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Discover the majestic Hearst castle, Big Sur Wonders, Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive

Discover Northern and Central California Best-Kept Secrets Natural Wonders in a Two Day Custom Adventure Accommodation included

Experience Northern and Central California’s most regarded sights and attractions including Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, the17-Mile Drive, Big Sur stunning wonders and the breathtaking sights of California Scenic Highway 1, as well as Paso Robles wine country and the majestic Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

First Day: Discover Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive

hearst castleWith Golden Horizon Travel, you will experience these California treasures and breathtaking sights YOUR way. We will guide the way towards the Monterey Bay area and Carmel-by-the-Sea, with a fully customized tour in luxury vehicles that is conducted by local and passionate tour guides who have earned a strong 5-Star rating on Trip Advisor throughout the years. You are in the best of hands, and our goal is to not only meet, but exceed your expectations. Our knowledgeable tour guides will guide you off the beaten path and provide insider access into hidden wonders that aren’t accessible on large bus tours. Rest assured, you will be able to relax in comfort, while moving through the tour at your own pace, with your guide there to meet any particular need or request.

Delight in the historic and cultural richness of Monterey, and experience the vibrant lifestyle and sweeping views along the Fisherman’s Wharf, and the famous Cannery Row. Spend some time discovering Monterey’s seaside restaurants, boutique shops, the Monterey Aquarium (optional), museums, and its cozy tasting rooms. Then embark on the scenic 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove, which will take you all the way to Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea where you will enjoy breathtaking sceneries.

The idyllic seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is a sophisticated town with a rich and artistic history and known for inspiring some of the world’s finest artists, sculptors, photographers and writers. Carmel is also renowned for being one of the world-class shopping destinations, with quaint restaurants, colorful cottages, eclectic mansions and outstanding art galleries. Many celebrities and notable figures have found a home in the upscale village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This tour is the perfect getaway for visitors of all kinds - couples, families, nature lovers, photographers. Enjoy spectacular sceneries and a relaxing end to the afternoon near Carmel-by-the-Sea, among the ocean, with lush greeneries bathed in the warm Pacific Ocean breezes. The coast’s narrow back roads of Carmel will expose you to stunning views, beautiful mansions and the opportunity to visit Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch and Carmel’s Historic Mission. You may also take an optional side trip to Carmel Valley and visit remote vineyards and intimate tasting rooms.

Second Day: Discover the majestic Hearst Castle and Big Sur’s Stunning Natural Wonders

hearst castleExperience the magic of Big Sur's stunning natural wonders and breathtaking sceneries along the Pacific Coast Highway 1, which is considered as America’s most scenic drive. Watch as extraordinary sights expose themselves to you at every turn - this coastal road is known for being home to soaring California Condors, migrating whales, harbor seals, sea otters, monarch butterflies and the 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 will take you to remote and beautiful sceneries, vantage points, beautiful bridges and coastal cliffs filled with wild flowers, ancient Redwoods and cypress trees.

Your tour 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.

The rugged stretch of the California Pacific coastline between Carmel and San Simeon (where Hearst Castle is located) 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 Pacific Highway 1. This is the most spectacular section of California Highway One, characterized by its spectacular twisting turns, golden beaches, purple sands, cliff-hugging, unspoiled magnificent coastline, home to a rich fauna and flora and passes through several national and state parks, hidden natural wonders including stunning waterfalls, sea-scenes and many places of historic interest. This is adventure will exceed your expectations and Worth every penny you spend!

Hearst Castle: Discover this legendary and majestic Hearst Castle in San Simeon, located in Central California. Hearst Castle and Big Sur's stunning natural wonders should be on everyone's bucket list to visit at least once in a lifetime.

In 1947, the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst’s dream came true when Julia Morgan, a renowned architect had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, beautiful terraces, amazing pools and walkways - all built to Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection. It is truly a masterpiece of art and stunning, eclectic architecture.

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; but also the castle’s guest villas - Casa Del Sol, Casa Del Monte, and Casa Del Mar; as well as Neptune and the Roman pools.

The castle offers daily guided tours, and you can choose your own tour and discover the lush, serene gardens of the castle that were planned and developed as carefully as other parts of the Castle by William Hearst and Julia Morgan. Explore his personal collection of 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 castle to showcase it all.

Hearst Castle’s unique atmosphere, extravagance and lavish lifestyle have attracted many notable figures throughout the years, 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 among others.

Your personal tour guide will check you in and redeem your tour voucher at the Castle’s visitor center, and then a shuttle will take you all the way up to the Castle where a professional tour guide will meet you with other clients and start a 45-minute guided tour. There are five different tours you can choose, which can be found by clicking here. Our recommendation for first time visitors to Hearst Castle is Tour #1. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes complimentary tickets to the 40 minute “Building the Dream” IMAX movie, located on property next to the visitor center and giftshop.

Next, the wine connoisseurs will enjoy a visit to one of Paso Robles’ premium wineries and enjoy a unique and relaxing wine tasting experience outdoors, with sweeping views of Paso Robles and the outlying areas. Afterwards, 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 Salina’s agricultural Valley. The order of this fantastic new and exclusive adventure may vary and start or end in Paso Robles or Hearst Castle. Your tour guide will be on hand throughout the whole experience and will ensure that you are comfortable and satisfied with this unique and custom tour package. Don’t miss out on this fabulous overnight custom tour to the majestic Hearst Castle combined with Big Sur's stunning wonders, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. This private custom includes hotel accommodation as well. Please feel free to refer to the itinerary below for more information.

If you’d like to expand your horizon and add an extra day to this custom journey that can definitely be coordinated and we will include visits to new and additional unique sights such as Moro Bay, Avila Beach and hot springs, the Danish village of Solvang, and/or visit Santa Barbara. You may also experience a horseback ride on the beautiful Pismo Beach or rent an ATV or a sun dune buggy ride for scenic dunes on the endless beach of Pismo Beach state park.

Those looking for the full California touring experience can add a fourth day and visit Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Universal Studios; this leg of the tour requires a visit at Anaheim Disneyland in Los Angeles or at the SeaWorld in San Diego, a city famous for its zoo as well.

Golden Horizon specializes in private tours and custom travel packages to all California cities and, most regarding tourist attractions including Death Valley and Las Vegas. Let us handle your travel needs and we will do our best to exceed your expectations. Our tours are completely private and customizable to meet all of your needs, you will not be disappointed!

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, either driving through the famous 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, the best routes available, and time, 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 that you can attempt to capture the beauty of the California coast. Your tour guide will stop at local, hidden state beaches which are right off of Highway 1, where you will experience and see endangered species, including sea otters, seals and harbor seals. Take a walk down this hidden beach and you might even be rewarded with the sight of dolphins or whales swimming in the ocean. Instead of driving along Pacific Highway 1 via Half Moon Bay, some visitors may also want to visit the farmlands along the back roads of Monterey County and Salinas Valley, where John Steinbeck was born. Your personal tour guide will be on hand and will customize your tour itinerary accordingly. No prior palming is required, you will be in very good hands.

Continuing the journey, we will visit Monterey Cannery Row, or the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Monterey Cannery Row is a premiere destination and attraction, which was originally called View Avenue, and renamed as “Cannery Row” in honor of John Steinbeck. Today’s Cannery Row 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 towards Pacific Grove, where thousands of monarch butterflies meet every year.

Learn about the fascinating history of Monterey and experience the vibrant lifestyles and sweeping views along the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the famous Cannery Row. You will explore a plethora of sea-side 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 and ability to present marine life on a truly grand scale (please note that 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 sceneries 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, Lone Cypress. We will also coordinate a visit to the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links, Lodge and restaurant. You may choose to enjoy lunch in Pebble Beach resort, home to the Pebble Beach Golf Course which was built back 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; Carmel is a sophisticated village renowned for its artistic and rich history and offers 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 sceneries. Following lunch, embark on a scenic drive on the narrow coastal back roads and take in the 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 back in 1920s, and Clint Eastwood was one of the famous mayors of Carmel from 1986 to 1988.

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Two wine tableYou might also want to visit Mission Carmel, also known as Mission “San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo”. This is 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). Father Junípero Serra is buried here today.

From Carmel to Big Sur on California scenic highway 1: Just over 13 miles south of Carmel lies the historic Bixby Bridge on scenic highway 1. Capture images of Bixby Bridge overlooking Big Sur's scenic valleys and wonders located along the Pacific Ocean rugged coastline. It’s one of the oldest arch bridges in California, a beacon of charm and strength.

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hearst-castle-lunchThe rugged stretch of California Pacific coastline between Carmel and San Simeon is known as Big Sur, and it is roughly 90 miles long, providing stunning and dramatic scenery along California’s Scenic Highway 1, considered as the nation’s most spectacular and scenic road. The Big Sur country is the area where Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean over 3000 feet high along Pacific highway 1. This is the most spectacular section of California highway 1 characterized by twisting turns, golden beaches, purples, sands, cliff-hugging, a rich fauna and flora, and unspoiled coastline home a rich fauna and flora including the Southernmost ancient Redwoods forests.

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Point Sur Light stationThe modern history of Big Sur started in the early mid-twentieth century. Big Sur's spectacular and isolated geographical location attracted a number of pioneers, artists, 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 back in 1944. The area became famous and featured in some famous movies including; The Sandpiper, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 1965. Also, the renounced guitarist Buckethead dedicated a song to the majestic escape, entitled "Big Sur Moon”, from his album Colma. Another movie called “Big Sur” was released in 2013 based on Jack Kerouac's novel and own experience in Big Sur.

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discovery hikeBig Sur is home to endless famous tourist attractions and hidden natural wonders including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur stations, Henry Miller Memorial Library, Salmon Creek Falls, Limekiln State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park, Ragged Point wonders, and Los Padres National Forest - home to amazing wilderness and recreational areas. Delicious stops for dining and coffee breaks will captivate your tastes, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur stunning coastline.

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Picture Post Ranch InnThe amazing and windy back road of Big Sur along scenic highway 1, passes through several national and state parks, hidden natural wonders including beaches and waterfalls, and many places of historic interest. Next, we will take you on a discovery hike off the beaten path to photograph Julia Pfeiffer State Park’s wonders, including hidden waterfalls that will remind you of Hawaii.

Big Sur's dramatic coast is home to a rich fauna and flora including the southernmost ancient Redwoods forests. 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 if you wish to hike and some layers for foggy afternoons.

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Lucia LodgeNext, we will visit a couple of sites and vantages points including Rugged Point and then a photo stop will be scheduled at Piedras Blancas vista point, located just a few miles north of San Simeon where lies the imposing Hearst Castle. Piedras Blancas offers you a unique opportunity to picture some giant Sea Elephants 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 the 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. Enjoy watching some 3,000 pounds Elephant Seals playing, flipping sand on their backs. Friendly volunteers have emerged to guard the seals from obstreperous humans, and to educate the curious tourists about their history and behavior. Humpback and Blue whales may swim by Big Sur coastline on the way to Baja California and to back to Alaska in winter.

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San SimeonFollowing your day, it’s time to check you in at your hotel in Big Sur, San Simeon, Cambria or Morro Bay. The hotel location will be based on availability. Your personal tour guide will assist you with checking in and out of your hotel to save you time and worry.


 

SECOND DAY:


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Heart CastleAfter enjoying a hearty breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and drive for just a few miles north to visit the renowned Hearst Castle. On the Hearst Castle grounds, you will be escorted to the scenic enchanted hills where the imposing Hearst Castle lies. A state approved professional tour guide will meet you as you disembark the shuttle bus and take you on a group tour inside and outside of Hearst Castle. The Castle houses 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens. The Castle is divided into four major wings - La Casa Grande, Casa del Sol, Casa del Monte and Casa del Mar. Admire the Castle’s beautiful ocean views, terraces, amazing walkways and pools including Neptune and Roman pools, as well as the large collection of ancient art, sculptures, furniture, and relics. Hearst amassed a collection that still rivals famous museums today, and he used almost every square inch of the hilltop California estate to showcase it all. This unique atmosphere, extravagance, and lavish lifestyle has attracted many notable figures including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt, among others.

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Heart CastleHearst Castle’s Visitor Center offers you five tour options to choose from. Our recommendation for first time visitors is Tour #1, so please don’t forget to let us know which option you would prefer so that we can book the required tickets in advance for you. There is a box at the bottom of the reservation page “special request” where you can add this note regarding the tour option you want us to book on your behalf. We do recommend booking ahead of time as tour reservations are subject to availability. The Castle is managed by the State of California, and does tend to sell out quickly, so the sooner you book, the better. Click here for all tour information. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes tickets to the 40 minute “Building The Dream” IMAX movie as well, which is located on property. You will also enjoy time to visit the gift shop and the food court.

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Casa GrandeNext, you may consider visiting one of Paso Robles’ premium wineries and enjoying a unique outdoor and relaxing wine tasting experience, with sweeping views of Paso Robles and outlying areas. An optional wine and food experience can be arranged, or you can visit an olive oil press. Afterwards, 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 Salina’s agricultural valley.

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Heart CastleThe order of this fantastic new 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 tour guide will be on hand throughout the whole journey, and will ensure that your expectations are not only met, but exceeded. Don’t miss out on this overnight custom tour to the majestic Hearst Castle combined with Big Sur's stunning wonders, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Our custom tour prices include your hotel accommodation as well.

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Heart CastleHeart CastleIf you’d like, there is also the option of adding an additional day to your trip so that you can visit more wonders like Moro 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 the endless beaches of Pismo Beach State Park and scenic dunes. Our private tours are completely customizable to meet all of your needs, and you will not be disappointed!

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Elephants SealsGolden Horizon offers California adventures and custom package tours all inclusive as well – let us handle your travel needs and we will strive to exceed your expectations.

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Hearst Castle 2-Day Tour Prices by SUV

SUV Tour
Tour Prices: Semi Private SUV Tour
/Person
Private SUV Tour
/Person
***Hotel ** Based on
double occupancy & 2
or 3 star hotel and Tax
1 $929.00 $1,189.00 Included
2 $929.00 $1,189.00 Included
3 $929.00 $999.00 Included
4 $759.00 $799.00 Included
5 $699.00 $729.00 Included
6 $629.00 $689.00 Included
7 $599.00 $599.00 Included
 

Hearst Castle 2-Day Tour Prices by VAN

Van Tour
Tour Prices per person Semi private VAN Price
/person
accommodation included Based on 3 star hotel double occupancy
1 - 4 Guests $699.00 Included
5 - 8 Guests $629.00 Included
9- 14 Guests $599.00 Included
 

**NOTE** :

  • A minimum of 4 participants is required per each single reservation to run this 2-Day tour by Van or charter our luxury van to enjoy 100% as described above. No single or individual reservations is available as we don't work with any hotel in San Francisco, we specialize in Private Tours unlike all other tour companies.
  • Our policy regarding semiprivate (shared tours): Our decreased and discounted prices noted above are based on the number of participants in your own party and not on the number of attendees who may share the vehicle with you. No discount or refund will apply when sharing the vehicle with other parties who may sign up for the same tour. Also, by booking a semi-private tour, you agree to share the required vehicle with other customers which maybe narrated in several foreign languages in addition to English. Nevertheless, we guarantee your tour even if no other participants sign up for that tour as long as the minimum number of participants is acquired. You may wish to consider our Private Tour if you need more privacy, comfort and flexibility and do not wish to share the trip with other customers. Our Private tour is the only way to go!
  • Hotel location will depend on availability and how much time in advance we receive your reservation. You may stay in San Simeon, Cambria, Morrow Bay or in San Luis Obispo.
  • Duration and Frequency: This is a 2-Day Adventure to Hearst Castle, Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur.
  • 1 Ticket per person is included to visit Hearst Castle. All reservations we receive are subject to availability and that is out of our hands as it depends on Hearst Castle Tickets availability. The sooner you book the better!
  • Included: Hearst Castle entrance fees and tickets (1 each), tax, 1night in Hotel (if included), complimentary pick-up/drop off and a full day private or semi-private guided tour.
  • Not Included: Meals, driver's gratuity, overtime, and optional features or tickets
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Hearst Castle and Big Sur 2 day Tour
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