Welcome to seaside San Diego where the sunshine is free and the history is rich. San Diego is home to 70 miles of sandy shoreline, outdoor adventures, over a hundred craft breweries and gastronomic delights influenced by its culturally diverse population. Things to do in San Diego include exploring and learning about the rich history of the city while sightseeing; or wandering through the popular Farmers’ Market in Little Italy and tasting authentic San Diegan food. Soak up some rays at Coronado Beach, one of San Diego’s beaches, before meeting your fellow travelers and Travel Director this evening. Get to know one another over a local pint (or other delicious beverage) and San Diegan starters to kick off your vacation in Southern California.
Start your day exploring the diverse and unique neighborhoods during a tour of San Diego – from laid-back Pacific Beach to hipster North Park and bustling Downtown. After learning more about what makes each of these neighborhoods such an integral piece of San Diego, we’ll visit another important landmark – California’s first Mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala. The mission is home to a cultural center for all visitors to relive the history and traditions of the last 250 years since the mission was constructed in 1769. Later in the afternoon, we’ll expand on the history of the missionaries during our Old Town Food and History Walking Tour. Located in the heart of San Diego, Old Town is California’s first settlement and home to a quaint atmosphere full of Spanish and Mexican culture. During our walk with a Local Specialist, you’ll enjoy the melodic tunes of local mariachi music while tasting Mexican culinary specialties including a tequila tasting and a demonstration of the art of tortilla making.
This morning we head up the coast to La Jolla, a charming seaside village known for their beach-inspired artisans and their resident seal population. Spend time on the pier listening to the waves crash against the shore or keeping an eye out for the San Diego wildlife – no matter how you choose to spend your time on this La Jolla visit it is sure to be relaxing and beautiful. Our next stop takes us to Temecula Valley Wine Country. With its Mediterranean-like climate, this region is bursting with rolling hills akin to Tuscany and is home to over 40 wineries growing over 50 grape varietals and olive groves. Famed for their Californian olive oils, we’ll visit a family-owned and operated ranch. At the ranch, we will enjoy a special Be My Guest lunch experience amongst the groves. Afterwards we will continue onward to Palm Springs with a stop for a ride on the Aerial Tramway – the world’s largest rotating tram car. Travel over 2.5 miles by tram along the cliffs of Chino Canyon overlooking Mount San Jacinto State Park before you arrive at the Mountain Station with an elevation of 8,516 feet, providing picturesque views of the desert valley below.
Known for the twisted, oddball tree from where it gets its name, Joshua Tree National Park is a natural wonder where two desert ecosystems, the high Mojave and the low Colorado deserts come together resulting in unique flora and fauna. Meet with a local who will give you the background into the park before taking time on your own to walk the trails. Next, we’ll head back to Palm Springs where you can enjoy time on your own relaxing by the pool or exploring the quaint town, your Travel Director will be happy to recommend some local favorites for dinner.
In the mid-twentieth century, Palm Springs became a much-needed getaway for movie stars and socialites to escape the daily hustle and bustle of Hollywood. This vibrant scene resulted in Palm Springs becoming today’s mecca for mid-century modern architecture. Today we’ll join a Local Specialist, Kurt, for a Mid-Century Modern Architecture and Design Experience where you’ll tour houses of design heroes and stars from this era. As we leave the desert, headed for new scenery in Orange County, we’ll stop for an iconic west coast lunch, In-N-Out Burger. Not just any location, we’re stopping at In-n-Out University. During your visit to the headquarters of California’s favorite burger spot, you’ll get the inside scoop on the famed “secret menu” from your Travel Director. Then, we continue west for the famed Orange Country beach towns featured throughout literature, films and television. Join a Local Specialist for an introduction to the area as they highlight what makes each beach town so unique, from Laguna Beach’s community of artisans and craftsmen to how Huntington Beach earned the nickname of ‘Surf City USA.’ After our tour, your evening is free as you settle into your seaside hotel.
On our last full day of this California tour, we will make the most of exploring Orange County. This morning we will travel to the pristine Crystal Cove State Park, one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore with 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of wilderness. Joined by a Local Specialist, you’ll explore the beaches of Orange County, tidepools and the Historic District which features 46 vintage coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930s and 1940s. Later in the afternoon, we’ll head to sophisticated and charming Newport Beach – the epitome of California chic. After some time exploring, you can take the ferry over to Balboa Island and enjoy the boutique coastal shops and quaint restaurants. Be sure to try out Balboa Island’s two famous desserts the Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana, both dipped in chocolate and covered with your choice of topping. The only fitting way to end such a spectacular day and trip is a dinner together with your fellow travelers and Travel Director as you toast to new memories, new experiences and new friends.
Sadly, our SoCal getaway comes to an end today and you will be transferred to either Orange County or San Diego airports for your return trip home.