Make your own hotel arrangements so you can make Monterey and Carmel into a magical 2-day tour from San Francisco. Add an optional excursion to Big Sur, or the nearby wine country. On day two, head down the scenic 17-Mile Drive and check out charming Carmel-by-the-Sea.
TRAVEL TIP: While public health travel restrictions are active in California, we may not have a public tour date to Monterey & Carmel available when you want to visit. As an alternative, we recommend a self-guided audio tour done in your own vehicle and at your own pace. These downloadable tours share the top attractions, history, hidden gems, untold stories, and travel tips. Check out our driving and walking tours of Monterey Bay here.
It’s hard to imagine an experience with so much potential for lasting memories. By making your own hotel arrangements you can slow the pace on this 2-day tour. Then, customize your Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea experience with excursions that will leave you smiling from ear to ear.
Day 1 – Exploring the Coast and Monterey Bay Attractions
Begin your first day with a pickup in San Francisco. As your Expedition Leader drives along California State Route 1 toward Monterey, every bend in the road presents picture-perfect beaches, jagged cliffs and golden hills. At your first rest stop, take a photo with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop!
Keep an eye out for the sea otters playing along the shoreline of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This treasure was designated in 1992 and stretches from San Francisco to Cambria along 276 miles of coastline.
After arriving in Monterey just in time to grab a seafood lunch at Old Fisherman’s Wharf, explore the many shops and arcades along Cannery Row, a former 19th century sardine-packing district made famous by California author John Steinbeck. You are on your own for the rest of the day, but we offer a collection of excursions so you can customize your tour.
Looking for an adventure? Let us help you arrange kayaking, biking and more along the grand Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. Fascinated by local Pacific Coast sea life? Visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium during your free time, a wildly popular ocean conservation and research facility. Want something different? We can arrange tours to the Carmel Valley wine country or Big Sur. Your options are endless.
You are on your own for dinner with many ocean view restaurants to choose from. After the meal, relax and lose yourself in the golden light and rhythmic sound of waves crashing along the beach before making your way to your hotel you have arranged and retiring for the night.
Day 2 – Rejoin the tour, then on to Charming Carmel-by-the-Sea
Start the morning with at your own pace with enough time to fit in another excursion to the Carmel Valley wine country or wild and scenic Big Sur. Want to stay a bit more local? Visit the Salvador Dali museum, enjoy the self-guided Path of History or let us arrange a small-group food tour of History Monterey. There’s so much to do that you will want to come back time and time again.
Check out of your hotel, eat lunch on your own, and then board your tour vehicle. Enjoy the Pacific beauty as your guide winds along the scenic 17-Mile Drive with a stop to photograph the famous Lone Cypress Tree. This rare Monterey Cypress tree is one of a select variety that are found only in Pebble Beach and Point Lobos.
After you’re done (for now) with the 17-Mile Drive, you’ll arrive at the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Spend your time at the boutique stores on Ocean Avenue or get some white Pacific sand between your toes at the beach.
At the end of the day, it will be time to return to San Francisco with memories and possibly with plans for your next tour of unforgettable Monterey and Carmel.
NOTE: Hotel reservations are NOT included in this tour. Please book your own hotel in advance.
7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
11:30 AM to 6:00 PM
8:00 AM to 1:30 PM
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
4:00 PM to 5:15 PM
5:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Read more helpful articles about Monterey and Carmel in our BLOG.
Yes, this tour operates daily based on a minimum number of participants.
You will be with the group for about 5-6 hours each day
Admission to 17-mile drive is included in the tour cost. If an optional activity was selected at time of booking, this will be included also.
You will spend up to one (1) hour in Carmel-by-the-sea
We will take 17-mile drive from Monterey to Carmel, making a few stops for photos along the way. We will stop at both Lone Pine and Pebble Beach, unless we are denied access, due to a special event.
You will be dropped off in Monterey around 12:00pm on day 1 and picked up on day 2 around 2:00pm to continue the rest of your tour. Please be sure to call to reconfirm the time on day 2.
There is so much to see and do around Monterey including visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, rent a bike and cycle the shoreline and streets, do a whale watching cruise, hire a kayak and see if you can spot any otters or seals, why not go for a massage or golf or visit the many wineries in the area.
This tour is offered in English only. However, if required we can organize a private tour in several languages.
Please note that for your child's safety, we require you to bring a child safety seat or booster seat for all children under 8 years of age or 4' 9" in height, as dictated by California State Law. You will be required to bring your own child seat on all motor vehicle tours. Failure to provide a seat for your child will result in forfeit of your seats on the tour without a refund. Please also note that any children 12 years and older must have an adult ticket as they do not qualify for a child-priced ticket.
We only pick-up from hotels located in Downtown San Francisco including Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf.
Yes, the tour is guided with an English-speaking guide. There will also be time on your own during the stops.
Monterey average temperature data is below.
SUMMER MONTHS (JUNE, JULY, AUGUST):
Average High temperature: 69°F / 20°C
Average Low temperature: 54°F / 12°C
WINTER MONTHS (DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY):
Average High temperature: 61°F / 16°C
Average Low temperature: 45°F / 7°C
Temperatures vary depending on the season and time of day, so we recommend that you wear layered clothing in case of unexpectedly climbing or falling temperatures. We do not recommend wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts in the winter. However, we realize that everyone is acclimated to different weather and thus trust you to make your own judgement. For footwear, we recommend comfortable walking shoes, such as regular tennis shoes, sneakers, or boots with rubber soles and treads. In the summer months, hiking sandals can be worn on the tour, but high heels, beach flip-flops, and other open-toed shoes are not recommended.
Extra spending money for meals, snacks, souvenirs etc
A light jacket (easily removable) in case of wind
Warm clothes and a waterproof jacket (during the winter months)
Hat and sunscreen (during the summer months)
Sturdy umbrella (if the forecast calls for rain)
Meals are not included on this tour. We do make a stop about halfway to Monterey, where you can buy a snack. There are also options to purchase lunch and snacks in Monterey and Carmel.
Times listed are approximates only. Traffic and other unforeseen issues can cause delays or changes in these times, which are out of our control. Please do not make flight/travel arrangements on the same day as your tour. Extranomical Tours is not responsible for and will not be providing any compensation for missed flights or appointments.
As we have several different vehicles, we don’t know until the morning of your tour which vehicle will be hosting your tour as well as the name of your Expedition Leader. Please feel free to call us in the morning of your tour if you like. Regardless of which vehicle will come to your location, it should say “Extranomical Tours” on it.
Our vehicles at this time do not have any restroom facilities. We do, however, make several stops throughout the tours and there will be opportunities for you to use the restroom.
Yes, we request that you reach out to us at least a day in advance to confirm your tour and pick up details. You can contact us via our live chat function or by calling our office at 1-866-231-3752 (toll free from the USA) or +1-415-357-0700 (internationally) during office hours. You can call us from your hotel’s phone if you do not have a working mobile phone while you are in the area.
The maximum size allowed for an overnight bag is 22”x14”x9”, or 56cmx36cmx23cm. Any “Oversize” luggage larger than those dimensions is $50 regardless of the number of personal items brought on board. (i.e. 1 Oversized luggage - $50, 2 Oversized pieces = $100). You must advise us of oversize luggage 48 hours prior to departure in order to guarantee the space necessary to save room for the luggage on the vehicle.
We do have wheelchair-capable vehicles available – subject to availability. Please notify us at time of booking if you are bringing a wheelchair on the tour so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Please note that due to limitations we are unable to guarantee an ADA vehicle.
Yes, items left in the vehicle are stored in a lost and found area for 30 days. If you left something on one of our tours, please give us a call office at 1-866-231-3752 (toll free from the USA) or 1-415-357-0700 to see if it has been found. Once you have confirmed with us that your item has been found by our staff and you are still in town, you can come by our office to pick up your item. Otherwise, we will ship almost any item to any destination within the U.S. for a flat fee of $25. Extranomical Tours is not responsible for lost or stolen items