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Private Tours and Experiences

As adventure seekers continue to find ways to get away, many are willing to pay a premium for safe, private travel experiences to enjoy with family or small groups. As a result, new exclusive opportunities have popped up across the Golden State, ranging from luxury helicopter tours and forest bathing to virtual ice cream socials and private gondola rides. Through these personalized and private tours and experiences, California businesses  and destinations continue to showcase why the state is a great destination for safe and responsible travel.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Private Forest Bathing and Therapy in Humboldt County
For those seeking a calm, slow and peaceful experience, head to the forest in Humboldt County for a private Forest Bathing Tour guaranteed to reduce stress and increase mental clarity. Private half-day (three hour) and full-day (six-and-a-half hour) tours are available. All tours begin at Elk Meadow Cabins at 10:00 a.m. unless otherwise arranged.

Guided Nature Tours in Conejo Valley
Experience Conejo Valley with a private 4X4 Adventure tour around the vineyards and natural areas of the 1,000-acre Saddlerock Ranch. Tours are $375 per vehicle (up to five guests) and include food and beverages.

Safaris in Sonoma County
Embark on an Ultimate Private Safari at Safari West, a majestic 400-acre wildlife preserve in the Sonoma Serengeti. Small groups search for wildlife in a private open-air vehicle along with a dedicated guide. Experiences are for up to eight guests, from $1,100 to $1,600. Book by contacting Reservations@safariwest.com.

Explore Monterey County’s Agricultural Roots
Book a tour with Ag Venture Tours, which offers private half-day van tours for small groups of 2-10 people that range from educational wine tastings in Carmel Valley Village to gardening tips including Castroville’s famed artichokes and other fresh produce at Pezzini Farms. Prices vary by tour.

Electric Bike Tours in Big Sur
Set out for a backcountry adventure with the Old Coast Road Tour, a private electric bike tour of Big Sur’s original wagon trail. The two-hour ride starts at Andrew Molera State Park and the turnaround point is based on the rider’s skill and speed. Tours are $250 per person.

Horseback Riding in Santa Barbara
Explore the splendor and majesty of California’s Central Coast at Circle Bar B. Private horseback rides take guests through 1,100 acres of scenic beauty and trails at this premier off the grid destination.

Private Tours with Bikes & Hikes LA
Get outdoors with Bikes & Hikes LA, which offers a wide array of private bike tours ranging from celebrity tours to culinary tours. The company is currently offering a 50% discount to make any of the six daily public tours a private tour, and is observing strict safety guidelines.

Hike and Snowshoe through the Giant Sequoias in Visalia
Experience the Walk Among the Giants tour with an expert naturalist to learn about the amazing sequoia trees, which only grow on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Offered year-round for $60 per group (nine people maximum). For a unique exploration, snowshoe among the giant sequoias. Equipment and training are included in the four-plus hour tours led by expert guides. Tours are $250 per group (up to 10 people).

Epic Nighttime Cosmic Tours
The 29 Palms Astronomy Club offers private night sky presentations led by expert astronomers with high-powered telescopes. Private tours start at $250 for groups of 1-10 people.


WATER-FRIENDLY TOURS & EXPERIENCES

Venetian Gondola Rides in Napa

Take a private gondola cruise, complete with sightseeing tips, with Napa Valley Gondola. Each gondola can hold up to six passengers and the company offers additional party packages. Forty-minute cruises start at $95 per boat, one-hour rides start at $125 per boat, and a full wine tasting and gondola cruise package starts at $325 per couple.

Gondola Rides in San Diego
Take a gentle cruise through the canals of the Coronado Cays with Gondola Company while enjoying a glimpse of the Coronado bridge and the fabulous homes that line up the waterways. Private tours are 50 minutes, and each gondola can accommodate up to six passengers. Prices vary.

Sail Santa Barbara’s Coastline
Sail Santa Barbara's golden coastline during a private Sunset Cruise aboard the Sunset Kidd, a luxury vessel accommodating groups of 10 or fewer passengers. Take in 360-degree views of sparkling seas, the Santa Ynez Mountains, abundant wildlife and historical points of interest. Prices vary.

Surf Lessons in Dana Point
Book a private surf lesson with Dana Point’s Girl in the Curl Surf Shop, which has been providing quality surfing instruction in California and Hawaii since 1987. Private lessons start at $125.

Central Coast Cave Excursions
Venture out to sea for a private Cave Excursion, exploring coastal caves, kelp forests and coves while watching marine life in the Central Coast. Prices start at $75 per kayaker.

Seaweed Foraging on the Central Coast
Embark on a private 90-minute foraging tour along the beach with Marley Family Seaweeds while surrounded by stunning views of San Luis Obispo. The experience ends with freshly prepared ramen made from local ingredients.

Yacht Yoga in Dana Point
Elevate your aura and sun salutations with Dana Point Yacht Yoga, a private 45-minute vinyasa flow while cruising through the Dana Point Harbor. Taking place aboard a 50-foot catamaran, each charter accommodates up to eight people for $485.


CULINARY FINDS

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Taste your way through one of Monterey County’s most coveted culinary hot spots with Carmel Food Tour. Experiences range from the Standing Room Only Food Tour, which is conducted outdoors with a maximum of eight guests, to Pop-Up Cooking Classes, a virtual option where you create alongside a local chef or mixologist from the comfort and safety of your own kitchen. Price varies by tour.

All-Inclusive Picnics on Santa Monica Beach
Soak up the blue skies and ocean breeze with a Santa Monica Picnic Co. curated picnic with professionally designed furnishings, locally sourced charcuterie boards and refreshments. Perfect for celebratory moments, the socially distanced picnics start at $230 for two people. Reserve by calling (720) 300-8602 or emailing santamonicapicnicco@gmail.com.


WINE TASTING

Wine Tasting at 1,400 Feet in Sonoma County

Experience the tour and tasting of a lifetime at Kunde Family Winery where visitors can book a private demonstration of the vineyard in a luxury coach tour of the estate. Spend two hours exploring the vast vineyards finishing with the tasting deck set at 1,400-foot elevation. Tours are $80 per person with advanced reservation.

Private Wine Tasting at Byron Winery in Santa Maria Valley
Enjoy a private tasting with food pairings at Byron Winery in its soaring, neo-rustic building overlooking the Solomon Hills, the western most vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Options include a flight of five wines with accompaniments ($55) or five-course meal and wine pairing ($100). Reserve by contacting Brian York at brian.york@byronwines.com.

A Day Exploring Napa and Sonoma Valley Wineries
Pure Luxury Transportation offers a variety of exclusive wine tours for private parties to experience. Most notably, Napa’s finest wineries – Beringer Vineyards, Cornerstone Cellars and Clif Family. Tours start at $168 per person. Also explore the prestigious Boisset Collection in Sonoma wine country with an exclusive five-hour private tour. Private groups of 4-8 people are $179 per person. For details call (800) 626-5466 or email Relax@PureLuxury.com.

Visit Santa Barbara Wineries
Embark on a private six-and-a-half hour Santa Barbara wine tour of your favorite three wineries, including wine tastings, lunch and door-to-door transportation. Customized tours available. Price varies depending on group size.

Private Playgrounds at B.R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma
Safely enjoy one of B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company’s four grown up party spaces, meant for individuals and private groups to safely unwind and relax. Playgrounds include Peace, Love & Wine, Have a Ball, Ping Pong Zone and Classics for $150 each, up to eight people. Food and wine tasting add-ons available.


LUXURY EXPERIENCES

Jet-A-Way with Rosewood Miramar Beach

The Jet-A-Way Package, an exclusive experience for two, features round-trip travel via private jet to Rosewood Miramar Beach in the chic town of Montecito where guests indulge in signature massages, a personal stylist, golf and tennis lessons, an intimate dinner at Miramar Club, passes to Lotusland Botanic Gardens and a choice of a gourmet beach picnic or in-suite dinner. Pricing starts at $50,000. For reservations email gareth.rowswell@rosewoodhotels.com.

Bike, Hike and Horseback in Bodega Bay
Join five-star rated Ace It Bike Tours on a Multi-Sport Tour along the coastline of Bodega Bay. Enjoy luxury beachside accommodations at Bodega Bay Lodge while embarking on customizable guided tours – whale watching, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding and more. Experience includes wine tasting and fresh local meals. Maximum of six guests for $2,195 per person with optional add-ons. For reservations call (707) 687-5152.

Luxury Helicopter Tours & Wine Tasting in Central California
Take in scenic views of Monterey Bay, Salinas Valley and the Santa Lucia Mountains while traveling to Central California’s premier wine district via private luxury helicopter. Private wine tasting tours include staff-guided tours of vineyards and tastings. Packages start at $460 per person.

Private Helicopter Charters in Burbank
Book a private charter with Orbic Air Helicopter Tours, operating out of Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank. In addition to public tours, Orbic Air offers private charters for flyovers to the Hollywood sign and SoCal beaches, along with private flights to Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Vegas, LAX, Disneyland, Orange County and more.

Private Helicopter Flights in San Diego and Southern California
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of San Diego with Corporate Helicopters, which now offers exclusively private flights. Beyond tours of San Diego, guests often take these flights to have wine and lunch at Callaway Winery in Temecula (the Winery Lunch Tour), to play golf at Rams Hill in Borrego Springs (the Golf Getaway Tour), or to arrange a custom adventure. Corporate Helicopters also offers The Pilot Experience, which enables guests to experience piloting a helicopter on a 30-minute flight.

The Pavilion at South Coast Plaza
Shop at The Pavilion in Costa Mesa, a collection of 19 newly built open-air suites on level 2 of South Coast Plaza’s North parking structure. Complimentary to South Coast Plaza guests and available only by appointment via participating boutiques, The Pavilion is designed to provide guests with a private shopping experience in a safe, welcoming and elegant space. Furnishings are sanitized before and after every appointment, and face masks are required everywhere at South Coast Plaza.


WELLNESS OFFERINGS

Outdoor Wellness Tours on the Sonoma Coast

Disconnect and recharge with private tours on the Sonoma Coast curated by Unbeaten Path tours. Choose  from a combination of wellness nature walking experiences, custom workshops designed to empower the individual or unbeaten path yoga experiences. Tours are $70 per person.

Rush Creek Spa in Yosemite National Park
Debuting Fall 2020, the new 5,000-square-foot Rush Creek Spa at Rush Creek Lodge in Yosemite is a perfect escape for individuals and private groups. Guests can enjoy two-and-a-half hours of exclusive use of the Spa for a single party up to 15 people ($1,200), including additional amenities, services and food and beverage packages. 


VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES

Ice Cream Social with the Bay Area’s Local Food Adventures

This virtual ice cream social is sprinkled with local Bay Area ice cream history and interactive games and prizes while guests make their own Rocky Road ice cream, America’s first blockbuster flavor invented in Oakland, CA. Fee: $150 and includes a Sweets & Smiles Ice Cream Gift Box for guests. Additional pricing may vary.

Wild Game Cooking with HarvestWild
Learn to explore the world of true organic free range, wild caught and foraged food from the comforts of home with private virtual cooking classes, led by Chef Manlio of HarvestWild in Shasta County. For pricing and details, visit www.harvestwild.com.


Note: As communities re-open after COVID-19-related closures, some parks, businesses and attractions may still be closed or have new protocols in place. Please verify local guidelines and regulations for all destinations and hours and availability of individual businesses before publishing. Check out Visit California’s Responsible Travel Hub for guidance on how visitors can travel within California safely.

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