For a similar trip, see
San Francisco to Monterey Multisport Tour
- Savor freshly made artisan cheeses at Harley Farms Goat Dairy
- Sea otters, harbor seals and birds abound in the estuary at Elkhorn Slough
- Witness an amazing world beneath the waves at Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Point Lobos State Reserve, one of California's most iconic and stunning landscapes
- Settle in at view-tiful hotels perched right above the ocean
Redwoods, Surf & Sea Lions on California's Central Coast
It's always wise to see the forest for the trees. But these trees? Possibly unlike any you've seen before. Hiking beneath towering Pacific Coast redwoods is one of those experiences that makes an enormous impression. And that's just the beginning. Discover endless miles of windswept beaches and iconic Monterey Bay itself, deep as the Grand Canyon and brimming with primordial kelp forests. Even the local sea otters and pelicans seem to know they're thriving amid the "greatest meeting of land and water in the world." And as you take it all in. It's a wise choice.
Day 1 Walk among giants in a grove of coast redwoods, the world's tallest trees Pedal through a lush canyon to the farming town of Pescadero, where Harley Farms Goat Dairy awaits to tempt you with freshly made artisanal cheeses Spin to Pigeon Point Light Station, home to a 115-foot tall lighthouse that has been guiding mariners since the 1800s.
Day 2 Explore a beautifully undeveloped stretch of California coastline Wildlife thrives here, so keep your eyes peeled - you may spot pelicans and sea lions just off shore Taste pinot noir at one of the region's oldest wineries Towering redwoods shade your descent to seaside Santa Cruz.
Days 3-4 Kayak through Elkhorn Slough to get eye-level with some of the resident seals, sea otters and pelicans At Wilder Ranch State Park, where the Spanish grazed their mission cattle in the 1700s, you’ll have many hikes to choose from Pedal into historic Monterey, following a bike path through oceanfront sand dunes.
Days 5-6 Views of rocky headlands, wind-battered cypresses and azure ocean are yours to enjoy on undulating 17-Mile Drive Hansel and Gretel-style meets the unabashedly posh - you must be in Carmel-by-the-Sea! Linger in Carmel's chic galleries, boutiques and tasting rooms, hike in a dense Monterey pine forest in the hills above town or stroll on the beach Ever peered into a kelp forest or come face-to-face with an octopus? Now's your chance on a private VIP tour at the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium With its ruggedly stunning landscape and lively chorus of barking sea lions, Point Lobos State Reserve is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Pescadero (1 night) A stylish yet comfortable "eco-adventure resort" set amid acres of pristine coastal hills and secluded beaches. (spa)
Santa Cruz (2 nights) Savor views of Monterey Bay from your private balcony at this beachfront inn, just steps from the historic Santa Cruz boardwalk. (pool)
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey (2 nights) Enjoy luxurious amenities including a rooftop fireplace and hot tub with stunning views over the bay. (spa)
Guest Reviews About This Trip
Rugged windswept beaches, dense redwood forests and sinuous seaside roads. Vibrant San Francisco, laid-back Santa Cruz, historic Monterey and chic Carmel. We've linked together these splendid places to bring you some of most stunning scenery and epic hiking & biking in the Golden State. I hope you'll join us to explore this beautifully undeveloped stretch of California coastline!Riley Pearce - Regional Manager, California
Trip Dates & Prices
This Trip Is Rated Level 1-3
Routes For All Abilities
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
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* Includes a shuttle