Northern California: San Francisco to Monterey Bay

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 7

From: San Francisco

To: San Francisco



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Extend your time in northern California with our 7 day San Francisco to Monterey Bay trip. Explore the iconic city of San Francisco, where you can wander through the busy streets of Chinatown or cycle over the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Try some seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf or hop on the tram to Union Square where you can shop til you drop! After a couple of days exploring you’ll drive along Route 1 towards Monterey, where you can go whale watching or spot otters and turtles in the aquarium. Enjoy the restaurants and bars of Cannery Row before driving along the rocky shore to Carmel, Monterey’s pretty neighbour, where you can relax on the beach or stroll the quaint streets. This trip combines wildlife, cities and beaches – the perfect introduction to California!

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please > to start planning your dream trip.


    • Learn about the history of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
    • Drive the twisting, scenic roads of the Pacific Coast Highway
    • Discover unique marine life at the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium
    • Shop in the boutique stores of Carmel-by-the-Sea


      Itinerary in brief:

      • 3 nights San Francisco
      • 3 nights Monterey


      Day 1: Arrival in San Francisco

      On arrival in San Francisco, make your own way to the hotel where you will check in for 3 nights.

      Day 2 & 3: San Francisco

      Hop on the bus and start your day at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can watch sea lions laze in the sun before tucking into a clam chowder bread bowl for lunch. We’ve included a hop on hop off bus pass so you can easily navigate the city, whether you want to grab dim sum in Chinatown, window shop in Union Square or take the ferry over to Alcatraz to explore the famous prison on the rock.

      Another great idea is to hire a bike and cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge – not only an exciting way to experience this iconic landmark but you’ll be able to visit the Marin Headlands with beautiful views back over the bridge towards the city. You’ll find history and culture here round every corner, whether you’re browsing through the shelves of City Lights Booksellers or trying to find the best burrito in the Mission district – 2 days in San Francisco will fly by!

      Day 4: Drive to Monterey

      This morning, collect your car hire and drive down towards Monterey. Drive along the famous Route 1 and you’ll be able to hop between pretty beaches and tiny coastal towns, stopping for an early lunch in the seaside town of Santa Cruz before arriving in Monterey where you will check into your hotel for 3 nights.

      Day 5 & 6: Monterey      

      You’ll have 2 days to explore the seaside town of Monterey so make sure you get stuck in as there is lots to do here. Start with a walk along the wharf, stopping at the little shops and restaurants that line the colourful front. Make sure you visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium where you can spot sea otters, sharks and thousands of other beautiful marine creatures – we’ve included admission as we wouldn’t want you to miss it!

      On your second day, why not drive along 17 mile drive; a pretty coastal route that will take you round the rocks to the neighbouring town of Carmel where boutique shops and gourmet restaurants await. If you want to explore even further you can take a whale watching tour from Monterey or drive a few miles north to Moss Landing where you can kayak with sea otters and pelicans along the estuary.

      Day 7: Depart San Francisco  

      Today is your last day in California – you’ll drive north this morning, dropping your rental car at San Francisco airport before catching your onwards flight.   




      The coastal cities of central California sit on the edge of the Pacific Ocean giving them a changeable climate, where you can experience summer and winter in the same day. Coastal breezes keep the cities cool and huge fog drifts can sweep over the San Francisco during the summer meaning winter is usually more reliable with clear days and moderate temperatures. Cooler than most areas of California – you are more likely to be too cold than too hot, so bring a jacket!

      This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

      What's included: 

      • 6 nights in 3* accommodation
      • Car Rental
      • Hop on Hop off Bus Pass with Alcatraz Entry
      • Admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium  

      Not included: 

      • Fuel
      • Optional Excursions
      • Meals not mentioned above

      6 nights in 3* standard accommodation.

      Hotels in this category include:

      • The Inn at 1252 Monterey


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