Beaches, cities and mountains, relax on this pleasant road trip through California...

California Sunrise


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California Sunrise Overview

Polaroid - Yosemite

A relaxing break in California that takes you between popular cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco), laid-back beach towns and the mountains. Time for optional activities such the zoo and amusement parks, as well as city exploration and the beach. Scenic views abound along the rugged central coast, and there is even an opportunity for a hike or two at world famous Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Special activities include a tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, and an overnight trip to idyllic and beautiful Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles.

DAY 1: San Diego.

Arrive any time. HOTEL: San Diego, CA

DAY 2: San Diego.

Tour starts. A full day exploring San Diego and its vicinity. HOTEL: San Diego, CA

DAY 3: Greater San Diego.

A full day for optional activities around San Diego. HOTEL: [Northern San Diego County], CA

DAY 4: Catalina Island.

A morning ferry gives us a full day on Catalina Island. HOTEL: Avalon, CA

DAY 5: Catalina Island.

Most of a day on Catalina, catching the return ferry in the afternoon. HOTEL: Los Angeles, CA

DAY 6: Los Angeles.

Morning city tour of LA and Hollywood. Time for an optional stars tour in the afternoon. HOTEL: Los Angeles, CA

DAY 7: Los Angeles.

Spend a day at an optional amusement park (original Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm)or the day at Venice Beach. HOTEL: Los Angeles, CA

DAY 8: Pacific Coast.

Visit Santa Barbara and drive scenic Hwy 101. HOTEL: Cayucos, Cambria, or San Simeon, CA

DAY 9: Pacific Coast.

Hearst Castle tour (included), followed by an afternoon drive further up Hwy 101. HOTEL: Santa Cruz, CA

DAY 10: Yosemite National Park.

Drive to lodging outside Yosemite, afternoon walk. HOSTEL (private rms) or HOTEL: Midpines / Mariposa, CA

DAY 11: Yosemite National Park.

Full day hiking in Yosemite. HOSTEL (private rms) or HOTEL: Midpines / Mariposa, CA

DAY 12: Yosemite / Eastern Sierras.

Yosemite high country and the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains. HOTEL: June Lake, CA

DAY 13: Lake Tahoe.

Drive to Lake Tahoe with most of an afternoon for hiking. HOTEL: South Lake Tahoe, CA or Reno, NV

DAY 14: San Francisco.

Head for San Francisco (3+ hours), end of tour. HOTEL: San Francisco, CA

Summer 2013:  13 days / 14 nights

DAY 1-2:

San Diego.

Welcome to San Diego, the cleaner, smaller southern California beach city alternative to LA. A full day exploring its compact downtown district and the laid-back surf towns along the coast. Visit the world renowned San Diego Zoo or original Sea World (optional).

DAY 3:

Greater San Diego / Del Mar.

Up the historic Pacific Coast Highway, visit the San Diego County Fair (in-season, early June to July 4th) the 6th largest annual fair held in the United States, where local residents compete with their own crafts, cooking, and creations. With food, live music and carnival rides, this is a great day (included). In the evening, relax in one of the smaller coastal beach towns.

DAY 4-5:

Catalina Island.

Embark on a morning ferry to the peaceful and unexpected Catalina Island for an overnight getaway. Once an outpost of Indians, pirates, and smugglers, Catalina exists a world apart from Los Angeles, yet lies only miles away. Experience crystal clear waters and the natural beauty of a southern California that was lost decades ago elsewhere. Swim at the beach, tour the island for a glimpse of the buffalo herd that roams the hills, or chill out in the small port of Avalon.

DAY 6-7:

Los Angeles.

Two entire days to sightsee in LA! Hollywood and the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica… it is all here. People watch in Venice Beach, before a night out on the town. On the second day, visit a theme park (optional) or spend it at the beach.

DAY 8-9:

Pacific Coast.

Follow the scenic Pacific coastline from Malibu up! Sightsee in the Spanish mission style city of Santa Barbara. Tour Hearst Castle in San Simeon (included), the idiosyncratic mansion of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, now a California State Park. Wind slowly up the beautiful rugged coastline of Central California on Highway 1, north to Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz.

DAY 10-11:

Yosemite National Park.

Plentiful hiking exists both in and around Yosemite National Park. One full day for breathtaking valley views and hiking. See some of the highest waterfalls in North America and the sheer granite cliffs for which Yosemite is famed, as well as giant sequoia trees (world’s largest living organisms).

DAY 12:

Yosemite / Eastern Sierras.

More of Yosemite National Park, drive through the less-populated high country. Short hikes and scenic views, today is our best chance for spotting a bear or other wildlife.

DAY 13:

Lake Tahoe.

Discover Lake Tahoe, a deep lake nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Tahoe is surrounded by vast pine forests, and is a year round outdoor recreation center for hiking, skiing and boating.

DAY 14:

San Francisco.

Return to the coast and San Francisco, the most vibrant and interesting city in the west. Take a sunset sailboat cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge (optional) and plan on spending a few days extra here alone, or continue the adventure with Astray’s Northwest High tour from San Francisco to Seattle.

What do I get for my money?

  • Included activities (see sidebar at right).
  • All ground transportation by climate-controlled van (maximum 13 persons).
  • Shared hotel (2+ stars) on 12 nights and hostel accommodation (private rooms, if available) on 2 nights.
  • Admission to all included national parks and recreation areas.
  • Services of an experienced tour leader.
  • Sandwich lunches on most days (excluding free days).

$2,700 USD   per person

Departure 1:

  • JUNE 15, 2013 (saturday night arrival in San Diego) to JUNE 28, 2013 (trip ends on friday in San Francisco.)


wildlife or nightlife?

GRAPH - California Sunrise Ranking Index

departure #1

  • JUNE 15, 2013 (saturday night arrival in San Diego) to JUNE 28, 2013 (trip ends on friday in San Francisco.)

view brochure

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our route

California Sunrise Itinerary Map

travel style

  • age range: 18+
  • accommodation: 11-12 nights hotels, 1 night cabins (possibly), 2 nights hostel
  • group size: maximum 13 persons

Polaroid pic #1 Polaroid pic #2

make your own memories!

included activities

  • Admittance to Del Mar Fair
  • Roundtrip ferry ride to Catalina Island
  • Tour of Hearst Castle

further optional activities

  • World famous San Diego Zoo
  • Amusement parks (Sea World, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm)
  • Hollywood Stars tour
  • Adventure Cat sunset sailboat cruise on San Francisco Bay

major cities

  • San Diego, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Francisco, California

cultural heritage

  • Hearst Castle State Park

national parks

  • Yosemite National Park

national forests & recreation areas

  • Tahoe National Forest, California