This magnificent trip blends the sights of sophisticated San Francisco with the inspired beauty found in California’s national parks and picturesque areas, including its scenic towns—Lake Tahoe, Carmel, and Monterey. At the start and end of your vacation, spend time in San Francisco and enjoy guided sightseeing, a walking tour of Chinatown, and a 1-day Go San Francisco card, giving you access to over 50 top San Francisco attractions. On the way to stunning Lake Tahoe, stop in California’s wine country for a tour and tasting at a Sonoma vineyard. An excursion to Virginia City from Lake Tahoe gives you a chance to learn about this old, wild west mining town. Then, enjoy the beauty of Yosemite National Park, one of the United States’ first wilderness parks with waterfalls, grand meadows, and ancient sequoias. Stand in awe as you witness the world’s largest sequoia trees in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, including General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree (by volume). These parks now protect nearly half of the world’s remaining sequoia groves. In Monterey, visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and journey along 17-mile drive, where you’ll enjoy views of Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach Golf Course, and million-dollar homes.California offers some amazing scenery and on this tour, you’ll have the opportunity to experience it. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this memorable vacation.
Day #1 Arrive In San Francisco. Welcome to San Francisco, the gateway to your Northern California adventure. At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming journey.
Day #2 San Francisco. This morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour of San Francisco, taking in all the major sites. See the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, and more. Then, explore historic Chinatown on a [LF] WALKING TOUR. Discover dim sum teahouses, see how fortune cookies are made, wander back alleys, and peek into temples in this historic neighborhood. Afterward, enjoy lunch at a typical Chinatown restaurant. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are free for you to explore more of this vibrant city on your own. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for additional sightseeing, shopping, and dining. (B,L)
Day #3 San Francisco–Sausalito–Sonoma–Lake Tahoe. This morning, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and make a stop in picturesque Sausalito. Enjoy some time to take in the breathtaking waterfront views and explore the many shops and art galleries. We then head to California’s Wine Country, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the wine caves and a tasting at the [LF] GLORIA FERRER CAVES & VINEYARD, makers of award-winning sparkling wines. Continue to beautiful Lake Tahoe for a 2-night stay. (B)
Day #4 Lake Tahoe. Excursion To Virginia City. Step back in time with a visit to historic Virginia City. During its boomtime, Virginia City’s mining proceeds amounted to billions of dollars. Your TROLLEY TOUR takes you back to the mining town the way it was. Learn the interesting history and the scandalous secrets; see the Victorian mansions, Opera House, and the red light district. Then, visit PONDEROSA MINE to see antique mining equipment and learn the workings of an underground mine. Afterward, there’s time to stroll the authentic sidewalks and check out the Old West saloons, shops, museums, and restaurants. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore more of this 4-season resort destination. Perhaps join us for an optional cruise on Lake Tahoe. (B)
Day #5 Lake Tahoe–Yosemite National Park. Leave the shores of Lake Tahoe and travel to one of the first wilderness parks in the United States—YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK. The park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles you can also find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient sequoias, and much more. This afternoon, enjoy a VALLEY FLOOR TOUR, which highlights the wonders of this incredible park. (B,D)
Day #6 Yosemite–Mariposa Grove–Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. Before leaving Yosemite we’ll visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, where some of these fantastic trees are over 3,000 years old. We then travel to SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, the “Land of Giants.” In these parks you’ll discover a land of diversity and beauty—huge mountains, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees! Overnight inside the park at the Wuksachi Lodge. (B,D)SPECIAL FEATURE: Wuksachi Lodge sits in the heart of Sequoia National Park. The lodge is beautifully crafted of cedar and stone, and enjoys panoramic views of the surrounding forest and High Sierra peaks.
Day #7 Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks–Monterey. Spend more time this morning exploring these magnificent parks, which now protect nearly half the remaining sequoia groves in the world. See the General Sherman Tree, spend time at the Visitors Center, and just relax in one of the most beautiful settings you’ll find. We then continue across the farmlands of California to the coastal town of Monterey for a 2-night stay. (B)
Day #8 Monterey. Today’s highlights include a journey along scenic 17-MILE DRIVE. Enjoy views of the famous Lone Cyprus, Pebble Beach Golf Course, and million-dollar homes. Stop in the seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a haven for writers, artists, and celebrities. Spend time browsing the shop or perhaps take a stroll on the beach. Then, return to Monterey and visit Cannery Row, immortalized by John Steinbeck in his novel of the same name. Your Tour Director hosts a [LF] special farewell dinner tonight at the world-famous MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM. Enjoy incredible views of the bay while you and your new friends reminisce about your journey. (B,D)
Day #9 Monterey–San Francisco. Return to San Francisco and check into your hotel, the Marriott Marquis for the next two nights. Tonight, why not enjoy dinner or a cappuccino in one of the North Beach’s Italian restaurants? (B)
Day #10 San Francisco. A full day to experience more of San Francisco. Included in your extension package is a one-day GO SAN FRANCISCO CARD, giving you access to over 50 top San Francisco attractions, including the hop-on/hop-off trolley tour. (B)
Day #11 San Francisco. Your tour ends this morning. Transfers are provided to San Francisco International Airport. (B)