Discover Big Sur, California

Study Environmental Sciences on the California Coast

Before you visit, take the Big Sur Pledge which emphasizes mindfulness, ecotourism and “leaving it better” by not littering and bringing reusable water bottles. Double your impact in Big Sur and other California gems as you study environmental sciences by committing to collecting a bag of trash at each stop.

The Worldwide Navigators Difference


Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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As you land in San Francisco, take a moment to experience the unique climate of the peninsula. You’ll take a car into town, and settle into your hotel before venturing out to explore the city. Be sure to ask if there are any outdoor events going on that day (like markets, music festivals, or yoga in the park). These are common and plentiful in San Francisco, but you can also take a stroll through the Mission District, which is filled with creative murals. Delicious local food is in abundance, so grab a bite to cap the evening, and get plenty of rest for the first official day of your road trip tomorrow. 

After breakfast, you’ll start your trek and arrive at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park where you’ll experience your first of many impressive terrains as you wind through towering ‘old growth’ redwoods. If hiking is your thing, there are plenty of trails to choose from with over twenty miles of hikable land. After you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll enjoy a late afternoon picnic by the San Lorenzo River. 

Pack up and hit the road again for a quick commute to Santa Cruz to check into your room for the night. Get acquainted with your host town by grabbing dinner and drinks on the water while listening to local live music.

Good morning and welcome to Surf City! Santa Cruz has truly earned its nickname as it boasts some of the best waves in the state. This laid back beach town with vintage vibes is an obvious choice for taking a surf lesson (Cowell Beach is a great choice for beginners). You’ll follow your ocean dip with lunch and an exploration of a favorite trail of locals, Land of Medicine Buddha trail, which wraps around a serene Buddhist retreat center situated in the mountain foothills. Wrap up your day with dinner and the last of the sun at Natural Bridges State Beach.

Have you ever looked forward to driving more than today? There’s a reason Highway 1 is popular. You’ll want to leave early and not rush this part; roll the windows down and let the cool ocean breeze hit your face.

Once you reach Big Sur, you’ll be greeted at your accommodations for the night; a cozy yurt with a deck that has views just begging to be enjoyed with morning coffee. Explore the area for a bit, then head over to Andrew Molera State Park for the highlight of the day – a nine-mile hike filled with stunning coastal bluff views and access to remote beaches. Picnic on one of the beaches, and soak in the endless natural beauty. This is why you came to Big Sur, and the Andrew Molera Loop doesn’t disappoint. After you complete the excursion, you certainly earned a hearty meal at one of the local restaurants in the area, and a solid night’s rest. 

Wake up early enough to enjoy the deck views from your yurt, then load up for round two of the scenic route. This time you’re going north to Point Lobos State Reserve. This coastal treasure hosts a diverse ecosystem of wildlife, and you’ll spend the day at China Cove swimming, kayaking, or snorkeling the aqua blue waters, and hiking any of the vast trails in the area. 

You’ll wind down in the late afternoon with enough time to make the 20-minute drive over to Monterey and catch a sustainable charter boat for an eco-friendly whale-watching excursion. Marine biologists will share insights and conservation efforts while helping you spot orcas and humpbacks in their natural habitat. 

You’ll wake up in Monterey and make your way back up to San Francisco. This is your chance to soak in the city; shop at one of the several farmer’s markets to appreciate the local, organic produce or visit SOMA StrEat Food Park for more local flavor. If you’re not tired of hikes and views yet (of course you aren’t), venture over to Lands End for a trek that offers city and coastal sights, uncrowded Golden Gate Bridge photo ops, and views of the historic Sutro Baths. End the night with a burrito from a local restaurant. There are many to choose from, and the competition for the ‘best’ is fierce.

As you head for the airport, start making a mental list of the next journey out west. California is a difficult place to say goodbye to, but you know you’ll be back.

This Pacific expedition combines scenic travel with outdoor adventure and ecotourism. With hundreds of miles in the Central California Coast waiting to be hiked and explored, nature enthusiasts can enjoy the gradual build in diverse landscape as the journey transitions from busy city life to giant redwoods and ocean bluff views. 


3-6 Day
Group Trips


7-12 Day
Group Trips


7-14 Day
Group Trips

Interested in adding or modifying activities? No problem! All Worldwide Navigator itineraries can be customized to your liking!

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