The Best of California: The Reagan Library to the Channel Islands

Experience it all on this comprehensive exploration of California. Savor great cuisine, explore National Parks, visit renowned museums and enjoy insightful lectures along the way!
Rating (5)
Program No. 14491RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Experience California’s diverse cultural and natural wonders. View J. Paul Getty’s extensive art collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, go hiking on the Channel Islands and sit in the peaceful courtyards at the historic missions of Santa Barbara and Ventura. Insights gained through lectures and visits will give you a full picture of California culture.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walk up to one mile on mostly flat, hard-packed terrain; stand for two hours.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the history of the Santa Barbara and Ventura missions during docent-led explorations of these landmarks.
  • Board Air Force One at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Enjoy a leisurely hike on one of the islands that is part of the Channel Islands National Park.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Susan Morris
Susan Morris has been conducting historical research involving the Channel Islands since 1987. With a bachelor’s in journalism and a certificate in archaeology, she has participated in field studies on seven of the eight Channel Islands. She was the principal investigator of a cave-associated archaeology survey on Santa Rosa Island. Passionate about solving historical mysteries, her focus of the past eight years has been historical research for the Island of the Blue Dolphins website hosted by Channel Islands National Park.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Donna Granata
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Susan Morris
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Margery Spielman
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Walt Agajanian
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Building the Getty
by Richard Meier
An account of the construction of the Getty Center, written by its architect.
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse
by Patricia Gebhard, Kathryn Masson
An architectural study of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
Moon Handbooks Santa Barbara & The Central Coast
by Michael Cervin
A practical guide in the Moon series, packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history and destinations throughout central California.
Reagan: The Life
by H. W. Brands
The most recent biography of Ronald Reagan collects his story in detail in more than 800 pages. Brands argues that Reagan is one of the two great presidents of the 20th century, alongside FDR.
The Getty Center: Richard Meier & Partners
by Richard Meier, Michael Brawn
A photographic tour of the Getty Center.
The Golden Shore, California's Love Affair With the Sea
by David Helvarg
In this eminently readable and well-researched tribute, Helvarg, an environmental journalist and filmmaker, considers the crosscurrents of culture, history, economy and myth that come together on the state’s golden shores.
California's Channel Islands: A History
by Scott O'Dell
The Channel Islands, a string of eight islands off the coast of Southern California, are home to stunning landscapes and remarkable biodiversity. This scholarly work covers ecology as well as natural and human history.
Natural State, A Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing
by Steven Gilbar (Editor)
Divided by ecological region, this book is a literary tour of California's unrivaled natural diversity, featuring essays and excerpts by such great writers as Barry Lopez, Gretel Ehrlich and John McPhee. Gary Snyder provided the afterword.
Images of America: Ventura
by Glenda Jackson
Local historian Jackson covers the history of Ventura, California, from the dedication of Mission San Buenaventura to its present status as the Gateway to the Channel Islands and home to more than 100,000. Includes archival photos.
California Missions
by East View Press
This gorgeously tinted hand-drawn map displays California Missions in excellent detail.
Santa Cruz Island: A History of Conflict and Diversity
by John Gherini
In this thorough history of the largest Channel Island, Gherini introduces the Chumash Indians who lived on the island in pre-Columbian times and details early European explorers and the Spanish-Mexican period, when the island became a haven for smugglers.
California the Beautiful
by Galen Rowell (Photographer)
Rowell's exquisite photographs are accompanied by excerpts from Joan Didion, M.F.K. Fisher, Jack London, William Saroyan and many other luminaries in this celebration of the nature and spirit of California.
Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty
by Frederic Claire Chiles
This history of one of California’s Channel Islands covers everything from the island’s original Chumash population to its acquisition by the Nature Conservancy. Special attention is paid to the 50 years when the island was owned by Justinian Caire and family. The author, a descendant of the Caire family, uses family archives to flesh out his tale.
Natural History of the Islands of California
by Allan A. Schoenherr, C. Robert Feldmeth, Michael J. Emerson (Illustrator), David Mooney (Illustrator)
A survey of the ecology, geology and human history of California's coastal islands.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
by Peter Alden
A compact, easy-to-use guide to 1,000 California trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds and other flora and fauna.
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
by Robert Kimzey, Lou Cannon
Noted as a "superlative study of a president and his presidency" by the New Yorker, this definitive biography runs 920 pages and reveals the man behind the make-up. Written by a former White House correspondent for the Washington Post.
Images of America: The California Channel Islands
by Marla Daily
This Images of America installment introduces all eight of the Channel Islands, located off the coast of Southern California. Features archival photographs.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collection
by Timothy Potts
Prepared by the museum, this illustrated handbook to the J. Paul Getty Museum provides a comprehensive overview of the collection as well as a history of both the museum and its founder.
Life in a California Mission
by Jean Francois de la Perouse, Malcolm Margolin (Introduction)
A remarkable essay about the natural life and native customs of 18th-century California, written by a French explorer while his ships lay at anchor in Monterey Bay.

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