Discover majestic Hearst Castle, see Big Sur wonders, Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive
Discover Northern and Central California’s Best-kept-secret natural wonders in a two-day custom adventure, with accommodations included
Experience Northern and Central California’s most popular attractions, including Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, the 17-Mile Drive, Big Sur, scenic State Route 1, Paso Robles wine country, and Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
First Day: Discover Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive
With Golden Horizon Travel, you will experience California’s treasures and breathtaking sights YOUR way. Your fully-customized tour in a luxury vehicle will be led by a local and passionate guide, who has earned a 5-Star rating on Trip Advisor. You are in the best of hands, and our goal is to not only meet, but exceed your expectations. Our knowledgeable guides will take you off-the-beaten-path, and provide insider access to hidden wonders. Rest assured, you will relax in comfort, while moving through the tour at your own pace, with your guide there to meet all of your needs.
Delight in the historic and cultural richness of Monterey, and experience a vibrant lifestyle and sweeping views along Fisherman’s Wharf, and the famous Cannery Row. Discover Monterey’s seaside restaurants, boutique shops, Monterey Bay Aquarium (optional), museums, and cozy tasting rooms. Then embark on a scenic 17-Mile-Drive from Pacific Grove, which will take you to Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Visit the enchanting village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is known for its stunning scenery and rich artistic history. A sophisticated and cosmopolitan village, Carmel has inspired some of the world’s finest artists, sculptors, photographers, and writers, and it is home to celebrities. Carmel is also a world-class shopping destination, and is home to charming restaurants and colorful cottages, eclectic and beautiful mansions, including Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch by the historic Carmel Mission. Clint Eastwood was the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea from 1986 to 1988, and Doris Day helped him to change some of the city’s outdated and strange laws and ordinances. For instance, it was prohibited to sell and eat ice cream on public streets in Carmel, and a permit was once required to wear high heels. Carmel prohibits chain restaurants, and most of streets have no addresses, but each house has name.
Second Day: Discover the majestic Hearst Castle and Big Sur’s Stunning Natural Wonders
Experience the magic of Big Sur's stunning natural wonders and breathtaking scenery along California State Route 1, which is considered America’s most scenic drive. See soaring California Condors, migrating whales, harbor seals, sea otters, monarch butterflies and giant elephant seals. We truly do believe this is the greatest drive and vacation destination in California for families, couples, friends, photographers, and nature lovers. The twisty picturesque road offers views of beautiful bridges and coastal cliffs filled with wild flowers, ancient Redwoods, and cypress trees.
Your guide can lead the way on hikes off-the-beaten-path where you will marvel at hidden beaches, stunning waterfalls, rivers, and the southernmost ancient redwoods in Big Sur’s wilderness.
This rugged stretch of California’s coastline between Carmel and San Simeon (home to Hearst Castle) is known as Big Sur Country and spans over 90 miles where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean (over 3,000 feet high) along California State Route 1. This is the most spectacular section of the highway, characterized by its spectacular twisting turns, golden beaches, purple sands, magnificent coastline, rich fauna and flora, several national and state parks, and hidden natural wonders including waterfalls, and places of historic interest. This adventure will exceed your expectations!
Hearst Castle: Discover legendary and majestic Hearst Castle in San Simeon, a historic monument that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
In 1947, newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst’s dream came true when renowned architect, Julia Morgan, designed Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, beautiful terraces, amazing pools, and walkways, a masterpiece of architecture built to Hearst’s specifications to showcase his legendary art collection.
Join us now and imagine what it was like to be a guest in one of the castle’s notable rooms with breathtaking views of California's pristine Central Coast and the Pacific Ocean. Admire the stunning mansion within the castle, called La Casa Grande, with its authentic Roman and Renaissance art, the castle’s guest villas: Casa Del Sol, Casa Del Monte, and Casa Del Mar; as well as the Neptune and Roman indoor and outdoor pools.
The castle offers many daily, guided tours, and you can choose to explore ancient art, sculptures, furniture, relics, and more. In his lifetime, Hearst amassed a collection that rivals many museums today, and used almost every square inch of the hilltop California estate to showcase it.
Hearst Castle’s unique atmosphere, extravagance, and lavish lifestyle was shared with many famous people., including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Dolores Del Rio, Clark Gable, Gary Grant, Joan Crawford, Calvin Coolidge, President Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill.
Your guide will check you in and redeem your tour voucher at the castle’s visitor center, and ta shuttle will take you up to the Castle where a state park guide will lead your tour, depending on the tour of your choice. Please review the tour options, and let us know if you need a recommendation. We suggest first-time visitors select Tour #1. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes complimentary tickets to the 40 minute “Building the Dream” IMAX movie, screened at the visitor center.
Next, wine connoisseurs will enjoy a visit to Paso Robles’ premium wineries and enjoy a relaxing tasting experience outdoors, with sweeping views of Paso Robles and the outlying areas. Afterward, your tour guide will drive you back to San Francisco via Highway 101 leaving San Luis Obispo County and heading north to San Francisco via Salinas’ agricultural valley. You may also modify the order of this tour, to start or end in Paso Robles or Hearst Castle. Your guide will ensure you are comfortable and satisfied with this unique and custom tour package.
If you’d like to add an extra day to this custom journey, please let us know and we can include other towns and attractions, such as Morro Bay, Avila Beach and hot springs, the Danish village of Solvang, and Santa Barbara. You may also experience a horseback ride on beautiful Pismo Beach or rent an ATV or dune buggy ride for a scenic ride in Pismo Beach State Park.
For the full California touring experience you can even add a fourth day and visit Los Angeles, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Disneyland, Seaworld, or the San Diego Zoo.
Golden Horizon specializes in private tours and custom travel packages to all California cities and even outside California, to Las Vegas. Let us handle your travel needs and we will do our best to exceed your expectations
Heart Castle-Big-Sur, Carmel & Monterey 2- Day Tour Itinerary
- FIRST DAY: After a complimentary pick-up at your hotel, your personal and passionate tour guide will drive south towards Monterey Bay, Carmel, Big Sur and overnight in San Simeon or San Luis Obispo County.
- SECOND DAY: Discover Hearst Castle, Big Sur and Paso Robles and back to San Francisco
After a complimentary pick-up at your hotel, your passionate tour guide will drive south toward Monterey Bay, either through Silicon Valley and Gilroy (“the garlic capital of the world”), or via Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz County. Our route will depend on factors like your personal preferences, priorities, traffic, weather, and road conditions.
Departing from Santa Cruz County and heading south to Monterey County, Highway 1 will offer you a wide range of geographic wonders, including flat wetlands, green fields, breathtaking craggy coastlines, and towering cliffs. Photo stops will be scheduled all along the highway, so you can capture the beauty of the California coast. Your guide will stop at local, hidden state beaches right off of Highway 1, where you will see endangered species, including sea otters, seals, and harbor seals. When you take a walk down this hidden beach, and you might even be rewarded by seeing dolphins or whales swimming in the ocean. Instead of driving along Pacific Highway 1 via Half Moon Bay, some visitors may also want to pass by farmlands along the back roads of Monterey County and Salinas Valley, where John Steinbeck was born. Your personal tour guide will customize your tour itinerary accordingly, so no prior planning is required by you.
Continuing the journey, we will visit Monterey Cannery Row, or the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Cannery Row is a premiere destination and attraction, which was originally called View Avenue, and renamed “Cannery Row” in honor of John Steinbeck. The attraction is anchored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is home to boutique shops, elegant hotels, restaurants, art galleries, museums, wine tasting rooms, and more. You may also walk toward Pacific Grove, where thousands of monarch butterflies meet every year.
Learn about the fascinating history of Monterey and experience a vibrant lifestyles and sweeping views along Cannery Row. You may also explore a plethora of seaside restaurants and quaint shops along with other famous attractions like The Monterey Bay Aquarium, dedicated to marine research and conservation. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is known throughout the world for its interactive exhibits, presenting marine life on a grand scale (please note visiting the aquarium requires more time, and entrance fees are not included in the tour price). Following lunch (meals are not included in the tour price), we will embark on the 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Along the 17-Mile Drive you will witness amazing costal scenery like the old lighthouse, and will make many stops along this scenic coastal route including the Spanish Bay, Spyglass Vista Point, Seal Rocks, Bird Rock, Point Joe, and Lone Cypress. We will also coordinate a visit to world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links lodge and restaurant. You may choose to enjoy lunch in Pebble Beach home to a resort built in 1919, and known for its world famous golf tournaments.
This guided tour will take you next to the idyllic seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a sophisticated place renowned for its artistic and rich history, offering world-class shopping, fine dining, colorful cottages, extravagant mansions, and outstanding art galleries. This is the perfect getaway tour to enjoy a relaxing day with spectacular scenery. Following lunch, you’ll embark on a scenic drive on narrow coastal back roads and take in stunning views of beautiful mansions, the historic Carmel Mission, or Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch. Carmel was established by a group of artists and writers in the 1920s, and Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel from 1986 to 1988.Back to Top
You might also want to visit Mission Carmel, also known as Mission “San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo,” a Roman Catholic mission church, which was once the headquarters of the original upper Las California Province missions, headed by Father Junípero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784, and who is now buried there
From Carmel to Big Sur on California scenic highway 1: Just over 13 miles south of Carmel, sits historic Bixby Bridge on California State Route 1, overlooking Big Sur's scenic valleys and wonders along the Pacific Ocean’s rugged coastline. It’s one of the oldest arch bridges in California, a beacon of charm and strength.Back to Top
The rugged stretch of California Pacific coastline between Carmel and San Simeon is known as Big Sur, roughly 90 miles of stunning and dramatic scenery along California’s State Route 1, considered the nation’s most spectacular and scenic highway. This is where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise over 3,000 feet from the Pacific Ocean, and the most spectacular section of the highway is characterized by twisting turns, golden beaches, rich fauna and flora, and ancient redwood forests.Back to Top
The modern history of Big Sur started in the early mid-twentieth century. Its spectacular and isolated geographical location attracted a number of pioneers, artists, and novelists, including Robinson Jeffers, Richard Brautigan, Henry Miller, Edward Weston, and Jack Kerouac. Big Sur’s increasing popularity and cinematic beauty incited Hollywood’s legendary actor, Orson Welles and his wife Rita Hayworth, to purchase a Big Sur house in 1944. The area became famous and featured in films including “The Sandpiper,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 1965. Guitarist Buckethead’s song "Big Sur Moon,” is on his album, Colma. Another movie called “Big Sur” was released in 2013, based on Jack Kerouac's novel and experience in Big Sur.Back to Top
Big Sur is home to endless natural wonders, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur Station, Henry Miller Memorial Library, Salmon Creek Falls, Limekiln State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park, Ragged Point, and Los Padres National Forest, an amazing wilderness and recreational area. There are also numerous delicious stops along the way for dining and coffee breaks with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Big Sur’s stunning coastline.Back to Top
The windy roads along scenic Highway 1 pass through several national and state parks and hidden natural wonders, including beaches, waterfalls, and many places of historic interest. Next, you will go on a discovery hike off-the-beaten-path, to photograph Julia Pfeiffer State Park’s wonders, including hidden waterfalls.
An optional, and fairly level hike, will take you through towering ancient redwoods, where you will also marvel at hidden waterfalls in a rocky cove within a canyon. Please ensure you bring comfortable shoes and layers for foggy afternoons if you wish to hike.Back to Top
Next, you’ll visit a couple of sites and vantage points, including Rugged Point, and a photo stop will be scheduled at Piedras Blancas and Vista Point, a few miles north of San Simeon and Hearst Castle. Piedras Blancas offers a unique opportunity to see giant elephant seals lying on the beach. These elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for only a few months each year, to give birth right here on this beach, breed, and molt. The rest of the year, colonies of sea elephants disperse into the ocean where they spend most of their time in pursuit of food, a quest that involves swimming thousands of miles and diving to great depths. You’ll enjoy watching them play, and flip sand on their backs. Friendly volunteers guard the seals from obstreperous humans, and educate visitors about their history and behavior. Humpback and Blue whales may pass by the Big Sur coastline, on the way to Baja California or Alaska, depending on the season.Back to Top
At the end of day 1, you will check-in to your hotel in Big Sur, San Simeon, Cambria, or Morro Bay. The hotel location will be based on availability and your guide will assist checking you in and out to save you time and worry.
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After breakfast, you will check-out of your hotel and travel a few miles north to renowned Hearst Castle. On the Hearst Castle grounds, you will be escorted to the scenic enchanted hills that are home to the estate. A state park tour guide will lead you through some of the estate’s 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens. The property is divided into four major wings: La Casa Grande, Casa del Sol, Casa del Monte, and Casa del Mar. You’ll see ocean views, terraces, amazing walkways, and two pools, as well as the large collection of ancient art, sculptures, furniture, and relics. Hearst amassed a collection that rivals museums today, using almost every square inch of the hilltop estate to showcase it. This unique atmosphere, and lavish lifestyle attracted celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Winston Churchill, and President Franklin Roosevelt, among others.Back to Top
Hearst Castle’s visitor center offers five tour options. We recommend Tour #1 for first-time visitors, but please let us know which option you prefer so we may book your tickets in advance. You may view the list of all tours, here. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes tickets to a 40-minute IMAX film screened at the visitor center, called “Building the Dream.” Please use the “special request” box at the end of the request page to let us know your tour preference. We recommend booking ahead of time as tour reservations are subject to availability, and may sell-out during peak tourist and holiday seasons.Back to Top
Next, you may consider visiting one of Paso Robles’ premium wineries, for a relaxing wine tasting experience with sweeping views of the area. An optional wine and food experience can be arranged, or you can visit an olive oil press. Afterward, your tour guide will drive you back to San Francisco via highway 101, leaving San Luis Obispo County and heading north to Salinas’ agricultural valley.Back to Top
The order of this fantastic and exclusive adventure may vary, and our starting and ending points in Paso Robles or Hearst Castle will be dependent on your personal preferences and timing. Your guide will be on hand throughout the journey, and will ensure that your expectations are not only met, but exceeded. Don’t miss out on this overnight custom tour to majestic Hearst Castle combined with Big Sur's stunning wonders, Monterey, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Our custom tour prices include your hotel accommodations.Back to Top
If you’d like, there is also the option of adding an additional day to your trip so that you can visit more wonders like Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, where you can enjoy horseback riding on the beach, or take an ATV or dune buggy on a thrilling ride on sand dunes. Our private tours are completely customizable to meet all of your needs, and you will not be disappointed!Back to Top
Golden Horizon offers California adventures and custom package tours that all-inclusive. Let us handle your travel needs and we will strive to exceed your expectations.
This SUV tour is totally private and the price is per person.
Price per person.
All taxes included
|Private 2 day tour
- hotel included
This van tour is private and will only include the people in your group. The price is per party, not, per person.
The price is
per party. "hotel
Van Tour tax,
entrance fees hotel
|1 - 5 Guests||$4,299.00|
|6 - 7 Guests||$4,889.00|
|8 - 10 Guests||$5,259.00|
|11 - 12 Guests||$5,699.00|
|13 - 14 Guests||$5,999.00|
Included: Pick-up and drop off in San Francisco downtown or Fisherman’ Wharf, Hearst Castle entrance fees and tickets, 17-Mile Drive entrance fees, Monterey, Carmel, all applicable taxes, Big Sur State Parks’ fees, a private 2-day guided tour and hotel accommodation, if applicable.
Not included: The price does not include meals, driver’s gratuity, overtime, wine tasting fees and optional activities or entrance fees