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California Here We Come - 2017

  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:  En Route

California Here We Come tour members will meet the Tour Director in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago’s Union Station.  We’ll board the famous California Zephyr in time for its 2:00 p.m. departure. The Zephyr features double-decker Superliner equipment. Relax in your comfortable Roomette sleeping accommodations. Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. After settling in you may want to go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge. Enjoy a sumptuous, full-course dinner in the dining car. All meals are included on the Zephyr.

Meal(s):  D

Day 2:  En Route

When you awaken this morning you may look out your window toward the West and thrill to the sight of the towering Colorado Rockies in the distance. Plan to get up early, have a piping hot breakfast in the dining car and find a seat in the glass-walled lounge car for the spectacular scenery that will unfold before you the rest of the day.

The Zephyr will pull out of Denver this morning and begin its climb over the Front Range toward the Continental Divide.  The mountain vistas continue until late afternoon.

Meal(s):  B, L & D

Day 3:  En Route / San Francisco

Today’s scenery will be almost as spectacular as that experienced yesterday in Colorado as the Zephyr climbs over the high Sierra Nevada mountains along the famous Donner Pass. From rugged terrain and pine trees to lush greenery and palm trees . . . this landscape contrast will occur in just three hours. Our arrival in the world-famous “City by the Bay” is scheduled for early evening. Our home in San Francisco is the attractive Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf.

With its picturesque sights and pungent smells, Fisherman’s Wharf attracts millions of visitors annually. You’ll have time to discover the excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops.

Meal(s):  B & L

Day 4:  San Francisco

You’re free this morning to ride a cable car or just wander through Union Square. Following an “on-your-own” lunch, we’ll embark on a three hour sightseeing tour of San Francisco, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Telegraph Hill, the Presidio and Fisherman’s Wharf. Some will want to have dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf. Your Tour Director will suggest some moderately-priced dining options as well.

Day 5:  En Route / Santa Barbara

We’ll check out of our hotel this morning and transfer by motorcoach to the Emeryville Amtrak Station. We’ll depart on the Coast Starlight, Amtrak’s premier train. Relax in a comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Lunch is available in the dining car. Snacks, sandwiches and beverages are available in the lounge car. The scenic highlights of the day will be the traversing of a number of mountain ranges and about 100 miles of the awesome Pacific Ocean coastline. Be sure to be in the Sightseer Lounge car.

Our arrival into Santa Barbara is scheduled for early evening. Our hotel in Santa Barbara is the Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn.

Day 6:  Santa Barbara / Solvang

We’ll embark on a two-hour sightseeing tour of what many consider to be America’s most beautiful city. We’ll see examples of the city’s Spanish past, including the Mission Santa Barbara and El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historical Park. The Court House, with its massive murals and tile floors and walls, is not to be missed.

After our city tour we’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue 45 miles to one of California’s most popular attractions. You may never travel to Denmark, but during your visit to Solvang you will have experienced perhaps the next best thing. Danish architecture, windows, gas lights and cobblestone walks abound.

Solvang’s distinctively Danish flavor pervades its roughly 150 plus stores.  There will be time for an “on-your-own” lunch at one of Solvang’s attractive restaurants.  The pastries are awesome!

You’ll have some time to explore Santa Barbara on your own when we return to our hotel at mid afternoon. Our Tour Director will host dinner tonight at a nearby restaurant.

Meal(s):  B & D

Day 7:  En Route / San Diego

Breakfast in our hotel is included this morning.  We’ll  transfer to the Santa Barbara Amtrak station  for the morning departure of a Pacific Surfliner for the six-hour, 232-mile run along the coast to San Diego. At certain points along the way, our train parallels the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  We’ll pass through the heart of Los Angeles and then travel along the Pacific Ocean.

Our home for the two nights in San Diego will be the Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town. The hotel is conveniently located near Old Town, a section of this beautiful city that preserves the town’s Spanish-Mexican heritage. 

Meal(s):  B

Day 8:  San Diego

Today is the day we’ll visit the renowned San Diego Zoo, one of the greatest zoological gardens in the world.  First, you’ll take a tour of the entire zoo complex on a double-decker conveyance. You’ll have time to explore the zoo on your own and have lunch.

At 1:00 p.m. we’ll strike out on a San Diego city tour.  Highlights include:  downtown’s famed Gaslamp Quarter, the Hotel del Coronado, the Embarcadero, Balboa Park and Old Town. 

Meal(s):  B

Day 9:  San Diego / En Route

This morning we’ll transfer the short distance to the Amtrak station where we’ll depart at 12:00 p.m. on a Pacific Surfliner.  We’ll arrive in the Los Angeles Union Station at 2:45 p.m.  You will have time to stroll Olvera Street, the world-renowned Mexican marketplace for more than 75 years lined with historic buildings, authentic Mexican restaurants and vendor stalls.

At 6:10 we’ll depart on the famous Southwest Chief for Chicago.

You’ll again enjoy private-room sleeping accommodations, all train meals and other amenities experienced on the California Zephyr. Enjoy a full-course dining car dinner upon departure.

Meal(s):  B & D

Day 10:  En Route

You’ll want to take advantage of the fascinating scenery of Arizona and New Mexico our train will pass through during the day.

You’ll have time for a train side walk in Albuquerque at noon.   

Meal(s):  B, L & D

Day 11:  En Route to Chicago

The Southwest Chief will roll across Northeast Missouri, a corner of Iowa and all of Illinois before our  afternoon arrival in Chicago. Some tour members will change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern and Southern home cities. Others will stay in Chicago and fly home tomorrow.

Meal(s):  B & L

11 Days

Sat., Mar. 18 - Tues., Mar. 28, 2017

Download a full color printable version of this itinerary.

Watch Videos About This Tour

California », About Rail Travel »
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Sierra Nevadas
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Barbara
  • Solvang
  • San Diego

Tour Highlights

  • San Francisco, everyone’s favorite City by the Bay. Sightseeing, ride the cable cars, free time to explore, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge. The view from atop Twin Peaks will thrill you.
  • Fall in love with beautiful Santa Barbara. The flowers, the Spanish architecture, the parks and the mild temperatures provide a wonderful experience.
  • You may never visit Denmark, but after your visit to Solvang, you will have experienced perhaps the next best thing. Danish architecture, windows, gaslights and cobblestone streets abound.
  • Two full days in exciting San Diego. What a conclusion to our visit to the Golden State. You’ll tour the city and visit its world-famous zoo.
  • Travel from Chicago to San Francisco on the California Zephyr, including the spectacular Colorado Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • Continue south on Amtrak’s premier train, the Coast Starlight, through towering mountains and along the picturesque Pacific Ocean coastline.
  • Return on the famous Southwest Chief through Arizona and New Mexico. You’ll follow the route of the pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail.

Tour Package

  • Round-trip transportation by Amtrak rail and deluxe motorcoach.
  • First-class hotel accommodations with private bath for six nights.
  • Private Roomette sleeping accommodations on the trains for four nights.
  • Sightseeing in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Solvang and San Diego.
  • Baggage handling, taxes & tips.
  • 17 meals.
  • Services of a professional America by Rail Tour Director.

Tour Pricing

$3,195 - 11 Days

Upgrade:    Bedroom + $895

Single    $4,545

FLY OPTION - Fly to San Francisco, return from San Diego.
7 Days
Price: $2,195
Single: $2,745

America by Rail will be happy to arrange your flights. Air is not included in above price.

All prices are per person/double occupancy unless otherwise stated.

About The Train

View The Superliner 3D Tour, More Amtrak Train Information

Additional Tour Information

More Photos

  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017
  • California Here We Come - 2017

Discover “The Best Way to See America”. Train trips offer the finest views of exciting destinations throughout North America. Combine that with the fun you’ll experience on a group train trip vacation and you’ll understand why these tours are so popular!

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