:

  • Join this tour from the following departure points: CON, FV, LHS, SBL (Passengers will not have to go thru all pick-ups as several vehicles are used to gather passengers)
  • A deposit of $200 p.p. is required to reserve space
  • Balance payment due 45 days prior to departure
  • Travel protection/cancellation insurance is available and highly recommended
  • Tour Pace: Moderate (visit our common questions page for details on activity levels)
  • Activity Level: Medium (visit our common questions page for details on activity levels)
  • Request a detailed brochure via this website
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