Full-day custom excursion to visit Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the 17-Mile Drive, following the stunning scenery of Highway 1
Experience the ultimate custom touring experience by visiting the Monterey Bay Area, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the 17-Mile Drive, including Pebble Beach and California State Route 1, famous for its and hidden natural wonders. This itinerary is fully customizable to meet your needs and preferences. This is your private tour, and your passionate guide will meet and greet you anywhere you wish. If you wish to spend more time in Monterey or Carmel, please let your guide know so they will skip the longer, scenic route on California State Route 1, and directly toward Carmel and Monterey, or vice-versa. No prior planning is required unless you have a special request. Sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us —you are in great hands as you travel in comfort in a luxury SUV or van, because our local guides are among the highest rated in the Bay Area! They’ve earned hundreds of 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor and will exceed your expectations.
After a complimentary pick-up at your hotel (anywhere between San Francisco and Carmel), you will depart south and cruise along California State Route 1, on the dramatic and rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean. This unique and exhilarating drive will take you through the nation’s most scenic areas, from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel. On the road, admire the Pacific Coast’s views, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. Take a walk to hidden beaches and see endangered species, including sea otters, harbor seals, and maybe even whales or dolphins. You will travel through amazing sights, coastal towns, and attractions, passing Pacifica or Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio State Beach, Pescadero State Beach and Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Greyhound Rock County Park, and Davenport. You’ll visit Santa Cruz and its famous surfing overlook or drive via Capitola By-the-Sea as we head south passing Zmudowski State Beach Park or Moss Landing State Beach, Marina State Beach, Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf or Cannery Row, the 17-Mile Drive; and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Delight in Monterey’s rich history and experience the bay’s vibrant lifestyle and sweeping views, running along Fisherman’s Wharf and John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Further explore Monterey’s seaside restaurants, quaint shops, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, museums, and wine tasting rooms.
Following Monterey, embark on the scenic 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove, all the way to Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea, and enjoy magnificent scenery, including the Spanish Bay, Sunset Drive and Point Pinos Lighthouse, Asilomar Beach, the Bird’s and Seal’s Rock Overlook, Lone Cypress, and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Resort and Golf Links where you may having lunch.
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.
There is so much to see in this area, that it can’t possibly be done in one day, please consider our two-day custom trip, to see Monterey, Carmel and the stunning wonders of Big Sur, majestic Hearst Castle, and Paso Robles wine country. This package includes hotel accommodations (all applicable taxes and park entrance fees are included as well). Rather than staying at one of the crowded San Francisco hotels, you can choose to stay at an oceanfront hotel in Carmel, San Simeon, or Big Sur, or customize your trip for drop-off at an airport or train station, at no extra charge, including the cities of San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Salinas, Monterey, San Jose or San Francisco International airport.
If you only have one day to spend in Monterey Bay and Carmel, we highly recommending adding a couple of overtime hours to fully enjoy this wonderful destination in-depth, and explore sites not included on this itinerary such as the world famous Bixby Bridge in northern Big Sur. You may even choose a spectacular dining experience, perched on a hanging rock on the dramatic Oceanside, located in northern Big Sur. The scenery is stunning!
Monterey and Carmel Tour Itinerary
This itinerary is a 10-hour, custom, and fully-guided tour, which leaves from and returns to San Francisco. We also offer complimentary pick-up at your hotel or home in South San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz County, or Monterey County; the tour length can be adjusted accordingly.Back to Top
After pick-up, your 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. The route will depend on weather and road conditions, or your chosen itinerary. If you wish to explore California State Route 1, please be aware that you will have less time in Monterey and Carmel (about 1 hour and 15 minutes at each location, or spend more time in Monterey than in Carmel or vice-versa). Please let your guide know when you start the tour if you have any preferences, otherwise, no planning is needed! Leave the driving and itinerary to your professional guide and you will not be disappointed!
When on the non-scenic but faster route, Highway 101, you will pass through Silicon Valley and keep your eyes open for famous high-tech firms Google, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, Apple, and many more. Your guide will drive via Silicon Valley either on the way to Monterey, or on the way back to San Francisco. If interested in an in-depth tour of Silicon Valley, let your guide know and we can create a custom tour for you!
Along the way, you will pass Gilroy, where there is an optional stop at a local farmers market to sample fresh fruits, wine, and famous garlic ice cream! As you travel through rural roads and farmlands between Gilroy and Monterey, you’ll see the beauty of green fields harvesting garlic, red and green lettuces, artichokes, raspberries, strawberries, and broccoli. Admire the sharp contrast between the coastal scenery and green agricultural valleys and farmlands of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.
When driving on California State Route 1, you’ll either start in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, or Santa Cruz County.
Pacifica State Beach is the perfect destination for locals and visitors. This wide crescent-shaped beach is south of San Francisco, and is named from the Spanish translation, meaning “peaceful.” During the busy season, you might experience a bustling beach on weekends and holidays, as well as wildlife, hang gliders passing over the rugged coastline, and visitors enjoying horseback rides on the beach.
Half Moon Bay is in San Mateo County and is also home to gorgeous beaches. Mavericks is a local surfing spot in Half Moon Bay, where some of the world’s best big wave surfers and riders challenge themselves in a competition each winter. Ask your guide for more details.
Along Highway 1, you will also pass by farms known for growing the nation’s largest pumpkins, and see golden beaches, like San Gregorio State Beach, Pomponio State Beach, and Pescadero State Beach and Lighthouse. A must-see is Pigeon Point Lighthouse between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz on California State Route 1. The 115-foot tall lighthouse is perched atop a cliff and overlooking a beach where elephant seals and gray whales can be seen during migration seasons. Nearby, there is a 1,000-year-old redwood forest.
Other sights of interest can include an optional stop at Pelicans Rock or Greyhound Rock in Santa Cruz County, approximately seven miles north of Davenport. These massive cliffs are capped with a thick alluvial cover, and marine terrace deposits. Here, you’ll see wildlife and birds, including pelicans, hawks, turkey vultures, and black oystercatchers.
Our next stop is Davenport Roadhouse, where you’ll enjoy a coffee break overlooking Davenport beach. Did you know Davenport is home to an abalone farm, which has produced the highest quality red abalone for more than 20 years? American Abalone is an aquaculture business, spawning and growing California Red Abalone within the pristine waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Following Davenport, your guide will drive you through Santa Cruz’s rugged coastline, and along its beautiful beaches and cliffs. Santa Cruz is a popular and relaxing getaway, thanks to its location and endless attractions, including a beach boardwalk, and great surfing. Your guide can make a stop at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, if time allows, where you’ll see pictures of surfers challenging huge waves, and watch surfers catching waves along scenic West Cliff.
Departing from Santa Cruz, and heading south to Monterey County, Highway 1 will offer you a wide-range of geographic wonders, including flat wetlands, green fields, breathtaking coastlines, and towering cliffs. Photo stops will be scheduled so you can capture the beauty of the California coast. Your guide will stop at a local, hidden state beach which is right off Highway 1, where you may see sea otters, seals, and harbor seals. Take a walk to this hidden beach and you might even be rewarded with views of dolphins or whales swimming in the ocean.You may also want to visit the farmlands along the backroads of Monterey County and Salinas Valley, where John Steinbeck was born, instead of traveling along California State Route 1. Your guide will be on hand and will customize your tour itinerary accordingly.
Continuing the journey, you’ll visit Monterey Cannery Row, or the Fisherman’s Wharf. Monterey Cannery Row is a premiere destination and attraction, which was originally called View Avenue, and renamed “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 toward Pacific Grove, where thousands of monarch butterflies meet every year; or add more time to your tour for a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, known throughout the world for its interactive exhibits and presentation of marine life on a truly grand scale. Please talk to your guide if you would like to add a visit on to your tour.
Following lunch (meals are not included in the tour price), you will embark on the 17-Mile Drive to visit iconic sights like Pebble Beach Resorts and Golf Course, or you may choose to enjoy lunch here instead. A number of photo opportunities will be offered along the 17-Mile Drive, including Cypress Point, the Bird’s Rock, Spyglass vista point, Seals Rock, China Rock, Point Joe, and the Spanish Bay. You will also travel through Pacific Grove and near the old lighthouse on the way to Carmel.
As mentioned, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small town famous for its scenery and rich artistic history, inspiring many artists. It is also a world-class shopping destination, rich with history. A tour of Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch can be scheduled where bus tours can’t go, if you’d like!
You might also want to visit Mission Carmel, also known as Mission “San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo,” a Roman Catholic church, which was once the headquarters of the Las California Province missions, lead by Father Junípero Serra from 1770, until his death in 1784, who is buried here.
If you don’t wish to visit Monterey or Carmel, or would like to spend more time in one place, or the other, please let your guide know so that they can modify your itinerary.
If you have the time to extend your stay, we highly recommend our two-day custom tour, which includes Big Sur and many of its majestic wonders. We would be more than happy to recommend accommodations in San Simeon or Big Sur. Upon checking out, your guide will drive you to San Francisco, or an airport or train station, at no extra charge.
Thank you for choosing Golden Horizon Tours. We strive to meet and exceed your expectations on this adventure!
This SUV tour is private and the price is per person.
Price per person
|Totally Private Tour|
This van tour is private and prices change depending on the number of people in your party. You are not sharing the tour with anyone except for those in your party.
The price is
Van Tour Tax,
17 Mile drive
|1 - 5 Guests||$1,399.00|
|6 - 7 Guests||$1,479.00|
|8 - 10 Guests||$1,559.00|
|11 - 12 Guests||$1,659.00|
|13 - 14 Guests||$1,799.00|
Included: Pick-up and drop-off in San Francisco, 10 hours of guided expert information, 17-Mile Drive entrance fees, travel to Monterey, Carmel, and all applicable taxes.
Not included: The price does not include meals, driver’s gratuity, overtime, wine tasting fees, and optional activities or entrance fees