DAY 1 – San Francisco to Monterey
We’ll meet bright and early to begin our escape to the sun-drenched coastal city of Santa Cruz. Keep an eye out for produce stands filled with artichokes and hang gliders floating over the Pacific Ocean along Highway 1. Depending on the time of year, you may even catch the famous super blooms, an explosion of wildflowers that yields a vibrant scene of poppies, primroses and lilies. Who needs coffee when we have roller coasters on our route? We’ll make a quick detour at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to take a few rides and grab some fried snacks before continuing on to Monterey.
In the afternoon, prepare to hit the ground running as you head to the central coast’s crown jewel, Monterey. Explore the bay by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or simply stroll along the coast. If you’d rather get a closer look at what is beneath the water (like the world’s largest octopus), head over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium*. Of course, you’ll have to check out historic Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf: adventure, history and clam chowder await! You’ll stay overnight in Monterey County at a nearby campground or hotel.
DAY 2 – Full Day Big Sur
Strap on your good walking shoes, today you’ll trade in the small-town charm for the brilliant beauty of the rural coastline. Venture through the lush greenery of Big Sur and and through to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State, where, nestled in a beachy enclave of emerald water, you’ll see one of the most photographed waterfalls on the Pacific Coast, McWay Falls. Have you been waiting for your chance to wrap your arms around a redwood? These happy trees thrive in the coastal fog that blankets Big Sur. We’ll end our day of adventuring hiking through Point Lobos State Reserve, speckled with hidden coves and beautiful shorelines.
DAY 3 – Monterey to San Francisco
We’ll spend our final morning kayaking among a shocking number of otters and seals, as we explore one of the most fiercely protected nature reserves, the Elkhorn Slough (pronounced SL-OO). One of the largest tidal marshes in California, you’ll row your way through sea lions, otters, seals, brown pelicans, American avocets, cormorants, egrets. You’ll see otters flip and play, edging close to the boats, as we admire the lush nature recently designated a “Wetland of International Importance,” for its biodiversity and significance to the survival of critical species. Once we’ve shed our kayaking gear, we’ll stop back through Santa Cruz to discover the unknown at The Mystery Spot before heading into the quaint town of Half Moon Bay. We’ll end our journey where we began. With hints of saltwater still on your skin, we’ll head back into the twinkling lights city life in San Francisco.
*a wee note about the pricing* a few of these activities have additional entrance fees that we don’t include in the price of this tour to make sure you can choose your activities along the way
ADDITIONAL CAMPING INFORMATION:
This camping trip is a community effort! We love camping, and we want you to as well. So we make it easy to put together and break down your tent on your own. Don’t worry if you’ve never camped before; many people haven’t. We supply the gear, using quality tents, camping and cooking equipment (you will need a sleeping bag – they are available for rent) We expect everyone to help with the set-up and breakdown of camp, and our professional guides are there to ensure a positive camping experience. We camp at comfortable campsites that have hot showers and modern facilities.
Camping Food: Are you ready to put your chef’s hat on? We provide the food, but not the chefs. Our guests are the cooks, waiters, and dishwashers. The fare is all-you-can-eat and very tasty, and is a mixture of chicken, beef and vegetarian. Most people eat better with us than they do on the rest of their travels. Please inform of any dietary restrictions or allergies prior to your trip.