California Select

SoCal Beaches, Big Sur and Monterey Bay, Yosemite, and Wine Country

Trip Details

half dome in yosemite national park dusk

What’s Included? Everything you need, plus everything you want.

  • This and That: This is an all-around fabulous “taste of California,” with its two most significant cities, the Pacific Coast, Yosemite National Park, and wine country. Wow!
  • Like a fine wine... This trip is balanced! Ocean and mountains, cities and wilderness, guided and self-guided opportunities, down time and get-up-and-go time.
  • Speaking of wine: Sonoma is a wonderful alternative to its neighbor, Napa, and is an authentic treat. And, there should be far less whining when wining – fewer people, less traffic, low-key, no French Laundry.

California Select

Trip Type: Custom-Made Travel

Territory: North America

Region: Pacific Northwest

Trip Price: $5,495

Duration: 15 days/14 nights

Trip Begins/Ends: Los Angeles, California / San Francisco, California

National Parklands: Yosemite NP

Select Terms & Conditions

All custom travel is tailored to the desires and interests of our traveling clients (see How Custom Travel Works tab). Trip pricing detailed is an estimate of the per person pricing for the sample itinerary detailed and includes all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences described. Actual pricing for the trip designed expressly for you and others traveling with you will depend on the features and elements developed during the trip planning process. Travel with Off the Beaten Path requires agreement to our standard Terms & Conditions.

Energy Index

Energy Index Spectrum

No Sweat - 1-2 miles of walking or hiking per day, plus easy activities

Nice & Active – 3-6 miles of hiking or walking per day, plus physically active exploration

High Five! – 5-12 miles of hiking per day, plus possible peak bagging or other action-oriented fun

California Select

California Select - Energy Index

The Energy Index detailed above relates to the level of exertion associated with the sample trip detailed. This would be modified to fit the style and ability of your group as a part of the custom trip planning process

How custom-made travel works at Off the Beaten Path

We’ve been tailoring custom journeys for clients since our very inception in the mid-1980s! The process is all about connecting the interests of the travelers with the best that a given destination has to offer. To achieve this, we rely upon good ol’ fashioned conversation! Our geographically focused travel designer love to meet new people and learn about their interests for travel. Understanding your goals informs the process immensely and serves as the foundation for the development of a bespoke travel experience for you and yours.

The trip detailed on this web page is a sample of something we’ve done for other clients over the years. In order to start the process of designing your own custom travel experience, just call us at (800) 445-2995 and ask to speak with one of our Travel Advisors. After a bit of time on the phone, you will then have the opportunity to connect with one of our travel designers.

The entire planning process is very personalized and works in an iterative fashion until a final, perfect trip has been created. We then secure all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences associated with your trip and send along abundant trip materials capturing these details – and much more about your travels!


Days 1-3: Los Angeles

Welcome to California! Los Angeles is a city like no other, diverse, diverse, diverse! This becomes evident in the three days you’ll spend here, taking time for a Hollywood studio tour on one day and surf lessons in Santa Monica on another! Your free time allows for visiting parks, neighborhoods, museums, shops, beaches, parks, and iconic sites – the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Rodeo Drive.  

Days 4-6: Pacific Coast and Monterey Bay

Pack your bags and hit the road! Travel north along the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway, from Los Angeles to Monterey Bay. We’ll offer up lots of “must stops” along the day – beaches, coastal restaurants, Big Sur, a cookie factory, and Hearst Castle. Monterey Bay is packed with beauty. One day will be set for a privately guided day of tidepooling with a marine biologist and visiting the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, and another takes you kayaking through Pacific Ocean kelp forests. Free time is reserved for hiking in Los Lobos State Park, walking the Carmel City Beach with the locals at sunset, and driving the 17-Mile-Road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove. You’ll love it! 

Days 7-9: Yosemite National Park

Head inland to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and naturalist John Muir’s and photographer Ansel Adams’ favorite, Yosemite National Park. This park is packed with beauty, with granite towers, tumbling waterfalls, the rambling Merced River, flower-filled meadows, countless hiking trails, and giant sequoias. Spend one day with a local naturalist guide who will lead you along your trail of choice – perhaps the 8.5-mile Panorama Trail, for views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, and Yosemite Valley?   

Days 10-11: San Francisco

All this wilderness! City life beckons, but San Francisco does an awesome job of combining urban and nature, which is why it is considered so “livable.” It’s easy to get to know the distinctive neighborhoods in San Francisco by foot and trolley or bus. Also, consider a self-guided (or guided) bike ride, through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Have lunch on the water, then catch a ferry ride back (with an entire end of the ship appointed with bike racks) to the Ferry Building. From there, return your bikes via the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf. (Don’t miss the sea lions at Pier 39!) 

Days 12-14: Sonoma

Last, but so not least, the Sonoma Wine Region. Less than one hour north of San Francisco, Sonoma is laid back and civilized – a small town with a town square, and a valley with country roads, 17 appellations, and over 400 wineries. Sample wines from the Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast, Chalk Hill, Carneros-Sonoma, and more. Eat delicious meals of locally-sourced ingredients. Yum.  

Day 15: Fly Home from San Francisco

On that note… (floral note, spicy note, mineral note, vegetal note), this well-balanced, robust trip that had you swirling around California comes to an end. Fly Home from San Francisco! 

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