National Parks 5-Day Tour from San Francisco
On this guided Northern California tour from San
Francisco to Monterey, Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, Muir Woods,
Sausalito and over the Golden Gate Bridge you will experience five national
parks in five days! See these memory-making places on a small group tour and
your own local expect prepared to personalize the experience with bespoke
extras. Comfortable and conveniently located accommodations included.
Are you kidding? Five national parks in five amazing
days? This is the bucket-list trip you’ve been looking for! You’ll stockpile
memories from the sandy beaches of the Pacific Coast to the breathtaking
granite cliffs of Yosemite National Park. Experience the emerald beauty of Lake
Tahoe, savor the tastes from Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries and gaze up at
soaring redwood trees in Muir Woods on this flexible, small group tour.
You’ll see some of the most the prized destinations in
Northern California, including the Pacific Coast Highway, Monterey, Point Reyes,
and the Golden Gate Bridge. Your tour includes hotel accommodations, some
meals, and admissions to some attractions, including Yosemite.
1 – Hugging the California Coast to Monterey
It all starts in one of the world’s greatest cities, San
Francisco. Come a few days early to make sure you see all you can of The City
by the Bay. After greeting your Expedition Leader at the front door of your
downtown hotel, you’ll get a quick tour of Fisherman’s Wharf, the Presidio and
other parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. On a clear day, you’ll
see the tiny island prison that is actually a national park—Alcatraz!
Pacific Coast beauty will surround you as your luxury
coach heads south along the much-photographed Pacific Coast Highway. In
Monterey, you’ll have time to visit its world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium or
to check out the unusual art at the Dali 17 Museum. If you’d like to add these
attractions, just ask and we’ll get the tickets. You can also use your leisure
time to walk Monterey’s historic streets or check out the watersports center!
Just off the coast of Monterey is the National Marine
Sanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of wildlife, such as sea otters,
elephant seals, humpback whales, white sharks and dozens of species of seabirds
and shorebirds. You’ll enjoy our leisurely tour along 17-Mile Drive, which
starts in Pacific Grove and winds through Pebble Beach. The Lone Cypress tree
will catch your eye and earn a spot in your photo collection.
After some relaxing free time in Carmel by the Sea to
stroll the art studios or white sandy beach at the base of Ocean Avenue, you’ll
arrive back in Monterey in time for a sunset welcome reception hosted by your
You are on your own for dinner with 20-30 ocean-view
restaurants to choose from. Afterward,
take a stroll on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and lose yourself in the
rhythmic sound of waves crashing on the beach before retiring to your Monterey
hotel for the night.
2 – Adventure to the monuments of Yosemite Valley
After a continental breakfast, we’ll cross the wide San
Joaquin Valley and climb into the Sierra Nevada mountains to Yosemite. Your
Expedition Leader will provide engaging, and sometimes humorous, details about
the region’s history, geology and wildlife.
Your entrance to Yosemite Valley will be at the Mariposa
Grove, where 500 Giant Sequoia trees soar to the heavens. The flat, two-mile Grizzly Giant Loop Trail
(Important: winter condition may prevent being able to access the grove)
introduces you to – the Bachelor, Three Graces, Grizzly Giant and California
Tunnel trees. During your stop at Inspiration Point, you will experience
nature’s handiwork the best way – in person.
Keep your camera handy as you approach the Yosemite
Valley floor because the memory-making sights never end -- El Capitan Meadow,
Half Dome, Lower Yosemite Falls, and Bridalveil Falls. In season, you can hike
the trail to Nevada Falls or cool off in the Merced River. Since you’ll be
there overnight, you will have time to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery (it’s
free!) or let us arrange bike (not included) to explore more of the park on two
Before retiring to your comfy Yosemite Valley hotel, we
suggest you take dinner at the historic Majestic Hotel (not included). Your
Expedition Leader will gladly make a reservation for your party.
3 – Wild West journey to blue Lake Tahoe
After a leisurely departure from Yosemite, you’ll make a
memorable stop in the gold rush community of Columbia. Here, you can stroll and
take old-timey selfies along the wooden sidewalks of this historic mining town.
Just ask and we’ll arrange for you to add a tour the town in a real horse-drawn
stagecoach or take a try at panning for 24-karot gold!
After lunch, you can rest a bit on the scenic drive
through the El Dorado National Forest on the way to Lake Tahoe. The beauty of
this glistening mountain jewel will energize you. And with all the seasonal activities in the
area, you’re going to need it!
In summer and fall, we’ll take you on an afternoon
excursion where you can hike pine forest trails overlooking Emerald Bay, one of
which goes to historic Vikingsholm Castle. Or use the time to stroll on the
beach of one of the deepest lakes in the world.
In winter, there will be a few hours for winter sports
like skiing, snowboarding, and much more. Just let your Expedition Leader know,
and we’ll arrange to add all the gear or get you a seat on the Heavenly Valley
Gondola. Save some energy for night shows, fine dining and gaming at Harvey’s
or Harrah’s. Your hotel is conveniently located near all the action.
4 – Savor California’s wine country
Your Expedition Leader will be raring to go after you
enjoy a continental breakfast in Lake Tahoe. There will be lots of photo-worthy
Northern California to see as we travel through the scenic country on our way
to Napa and Sonoma valleys.
Your guide will explain how the unique micro-climates and
soil types that combine to produce some of the world’s best winemaking grapes –
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and
Zinfandel. Today this region produces some of the world’s best wines. The
experts say so! Look it up! At the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, a contest
conceived by a British wine merchant with French judges, California wines won
Soon after a lunch stop, it will be time for our first
tasting of wine selected exclusively for us by the wine maker. As you try your
own tasting (tasting fees not included), just remember these five easy
wine-tasting steps: See, swirl, sniff, sip, savor. Repeat. Nothing to it! Whether you consider yourself a wine
connoisseur or a wine-tasting novice, you’ll be warmed by the hospitality of
the friendly vineyard host.
You’ll make your second winery stop at a small
family-owned winery in Sonoma Valley. Standing in their barrel room, you’ll
experience an in-depth tour of the winemaking process. And you can add to your
wine collection (not included) with wines not sold in retail stores.
Of course, we can arrange dinner options for you. We
always recommend you add dinner aboard the lovingly restored Napa Valley Wine
Train and ride in a glass-domed Pullman car as you dine on local cuisine and
wine. After dinner, you’ll retire to a luxury, comfy Sonoma Valley Inn tired
but so excited by the wine-country experiences of the day.
5 – America’s national seashore
On Day 5, we depart the wine country and cruise toward
Point Reyes, just a few miles from the northern span of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The thundering ocean breakers, wide beaches and rocky headlands of the Point
Reyes National Seashore offer unforgettable scenes. Stay alert for spawning Coho salmon in area
streams, oyster fishing boats on Drakes Bay, elephant seals and their pups on
the beaches and migrating gray whales surfacing near Chimney Rock.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse will provide you with a powerful
new profile picture – one that captures your adventurous spirit. Descend the
400 wooden steps to its base and capture an incredible memory. Minutes away is
the Cypress Tree Tunnel, another stunning site with can’t-miss photo potential.
When you’ve had your fill of locally sourced food during
free time in Pt. Reyes Station, we have a special dessert – a stop at the Muir
Woods National Monument and its ancient Coastal Redwood forest. Some trees rise
250 feet in the air and have stood for over 1,000 years.
Our last photo stop of the day comes in the headlands of
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Your selfie with the Golden Gate Bridge
below will be a forever keepsake. You’ll linger a bit before a short jaunt to
the bay-side village of Sausalito where you can enjoy a little shopping and
have a bite to eat. Think you’d like to finish up with a 4-course seafood
dinner as you watch twilight settle over the city across the bay? Let us know
and we’ll make the arrangements to add this gourmet feature.
Filled with five days of fun and a lifetime of magical
memories, you’ll arrive back at your San Francisco hotel inspired to start
planning your next adventure.
Complimentary SF hotel pickup & drop-off
Cruise the Pacific Coast Highway
Stunning coastal views on 17-Mile Drive
See world-famous Pebble Beach golf course
Interact with the beauty of Yosemite Valley
Explore Lake Tahoe scenery, casino excitement
Enjoy wine tastings in Napa & Sonoma
Wander the seaside town of Sausalito
Cruise over the Golden Gate Bridge
Free Wi-Fi on luxury tour coach
Experienced, knowledgeable Expedition Leader
What is included in a 5-day tour?
transport along California’s Pacific Coast
for four nights
to 17-Mile Drive near Carmel by the Sea
reception in Monterey
National Park entrance fee
to Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay
breakfasts at all hotels
Mondays two times per month beginning October 22
Highlights: Step inside the lobby of one historic hotels.Visit sights from the 1906 earthquake.Admire modern art installations.See the famous Frank…