Monterey to Santa Barbara
Extend your California adventure with this wondrously scenic tour, highlighting breathtaking views and points of interest. Cruise the panoramic coastline, discover wildlife and conservation inspiration at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, savor a wine tasting, and experience the history and grandeur of the Old Mission in Santa Barbara.
Day 8: Monterey
After breakfast, travel through California's farmlands to the Pacific coastal town of Monterey. With vineyards, artist communities, lighthouses, quaint shops, and a world-renowned aquarium, the town is packed with culture, history, and charm. A wonderful diversity of marine life distinguishes this area, including sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bat rays, kelp forests, pelicans, and dolphins.
Later, visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, a facility known for its interactive exhibits. At the impressive Open Sea section, the aquarium's largest display, see up-close tuna speeding past and sardines swarming in huge, glittering schools. Watch the sea turtles swim lazily across the 90-foot window, while nearby brilliant jellies pulse through the water. For 35 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been instrumental in rescuing sea otters no longer able to survive in the wild. Learn amazing facts about such wildlife, including, for instance, that sea otters have the world's densest fur, with up to a million hairs per square inch. Humans, by comparison, have 100,000 hairs or less on our whole heads!
Overnight: Asilomar Hotel
Day 9: Monterey / Cambria
One of today's highlights includes traveling along the scenic 17-Mile Drive that hugs the Pacific coastline. View the iconic "Lone Cypress" rooted dramatically to a granite hillside, the beautiful white sand beach at Fanshell Overlook, Spanish Bay's grassy shoreline, treacherous Point Joe, and Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Continue down the Central Coast from Monterey to Moonstone Beach in Cambria. Along the Pacific Coast Highway, stop to admire the panoramic vistas at iconic locations, including Bixby Creek Bridge and Big Sur.
Overnight: FogCatcher Inn (B)
Day 10: Cambria / Santa Barbara
After breakfast, learn about the area's incredible elephant seals and visit the beaches they frequent to see them in person. Did you know that elephant seals come ashore once a year and shed their first layer of skin and fur to replace with new ones? Make sure to have a camera ready to photograph these fascinating creatures.
This afternoon, relax and raise a glass to toast your California adventure with a wine tasting event. Experience the beauty and charm of Santa Barbara's wine country with a visit to Zaca Mesa. Just 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean, these vineyards sit in a sweet spot providing the ability to grow dynamic, balanced Rhône grapes such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Viognier. From the aroma of the wines' bouquet to vistas of the beautiful San Rafael Mountains, this event engages the senses and celebrates the distinct characteristics of the area.
Next up is a tour of the historic Old Mission in Santa Barbara, established in 1786 as the tenth of the 21 California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. Situated on 15 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Mission grounds include the beautiful church, historic cemetery and mausoleum, a nine-room museum of historical artwork and artifacts, and multiple lush gardens. Learn about the Chumash—a Native American tribe who occupied an area from Malibu to San Luis Obispo. Exceptionally restored and well maintained by the Franciscan monks still living here, the Mission provides guests both beauty and educational insights into the long history of this region of California.
Overnight: Best Western Plus Santa Barbara (B,L)
Day 11: Depart Santa Barbara
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to Santa Barbara Municipal Airport for flights home. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch
Post-tour space is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.
It is our expectation that guests on this program are able to walk a mile at a moderate pace, get in and out of a motor coach, and walk up and down a flight of stairs.
Charmingly rustic accommodations, scenic Pacific Ocean views, and stargazing opportunities await guests of Asilomar Hotel. Dedicated to rest and reflection, comfortable guest rooms are free of distractions such as phones or TVs, and the property's historic grounds provide beach access and wildlife viewing.
Room Amenities: Private balcony or terrace, fireplace, complimentary Wi-Fi, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Relaxed and welcoming, FogCatcher Inn is an oceanfront gem located across the street from beautiful Moonstone Beach—voted one of the “10 Best Beaches in California” by the readers of USA Today. Coastal décor, driftwood-inspired headboards, and warm yellow accents reflect the beachfront setting and traits of a California beach cottage.
After visiting Cambria attractions by day, watch the sunset from the outdoor heated pool, over-sized hot tub, or one of the many benches throughout the lush hotel grounds.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, fireplace, HDTV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee maker, microwave, mini-fridge, bathrobes, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Best Western Plus Santa Barbara
Tucked away on a quiet residential street lined with turn-of-the-century homes, but just minutes from historic downtown and the beach, Best Western Plus Santa Barbara offers all the amenities of a boutique hotel with the charm of a bed and breakfast. During leisure time, relax by the garden pool, delight in the bird aviary, work out in the exercise room, or browse the gift shop.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, flat-screen satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee maker, microwave, mini-fridge, safe, bathrobes, iron and ironing board, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Post-tour rate is per person based on double occupancy except where noted as Single, in U.S. dollars. Single availability limited. Airfare not included.
- 3 nights hotel accommodations with breakfast each morning
- Admission to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Santa Barbara's Old Mission, including transportation
- Wine tasting event at Zaca Mesa
- Gratuities to Orbridge Expedition Leader, local guides, drivers, porters, and wait staff for included meals
- Airport transfers for guests departing during the suggested times