Let's go to Big Sur! the famously beautiful stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline, 2+ hours south of San Francisco. Australian painter, Frances McComas, is frequently quoted as calling the Big Sur coast "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world."
Usually we go 2-3 hours south and come back on the same day...total duration 11-12 hours. We include stops in Monterey & Carmel—they're en route. Mostly you enjoy panoramic views, but you may also want to take a strenuous hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, or enjoy lunch on the terrace of the legendary Nepenthe restaurant or at the exclusive Post Ranch Inn, one of Zagat's highest rated. Some activities make more sense logistically with an overnight stay. Unless fog obscures the view, we always include photo stops before and after the iconic Bixby Bridge--it's the one you've seen in nature calendars and sportscar ads. If you're up for a really long day, we can travel all the way to the little known yet spectacular! McWay Falls* waterfall, which shoots out from a cliff and drops 80 feet to the beach below.
Back in Carmel or Monterey, you can peruse a few of Carmel's hundred art galleries, visit the beautiful 1770 mission church...recently sainted Spanish missionary Junipero Serra is interred there...and Steinbeck's (tarted up) Cannery Row, Clint Eastwood's restaurant/B&B and,or the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium. Unlike with other companies, if the fog is thick and unrelenting, you won't spend hours peering through a gray mist--we'll seek out other activities for your enjoyment. We can also feature a winery visit or arrange for a walking tour by a local expert. No one lucky enough to see the Big Sur coast on a clear day fails to say "Wow!"
Why Go with Us to Big Sur and,or McWay Falls? Why not just rent a car and drive ourselves? Cheaper, yes. As enjoyable, probably not. Because driving yourself, you need to focus on the road and the vehicles coming towards you or that you're following--not the scenery. The PCH (Pacific Great Highway) is just 2 winding lanes for over a hundred miles.
From decades of experience we know the best pull-overs for panoramic vistas. And how much time do you want to spend looking for clean restrooms and those elusive gas stations? We show you the off-the-beaten-path places many visitors miss, let you determine our pace and choose where we lunch...helping you remember that you're on vacation, minimizing your stress, maximizing your enjoyment.
This is one of our most popular but also our most expensive tour. Very few (if any) tour companies (besides us) go there from San Francisco or San Jose. Why? Because it makes for a long day (10-12 hours). Even...God forbid...without stops for photos of breath-taking vistas, the drive from downtown San Francisco is nearly 6 hours round-trip. Our fee is based on the guide/driver's time, gas and a few incidentals, but there are no hidden or surprise add-ons. So expensive, yes. But when are you going to have this opportunity again?