San Francisco

Monterey & Carmel Explorer

San Francisco, United States

From $119.00

Price varies by group size

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 11 to 12 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Explore Monterey, Carmel, and the Pacific Coast Highway without the hassle of renting a car during this full-day tour from San Francisco. Wind down the coast through Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, 17-Mile Drive, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Pickup and drop-off at downtown San Francisco hotels included.
  • Complimentary San Francisco hotel pickup and drop off
  • Explore Monterey's renown Cannery Row
  • Enjoy spectacular views on the 17-Mile Drive

What's Included

  • Expert guide and commentary
  • Pickup and drop-off at a convenient location in Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf
  • Free Wifi on vehicle
  • Guide Gratuities (for Private option ONLY)
  • Guide Gratuities (for Shared tour)
  • Child safety seat for children under 8 years old or 4' 9" (1.4 meters) required
  • Lunch

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting points

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Start time

07:30 AM

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Be ready for pickup at your San Francisco hotel (downtown or Fisherman's Wharf area) for a morning departure. 

Settle back in your seat in the comfortable tour vehicle as it winds down scenic CA Highway 1, winding along the coast (fog permitting). Watch the blue expanse of the ocean beyond the beaches and make a brief stop to stretch your legs in Davonport before arriving at Monterey's famous Cannery Row. Learn about the area's significance as a hot spot for Pacific coast biodiversity and its history as a fishing and whaling town. Stroll around the area and find a spot for a seafood lunch (own expense). Or, opt to bring your own lunch and instead squeeze in a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (ticket not included). 

Depart after lunchtime, driving through Pacific Grove and down the famous 17-Mile Drive, lined on each side by coastline and multi-million-dollar estates. Snap photos of the Lone Cypress, impossibly growing off the edge of a cliff. Stop at Pebble Beach Village to visit the Pro Shop and see the 18th green.

Arrive in Carmel-by-the-Sea and choose to spend time walking the beach or exploring the shops and restaurants on Ocean Avenue. After some time in Carmel, hop back on the bus and relax on the ride back to San Francisco.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Pass By)

Whale City Bakery

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Pacific Coast Highway (Pass By)

Monterey Bay

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Monterey Bay Aquarium

1 hour Admission Ticket Not Included

Cannery Row

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard (Pass By)

17-Mile Drive

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Spyglass Hill Golf Course (Pass By)

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pass By)

Lone Cypress

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Carmel by the sea

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Bird Rock Vista Point (Pass By)

Carmel Beach Boardwalk (Pass By)

China Rock (Pass By)

Cypress Point Lookout

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail (Pass By)

The Links at Spanish Bay (Pass By)

Lovers Point (Pass By)

Monterey Visitor Center (Pass By)

Seal Rock Creek beach (Pass By)

Sunset Point Overlook (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Meals are not included but available for purchase throughout the day.
  • California law requires tour guests to bring a car safety seat for all children under 8 years and under 4' 9" (1.4 meters) in height. Any guest that does not provide their child's safety seat at the time of the tour and does not inform the tour operator in advance may not be allowed to board the tour and will not be subject to refund.
  • Exact destinations & itinerary may differ due to weather, road conditions, and the guide's discretion.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Excellent tour. Danny was a good driver as well as an excellent tour guide. The coastal drive was beautiful.


49 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 49 reviews
Spectacular Views and Great Memories
Tina_B, Apr 2023
This was a beautiful trip to Monterey and Carmel. It was a full day from 0730a-8pm. There were several stops along the way and the driver was courteous and professional. Definately worth it!
A must tour with George
Lawrence_A, Jun 2022
George is well educated , fun and great tour guide , and safe driver for us ( the bus has its own toilet ) Go with this tour, Nice Monterey Bay area to look around, yummy food, awesome aquarium, 17 Miles scenic road trip and Cute Carmel 😍 ...
Wonderful experience
Maria_N, Jun 2022
Enjoyed visiting all important cities and places of interest included in your. Tour guide was very informative and kind.
Excellent tour. Danny...
Andre_W, May 2022
Excellent tour. Danny was a good driver as well as an excellent tour guide. The coastal drive was beautiful.
Response from Host, May 2022
Thanks for your review. Come again soon!
Highly recommended
Migdalia_A, Jul 2021
Antonio was the best guide you can ask for. Highly recommended. We had the best time and the views we saw were priceless.
Highly recommend!
Kathryn_M, Jun 2021
Randall was our driver and did a great job! We had a wonderful time exploring half moon bay in Monterey, pebble beach, and Carmel by the sea!
Mixed feelings
ROBERT_K, Nov 2019
We were picked up at our hotel promptly at 8 am by Tower Tours and taken to their main office where we were handed over to another tour company (Extranomical Tours) and relegated to a small and cramped 13 seat van (every seat occupied).The van was noisy (windows constantly rattling, rather small and uncomfortable seating and difficult to see the vistas as van was so low - nothing like a highway coach). We were almost tempted to cancel the tour on the spot when we saw the van. Not a pleasant experience and we were very disappointed and upset with the mode of transportation. I note in the Tower Tours brochure where it states that on "Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays this tour is operated by Tower Tours. Additional days operated by a partner company". Our tour was on Saturday, Nov 2 and should have been operated by Tower Tours. If we were in a highway coach (like all of the other tours that morning) our experience would have been much more enjoyable.The contents of the tour were fine and the driver/guide Constantine was very good. Your thoughts? Robert Kane Kane Travel Agency 506-653-0948
Awesome Coastal Experience!
Lesley_A, Oct 2019
Patrick was the best tour guide - very friendly with lots of interesting facts as we toured through all the scheduled stops. Our only suggestion - more time in Carmel and less time in Monterey. Also, the Tower Tours desk was not staffed and we had to ask the hotel concierge how we go about finding our bus and then we had to travel to the main office to pick up our tickets and get on our designated bus for our tour. Other than that it was one of the highlights of our trip. Thank you!!
Response from Host, Oct 2019
Thanks for letting us know you had a great time. We'll consider your suggestion of spending more time in Carmel by the Sea. Let's do it again soon!
Wonderful scenery, full day and highly recommended
Dianne_R, Oct 2019
This trip to Carmel and Monterey was magnificent. The drive was pleasant and lots to see along the way. Our tour guide, Danilo was informative, funny and well organised. He was also a very safe driver and really took pride in showing us this gorgeous area of California. At each stop, he did a head count to make sure we were all on board. It was a full day and we saw lots. There was plenty of time to see the Aquarium at Monterey, have lunch and a stroll down the main street. Well worth the trip and I would highly recommend this tour.
Response from Host, Oct 2019
Isn't the Monterey Bay Aquarium great. Glad you got to experience it. Travel home safely.
Max_J, Jul 2019
The tour was fabulous! Lots to see and do. Beautiful scenery! Great places to eat and would encourage others to do this tour
over charged
ram_s, Jun 2019
The driver was excellent and I would rate them 5 stars only for this part of the trip. the booking and office staff should be rated 1 or a 0. My husband and I took this trip on June 17, 2019. we are both senior citizens and did not go to the Aquarium. the Tower Tours brochure says $89. but we paid $105 for each instead of $89 for each. We have e mails from Tower Tour, Extranomical Tours and Viator. No clue how they are connected, but each one tells me to go to the other to clarify my fee. Tower said they only got our name nd phone number and no other details. We have NO CLUE who Tower Tours is until we pay the $$ and get confirmation. their name is nowhere on the booking website. Only Viator. I have sent e mail to support@viator. No response yet.
Response from Host, Jun 2019
Sorry for the confusion. Let's try to sort this out. You booked and paid for your Monterey tour with our partner Viator. We will notify them today that you felt you were overcharged and we will honor any agreement that you reach with them. You may also call our Guest Services office today (415.357.0700) and we'll explain the process.
We booked this trip with much...
Sheryl_R, Apr 2018
We booked this trip with much anticipation. I have always wanted to drive the PCH and see the sights there. There were four of us on this trip and three other groups joined us. Total people touring was 12. Of the four parties touring, all but one had some issues before the tour ever began. We were the first to board and we noted the van was not handicapped accessible. We had called the tour provider Extranomical Tours prior to booking to confirm that it would be and that there would be a space to store the scooter one of our party uses. We called again two days before the tour to check. Both times we were assured we were on a handicapped bus and there would be adequate storage space. On the day of the tour, the driver refused to allow the scooter to be boarded, saying no one had told him, and we had a full bus. He refused to call the tour provider to try to accommodate us and his attitude was Do it my way or get off. He actually repeated over and over Nothing I can do. Another party on the bus had requested a translator and none was provided. Same response from the driver. A third group had been told and had written confirmation of a specified time and location, but he came very close to leaving them when he was at the appointed place 15 minutes early. He berated them as they boarded. Once on the road, the PA system I. The bus was not working properly and the people in the back could not hear. He was rude to those passengers, asking if they had a hearing problem. They did not. When he finally conceded the speakers on the bus were not working, he refused to talk louder. He stated, Nothing I can do about it repeatedly. It was apparent to all on board that he was rushed and impatient with everyone. He drove 75-80 miles an hour, even though it was a rainy day. He hurried people and lectured them at each stop. He took several , shortcuts, and never gave enough time for us to explore in Monterrey or Carmel. Originally, he said we would have about 2 hours in Monterrey, but we only had about an hour and 15 minutes, He parked far away from the eating establishments on Cannery Row, and refused to let us out by them. By the time we walked our mobility impaired friend down the street, we didnt have enough time to eat and get back to the bus. He shrugged when we told him. At the Same stop, he chased a family down and fussed at them for going to the bathroom as he was ready to leave. He rushed and lectured constantly, urging people to hurry. His commentary on the sights was repetitive and boring. He seemed to take no joy in his subject as the best tour operators do. As stated, Much of what he said could not be heard by half of the passengers. On the actual coast, not including Monterrey and Carmel, we only stopped twice: Once at a small restaurant for a bathroom break, and once at Bird Rock. The rest of the PCH went by fast, given his speed. Of the whole trip, we were on the coast for less than half the time. The rest of the time, we were inland among farming communities, or on the freeway coming home. The trip lasted about 9-10 hours advertised at the time we booked as 12 hours, and we spent 2 hours in near standstill traffic on the way home and in SF dropping people off. The scenery was beautiful, just wish I could have really enjoyed it.
Great Scenery all along the way...
Rebecca E, Mar 2018
Great Scenery all along the way! Ocean views were amazing! Monterey Cannery Row was great for lunch and shopping. Carmel is such a quaint, lovely town to take a stroll, while enjoying the shops and eateries.
Worth doing it but we did not see the...
Worth doing it but we did not see the bridge as shown in the tour picture.
A thoroughly enjoyable day. Our...
Phillip S, Aug 2017
A thoroughly enjoyable day. Our driver/guide was full of knowledge and kept us continually updated with information. And his choice of music certainly added to the experience.
Guide was terrific Steve. Very...
Mary R, Aug 2017
Guide was terrific Steve. Very knowledgeable and willing to readily share info. Tour could have been longer......not quite enough time at each spot. Great photos of a Pebble Beach sea lions. We enjoyed the coffee shop stop on the way there. FYI, watch your water intake in the's a long, non stop 2.5 to 3 HR ride home.
The Guide was Terrific. The Tour...
Harold S, Oct 2016
The Guide was Terrific. The Tour was a bit long for my taste as we spent more time driving that in Monterey and Carmel.
Should have spent more time in...
Lynn S, Sep 2016
Should have spent more time in Carmel and skipped coffee stop. Driver should have asked group if they wanted to listen to his music and if they wanted it so loud.
The planned tour was great - however...
Elizabeth F, Sep 2016
The planned tour was great - however - the van was not terribly comfortable. Our driver was fun, but he decided to cut our time in Monterey short to give us more time in Pebble Beach without polling the group. He got very flustered when we got to Pebble Beach as he could not park in the usual lot, thought he had lost the keys to the van, didn't close the windows on the van leaving our belongings unlocked, then got annoyed when we took the allotted time in Carmel. Not sure I would do this again!
Out of the three tours we took...
David W, Sep 2016
Out of the three tours we took during our week in San Francisco, this was the longest, and frankly, poorest one. Maybe they are trying to cram too much into one day. Our visits at each stop were too brief. NOTE: This tour was advertised as being 14 hours. Even with an extra hour of traffic due to brush fires, it was only 11. Most disappointing was Carmel, where we only had enough time to be seated and served lunch at a restaurant before we had to leave again, giving us no time to shop, etc. The stop at the convenience store/bakery reeked of I get a perk for bringing tourists here. Perhaps the tour would have been different with a different driver/tour director. Frank, Im sorry, but your driving and your narration was horrible. I was riding in the front passenger seat, and counted at least four near-miss accidents due to the driving. He missed sideswiping an SUV by inches on the freeway. He cut off another car when Frank clearly ran the stop sign. Two close to rear-ending the cars in front of us. Between fiddling with the microphone connection, the radio, and his playlists on his phone, he had his eyes off the road a lot. It was a very tense ride, and the passengers in the back felt the same way, with an added bonus of motion sickness. The first part of the day consisted of lots of brief stops, then there was the three hour drive back where were all just in the bus driving. Our return was four hours due to traffic jams/brush fires, but I know thats out of anyones control. Frank clearly likes exotic automobiles. Lots of commentary consisted of theres a nice car over and over. Adding some personal flair to the narration can be nice, but there was too much talk about what Frank and his buddies did decades ago. By the end of the day, we were queasy and felt lucky to have avoided a collision. Sorry, but we cant recommend this tour.
Wonderful tour! Carmel was beautiful...
Jennifer_P, Aug 2016
Wonderful tour! Carmel was beautiful and charming. Monterey was a fun boardwalk of sorts for time spent shopping. Everything in between was picturesque. Phil, our tour guide, was probably the most personable tour facilitator I've ever had. Would recommend this trip for a nice, relaxing day outside of the city.
Picked up on time. Vehicle just...
Marilyn_C, Jul 2016
Picked up on time. Vehicle just fairly comfortable, no garbage bag or cup holders. Driver knowledgeable and helpful. Scenery magnificent.
It was short trip about at least 2...
Tunchi P, Jul 2016
It was short trip about at least 2 hours less than other tour operators. The tour quality was good and the overall experience was nice. The tour driver was friendly and Monterey and Carmel were must visit places in N. California.
Frankie the tour guide was great but...
Greg G, Jun 2016
Frankie the tour guide was great but the van was uncomfortable
Excursion trop longue
dominiquelH8941RU, Nov 2019
L'excursion ne mérite pas 5 heures de trajet Aller-Retour et 12 heures en tout. L'étape de Monterey n'est pas intéressante. Reste quelques vues du Pacifique et la route des 17 miles, ses golfs et ses belles maisons. Le bus était en mauvais état, la porte d'entrée AVG n'était pas étanche à l'air et provoquait beaucoup de sifflement et de bruit couvrant la radio.
Response from Host, Nov 2019
Nous sommes déçus d'apprendre que l'expérience de Monterey n'a pas répondu à vos attentes. Appelez notre bureau de service à la clientèle dès aujourd'hui et demandez un responsable afin que nous puissions honorer notre garantie de satisfaction. (415) 357-0700

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