Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Monterey, Big Sur Scenic Highway, Cambria, Piedras Blancas & Point San Luis Lighthouses, Coast Starlight Train
Activity Level 2
Pace Level 2
On this unique journey we’ll go in-depth on California’s Central Coast – traveling by train, along the backroads and on the iconic Big Sur Scenic Highway between Monterey and Cambria. For centuries artists, poets, explorers and novelists have been drawn to the rugged beauty of the California Coast. The crashing surf…the towering redwoods…the unspoiled wildlife...the historic lighthouses...the embodiment of the quintessential California spirit. We’ll experience it all staying at waterfront hotels, touring historic lighthouses and strolling amongst giant redwoods – providing a true sense of timelessness and reconnection.
We set out from our departure points this morning aboard a deluxe motorcoach and travel to downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station to board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train for a memorable, five-hour rail journey along California’s spectacular coastline and through its fertile valleys to San Luis Obispo. We’ll travel along Point Conception and through Vandenberg Space Force Base where you’ll see the launch complexes and beautiful undeveloped coastline which is only visible by train. We’ll enjoy an included boxed lunch onboard along with a snack bar selling snacks and drinks. Enjoy the relaxing ride in your reclining seat or check out the view from the observation car offering unparalleled views. Upon arrival in San Luis Obispo, we’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue north. We’ll enjoy a two-night stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa, a AAA Four Diamond bayfront hotel situated adjacent to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf in Old Monterey. Enjoy the balance of the evening at leisure with dinner on your own at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. (Lunch)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll join a local guide for a comprehensive area tour. Wrapped by the Pacific Ocean on three sides, the Monterey Peninsula is often described as “the greatest meeting of land and sea.” On this in-depth driving tour, we’ll travel through historic Old Monterey, Cannery Row, Pacific Grove and along the famed 17-Mile Drive. One of the most picturesque drives in the world, 17-Mile Drive is an enchanting journey full of dramatic coastal cliffs, snow-white beaches and mystical forests. Along the way, we’ll encounter such spectacular sights as The Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, celebrity homes and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch on your own and browsing in the quaint seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This town that deftly straddles the balance point of rich history and new wealth, features great restaurants, boutiques and galleries. We return to the hotel with the balance of the afternoon and evening at leisure. (Breakfast)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll board our motorcoach and head south along one of the greatest stretches of coastline on Earth! This iconic stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway between Monterey and Cambria, known as the Big Sur Scenic Highway, has been described as “the face of Earth as the Creator intended it to look.” As we travel south along Highway 1 – with the imposing Santa Lucia Mountains on one side and the sea-sprayed, rocky Pacific Ocean on the other – around every curve is another spectacular view of a craggy canyon, unspoiled shoreline, crashing surf and picturesque lighthouse. It’s a journey that will surely take your breath away. We’ll travel over the famed Bixby Bridge and take in views of Point Sur Lighthouse before we arrive in Big Sur. At Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park we’ll enjoy time at leisure for an included picnic lunch and leisurely stroll beneath the giant Coast redwoods. This beautiful park also features conifers, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, alders and willows – along with open meadows and abundant wildlife! This afternoon we continue south past Ragged Point to the quaint seaside village of Cambria – the artists’ colony nestled in a forest of towering Monterey Pines along a craggy stretch of the California Central Coast. We’ll enjoy a two-night stay at a charming inn featuring boutique rooms with cozy fireplaces and a heated pool and spa. The inn features an oceanfront setting on Cambria’s Moonstone Beach, a spectacular stretch of rugged coastline which offers an extraordinary array of tide pools, walkable bluff-top boardwalk and a spectacular vantage point for memorable sunsets. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening at a variety of restaurants in Cambria’s charming East Village. (Breakfast, Lunch)
After an included breakfast we’ll travel north to Piedras Blancas Light Station, located on a rugged windswept point of land just north of San Simeon. A visit to this historic light station will provide a glimpse into an earlier time and a brief escape from the modern world. The lighthouse was first illuminated as an aid to navigation in 1875 and it still casts a beam of light to guide mariners along the rocky California coast. We’ll continue south to the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas, one of only a few spots in the world where northern elephant seals can be seen in vast numbers. Although elephant seals spend most of their lives in the open ocean, they arrive at this rookery to give birth, breed, molt and rest after long ocean migrations in search of food. At William Randolph Hearst State Beach we’ll take a leisurely stroll on the historic pier in this protected cove. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore Cambria’s Village, relax at the inn or take a walk along the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. This evening we’ll enjoy an included dinner with choice of entree at Linn’s Restaurant, the Cambria icon and locals’ favorite that’s known for its contemporary comfort food classics like chicken pot pie. But be sure to save room for what they’re most famous for – warm olallieberry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! (Breakfast, Dinner)
After an included breakfast, we’ll begin our journey south. In Avila Beach we’ll enjoy the breathtaking ocean views as we travel along Lighthouse Road to Point San Luis Lighthouse. Known as the “Jewel of the Central Coast,” this historic light station built in 1890 enjoys dramatic views stretching from Avila Beach south to Vandenberg Air Force Base. Learn what life was like for the Lighthouse Keeper and his family as we tour the grounds, the beautifully restored lighthouse, the horn house, and see the lustrous original Fresnel lens. We’ll then enjoy an included lunch at this restored sentinel of the sea. This afternoon we continue south to our departure points, arriving this evening with many fond memories of our time along California’s beautiful Central Coast. (Breakfast, Lunch)
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your patience, understanding and flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary.
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