Welcome to Central Coast
Too often forgotten or dismissed as ‘flyover’ country between San Francisco and LA, this fairytale stretch of California coast is packed with wild beaches, misty redwood forests where hot springs hide, and rolling golden hills of fertile vineyards and farm fields.Coastal Hwy 1 pulls out all the stops, scenery-wise. Flower-power Santa Cruz and the historic port town of Monterey are gateways to the rugged wilderness... Read More
Top experiences in Central Coast
Central Coast activities
Monterey Bay Aquarium Admission
Your all-day admission ticket grants you access to all of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s exhibits. Live programming throughout the day includes Kelp Forest and Open Sea exhibit feeding shows, sea otter and penguin feedings, and auditorium programs such as Mysteries of the Deep and Luna: A Sea Otter's Story.
Carmel Small-Group Food and Wine Walking Tour
Meet at the Sunset Cultural Center in Carmel to begin your 3-hour walking tour of this lovely coastal town, an artist’s colony that is a foodie’s delight. With your small group, learn about Carmel’s history and architecture as you follow your knowledgeable guide through hidden passageways and tiny plazas even many locals don’t know about. Covering just over a mile and interspersed with frequent tasting breaks, this well-paced tour is suitable for adults of all fitness levels. Visit local eateries and food shops to meet the owners and enjoy some gourmet tastings. Places you may visit include Anton & Michel, Casanova Restaurant, Terry's Lounge in the Historic Cypress Inn, La Bicyclette, Trio Carmel and Lula’s Chocolates.Discover true Locavore-style preparations, olive oils and Balsamic vinegars. Indulge in a gnocchi appetizer at one of Carmel’s most popular and romantic restaurants, and savor artisanal pizzas. Try a cocktail pairing inside a swanky, historic lounge. Sip a selection of handcrafted wines and indulge your sweet tooth with locally made caramels and truffles. You’ll find that these various tasty bites add up to a very satisfying lunch!Your Carmel food tour ends in the early afternoon, leaving you plenty of time to revisit the restaurants and shops later to experience more culinary delights.
Roaring Camp Steam Train Through Santa Cruz Redwoods
Experience California’s redwoods as never before, by taking a steam train through one of the Golden State’s towering ancient forests. Be inspired by both the natural beauty of the groves and the engineering prowess of this hulking locomotive, which dates back to the 1890s. Hop aboard the train at Roaring Camp in Felton, near the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, just 80 miles south of San Francisco. Settle into your open-air car and hang on as you chug past hundreds of old-growth redwoods with an unobstructed view. As you make your way up to the top of Bear Mountain, you’ll cruise over trestles and glide beneath the verdant canopy. Along the way, the knowledgeable train conductor will illuminate the forest with bits of history about how it was formed and facts about the local wildlife, as well as stories about the railroad and Roaring Camp. Learn about how steam locomotives similar to the one you’ll be riding are among the oldest and best preserved narrow-gauge steam engines in America, and were once used to schlep redwood logs down from the mountains. You’ll have plenty of time to admire your surroundings on the 1-hour round trip ride. At the summit, study the architecture and visit the old-fashioned general store. Capture the moment in the vintage photo booth and peek inside the charmingly woodsy sheriff’s office. Stretch your legs and take in the majestic surroundings on a nature stroll through nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Please note: Picnic tables are available at Roaring Camp for all-day rental. Inquire at the ticket office when you visit. Gates open at 9:30am, and parking closes at 5pm, unless trains are still operating. There is an $8 per vehicle parking fee.
Paso Robles Wine Adventure
You can expect to meet other wine enthusiasts and get to know them over the course of the day. You'll spend the day with a small group and visit between 4-6 wineries. Your group will discuss various options with your guide and craft an itinerary of wineries to visit. Your guides are very fond of smaller wineries, those that are family-owned, historic and off-the-beaten path, but there are no strict rules. Your guides try to avoid taking you to places you have already visited (unless you want to go back!). They will point out landmarks and wineries along the way, tell stories and talk about the local history and, of course, wine making, as well as sharing with you the local culture. A deli-style picnic lunch is included (vegetarian available upon request) on the full-day tour.
Monterey Bay Sailing Cruise With Wine
You will sail about 6-7 miles on the Monterey Bay 1-hour cruise, and about 13-14 miles on the 2-hour cruise. On every charter, you will enjoy a large variety of mammals, and exotic birds as Monterey is home to one of the most bio-diverse, bio-dense ecosystems on the continent. Marine mammals seen frequently include grey, blue and humpback whales who blow, or breach as they migrate with their calves. You might also spot sea otters, dolphin and vocal sea lions enjoy one of the most pristine areas of the entire Pacific.
1-Hour Monterey and Cannery Row Sea Car Tour
Pick up your 2-seater Sea Car at the Portola Hotel & Spa, just a 5-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. Simple to drive and park, this zany scooter car allows you to zip around downtown streets and out to the coast to cruise along one of the most scenic drives in the United States. You can follow a designated itinerary or make up your own adventure.The 1-hour narrated tour directs you on a route past Monterey’s historical buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and Lovers Point park and beach. Enjoy sweeping ocean vistas through the convertible’s open top, and soak up views of the harbor. You'll see sand dunes, cypress trees and marine life like seals and otters among many stops along the route.Note: Price is based on per car.