You’ll absolutely want a window seat for seeing the rocky inlets of Puget Sound and the rising peak of Mount Rainier as you touch down in Seattle. A contrast of beautiful coastal scenery and big city bustle, Seattle has a high-tech yet friendly charm. On arrival, you’ll transfer to your hotel to settle in. We waste no time starting the trip right, meeting with your Travel Director and soon to be new friends in preparation for the incredible itinerary that will whisk you around Washington, Oregon and California over the next eight days.
Rise and shine, Seattle awaits! Start the morning getting to know the city on a sightseeing tour with your Travel Director, where you’ll spot the Space Needle and plenty of other famed sights. Then, head to the waterfront for your visit to Pike Place Market, the city’s original farmers’ market. It’s prime location and bustling energy is a sensory experience full of sights and sounds unlike anything you’ve experienced – especially the fishmongers’ signature tossing moves. Your Travel Director will regale you with some of the market’s history before there’s time to browse the stalls filled with gleaming fish, artisan crafts and fresh produce. We hope you’re hungry, ‘cos there’s no better place to tuck into the freshest Dungeness crab and clam chowder in the city. Seattle you were short and sweet, but our next stop Portland, awaits. Dropping by Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, you’ll have the chance to discover the history behind its namesake volcano’s 1980 eruption while catching gorgeous views of the Cascade Range. We’ll arrive to Portland in time for an orientation tour of the city sights, fast becoming one of America’s gastronomic hotspots, before the evening is yours to explore your way.
With a full day in Portland, be sure to make the most of it. You’ll kick-start the day with a group breakfast that highlights the city’s regional specialities– the perfect fuel for exploring on your own or joining one of many incredible optional excursions. If you’re in the mood for grand vistas and thundering waterfalls, you’ll be sure to sign up for an all-day adventure through the Columbia River Gorge and Hood River that tops off with sampling local specialities along the Hood River Fruit Loop. For serious wine and beer lovers, why not take the chance to sip world famous Pinot Noir in one of the 600 wineries that make up the Willamette Valley on another tasty optional, before journeying back to Portland – home of the more breweries than any other city in the world – to sample some of the city’s top craft brews. Or if indulging in local eats sounds like your idea of a perfect day, put on comfortable shoes and opt for a walking tour to taste Portland’s incredibly creative (and sometimes quirky) cuisine. After a day full of surely unforgettable moments, this evening is also yours to enjoy Portland, your way.
Enjoy a change of scene today as we head to the Oregon Coast. Arriving in Newport, the city’s laid-back charm will quickly capture your heart and get you excited for the coastal adventures ahead. We’ll pay a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium to learn about the sea life that makes this region so rich in natural delights. The engaging exhibits are designed to connect you to the coast and promote ocean conservation, and you’ll discover a delicate balance between the coast’s rocky shores, oceanic waters and marine animals. Later, you’ll take the lead to explore Newport on your own. Consider a stroll to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse to see the only historic wooden lighthouse still standing in Oregon or head to Nye Beach to explore on your own. Perhaps opt for a Marine Discovery Tour.
With the Pacific Ocean by your side, your morning drive down the Oregon coast on the way to Coos Bay will be a calm start before your epic adventure ahead. Trade your luxury coach for an off-road dune buggy at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and hit the sand to explore miles of one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world. As you roll up and down the dunes, you’ll take in expansive scenes and get an adrenaline rush that will propel you through the day. After, hop back on your coach for a quick ride to Coos Bay, where you’ll have the rest of the day to yourself. If you’re in the mood to explore the city, you could discover the community’s maritime traditions at the Coos History Museum. For those craving more of the outdoors, head to Mingus Park to get your fill of greenery and Japanese-inspired architecture among the serene paths and ponds of Choshi Gardens. With an evening to yourself, grab a seat and people watch at the many bistros on the Bay or spend a relaxing night in your hotel before tomorrow’s outdoor experiences that await.
Natural wonders and adventures lie ahead as you make your way south to California, and if you’ve been wishing for a chance to get on the water, now’s the time. Choose to join an optional jet boat ride along the Rogue River in a boat specially designed to zip you up and down the water, where you’ll be able to enjoy the lush scenery and towering pines while your guide expertly navigates the curving river. If a slower pace is more your morning speed, spend time walking among the massive piles of driftwood and admiring the living starfish, sea urchins and hermit crabs that live in the tide pools of the Gold Beach. However you choose to spend your morning, your afternoon promises to be just as incredible. Back on the coach, we’ll cruise to Redwood National and State Parks – trees older than 1,000 years will amaze. You’ll feel dwarfed by the tallest trees on earth as you make a loop on the Big Tree Wayside Walk located in the Prairie Creek State Park, where trees five stories taller than the Statue of Liberty will surround you. Toss your head back to try and look all the way to the top. Arriving in Eureka, you’ll discover elaborate Victorian homes, a relic from the prosperous lumber industry, so take a moment to wander through the historic Old Town to sample oysters pulled from the perfect habitat in Humboldt Bay or head to your hotel for a leisurely night in.
Take to the trees this morning as we start our journey to San Francisco with a drive along the 31-mile Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This slow, gentle-curving scenic route will give you time to sit back and enjoy views of the more than 50,000 acres of redwood groves and secluded forests. You’ll continue soaking in the splendour of nature as we travel through the rolling hills of Sonoma wine country, where 73% of the area’s agriculture is grapes, before stopping in Sonoma County’s charming Healdsburg. Stroll through the quaint town to find a local restaurant for a gourmet lunch and take in the sights. Wine connoisseurs, why not join in on an optional local tasting room experience to sample the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon that make Sonoma a “must-taste” destination. Later, take one final look at the vineyards disappearing in the distance as we head for the cable cars, fog, wharfs and bridges of San Francisco, which is yours to explore on your own this evening.
The City by the Bay is all yours today, so choose how you want to adventure after an orientation sightseeing tour to understand the city’s different neighbourhoods. If you’re after iconic views, why not join our Optional Experience taking you across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge towards the artistic seaside city of Sausalito. You’ll cruise through its quaint streets, passing art galleries, artisan shops and sidewalk cafés, before heading back to San Francisco. If you’re planning to explore on your own, you’ll have no shortage of sights to experience today. Wander down to the city's famous pier to watch people and boats come and go or hit the shops for some treasures. You could take a walk up the winding Lombard Street, known as the most crooked street in the world! End your day by grabbing a bite to eat at one of thousands of the city’s incredible restaurants or choose to join the group for an optional Farewell Dinner and drinks to celebrate an unforgettable trip!
The steep hills and ocean views are a great final send off as your trip comes to an end and you head to the airport for your onward journey. Transfers to San Francisco International Airport are available.