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Santa Barbara

  • Overview

  • Map

  • Hotels

  • Fly drives

  • Escorted tours

  • Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara is one of America’s best kept secrets. Sitting 323 miles south of San Francisco and 95 miles north of Los Angeles in an oceanfront location on the Pacific Coast Highway.

    • Harbor Coastline View

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    • Santa Barbara Coastline In Sunset

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    • Vineyard View

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    • Mission Santa Barbara

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    • Stand Up Paddleboarding

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    It’s a perfect stop on a California coastal fly drive itinerary. Fondly recognised as the Mediterranean of the US, with its tiled terracotta roofs and white stucco buildings you’d be forgiven for forgetting you were in America. Blessed with glorious sunshine, framed by the San Ynez Mountains and breathtaking coastal scenery, Santa Barbara is a perfect destination at anytime of the year!

    There’s so much to see and do in the Santa Barbara region, no matter what your interests. Here’s just a few ideas to help you fill your days whilst visiting this beautiful part of southern California.

    Gardens
    If you’re interested in gardens, Santa Barbara county has a fabulous range for you to visit from the botanical gardens of Lotusland and Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens to the Orchid trail gardens of Cal-Orchid, Westerlay Orchids and Gallup & Stribling Orchids.

    Family Friendly Attractions & Activities
    Santa Barbara county has something for the whole family. Chase Palm Park is a 10 acre waterfront park that’s perfect for kids with playground areas, biking and rollerblading trails, music pavilion and carrousel and most evenings there’s some kind of musical, sporting or picnicking activity going on. The warm Pacific waters off the coast of Santa Barbara are a great place to experience whale watching so try a whale watching cruise with Condor Express. Enjoy a fun 15 minute trip on-board Santa Barbara’s water taxi or visit the Santa Barbara Zoo. Learn about the natural world at the Ty Warner Sea Center or rent a bike or a Segway and explore the streets, beaches and parks of the region.

    Wine Tasting & Tours
    Santa Barbara has an abundance of vineyards and winery’s. There are plenty of tours available for you to enjoy, from the Urban Wine Trail; which is wine tasting in the heart of the city, to the San Ynez Wine Tour; which visits three of the winery’s in the region and includes lunch to complement the wine tasting.

    Outdoor Adventure
    The options are endless! From ATV tours where you get to drive to deep sea fishing, glider flights, horseback riding, kayaking, paragliding, hiking and rock climbing…to name just a few!

    Theatres & Nightlife
    Whatever your taste in nightlife, Santa Barbara’s got it covered. Cultural options such as opera, ballet and the performing arts are found at The Granada Theatre, The Lobero Theatre or The Santa Barbara Bowl and if you’re looking for a great place to eat and then dance, Santa Barbara has a vast range of restaurants to suit all palates and pockets as well as a fabulous choice of nightclubs and lounges.

    Culinary Options
    We all love to eat so why not try one of the regions culinary tours. There’s anything from a 2 hour food tasting and photography walking tour along the Santa Barbara waterfront to half and full day tours to organic farms and farmers markets.

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    • Top Tip 1

      Everyone should drive Highway 1 - the Pacific Coast Highway, but our tip is to do it from north to south. Whichever direction you take the scenery is stunning but you get a better view going south because you're on the ocean side of the road.

    • Top Tip 2

      Hearst Castle is a must-see stop as you drive along the coast, taking you back to the early days of Hollywood.

    • Top Tip 3

      Wine tasting tours are plentiful in Napa and Sonoma. Our favourites are Jordan's and Chalk Hill. Try the Library Tasting tour, a wine and cheese pairing at Jordan's and the Culinary Tour at Chalk Hill, a wine and food pairing prepared by Chef Didier. Both are exceptional experiences and amazing value.

    • Top Tip 4

      Visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. On Thursdays, from 6pm, enjoy music, cocktails and entertainment whist experiencing world class exhibits and star gazing on the living roof.

    • Top Tip 5

      San Francisco - where do you start? Visit North Beach for the cafe culture, take a tour to Alcatraz (we recommend you pre-book it), see Lombard Street, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a sightseeing tour of the city on a fire engine, shop in Union Square.

    • Top Tip 6

      For spectacular scenery, and to escape from the desert heat, take a ride on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway. If you're in downtown Palm Springs on Thursdays, you'll enjoy VillageFest, offering live entertainment and an array of stalls selling food and gifts.

    • Top Tip 7

      Yosemite National Park is one of California's great natural wonders. Stay for a couple of nights and include a guided horseback ride for a tour with a difference.

    • Top Tip 8

      Follow the scenic 17-Mile Drive coastal route between Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove for stunning views of the Monterey Peninsula. There's a small fee to drive this route but it's worth it.

    • Top Tip 9

      Rent a bike or rollerblades and enjoy people watching along the boardwalk at Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

    • Top Tip 10

      When visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, book the VIP ticket which allows you to jump the queues and includes behind-the-scenes access.

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  • California's Gold Coast

    Begins in San Diego, California and ends in San Francisco, California

    12 Days / 11 Nights

    Departures: April, May, June, July, August, September and October

    Add this Escorted Tour to planner

    Your Escorted Tour includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Accommodation for 10 nights as specified
    • 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 7 dinners
    • Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
    • Services of a Tauck Tour Director
    • Classic tour
    • Santa Barbara

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    • San Diego

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    • Yosemite National Park

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    • Hollywood Boulevard

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    • Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

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    • California Gold Coast

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    • Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

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    • Big Sur coast

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    • Scenic Carmel beach

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    Day 01

    Arrive San Diego

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to San Diego. Upon arrival, transfer to the US Grant. This evening, join your travelling companions for a welcome reception and dinner. 

    Hotel: US Grant (Dinner included)

    Day 02

    San Diego

    This morning, enjoy a guided visit to San Diego Zoo, followed by a city tour, which starts with the Gaslamp Quarter and the extensive harbor area. Then it is on to historic Point Loma before viewing the city’s unforgettable skyline from the Juan Cabrillo National Monument. There is time to explore Seaport Village at leisure before departing on an evening champagne cruise aboard a private yacht, showcasing San Diego’s beautiful harbour and skyline.

    Hotel: US Grant (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day 03

    Los Angeles

    Following breakfast, your journey continues north to the historic ruin of Mission San Juan Capistrano which was founded in 1776. Next it’s on to glittering Los Angeles where lunch is enjoyed at the legendary Los Angeles Farmer's Market. A tour of the city includes the sights and sounds of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills before reaching the TCL Chinese Theatre, where celebrities’ autographs, handprints and footprints are immortalized in concrete. 

    Hotel: Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day 04

    Santa Barbara

    This morning’s highlight is a visit to The Getty Museum, set high in the Santa Monica Mountains. Next, it’s just a short journey to Mediterranean-inspired Santa Barbara, filled with soft white beaches, terracotta buildings and an eclectic mix of shopping options. Your afternoon is at leisure to wander picturesque Stearns Wharf, before checking into your deluxe hotel and deciding where you’d like to enjoy dinner from a choice of restaurants.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day 05

    Santa Barbara

    There is so much to see outside of downtown Santa Barbara and all is revealed on this morning’s city tour. Highlights include the city’s historic 1929 Courthouse and Mission Santa Barbara which is still active after 225 years of service. The afternoon is yours to relax by the hotel pool or explore further.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore (Breakfast and lunch included)

    Day 06

    Central Coast and Morro Bay

    Get ready for scenic delights as you pass through rolling hills on this morning’s road trip along coastal Highway 101. Entering the Central California wine region, you’ll find microclimates where morning fog and ocean breezes encourage varieties such as pinot noir and chardonnay, and others where low-lying mountains are ideal for full-bodied reds – as you’ll learn on a vineyard tour and tasting. Lunch follows at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Pismo Beach, known for long white beaches and ocean views. Near the fishing village of Morro Bay, join our naturalist guide for a walking tour of this rich habitat for birds and wildlife; you'll also visit Morro Rock, an ancient volcanic plug. The evening is spent at The Cliffs Resort, a fabulous hotel overlooking the Pacific in Pismo Beach.

    Hotel: The Cliffs Resort (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day 07

    Big Sur & Hearst Castle

    Whilst in San Simeon you’ll visit Hearst Castle, before continuing on scenic Highway 1 – perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in America, along the famed Big Sur Coast. Your destination is the small coastal city of Monterey, where you’ll dine at your hotel on the pristine bay.

    Hotel: InterContinental, The Clement Monterey (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day 08

    Monterey & Carmel

    Take a tour of the Monterey Peninsula, including 17 Mile Drive, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach before heading to pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch. A short stroll from your hotel is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where this afternoon you’ll discover the unexpected delights of marine life. 

    Hotel: InterContinental, The Clement Monterey (Breakfast included)

    Day 09

    Yosemite National Park

    This morning, you drive through the farmlands, orchards and vineyards of California’s Central Valley before heading high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite National Park. Dinner is enjoyed at your hotel. 

    Hotel: Tenaya Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day 10

    Yosemite National Park

    Today, enjoy a full day exploring this famous landmark on a tram tour, including visits to the world-famous El Capitan and Half Dome cliffs, and the plunging waters of Bridalveil Falls. Following lunch at Wawona Village, you’ll visit Mariposa Grove – prepare to be amazed by the sheer size of the Giant Sequoias. 

    Hotel: Tenaya Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day 11

    San Francisco

    Your final destination is beautiful San Francisco, filled with amazing landmarks such as Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelling companions.

    Hotel: The Westin St Francis (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day 12

    Journey Home

    There may be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. 

    Prices

    From £4799 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

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