Visit Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the 17-Mile Drive in a 1-day private custom tour from San Francisco or San Jose. Visit the Monterey Bay Area, Carmel-by-the-Sea and the 17-Mile Drive, including Pebble Beach and the majestic vistas of California Pacific Highway Route 1.
This exhilarating drive and private tour experience will take you to the nation's most scenic routes from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel. Admire beautiful farmlands and green fields along the back roads of Monterey County and Salinas Valley where John Steinbeck was born. Take a walk to hidden beaches and see endangered species, including sea otters.
Delight in Monterey’s rich history and experience a vibrant lifestyle and sweeping views along Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. Explore seaside restaurants, quaint shops, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and much more. Embark on the scenic 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove all the way to Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea to enjoy breathtaking scenery.
Discover the idyllic seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, which inspired some of the world's finest artists, sculptors, photographers and writers. Carmel is also a world-class shopping destination, with cozy restaurants, colorful cottages, eclectic mansions and outstanding art galleries. It is even home to celebrities, like at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch.
Experience our new private day tour from San Francisco to visit Monterey Bay Area and Peninsula including Carmel-by-the-Sea, the 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and the California State Route 1 top sights and attractions.
This trip itinerary is fully customizable and will be tailor-made to your needs and preferences. This is your private tour. We will accommodate you and travel your way to make this journey a fun and memorable trip. Your passionate and private guide will meet and greet you at your home or hotel anywhere you prefer in San Francisco, San Mateo County or in Santa Clara. If you wish to spend more time in Monterey or Carmel, please let your guide know so that her or she can tweak your trip itinerary based on your preference and travel needs. 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 TripAdvisor 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 Highway 101 and then on California State Route 1 along 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 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 coastal towns with amazing sights 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 (this route is optional, based on weather and road conditions). You may also visit Santa Cruz and its famous surfing overlook as we head south passing Moss Landing State Beach, Marina State Beach, Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf or Cannery Row, the 17-Mile Drive; and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Once in Monterey, delight in Monterey’s rich history. Experience the Bay’s vibrant lifestyle and sweeping views 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. Enjoy the 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 have 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 heel shoes. 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 cannot possibly be done in one day. Please consider our two-day custom trip to see Monterey, Carmel and the stunning wonders of Big Sur and majestic Hearst Castle.
If you only have one day to spend in Monterey Bay and Carmel, we highly recommending adding a couple of overtime hours to better enjoy this wonderful destination. It will allow you to 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. The scenery is stunning!
This itinerary is fully customizable and will be tailor-made to meet your travel needs and preferences. This is your private tour and you can do it your way.
We will offer you a complimentary pick-up at your hotel, home or preferred pick-up location in San Francisco, South San Francisco or Silicon Valley Area including Palo Alto and San Jose. Also included are the applicable taxes, entrance fees to most of state parks, forest of redwoods, and to the 17-Mile Drive. This is a worry-free 12-hour private day tour package with thrilling stops and breathtaking vistas designed for travelers who have only one day to spare in San Francisco and the Bay area. Your passionate local tour guide will meet and greet you anywhere you wish to be picked up from these areas. No prior planning is required on your side, unless you have a special request.
Sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us —you are in great hands as you will travel in comfort, in a luxury SUV or Van (Minibus), 100% private and totally customizable. This is your private tour and you can do it your way.
Note: Instead of 9 hours, this trip lasts 12 hours from 8 am to 8 pm to allow you to visit northern Big Sur iconic attractions, which we usually do not include in the one-day tour.
8 am or 9 am: Complimentary pick-up at your hotel, home or preferred pick-up location in San Francisco, South San Francisco or Silicon Valley Area including Palo Alto and San Jose. The pick-up time may vary based on your location, the season, weather or road conditions.
Your passionate local tour guide will meet and greet you anywhere you wish in the areas mentioned. No prior planning is required on your side, unless you have a special request. Sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us —you are in great hands as you will travel in comfort, in a luxury SUV or Van (Minibus), 100% private and totally customizable.
After your pick-up, your guide will drive you south towards Monterey Bay through Silicon Valley and Gilroy (‘the garlic capital of the world’). The route will depend on weather and road conditions, or your chosen itinerary based on your location and preference. When you start the tour please let your guide know if you have any preferences. Otherwise, no prior planning is needed! Leave the driving and itinerary to your professional guide, relax, enjoy the ride – you will not be disappointed!
After approximately a 2-hour drive, you will exit Highway 101 heading west towards California Pacific Highway 1. You will travel through rural roads and farmlands between Gilroy and Monterey in Southern part of Sant Cruz County, witnessing the beauty of the green fields where garlic, red and green lettuces, artichokes, raspberries, strawberries, and broccoli are grown. Admire the sharp contrast between the coastal scenery and green agricultural valleys and farmlands of Santa Cruz County and Monterey County. Next, you will stop at a hidden beach off the Coast Highway 1 to picture sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and maybe even whales or dolphins.
Enjoy photo stops on the way between Watsonville and Monterey as you cruise along California State Route 1.
Continuing the journey heading south on California Pacific Highway 1, you will 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. 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. Furthermore, you can explore Monterey’s seaside restaurants, quaint shops, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, museums, and wine tasting rooms.
You may also walk towards 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 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 the Pebble Beach Resort and Golf Course, (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, Spanish Bay, Sunset Drive and Point Pinos Lighthouse, Asilomar Beach, the Bird’s and Seal’s Rock Overlook.
After your stop at Pebble Beach and along the famous 17-Mile Drive, the next stop will be 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 heel shoes. Carmel prohibits chain restaurants, and most of streets have no addresses, but each house has name.
There is so much to see in this region, that it can’t possibly be done in a 1-day trip. Please consider our 2-day custom travel package, with hotel accommodation included, to explore this unique destination in-depth, and without rushing non-stop to get from Point A to Point B.
Discover Monterey, Carmel, 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach in a 1-day private custom adventure, entrance tickets to state beaches and to the 17-mile drive and all taxes included.
This SUV tour is totally private, and the price is per person.
|Price per person||1 Guest||2 Guests||3 Guests||4 Guests||5 Guests||6 Guests||7 Guests|
|Hotel Accommodation Excluded||$898||$449||$329||$269||$229||$189||$169|
|Price per person||1 Guest||2 Guests||3 Guests||4 Guests||5 Guests||6 Guests||7 Guests|
|Hotel Accommodation Excluded||$898||$449||$329||$269||$229||$189||$169|
This van tour is totally private, we do not offer public tours as we respect your privacy. This will be a 100% private custom tour tax included. The price is per party, not, per person.
|Price per group||1-5 Guests||6-7 Guests||8-10 Guests||11-12 Guests||13-14 Guests|
|Hotel Accommodation Excluded||$1679||$1799||$1889||$1999||$2159|
|Price per group||1-5 Guests||6-7 Guests||8-10 Guests||11-12 Guests||13-14 Guests|
|Hotel Accommodation Excluded||$1679||$1799||$1889||$1999||$2159|
Included: Complimentary pickup and drop off in San Francisco, in San Mateo County, Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Santa Clara or from San Jose ). We can also start and end your private custom tour in Monterey or Carmel at no extra cost, the length of the trip will be a based on your pickup/drop off location as we are based in San Francisco. Regardless where you start and end this amazing private custom tour, you’ll enjoy the same quality of time and you’ll visit awesome and unique places along California pacific coast Highway and explore top attractions and beach towns along California scenic highway 1.
This tour is 100% private conducted in a luxury vehicle driven by a local expert and passionate tour guide; the trip itinerary will be tailored-made based on your own travel needs, preference, pickup time and location; you’ll not be disappointed.
Not included: The price does not include meals, sport or beach activities, driver’s gratuity, overtime, and optional activities or entrance fees not stated above.
Term & Refund Policy
-91% of the total amount will be refunded to your credit card if you cancel your trip at least 15 business days prior to the scheduled tour (or the date of the tour or service). The remaining 9% covers the required transaction fees; that’s 4.5 % per each transaction (booking is one transaction and refunding is a second transaction for which we get charged as well). (weekends and holidays don’t count).
-50% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled at least 7 business days prior to the scheduled tour date or service. (weekends and holidays don’t count).
-15% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled at least 5 business days prior to the scheduled date of the tour (weekends and holidays don’t count).
-0% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled 4 business days, or less, prior to the day of the scheduled tour or service. This includes no-shows. (weekends and holidays don’t count)
Please note that all refunds are subject to credit card and merchant’s fees imposed on us by credit cards companies and merchant banks or providers. The average amount of credit cards and merchant’s transactions fees may range between 3.9 % to 9.8% of the total amount of your purchase (transaction) based on the type of credit card you use when booking this tour, the credit card issuer, country and conversion fees we are subject per transaction. Many foreign countries apply additional origination and conversions fees.
Important: Please note that we reserve the date(s) you requested and booked on our website for you and we decline taking other tours for these date(s) to honor yours. We keep a tour guide and a luxury vehicle on hold and make all required reservations and arrangements for you and your party, so please don’t change the date or cancel at the last minute as we have other customers and tours to honor.
– Reservation and Confirmation: As soon as you book online, a merchant receipt is generated automatically and sent to you via email. We will also confirm your reservation by email and send you a tour voucher or email confirming your booking date, tour and pick-up time. This tour confirmation or voucher is only valid for the specific date(s) you reserved on our website, and only valid for the names listed on the booking. You can’t transfer the names or ask for a different date(s), as we have other tours to honor. You may not change the tour date within 15 days from the date of the scheduled tour you booked, and there will be no alternative days offered.
In an effort to honor all tours, we reserve the right to partner with other tour operators, freelancers, and/or our sister companies. The exact name and contact information of your tour operator will be stated on your tour voucher and the trip confirmation will be issued especially for you after we received your approved transaction.
-All tours are subject to availability as we may get several tour requests at the same time. Approved payment transactions do not guarantee your tour unless it has been confirmed via email.
Please note that when transactions are declined, we do not receive any information in this regard, so do not expect your reservation to be in place unless you received written confirmation. Please contact us asap, but do not expect us to honor your tour without an email confirmation and tour voucher from us.
If your booking was declined by your own bank, this is often due to a mismatch between your bank information (such as the names on the credit card, zip/postal code or billing address) compared to the bank information you provided on our website when placed your order. Sometimes, transactions are declined due to insufficient funds as well. Your tour(s) will not be confirmed until your new transaction is approved by your own bank. We apologize for the inconvenience, but your own bank did so to prevent fraud and protect your credit card information or due one of the above factors.
All our tours are subject to availability even when the transactions are approved. We will get back to you as soon as possible and let you know if the required tour(s) and date(s) still available. Also, all our tours are conducted in English unless otherwise stated in the email or tour voucher confirmation we will send you soon, once your transaction is approved.
We reserve the right to offer you suitable substitutes or changes to your itinerary, tours or services due to special events, weather conditions, road closures, vehicle breakdowns, unpredictable circumstances, unavailability and/or due to last minute reservations. We assume no responsibility for delays caused by accidents, breakdowns, unforeseen accidents or events, road, weather conditions and/or all other circumstances beyond our control. We do not guarantee to arrive to, or depart from, any point at a specific time for the same above considerations. However, we will do our very best to honor your tour itinerary and schedule accordingly.
Hot-Air Balloon Special Cancellation and Refund Policy: This is an 8-hour guided tour (door to door when leaving from San Francisco or 6 hours when leaving from Napa or Sonoma Valley).
Your balloon ride will be scheduled before sunrise depending on weather conditions. Your safety is our #1 priority. Some rides may launch from other sites like Yolo County or Pope Valley when Napa weather conditions don’t allow us to fly the balloon. Balloons will never fly when it rains or in winds higher than 12 mph.
Heads-up: The hot-air balloon pilots offer alternative launching sites when Napa Valley weather conditions don’t permit them to take off from the valley. This maximizes your chances to fly from other sites even when weather conditions are not ideal in Napa.
Non-refundable for No-Show or last-minute changes: Our office staff will notify you by 5 pm the day prior to your hot-air balloon tour (generally, we pick our customers between 4 and 5 am at your hotel in San Francisco or Napa). If we are unable to reach you before 5 pm the day prior to your balloon tour because you don’t respond to your email or cellphone, or because you decided not to return our calls, your driver will still show up at 4 am as scheduled. However, if you don’t wake up , this will be a no-show and therefore, the entire cost will be non-refundable as per our refund terms and cancellation policy.
The Refundable Portion of the balloon ride: If you decide to cancel the balloon ride portion of the tour, you must do so at least 72 hours in advance. The hot-air balloon ride is only refundable when the pilot cancels it the same day due to bad weather or for any other considerations. If you cancel the balloon reservation is 72 hours in advance; the tour guide will pick you up at 9 am instead of 4 am and proceed with the wine tour as scheduled.
The wine tour itself is not refundable regardless of weather conditions. However, if you wish to proceed and take your chance, your tour guide will pick you up as scheduled at 4 am. Please keep in mind that we have reserved this day just for you and turned down other reservations to honor your tour, we still get charged and pay all wages and business expenses. For that, only the hot-air balloon ride portion of this package is refundable IF YOU CANCEL IT BEFORE 5 PM THE DATE PRIOR TO YOUR TOUR. If so, you will receive a $190 refund per person, which will be credited back to you within 7 business days. If you book directly with Viator, please review their own terms and policy .
Again, no changes or modifications are accepted within 72 hours prior to your trip. We close our office at 5 pm and your driver goes as early as 7 pm to be able to wake up at 2 am and come over to the office to pick up the required vehicle and meet you at 4 am at your hotel.
We are extremely transparent about these unforeseen weather conditions ,cancellation policy and terms. Please read these terms carefully so we avoid any misunderstanding or blame. Our drivers are humans and go to bed incredibly early to be able to show up at your hotel at 4 am. Please do not make any last-minute changes after 5 pm the day before your departure/tour. We will not even get your message until the next day!
Other terms and information
Wheelchair and Handicap Accessibility issues: We apologize but our vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair access. There is no room for a wheelchair in our vehicles unless it’s a very small and foldable wheelchair. However, the main concern is the customers’ ability to get it in and out of the vehicles for liability issues. When kids, seniors, and wheelchairs are part of the tour, this will slow down the trip, and requires overtime. $179 will be charged to your credit card for each additional hour added to the tour after 12 hours by van, and $129 per hour when touring by SUV.
Pets: Pets are not allowed in our vehicles out of respect for those who have allergies to pets.
Smoking: Our vehicles are also non-smoking.
Clothing: Please be prepared for cold weather, slippery roads and hiking trails, so have comfortable waterproof hiking shoes to walk on the snow in winter and spring. This long day-tour is hard on kids and seniors, we therefore recommend the overnight tour package.
Parks, Attractions and Site’s Closures: We are not responsible, nor liable, for road and weather conditions. State and national parks’ closure can happen at any time and without a prior notice, due to bad road and weather considerations. No refund will be issued, regardless the reasons for which the trip may not reach its destination. If you cancel or stop the tour for personal or medical reasons, there will be no refund or change of tour or dates offered either.
Guided tours in foreign languages: All tours in foreign languages are subject to extra fees to cover tour guides or freelancers we may hire to honor your tour in the required language.
Travel Agents: Travel agents are liable for 20% gratuity when their customer does not tip the driver or tour guides. We require customers’ full name and contact information from all travel agent or the tour will be cancelled. Travel agent are also liable for all overtime when their clients do not pay for, and a credit card will be needed on file. Due to high cost of conducting business in California, we barely cover our business expenses and wages, therefore, all our tours are non-commissionable rates.
Gratuity: 15 to 20% gratuity is required and customary in the USA. Generally, a tip may vary between 15% to 20% of the total purchase amount, or it can be a flat amount that is near the appropriate percent. It really depends upon the situation, and your generosity because without gratuity tour guides can’t thrive in this expensive state of California, and without tour guides, we can’t run this business. Thank you for your generosity and understanding.
Muir Woods National Monument new regulations: Once in Muir Woods National Monument, you’ll find out that it has become less crowded and even very peaceful because Muir Woods has become the first national park to require reservations in advance with special commercial and parking permits. This extra cost and in addition to the complicated reservations process turn off manty visors and tour companies from visiting Muir Woods. No one can visit or access Muir Woods anymore without prior reservations and permits. But don’t worry, thanks to our private tours and small group custom trips, we will take care of all the required arrangements and offer you a worry-free tour package, we do reserve and pay for your parking and Muir Woods permits, however, your Muir Woods tickets are not included in the tour price and will be at your charge ($10 per person, but may go up again).
Please note that tour guides are not allowed to conduct guided tours to Alcatraz or Muir Woods. Your Alcatraz and Muir Woods are self-guided tours as stated on our website (an audio self-guided tour on your own for Alcatraz prison). Also, in order to keep the cost down, we therefore do not include a drop-off at your hotel after you visit Alcatraz, so you don’t pay overtime or have a driver waiting for you while visiting Alcatraz Island. The Fisherman’s Wharf hotels are walking distance from Alcatraz landing. Public transportation is very affordable and available everywhere.
Alcatraz tours and tickets and the use of our online calendar: The only online calendar available on our website is extremely hard to manage and update on daily basis. This calendar governs all our tours and available in over 10 different languages which multiplies the number of tour options by 10! When Alcatraz tickets are sold out, we cannot simply block the calendar for these particular date(s) because this will prevent all other clients from booking any of our tours in 10 different languages, this would put us all out of business! Alcatraz represents only 1% of our tours and it’s extremely impossible to block the calendar each time Alcatraz is sold out. For that reason, we have amended these terms and conditions on our website stating clearly unequivocally the following terms regarding Alcatraz tour and tickets:
-All our tours including Alcatraz are subject to availability even if the transaction is approved. We do reserve the right to void or refund your transaction when Alcatraz tickets are sold out, this is totally out of our hands as the only provider of Alcatraz tickets and tours are governed by the U.S. National Park Service.
-We do require 8 business weeks in advance when booking our Alcatraz tour during the peaks season, holidays and week-ends. The peak season refers to the period of April to the end of October.
-We reserve the right to offer you alternative tours when Alcatraz is sold out, if you decline our offer, we simply and fully refund your transaction which takes about 10 business days before your funds are available to you as stated above under section “voided and refunded transactions” clause.
Common mistake some customers do: When Alcatraz tickets are sold out, customers rush desperately to book directly Alcatraz tour on our website without taking the time to review our terms and conditions in this regard, we are not to blame in this case as we made it extremely clear that we have no control over Alcatraz tickets when they are sold out, for that reason we do require at least 8 business weeks booking in advance!
The misconception about private tours: There a misconception about private tours. Yes, public large bus group tours are more cost-effective for the operator, than private tours. In essence, the input cost of private tours and public tours are roughly the same - both provide one driver or a tour guide, one vehicle, same trip length whilst both companies assume the same business expenses and commercial insurance liability. However, private tour operators (like ours) make 90% less profit than public group tours, because all our resources are dedicated to a small group (couples or families), whilst the pubic tour operators make 10 times more profits thanks to the volume(quantity)! We, on the other hand, focus on quality as we never share our private tours with other customers. Yet, although we provide a higher quality tour service, and incur even greater expenses in many cases, the profit margins are limited. This makes some of our private tours barely profitable due to the increasing cost and liability of conducting business in California.
Additional Terms & Tips for visitors and hikers
– If you are subject to car or motion sickness, please consider asking your doctor for recommended medication. Some visitors underestimate this aspect and end up visiting only 50% of the tour as they suffer from this or altitude sickness and make an excessive number of stops along the way. Please consult your doctor and ensure you have the appropriate medication in advance.
– Consider leaving unnecessary luggage at your hotel and travel light so you have more room in the vehicle.
– Wear clothes and shoes suitable for walking and hiking (Snow shoes in winter are recommended, and a swimsuit to enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool and hot tub).
– Bring sunscreen, bug spray, extra memory cards, and batteries for your camera (if applicable).
– Warm layers for cooler weather and a raincoat for summer showers.
– Drink lots of water due to the high altitude and don’t hike alone, as we offer fully-guided tours.
– We are not responsible for injuries or accidents that may occur during this trip, in or out of Yosemite National Park. Please read our < href="/terms-conditions">terms and conditions for more information.
-Expect rugged terrain with narrow, steep, and very curvy hiking trails to the sequoias. Also, be prepared for a downhill hike and then back uphill to the parking lot. The trail is very steep right at the beginning on the way back up but mellows out as you get closer to the parking lot. It depends on the grove your driver will choose for you, but they all require hiking. The elevation at the trail head of both top groves is about 6,200 feet (1,860 meters). The most popular is the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, the distance is about 2.5 miles (4 km) round trip and takes about 1.5 – 2 hours of hiking, and recommended for everybody who can hike including kids.
-California Gold Country: When Tioga Pass road (located between Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra where a major highway leads to Tahoe) is closed due to heavy snow that may start as early as October until about June or July, we will drive through the infamous, yet legendary, California Gold Country on day 2 and day 3 of your adventure.
-Please note that we may start in Lake Tahoe first, and then head to Yosemite National Park or vice versa. This will depend on the hotels’ availability, the season, the weather and road conditions. We do not work on commission, so you are welcome to book your own hotel, but if you don’t want to deal with these details, we can take care of that on your behalf when you choose the option ‘hotel included’ from our shopping cart.
Hotel Reservation: To keep costs down, we charge each guest only about $100 per night, for a three-star hotel in and around Yosemite Valley area, based on availability. However, if you have high expectations of the hotel accommodation, and wish to upgrade, we recommend that you choose your own hotel and book it directly with the required resort or hotel. The Majestic hotel (the former Awhanhee) is the only 4-star hotel in the Yosemite Valley where a suite may go from $600 to $1200 per night based on availability and the season. Please note that there are a very limited number of hotels in Yosemite, and they are often sold out 6 to 12 months in advance, so the sooner you book the better. However, we often manage to get a hotel reservation nearby Yosemite Valley, in one of the small resort or motel style hotels in the area, for reservations closer to the tour date.
More Terms and Miscellaneous
Foreign Languages: Our tours are conducted in English unless otherwise indicated on your tour voucher. Some foreign languages are subject to additional fees. For all foreign languages, you must book a Private Tour and not a semi-private tour to enjoy the tour in the required language (subject to availability). Additional fees may apply on any additional foreign languages. All semi-private tours are conducted in English and can be shared with other clients. Semi-private tours will no longer be available on our website. Please book your private tour asap as our tour bilingual tour guides are booked up months in advance.
Miscellaneous: Meals and tour guide/driver gratuities are not included in our tour price unless indicated on your tour voucher or email confirmation.
Tour prices do not include additional fees including wine tasting, accommodations, and entry fees to see attractions and sites, winery tours, unless otherwise indicated on your tour voucher or email confirmation.
-All vehicles operated by Golden Horizon Travel Inc are non-smoking according to state and federal laws.
-Golden Horizon Travel Inc reserves the right to hire independent tour guide/drivers, subcontractors and/or contractors to facilitate our tours, shuttle services and travel packages.
-In the event that we are unable to facilitate your tour due to weather and/or road conditions, we will attempt to reach each location, site and destination using alternative routes, but we are not liable nor responsible for these unforeseen weather/traffic conditions. No refunds will be available.
-All photos or videos taken by our staff of our customers or passengers, during the capacity of the tour, trip or transfer, may be included on our website. Customers hereby agree to the use of these photos and videos and under no circumstances can customers dispute.
-No substitution or refunds for any unused part of the tour(s) will be issued. All sales are final.
-No refunds will be issued for a no-show or unused portion of the tour.
-All refund and/or voided transactions paid on our website by credit or debit cards or via PayPal may take up to 2 weeks before you receive the funds (refunds) back into your account.
Our hot-air balloon rides are no guaranteed to depart and arrive back in Napa Valley and subject to last-minute cancelation for weather considerations. Golden Horizon Travel inc reserves the right to fly anywhere within 80-mile radius of Napa Valley dependent on the weather conditions.
-We reserve the right to refuse service to any person or business who may refuse to comply with our safety instructions, our tour itinerary, or to anyone who may pose a threat to our customers and/or our tour guide-drivers. Screaming at or insulting tour guide-drivers or fellow passengers or third-party businesses and subcontractors is not acceptable under any circumstances and will terminate and cancel your tour without any refund. Discrimination against a customer or a tour guide–driver for any reason is not acceptable either under any circumstance.
Cancellation due to unforeseen weather conditions: Weather/Unforeseen Circumstances like fires, landslide, road closure, vehicle breakdown, employees or driver’s medical emergency or due other weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances; we revere the right to offer you alternative tours, destinations for the same amount of time.
Very Important! Before you book Alcatraz nigh tour:
Alcatraz night tour requires 70 business days advance booking
2. This shopping cart calendar shows availability because it can't be blocked for only one product as it governs over 200 products and tours on our website in 10 different languages!
3. All reservations are subject to availability even if your transaction is approved. Your transaction will be voided if you book an Alcatraz night tour within 69 days.
4. Please reach out to us via our live chat before you book Alcatraz night tour due to the extreme challenge with Alcatraz night tour tickets availability. Alcatraz National Park Service only offers this tour from Tuesday through Saturday for only a few visitors(like a lottery) , and that’s only available in the summer!
5. Alcatraz is managed by the national park service; we have no control over their policy and tickets’ availability.
6. We are not blame if you ignore these terms and conditions when booking Alcatraz night tour online
My mother recently had her 80th birthday. Having lost her husband, my father, 6 months ago, my sister and I decided to take my mother on a trip to refresh her mind and body.
She is recovering from a stroke. She had never seen California before. We live on the East Coast. We wanted to see the redwoods, the pacific, the wine country, the golden gate, the city and all the wonders found in the San Francisco Bay area.
We only had 4 days to see all these things....what to do? How do we make sure my mother is safe, comfortable, relaxed and enjoying these sights in Monterey and Carmel?
Luck led to meet goldenhorizontravel.com and I spoke with Nelly, then Adam by phone, he understood our needs, and we arranged a two-day private tour.
My family cannot say enough good things about Golden Horizon Travel office staff, and our awesome tour guide, Adam. He was kind, protective, proactive, compassionate and knowledgeable from history to horticulture, multi-lingual, musical, humorous, interesting, a safe driver, great company, polite, a great teacher.... and the list can continue until all superlatives in the English language are exhausted! My mother is still talking about the trip and how perfect it was even with the recent fires. Adam knew how to outsmart the fires smoke and the traffic. We saw everything we hoped for, and more without the trip being hectic or exhausting. The pace was comfortable, and we learned and experienced with joy.
The tour was customized to us and our unique situation. Adam did everything to be at my mother's arm at every doorstep and incline. He even borrowed a golf cart from a golfer at Pebble Beach in order to give my mother a ride, sparing her a steep, outside staircase. We did not need to ask...he intuitively knew how to help and be "present" to our needs.
If you are considering a tour with Golden Horizon Tours, and Adam, I hope you’ll make a reservation with this local and reliable tour company in San Francisco. You will not be disappointed and I’m happy to be a reference.
Thank you, Golden Horizon Travel and Adam. My mother is still boasting to all about you, we now have a true friend in town!
Marisa de Paulis-Hawn
Trip Advisor Senior Contributor
Myself and 5 girlfriends had planned a trip visit to San Francisco bay area and we wanted to experience Monterey, the 17-Mile drive, Big Sur and Hwy 1 to Hearst Castle. We debated about renting and driving ourselves, then we found out that most parks and places we wanted to visit require a commercial permit and entrance fees , and most hotels were already booked up. Driving through big sur was not easy at all, so we were very glad that we chose Golden Horizon Tours instead.
From the booking online to the tour itself, this tour company went above and beyond to accommodate us.
Mary, our tour guide, picked us up on time at our hotel and Adam loaded our luggage into our roomy comfortable large van for our trip down the coast.
A rainstorm was brewing so we made haste to get on our way. Mary provided us with lots of local information as we travelled along. Adam helped us have a fabulous trip with lots of laughs and some of the best photographs we ever made a s a group .We enjoyed lunch at the Fish Hopper in the Cannery Row in Monterey, then a quick walk through the area of Cannery Row ,before we started our spectacular trip along 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and Carmel.
Mary stopped along the way for us to enjoy the wonderful views and Adam was quick to snap many pictures with our phones and cameras! Mary and Adam were exceptional and so fun! They knew all the best places and hidden gems for photos and viewing, providing plenty of history and information as we drove along the way from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and Monterey. We enjoyed the stop at the Pebble Beach Golf Course as well, but alas no sign of Clint :(
We managed to get well on our way along Hwy 1 before the rain started. As no one has control over the weather, we were soon in mist and rain , with little to see. This was when we were glad someone else was at the wheel! We too advantage to stop in an old lounge and had hot chocolate and coffee by a fireplace where locals meet to read newspapers… rain or shine, it didn’t really matter, every minute was well spent and very well organized, these folks are truly professionals!
Mary drove expertly. Adam kept us entertained with jokes and then found out he had some talented singers on board. We took over the microphone and started singing in the bus, that’s was fun! I love these guys approach and how they made us feel so comfortable. It wasn't long before we could see more scenery along the coast of Big Sur.
Big Sur is scenery so beautiful and enjoyable if you are not at the wheel. Boy! This was one of steepest winding mountain roads we have ever seen; with endless winding turns, cliffside routes and switchback. If you want to enjoy big sur, don’t drive! we were glad someone else was at the wheel
We had a nice lunch break in Big Sur in a hidden restaurant with striking ocean views(we could have never even found it on our own). We were told that Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles spent some time there at this open-air restaurant where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton featured in “the Sandpiper”, one of our favorite movies of Elizabeth Taylor.
After lunch, Mary and Adam took us on a walking tour to a redwood forest to see the giant sequoias, and to waterfalls where we got to see a couple of California condors. We also liked our stop in Rugged Point and at Piedras Blancas where we saw massive elephants’ seals on the beach. The elephant seals were a sight to behold, after we dodged a few puddles to get to them.
We arrived in San Simeon and Mary dropped up off at a nice restaurant ,so they could check us in while we had our dinner. Our accommodation at this intimate lodge was so comfortable and peaceful. The next morning, we had a complimentary breakfast by the pool, and then, we walked to the beach located half block away from this hotel. Mary and Adam checked us out of the hotel, we didn’t have to deal with checking in and out of the hotel and no credit card was required this time for incidentals.
On the way to the Hearst Castle, we stopped to picture zebras roaming through the Hearst Castle state park. We got to Hearst Castle and visited the Grand Rooms, gardens and outdoor pool. The IMAX film at the visitor’s center was excellent. At the gift shop, Adam purchased a DVD on the secrets of Hearst Castle with Patricia Hearst: which we watched on our drive back to San Francisco. ( I think he was afraid we would start singing again!!!).
After Hears Castle, we visited Morro Bay, Avila Beach and spent the last night at gorgeous cliffside resort in San Luis Obispo. We picked up this mineral spring resort and booked a package deal to relax, enjoy their mud path and naturally heated mineral spring and pools. 4 of was signed up for the yoga class, this is real hidden gem which was recommend to us by Nelly and Golden Horizon Travel.
The next day, we visited three wineries in Enda Valley, we loved their chardonnays, this by far was the smallest and most beautiful wine country we have been to.
We wish we could have more time to spend in this region, but we had a flight the day at SFO. Mary dropped us off at the Airport and we flew back home to Calgary.
I have already sent you a hard copy of this tour review we posted on trip advisor regarding our trip to Carmel and Monterey with Adam, our fabulous tour guide on our adventure to Carmel, Monterey, 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach etc... In case he doesn’t share it with you, we did want you to see this tour review because we had the best tour ever with your company thanks to Adam!
As you can tell after reading this tour review, Adam was a terrific tour guide. We feel so fortunate that he was our tour guide-driver. In fact, my brother said this about Adam: “You know that Carol and I have been on a lot of private tours, probably about 50, and Adam was the best guide we’ve ever had”. It’s hard to beat that for a compliment!
Thank you for helping to make our visit to San Francisco, Carmel and Monterey a very special trip for all four of us. I’ll have to say that I was so very impressed with the kindness and congeniality of the people we encountered in San Francisco. Everyone we encountered was delightful, friendly, kind and anxious to help if we needed directions or whatever. It was impressive for such a big city.
With kind regards and may your business continue to be very successful. We certainly will recommend Golden Horizon Travel is someone we know is travelling to the area and needing travel help.
Once again, we all want to thank Adam you for the wonderful day we spent touring Carmel, Monterey, the Pebble Beach golf course (and the clubhouse!!!), along with all the other sites we saw on that fun-filled day that month. You made the day (and into the evening) absolutely sensational. Although brother Bob and Carol had been to this area, Ben and I had not, so to see it with you guiding us along made for an enlightening day. We feel so fortunate that YOU were our tour guide.! Your sense of humor, your wealth of knowledge about the areas we saw, your excellent driving skills, your desire to make sure that all four of us were comfortable and informed and your ability to get us onto the 17 Mile Drive as well as into the Pebble Beach Clubhouse (where the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament was held) just made the day so wonderful. No other tour company could get access to the 17 mile drive that day! We still can’t believe we did and saw all these famous actors out there! Well, I’ll never hold it against you Adam that you informed the guard at the entrance that you had a carload full of seniors from Georgia who only wanted to see the Lone Cypress!! HEE ! I hate to admit it, but I guess we are just that- seniors.! ha(no body was allowed on the 17 Mile drive this day except celebrities, but we made it! )
Again, thank you Adam (alias Hoke) for making our tour so much fun and memorable. You add such a personal touch and you have the unique ability to make everyone feel so comfortable and so special. You went above and beyond making sure we would have a fabulous day in Monterey and Carmel. And we did.!! The photos you took for us are amazing!
Linda, Ben, Bob and Carol
My husband and I are computer geeks, so we could not miss the opportunity to go on a tour of Silicon Valley during our trip to San Francisco in California. I am so glad we decided to go with Golden Horizon. Our guides Adam and David went out of their way to ensure that we had a great time. They made sure we saw all the good spots and then some more like Stanford University, HP garage in Palo Alto, Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the Intel Museum, Oracle, Googleplex and Facebook, ... all in one day tour. We didn’t even feel rushed at all. We would definitely give our Silicon Valley tour experience five stars and we will recommend it to our friends and colleagues.
We had just the right amount of time in each place, stop, and a nice seafood platter for lunch, and amazing day trip with an excellent driver! I cannot imagine a more professional and competent travel company. Everything was arranged beautifully. Do yourself a huge favor and let this tour company handle everything – they are simply marvelous.
We picked Golden Horizon after following on Trip Advisor leads and reviews realizing the need for an expert tour guide and driver. I not only requested a custom tour (Muir Woods and Horseback Riding one afternoon, then a long day of driving from San Fran down to Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Pismo Beach & dropped us off at the 4 season in Santa Barbara) but I also requested Adam who is highly rated on trip advisor. He has been working as a tour guide for over 15 years. He is truly knowledgeable, caring, full of history, full of humor and might have taken more than 400 pictures of my family as he guided us through California. Golden Horizon is real & I'm happy to provide a reference and endorse them. Again, a big thumbs up!
TA Senior Reviewer
Golden Horizon Travel and Buddy are the best thing that happened to us in San Francisco. They are reliable, friendly, professionals and very accommodating.
Maya and Stacey R.
Beverley , Massachusetts
My family of 4 +1 took a private tour of Monterey Bay, Carmel, Big Sur and Hearst Castle. We had huge suitcases which wouldn't have fit in an SUV, and he was kind enough to accommodate us by bringing a large luxury van instead at no extra charge! Jon was the tour guide and driver, he is very polite, professional and with an awesome personality !
From gazing at beautiful vistas of the ocean to spending an afternoon looking at lazy elephant seals, sea otters and sea lions, we saw quite a lot in the span of our 2-day big sur trip. The overnight accommodation at the hotel was very comfortable and we got food suitable to our dietary requirements. The hotel was intimate and small with only 45 rooms, we could see the ocean from our room.
All in all, this 2-day Hearst castle overnight trip is a must do for all ages and travelers, it was a great time spent with the family and new friends!
Golden Horizon is the BEST! 5 STARS ALL THE WAY!!!
CHANDRAKANT P. United Nations Dr.
New Delhi, India
After reading reviews about Golden Horizon, tours, I’ve decided to go ahead and book a California travel package with them with hotel accommodation included.
Our journey started in San Francisco and ended in Santa Monica, in Los Angles. We visited San Francisco, Napa, Yosemite national park, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. Our tour guide was Leo, he is young, energetic and yet very experienced. This destination is underrated, and highly recommended for the whole family.
I recommend taking an extra day to avoid rushing and take the time to visit more places along the way.
We highly recommend this outdoor adventure and this business.
We booked a private tour of San Francisco combined with a horseback ride on the beach, and a full day outdoor adventure to Monterey and Big Sur. Both tours were fully personalized and very well organized.
We were so lucky, we got Adam as our tour guide, he is a fantastic, fun and knowledgeable tour leader.
We managed to see amazing places along California pacific coast highway between San Francisco and Big Sur. We enjoyed very much our horseback ride on the beach near Santa Cruz, and the hike we took to remote beaches in big sur region.
I can go on and on, this tour company was so easy to work with, and they always responded promptly in Spanish, their tour guides are the best and highly recommended.
*Thanks a bunch Adam for the recommendations about the best places to see in Los Angeles, we were not disappointed!
Noemi & Manuel D.
Mary is a fun native san Franciscan tour guide; she made our trip so fun and memorable. She has a good way of dealing with kids and keep everyone entertained and enjoying the trip. We made over 15 stops along the way to Monterey and a ton of photographs.
This getaway is a nice and easy day trip from San Francisco. Nelly who works in the office was very helpful and accommodating, she even responded to our live chats late at night and responded to our inquires and questions before we booked. Their website is every detailed and easy to use.
Shlomi , Sh.
Nes Ziona , Israel
After the trip we took to Alcatraz and Muir Woods with this tour company, we realized how good their tour guides are, this motivated us to book this extra day trip along the coast with this tour company. Our kids were so excited; we had a picnic lunch at the beach and then drove up to local parks and cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we couldn't have asked for anything more.
This was a fun outdoor adventure and suited the whole family, our young daughters had a blast.
The Parsons’ V.
Golden Horizon Travel is the best tour company we had in California, the way they run their tours and treat their clients is impressive; they are very professional and reliable.
We reserved three different excursions with them; one to Muir Woods and Point Reyes, one to San Francisco combined with Alcatraz Island and a full day private tour to Monterey and Carmel. We had three different tour guides, all of them lived up to our expectations (Buddy, Luis and Adam).
If you are looking for new adventures, exclusive destinations and a piece of mind, this travel agency in San Francisco is the right business for you.
The Contreras Family
We read extensively reviews on trip advisor, and we ended up choosing Golden Horizon Tours over the other tour companies in San Francisco based on their excellent reviews. From day 1, they were very responsive and helpful when we approached them by email and through their website live chat.
This is the only tour company in San Francisco that provides private services and guided tours with Spanish speaking tour guides. We booked all our trips with them (Yosemite, Muir Woods, Alcatraz/ San Francisco and Monterey), and we are so glad we did.
This was our first trip the USA and California, and we loved every trip we took with this tour company.
We highly recommend them to all travelers and families with teens.
A three-generation day trip to Big Sur from San Francisco with Adam. The trip was a blast and the weather were awesome. If you have never been to Big Sur before, don’t even hesitate, go and check out this hidden gem, it’s totally worth the money you’ll spend.
My wife and I travel often for business purposes. We took many private tours in the past, but this is by far the best tour company we have worked with. We booked tour package through this tour company and visited beautiful places like Yosemite, Tahoe, Alcatraz and Monterey.
This is a trustworthy tour company and highly recommended
Our travel agent Mrs. Pugh organized a full day California road trip by private SUV with Golden Horizon Travel. We had a driver and a tour guide who was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and accommodating.
The hotels where we stayed in Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbra and in Los Angeles were very comfortable and all were 4-star resorts.
There is so much to see in California, 4 days went by so quickly, however, we had plenty of time to visit the sites we were interested in along California state highway 1. Our tour guide was so engaging and kept us informed, entertained and informed. The only regret we had is that Big Sur road was closed due to a huge mud slide.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
My wife’s relatives came over from oversees to visit us in Florida, it was a hot season, so we decided to travel to California.
I’m so glad we did; we had a fantastic time in San Francisco and Monterey peninsula. We booked a 2-day tour package to Monterey bay area, and we stayed at the Inter-Continental in Cannery Row area, that was the perfect location for day activities and nightlife.
We all loved this tour, we never felt rushed, this was a good fit for the whole family
It didn’t take us too long to reach a laid-back beach, so peaceful and beautiful. Have some extra layers (it got foggy when we were leaving).
After the horseback ride, our fun and very nice tour guide drove us to Santa Cruz where we had lunch in a restaurant located on the Wharf. We ordered a seafood platter which was fresh and yummy, and the views made it the perfect location for our family.
For me personally, the highlight of our trip was our tour of a beautiful forest of big redwood trees in Santa Cruz mountains. I’ve been to Muir Woods before, but this state park was less crowded than Muir Woods and the redwood trees are much bigger and older in Santa Cruz mountains.
On the way back to our hotel in San Francisco, the tour guide made a quick stop at Apple’s new headquarter in Silicon Valley. We visited the visitor center and the store (while our son was sneaking out to fly his drone over Apple’s new and amazing architecture “it looks like a spaceship from the sky”.)
We highly recommend this outdoor adventure and this tour company.
We had to book a combo tour to get our hand on Alcatraz prison tickets, so we signed up for a horseback ride on the beach. It took place in Half-Moon Bay. The scenery along the Pacific coast Highway is breathtaking.
This tour company is very reliable, and their tour guide Mary was amazing! We felt like we had a friend in town. It was more than a tour - a real and fun experience. Mary even drove us through the Golden Gate Park, and we stopped for a snack and beer tasting at the Beach Chalet, an ocean front restaurant with stunning view of ocean beach in San Francisco.
We were picked up by Pat, a nice Irish lady and a wonderful tour guide. She drove us through Mill Valley where we stopped for breakfast before we visited Muir Woods - a peaceful small forest with big and towering redwood trees. The trail through Muir Woods is flat and easy, and there are paved paths for those wanting a casual stroll or more challenging trails. We did both trails along the creek, and our kids had no problem with the twisty paths and stairs although towering redwood trees
After Muir Woods, we had a lunch break at Stinson Beach, which was a great place for a picnic lunch. We enjoyed the delicious fish tacos we ordered, everything was very fresh and sourced locally from Marin county. Near Stinson beach is Bolinas, where we and our kids went on horseback riding in the forest. I’m glad it was only an hour; we could not take more than that as this was our first horseback riding experience.
That was an unforgettable family adventure in Marin county.
Thank you, Pat, for the good memories.
That was an unforgettable family adventure in Marin county.
Thank you, Pat, for the good memories.
I know how hard it can be to pick up a tour company from overseas, I was nervous too, and I had a lot of questions. Golden Horizon tours didn’t disappoint, and even exceeded our expectations.
Believe their reviews, they didn’t disappoint us at all.
Auckland, New Zealand
It's not easy coordinating tours from another country thousands of miles away with a 15-hour time differential. It's a constant struggle not to get paranoid that there will be a miscommunication somewhere that will ruin everything. But, Golden Horizon Travel, thru Nelly and the office staff including Nick, made it seem like I was talking to someone who was there for me 24-7. All my queries were not only immediately answered but answered clearly and patiently. This is how you know they are local, reliable and experienced professionals when they answer all tricky questions with such confidence and expertise. The company we approached before them was acutely located in Texas and was so heard to reach, and when we finally did, they had no idea how to answer our specific questions.
Moreover, with a little over a week to one of our tours (Napa Valley, Yosemite, Silicon Valley Alcatraz and Hearst Castle), we experienced a death in the family where the memorial service schedule conflicted with the tour date. Even with the very short notice and the confirmed schedules of the other tours during that period, Golden Horizon found a way to accommodate our request to move our tour to a later date, with limitless kindness, compassion and at no extra cost.
As for the actual tours to, Golden Horizon tours, thru our tour guide Mary, Patricia and Marina made the experience of our large group tour by minibus (6 adults and 5 children) truly unique, outskating, fun and memorable. Even with our seemingly cramped requested itinerary and last-minute changes, their tour guides accommodated us on the go and made sure we saw the best sites and ate in restaurants that served delicious food and vegetarian options for our mom. Also, despite the long hours and the distances driving, these guys never once showed a drop in their energy.
Thank you, Golden Horizon Travel, Nelly, Mary, Pat and Nick for the memorable tours. 10 Stars won’t even make justice! Book with them without any doubt or hesitations!
Golden Horizon Travel is 100% recommended!
Baes G. Sergonate
Quezon City, Philippines
Golden Horizon Travel staff is underrated, and their tour guide Mary is highly recommended. Mary is a local native tour guide of San Francisco with Irish heritage; she is a fantastic travel guide with an abundance of history of places up and down the pacific coast. Mary was extremely flexible and customised our travel itinerary on the go and based on our personal interests and preference. Some of the trip highlights were seeing hidden beaches, giant redwood trees, an old light house, sea otters up close feeding and playing as well as dolphins and elephant seals.
We had fresh seafood in small wharf in tiny old village where the population is under 150 people, this was by the far the best seafood platter we ever had! Ask for their cioppino or for the catch of the day!
We choose to take a drive through the backroads around Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur rather than using the main touristy route. In Big Sur, we drove off the main road throughout steep canyons and got to truly hidden gems and picturesque beaches. I wish we could have more time to spend in Big Sur, it’s breathtaking.
We also visited Carmel Spanish mission of San Carolos and Pebble Beach. An overall; a fantastic outdoor adventure seeing the sights, learning the history and geology of each region we visited and were treated like royalty!
We would definitely use this great local tour company again.
Even though we only had 2 days, our guide Peter was both knowledgeable and accommodating and we were able to see an amazing places and parks along the way to Hearst Castle. We x visit the Monterey aquarium, Carmel, 17-mile drive, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, and all sorts of side stops along the coast to see wildlife and natural attractions but also excellent California cuisine
The experience was great - we learned a lot, got lots of pictures, and got along very well with our awesome tour guide, Peter, a nice British fellow.
Thank you, Golden Horizon Travel, for helping us and making the most of our short time in California!
This was the perfect mix of awe-inspiring scenery, history and marine wildlife viewings. Our guide Peter was outstanding. He was knowledgeable about so many fields of interest and he tailored a tour itinerary for our small group, that was perfect. The SUV was new, comfortable and spotless. Peter also has a knack for photography, so we left with excellent photos.
Margie , Jess & Maddy
I recommend this tour company and trip enthusiastically.
Peter was a great tour guide and driver. Wonderful trip with beautiful scenery and marine habitat viewings. Luxury SUV very comfortable, and Peter is a creative photographer! This trip is underrated and worth the money. We loved Monterey and Carmel; however, Big Sur was the highlight of the trip - getting to the heart of big sur was not easy, and we were glad we had a designated expert driver. Big Sur road is basically a cliff-hanging drive through narrow mountain roads with countless winding turns and curves… we found out that the drive there was very pleasant and fun as long as you are not behind the wheel in this area.
There was also plenty of outdoor activities to do and fun things to see in Big Sur, so many hidden gems located off the beaten path where visitors drive by nonstop. Having an experienced tour guide helped us a lot and made the best out of the day, this was a true outdoor adventure for the whole family.
I love birds and we saw plenty of beautiful birds, squirrels, whales and sea otters, so cool to watch along the coast and in the redwood’s forests in Big Sur region.
I can go on and on…make yourself a favor, visit big sur and hire these folks, they are so passionate and good at what they do.
We used Golden Horizon's charter tour to head south through Monterey and do the Pacific Coast Highway. They were professional, punctual and couldn't have been more accommodating. Our guide Jonathan and his trainee Pete were so knowledgeable and helpful, really going way over and above to make sure we had the California experience we were looking for. We had limited time in the area, and they knew where the best stops were.
Hubby and I prefer private tours when we travel, bus and public tours are a waste of time. Since it was my 50th birthday we splurged. We had a great time with Buddy in San Francisco and Point Reyes, Mary in Napa and in Silicon Valley and we spent the 2-remaining days with Jonathan in Monterey and big Sur(he is a nice a kiwi guy from Auckland, NZ).
Sunday, we spent the day with John driving south on the Coast toward Carmel and Big Sur. We started down that way and looped our way back north to get most out of the day best lights and exposure, we are both professional photographers. The scenery is amazing and breathtaking. We stopped at this small beach about 30 minutes south of Santa Cruz because John said, "there has been sightings of whales along the coast." As soon as we walked toward the beach the whales started spraying. It was really cool. We went as far down as Bixby Bridge on day 1, and then stopped for lunch at the Rocky Point Restaurant. Then we headed into Carmel and Monterey. It was a long day, but worth every minute. The hotel where we spent the night was cozy and centrally located in Carmel downtown, the perfect location to enjoy Carmel by foot. This is a wonderful and distinct neighborhood that must be explored by foot.
The next day, we drove again through big sur and got to Hearst Castle by noon. Hearst Castle is royal, breathtaking, majestic and stunning…this is a Must-See Attraction when visiting California! The place is gigantic, and the views are inspiring. The swimming pools, gardens and architectural structures are completely extravagant and out of this world. Hearst Castle is truly an American dream for all to experience.
When booking our trip, I spoke with Alan, he was great helping us planning our trips with a great deal of knowledge, patience and enthusiasm. Thank you, Golden Horizon , I will recommend you to anyone I hear is heading to California and San Francisco Bay Area.
Golden Horizon tours and their team are simply fantastic. Outstanding service from the very beginning! Our reservation agent Nelly set everything up, worked around our dinner reservations and she even worked her magic and found us tickets for a last-minute visit to Alcatraz which were sold out and very hard to come by. We did three different private tours and had the pleasure of working with two different, but equally wonderful guides. Adam took us all over the city on day one to visit all the “key” sites. Although he is originally from France he maneuvered through the city and around traffic like an old pro was just so charming you couldn’t help but adore him. He took photo’s for us with our camera and his all the while sharing great tidbits about each venue and he finished the day off by setting us up at a great restaurant on the water in Sausalito, just a short walk from our hotel ending a picture perfect day. Our good fortune held out as we set out for day two with Mary a San Francisco native that took us to see more of the city hidden sights, filling the day with personal antidotes of what it was like growing up in the city and really brining the city to life. We got a chance to see places that aren’t on the typical tour list and that made it all the more fun. We did spur of the moment things like stop in and tour a house for sale that ended up being the original home of a well-known local poet.
On our third tour, Mary showed up early with coffee in hand for a beautiful day trip to Carmel and Monterey where we stopped at a road side stand and bought fresh picked strawberries, strolled around Carmel by the Sea and shared lunch on the patio at Pebble Beach before taking in the beauty of 17 Mile Drive. If you want to create a vacation memory that is as close to perfection as possible, go with Golden Horizon, they are worth every penny!”
Marcus and Julie
When I saw the glowing reviews for Golden Horizons on Trip Advisor, I knew I had to book one of their tours for a recent trip to San Francisco. It was difficult to choose which one as they all looked interesting. I decided on the 1-Day Monterey and Carmel tour. We had a problem come up with the date of our booking and Golden Horizons was able to change it to the next day without any problems, much to our relief. Our tour guide Jon was great, very informative and always willing to provide rest breaks for us along the way. He was also trying to spot whales in the distance for us, but unfortunately that day wasn’t very lucky for us in that respect. Highlights of the tour included having lunch at Monterey, visiting the Pebble Beach Golf Course (albeit briefly) and seeing the charming little houses of Carmel. The SUV was also very comfortable, and the tour was run very smoothly and professionally. If you are thinking of taking any tours with this tour company, just do it - you won’t be disappointed. I would definitely choose this company again for other excursions should I return to San Francisco.
Aberdeen City in Scotland
We took the full day city tour on our first day in the city and it was a great way to get familiarized with the city. Our tour guide, Tom, did an excellent job of showing us all of the sites we wanted to see plus more and gave great historical background If you want to create a vacation memory that is as close to perfection as possible, go with Golden Horizon, they are worth every penny!
We stopped at several different locations for photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, some which were high up in the mountains which I'm sure you wouldn't be able to experience on the larger tours. A trip to Sausalito and Muir Woods was excellent as well. There's no better bang for your buck to see everything in the city in one day.
Our second tour took us to Monterrey and Carmel which provided breathtaking views of the California coast and these unique coastal towns. While very touristy, these towns were very interesting to see and gave us a good look at life outside the city. We also drove down 17-mile drive and got to walk around the beautiful Pebble Beach for a bit. The tour allowed plenty of time for exploring on our own and had some great photo ops. Overall, we definitely recommend tours from this company to get the most out of your vacation!
Jeff and Kim
A nice smiling lady came to pick us up at our hotel in south san Francisco with a black SUV, and then drove us along California scenic highway one to Monterey. We felt very comfortable from the very begging and spent the whole day chatting and laughing about everything. We skipped the cannery row and spent more time in Carmel by the sea away from the bus tours. Our walking tour in Carmel was the highlight of our trip to Monterey Peninsula.
Many thanks and happy travels
So sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. Firstly, a huge thank you for arranging our tour to Hearst castle. We had a fabulous day.
Mary is a lovely lady and was a fantastic tour guide. Her local knowledge is exceptional, and she made a very long day thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable.
I was extremely pleased when I found that that Mary was our tour guide.
Hearst Castle is a masterpiece of art and architecture, we recommend the overnight trip as this was a long day drive, but worth the money and trip.
Thank you again for arranging our tour, we will certainly be in contact with you when we will next visit San Francisco.
Cowra NSW, AUSTRALIA
We had a fabulous time with our guide Leo. The trip well exceeded our expectations. Leo was extremely fun, helpful and knowledgeable. We enjoyed our relaxing trip from San Francisco, down the coast with him. He knew where to go and stop, we were in very good hands. Leo was friendly and flexible with where we stopped to eat and tour during our entire trip.
I think Big Sur was our favorite place, or was it Carmel, or Hearst Castle, or the strawberry fields. Too many funs filled stops to mention...
Our trip was packed with all the hot stops and loads of fun! We highly recommend booking with Golden Horizon Tours. Their tour guides and vehicles are 5 stars, and the hotel choice was just prefect.
OH!! Our favorite Stop was IN AND OUT BURGER, On our way to the SFO airport!!! Thanks for the secret information Leo!!
Many thanks and happy travels
City in Wisconsin
My twenty-year-old son and I planned a Mother/Son get away to San Francisco to spend some quality alone time together. Preferring convenient and hassle-free experiences, we explored our options of private tour companies. Lucky for us, we selected Golden Horizon Travel & Tours. We booked three of their tours: The Ultimate Grand City 8-hour Tour, The Muir Woods/Sausalito half day Tour and The Monterey, Carmel, 17-Mile Drive Tour.
We have found completing an overview tour of cities we travel to the first full day of our travel grants us a great overview of the area and helps us to determine which areas we may choose to explore further. We had the pleasure of having Mary, a San Francisco native, as our guide for this tour. Mary was gracious, kind and accommodating. She was knowledgeable of the history and was able to tell us how things have changed in the city during her years here. What a priceless gift.
We then had the pleasure of meeting Jon for our Muir Woods, Sausalito and Marin Headland Tours. As this is a half day tour, we requested to add on an extra hour to spend more time exploring a few extra sites. Again, Jon was knowledgeable about the area offering us added opportunities to see places of interest to us that added to our experience (ie - The Marine Mammal Center, The Record Plant Recording Studio where Prince recoded his first album, etc). Jon further showed us many areas of Sausalito that we may not have seen if not for his guidance.
Finally, we had the pleasure to once again have Mary as our guide for The Monterey, Carmel, and 17-Mile Drive Tour. Mary made this day long tour pleasurable and comfortable showing us many sites we may not have found on our own. Such a lovely way to spend our last day in the Bay Area.
Both Mary and Jon are 5/5-star guides and you will not go wrong with either of them!
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
A 6-star experience! Their tag line is to exceed expectations and they certainly delivered. From the moment of making a booking to the actual tours - Superb!
R. Wang. Superdin0
10 Stars for Patricia & Golden Horizon: top guides & top-of-the-line luxury SUV
Brenna Q. Phoenixville
10 stars! Reliable company, responsive staff & accommodating, fun, informative, flexible, indulgent, passionate guides
You won't be disappointed if you use Golden Horizon Travel for all your tours! Best tour guides and top notch private guided tours.
Susan.S- McAllen, Texas