It’s an age-old question: mountains or ocean - which do you prefer? The fresh scent of evergreens or salty sea breezes? Redwood forests or kelp forests? Here on California’s Central Coast, you and your family will happily discover it all on foot and on two wheels. Hike through the Santa Cruz Mountains in the morning and stroll a historic oceanside boardwalk in the afternoon. Come face-to-face with sharks and sea turtles at the world-famous Monterey Aquarium. Chug through majestic redwoods on a steam train. Bike along coastal roads overlooking Monterey Bay, deep as the Grand Canyon. Mountains or ocean? You can have both.
Day 1 Explore a beautifully undeveloped stretch of California coastline Start your ride at Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, where you might be tempted by the array of freshly made artisan cheeses Spin to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, home to a 115-foot tall lighthouse that has been guiding mariners since the 1800s.
Day 2 Walk among giants in a grove of coast redwoods, the world's tallest trees Wildlife thrives here, so keep your eyes peeled - you may be lucky enough to spot sea otters frolicking just off shore Grown-ups taste pinot noir at one of the region's oldest wineries Kids check out the redwoods from a unique perspective: by train! Towering redwoods shade your descent to seaside Santa Cruz.
Days 3-4 The splendor of Monterey Bay spreads out before you on a hike through meadows and forest high above Santa Cruz A local expert shares insider knowledge of estuary life at the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve 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 looked an octopus in the eye? Now's your chance 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.
- 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
Costanoa Lodge (1 night): This unique eco-retreat, nestled among coastal bluffs, exudes natural sophistication. (spa)
Dream Inn (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 (2 nights): Enjoy luxurious amenities including a rooftop fireplace and hot tub with stunning views over the bay. (spa)
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.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Kids||Train ride through the redwoods (1.5 hours)|
* Includes a shuttle
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 6/15-20 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/22-27 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/29-7/4 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/29-8/3 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/5-10 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/17-22 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $790 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Recommended Kids Ages
- Recommended minimum age for the trip: 6 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride own bike: 7 years
General Info on Minimum Ages:We strongly encourage families to join our Family Trips, designed with kid- and adult-friendly features. Please note that we have a minimum age requirement of 1 year for all Inn trips and 2 years for all Camping trips. Other than that, we do not restrict trips to a minimum age except in the rare case of a hotel age restriction. We do, however, recommend minimum ages based on the following criteria:
- 12+ amount of cultural appreciation, difficulty of activities, routes
- 9+ difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions, routes
- 6+ several longer dinners; routes are difficult for pulling a Burley and therefore not appropriate for younger children; difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick any open date in next year's lineup for your group of 8 or more - just book by December 31st of this year. Call us for date availability.
If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.
Pricing for Private Trips
- 2 - 3 guests $5,198 pp dbl. occ.
- 4 - 5 guests $4,398 pp dbl. occ.
- 6 - 7 guests $3,998 pp dbl. occ.
- 8 - 9 guests $3,798 pp dbl. occ.
- 10 - 11 guests $3,298 pp dbl. occ.
- 12 or more guests $2,998 pp dbl. occ.
Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips.
Guest Trip Reviews
Gather your gang together for good times in the Golden State! This new multisport adventure along California's stunning central coast has something for everyone in the whole family, from easygoing beach walks to energetic rides. Kids will especially love seeing marine creatures up close at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.- Regional Manager, California