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California Coastal Classic

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
8 days Sold out
4.8 stars(4 reviews)

Bask in sunny locales and endless ocean views in beautiful California, the destination for this 8-day rail adventure that showcases cities from San Francisco to San Diego.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

Mobility Rating 3

2023 Tour code: WC-SOSA-23

About the tour

Adventure and opportunity are woven into the fabric of California, a state whose colorful history and fantastic scenery make dreams possible. On this 8-day journey, experience California's glories, from the City by the Bay, San Francisco, in the north to sunny San Diego in the south. Travel by train and motorcoach to gain the best perspectives on the spectacular coastlines and changing landscapes. Each stop brings a new layer of history and culture to uncover and new chances to expand your horizons. The trip commences in San Francisco, where guided touring and a sunset cruise unveil the best of the city. We continue to Monterey, home to Cannery Row, for exploration. From here, embark on a scenic drive to the region's scenic highlights, including Pebble Beach Golf Links. Amtrak's Coast Starlight takes us deeper into the state to Santa Barbara. Find yourself swept up in the atmospheric city, its Spanish architecture, and sparkling beaches. We continue with an excursion to opulent Beverly Hills and an overnight in Santa Monica before riding Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Diego, "America's Finest City." Surrounded by palm trees, sandy beaches, and excellent water views, California's classic coastal cities are a joy to discover.


What’s included


Day 1 - San Francisco

As you arrive in the City by the Bay today, transfer on your own to our conveniently located hotel. Then your California adventure commences with a guided city tour. San Francisco is renowned for its eclectic neighborhoods and hilly streets, both of which are on full display as we peruse some of its most notable attractions. Your tour may include the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, the famous piers, and significant landmarks as the excursion unfolds.

Tonight, enjoy another perspective on the city's beauty during a sunset cruise. Glide through San Francisco Bay with the skyline aglow in evening lights. The cruise takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz Island before docking back at the harbor. Overnight San Francisco, CA.

Day 2 - Cannery Row

We depart San Francisco bound for Monterey this morning, located approximately 120 miles south on glistening Monterey Bay. This destination is beloved for its diverse marine life and its incredible seafood. On arrival, we are introduced to Monterey's most iconic street, formerly called Ocean View Avenue but dubbed Cannery Row by author John Steinbeck in the 1940s. Our walking tour of this street recounts how this strip of sardine canneries transformed throughout the decades into the bustling hotspot that it is today. Browse boutique shops and admire the outdoor dining options, many of which look over the Bay. Monterey's aquarium, Lower Presidio Historic Park, Steinbeck Square, and McAbee Beach are just some of the other highlights you can look forward to discovering as you walk.

Following the tour, you have ample time to continue exploring on your own. Perhaps spend some more time immersing yourself in the culture and history of Cannery Row or venture further out from the main strip. Walk along the beach, visit Old Fisherman's Wharf, or kick back with a drink at a local brewery and watch the waves crash. This evening, join the group for dinner at one of the local eateries. Overnight Monterey, CA.

  • Dinner
Day 3 - Southern California Scenic Drive

A day of outstanding California scenery lies ahead as we embark along scenic 17-Mile Drive, showcasing dramatic scenery from coastal cliffs to powdery beaches. Highlights of the drive include: Carmel-By-The-Sea, known for its gorgeous views and artistic community; iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, dubbed the "No.1 Public Golf Course in America;" Seal Rock Creek Beach, where sugar-white sand abuts deep blue water; and a visit to Lone Cypress, which is quite literally a single cypress tree that bursts forth into the bright blue sky from a granite cliff overlooking Carmel Bay. The tree has become somewhat of an icon, and you will see why.

The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy Monterey on your terms. You may wish to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium to get an up-close look at marine life or to head out onto the water on a whale watching tour to try to catch a glimpse of these amazing animals, and more, in their natural habitats. The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is a spectacular place to stroll. Numerous museums, including the Salvador Dali Museum and the Monterey Museum of Art, offer further insight into the local flavor. Overnight Monterey, CA.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Salinas to Santa Barbara by Train

Enjoy an effortless morning at the hotel to get breakfast and soak in the lovely atmosphere ahead of our departure for Salinas. Here, we join our Amtrak train, the Coast Starlight, for the scenic trip to Santa Barbara. The journey presents six hours of beautiful vistas, ranging from small towns and big cities to the breathtaking Pacific coastline. We arrive in Santa Barbara this evening and transfer to our hotel for check-in. Once settled, you may relax in your room or set out into Santa Barbara on your own to get acquainted with the city's offerings. There is an undeniable ambiance here cultivated by the towering palm trees, sparkling sapphire waters, and fantastic Spanish architecture. Perhaps grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant or watch the sun go down on any of the pristine beaches. Overnight Santa Barbara, CA. 

  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Old Mission Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills Touring

California is home to 21 Spanish Missions, one of which is located right here in Santa Barbara. This morning, experience its grandiose architecture and serene presence with a self-guided tour. Old Mission Santa Barbara was established in 1786 to house a community of Franciscan Friars. You have hours to explore this 15-acre property. Look over awe-inspiring ocean views and perfectly landscaped gardens. Visit the lovely Mission church, mausoleum, and museum, which features nine rooms of art and historical artifacts spanning the centuries. The grounds also house a private cemetery.

This afternoon, we continue our way south along the picturesque Pacific Coast to the shining star of Southern California, Beverly Hills. The playground of the rich and famous, this city is renowned for its luxurious shops and even more luxurious homes. We arrive in time to take a thrilling city tour that points out landmark sites and famous properties throughout the city. After getting your fill of celebrity homes, our travels continue to Santa Monica, where we stay for the night. Overnight Santa Monica, CA.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Santa Monica to San Diego by Train

Take the morning at leisure to explore the gorgeous sites of Santa Monica. You may wish to visit Palisades Park to walk along the palm-tree-lined paths alongside the ocean or sink your toes into the sand at a local beach, like Santa Monica State Beach. Of course, the pier is also a wonderful place to explore, with its vibrant atmosphere that includes rides, games, and restaurants.

We drive inland to Los Angeles later this morning to board another incredible California train, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, to the last stop of this journey, San Diego. The oceanside vistas along the way are genuinely breathtaking, and the cities we pass through are just as impressive. We arrive in San Diego early this evening, and after we transfer to the hotel, you have plenty of time to begin your explorations of this fantastic destination. Downtown, there is no shortage of places to occupy your time with its bountiful shops and restaurants. Museums and monuments abound in Old Town, and the Cedros Avenue Design District is a place unlike any other. Gorgeous parks, including Balboa Park, and beautiful architecture complete the picture. Overnight San Diego, CA.

  • Breakfast
Day 7 - San Diego Sightseeing

Enjoy an in-depth look at San Diego's offerings on today's guided city tour. The excursion begins after breakfast at the hotel and includes an array of San Diego's sights, ranging from its popular neighborhoods to stunning natural sites. Enjoy looks at places like La Jolla Cove beach and the Seven Caves of La Jolla, each unique in its looks. Balboa Park is also featured. We explore the Gaslamp Quarter, filled with charming architecture and colorful tales, and Old Town, where Mexican culture springs to life. Petco Park and the city's mansions are other things you can look forward to seeing as the tour unfolds.

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring independently. This evening, join the group at the Hotel del Coronado, also known as the Del, for dinner overlooking the Pacific. The 1888 hotel is instantly recognizable and remains a pinnacle of luxury in the San Diego region. Overnight San Diego, CA.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion

Your coastal California expedition concludes this morning. A transfer to San Diego International Airport is available for flights departing after 11:00 a.m.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Amtrak's Coast Starlight
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner


4.8 stars4.8 / 5 · 4 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


5 stars

Submitted 8/Nov

This was a excellent trip everything I had hoped it would be.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 4/Nov

This was one of the best trips we have been on. Dennis, our guide and Richard, our driver were fantastic and exceeded expectations. The rooms were very nice, the food was delicious.. If you want to see California and ride a train in the process, we highly recommend this vacation! Jeff and Jennifer Noble Henderson Texas

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 4/Nov

The pace was good. I know that we were the first group on this itinerary. I would include Alcatraz.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 4/Nov

Clean, comfortable on time.

Collected by Trustpilot

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