testimonials
brochure

California Dreaming in Big Sur

Cost: $2,538
Next Trips: April 8-14 and April 15-21, 2018

Trip Rating: Energetic Maximum Daily mileage: 4-8
Terrain: Gently rolling with some steeper areas
Elevation gains: Up to 500 feet

*** NOTE: The April 15-21 trip is filled. We encourage you to sign up for the other trip or for our waiting list. No deposit is required for the wait list. ***

Calendar

California Dreaming...

  • Explore where ancient redwoods and the Santa Lucia mountains kiss the Pacific Ocean.
  • Hike along the Pacific’s sea caves, crashing waves, sea stacks, hidden coves, tidal pools,waterfalls, and sandy beaches.
  • Spot playful sea otters, seals , sea lions, and tide-pool critters.
  • Kayak ocean backwaters, whale watch, or horseback ride on a pristine beach.
  • Tour a grand-daddy lighthouse, acclaimed Carmel mission, and historic Cannery Row.
  • Thrill at the scenery as we drive legendary Highway 1
  • Sip area wines and dine at restaurants with food as wonderful as the ambience.
Admire McWay Falls as it cascades into a turquoise ocean cove.
Be transported to faraway places.
Follow Highway 1 as it winds along Big Sur’s incomparable coastline.
 
Picture yourself galloping along a secluded Pacific beach.
Dreams, joy and wildflowers thrive here.
Day 1

Fly into the Monterey, CA, airport, and let us drive you across town to the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Nestled along the Pacific, our luxury hotel gives you outstanding ocean and harbor views throughout?as you relax on your private balcony, soak in the rooftop hot tub, cozy-up next to the outdoor fireplace, and more.

After settling into your room, walk or bike the nearby oceanside recreation path (our hotel loans bikes); shop at historic Cannery Row; explore the harbor and wharfs; or relax on your balcony. We’ll enjoy an early dinner at the local favorite, Hula’s Island Grill. Then, fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves and dream of the week ahead.

Day 2

Get "wowed" by the sights at nearby Point Lobos, considered the crown jewel of CA’s state parks. Robert Louis Stevenson used this headland as the setting for Treasure Island, and described it as "the most beautiful meeting of land and sea on earth."

Our 4-mile hike along Point Lobos’ rugged coastline winds past sea lions and seals; through the world’s most superb natural stand of Monterey cypress; along sea caves and white-sand beaches; and past spring wildflowers and tidal pools. After our hike, choose from two favorite mid-afternoon adventures:

  • Tour the Carmel Mission: California’s 21 Spanish missions, built from 1769 to 1833, birthed the region’s European settlements. Learn stories behind Carmel’s historic mission, considered one of the state’s most beautiful. Now a basilica, you’ll admire its golden bell towers, fountains, courtyards, and poignant cemetery, as well as the burial place, library, and living quarters of its founder, Father Serra.
  • Explore Carmel By The Sea: Visit Carmel’s unique shops and wine-taste at the local wineries’ storefronts. Plus, walk its enchanting neighborhoods, where homes wear names, rather than street numbers.
    Savor dinner at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch, where sheep graze the meadows, the Santa Lucia mountains rise nearby, and a local pianist tinkles the ivory.
Day 3

Climb aboard a pontoon boat to explore the Pacific backwaters at Elkhorn Slough, named one of "10 Great Places in America to See Wildlife" by USA Weekend magazine. With the help of our naturalist guide, spot and photograph playful sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and dozens of bird species.

After the slough safari and lunch, experience the ocean your way: Whale watch: If humpback whales are in the area, this 2-3 hour tour treats you to these animated mammals breaching, spy hopping, slapping pectoral fins, and tail lobbing. Kayak Elkhorn Slough: Hop into a kayak for a 3-hour guided tour to get up close and personal to the ocean wildlife you saw on the slough safari. Horseback ride along the ocean: Yes ? 90 unforgettable minutes of trotting or cantering on a gentle horse along a secluded ocean beach. Walk the beach: Feel sand tickle your toes and waves lap your ankles as you stroll a stretch of pristine beach. Feel free to have dinner on your own, or to join the leaders at El Torito.

"I accomplished something I never imagined doing. I’m proud of myself!"~Skeeter

Let sand and surf soothe your soul?and your soles
Just say "WOW"!
Kick back and enjoy the scenery.
Even cattle have ocean and lighthouse views in
Big Sur’s protected, unmarred landscape.
Feel your spirit breathe in this wild, pristine sanctuary.
Take a cue from sea lions and bask in the sun’s spring rays...
...and in its evening hues.
"Rock on" with other outdoor-loving, kindred spirits.
Day 4

Driving to our Wednesday hikes is half the fun! We’ll travel famous Highway 1 atop jagged cliffs and along rocky beaches, through dense redwood forest, and over historic scenic bridges. Iconic Bixby Bridge is one of the most notable ~ and photographed ~ of those bridges.

At Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, trek 4 unforgettable miles on the Ewsoldson trail, a quintessential Big Sur hike through towering coastal redwoods (the world’s tallest living things), over a gurgling creek, and up to amazing coastal views. Next, hike 1.7 miles on the McWay Falls trail for stunning views of the jagged coast, turquoise waters, and an 80-foot waterfall spewing from a canyon to a beach below.

Time allowing, we’ll visit magical Pfeiffer Beach, made famous in the movie Sandpipers. Here, the sea blasts through blowholes and caves, crashes around sea stacks once part of its rocky cliffs, and rolls onto beaches flecked with purple sand.

We’ll dine in the heart of Big Sur at Nepenthe, known for its exquisite views, warm ambience, and delicious food.

"These trips give me time to reflect and make me feel alive to the possibilities of life." ~Trooper

Day 5

Enjoy a private tour of Point Sur Lighthouse , where light keepers kept vigil from 1889-1974. This unique stone lighthouse still guides ships today, a silent sentinel to a bygone era. Hear its great stories and history, and tour inside the lighthouse, keeper’s home, barn, and toolshed. While atop the 361-foot bluff, watch for gray whales hugging the shoreline as they escort their calves northward for the summer ? and listen to sea lions barking far below. You’ll love the incredible display of spring wildflowers and "lunch-with-a-view."

Then, visit Pacific Grove, the famous wintering ground for millions of Monarch butterflies. In addition to churches and Victorian homes from the late 1800s, this community boasts pink carpets of spring flowers and three miles of tide pool-rich beaches. At low tide, we’ll comb the pools for sea anemones, tiny hermit crabs, snails and limpets, kelp, and other ocean treasures.

We’ve built in free time this day for you to have a spa treatment at our hotel, shop, enjoy the oceanside rec path, or simply relax. Dinner is at the Beach House restaurant, a favorite because of its yummy food and terrific ocean views.

Enjoy awesome hikes...and time to play!
Day 6
Call this home for one magnificent week.
Soothe your muscles and mind in the hotel’s rooftop hot tub.

Explore the delightful trails at Garrapata State Park. The 3-mile Soberanes Canyon Trail crisscrosses Soberanes Creek up a lovely, narrow canyon through magnificent stands of huge redwoods. It also takes us through dry, chaparral-covered hillsides and fields of cacti ? with the sparkling blue Pacific as a backdrop. Then, cross Highway 1 to hike 1.8 miles on the Soberanes Coastal Bluff Trail that overlooks coves, sea caves, hidden beaches, rocky points, and offshore sea stacks. If gray whales are active, we’ll climb 280-foot Whale Peak for its 360-degree views and whalewatching opportunities. Enjoy a last dinner together at our hotel.

Day 7

"Our trip reinforced that age is not just a number, but a state of mind. I felt more youthful after this trip than I have in years." ~Peace Seeker

We’ll drive you to Monterey’s airport for your flight home, filled with unforgettable memories, warm friendships, renewed confidence, and great stories.

Registration

The trip cost includes:

  • 6 nights, double-occupancy**, at Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, which treats you to:
    - Panoramic views of the ocean and haror from your room and private balcony
    - Rooftop hot tubs, spa, workout room, outdoor fireplace nooks, bike loans, and onsite restaurant and cafe
    - Access to the ocean-side rec trail, aquarium, wharfs, and Cannery Row’s shopping and restaurants
  • Great hikes and explorations led by experienced, friendly guides
  • A naturalist-led safari on Elkhorn Slough and a private guided tour of Point Sur Lighthouse
  • Transportation throughout the week, including shuttles to and from Monterey’s airport
  • Park fees and permits with unforgettable memories, warm friendships, renewed confidence, and great stories.
  • Advance booklet packed with trip info, maps, and free-time suggestions
  • Online photos of the trip

**Pending availability, a solo room upgrade is available for an additional $675/pp

"Our recent Trailbound adventure was my first trip with a group of women. The camaraderie made the experience really special. It’s fun to travel with women who love the great outdoors as much as I do. They were more interested in being actively immersed in the grandeur of nature than shopping?what a welcome change!" ~Jeanne

Each trip is open to 10 women, in addition to our two guides. These trips fill very quickly on a first-come basis, so don’t wait long to register.

Testimonials:

  • "I accomplished something I never imagined doing. I’m proud of myself!" ~ Skeeter
  • "These trips give me time to reflect?and make me feel alive to the possibilities of life." ~Trooper
  • "Our trip reinforced that age is not just a number, but a state of mind. I felt more youthful after this trip than I have in years." ~Peace Seeker
  • "Our recent Trailbound adventure was my first trip with a group of women. The camaraderie made the experience really special. It’s fun to travel with women who love the great outdoors as much as I do. They were more interested in being actively immersed in the grandeur of nature than shopping?what a welcome change!" ~Jeanne