Northern California in Depth
... bridges and bay of San Francisco and the endless vineyards of the Napa Valley. Get your camera ready for the sequoia trees of Kings Canyon and the cliffs and waterfalls of Yosemite, and discover the underwater seascape of Monterey.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Explore the hills and bay of San Francisco, taking in the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
- Gorge on fresh local foods and premium wines in the gorgeous Napa Valley
- Gaze upon mile after mile of stunning mountains, lakes and rivers in Yosemite National Park
- Discover the abundant undersea life in Monterey, and be sure to visit the aquarium
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- International flights with Virgin Atlantic
- 10 nights in 4-4.5* hotels & hand-picked accommodation
- 7 days' car hire
- San Francisco City Insiders tour with Alcatraz
- Airport transfer in San Francisco
Need to know
- Arrives: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Time difference: GMT-8
- Visa requirements: British passport holders require an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), available online
- Language: English
- Currency: US dollar (USD)
- Flying time from UK: around 11 hours direct
- Plug type: 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 120V
Fly from UK to
Set sail across the glittering expanse of San Francisco Bay to the legendary island of Alcatraz, soak up the fabulous city views and admire the sheer size of the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, you could try walking or biking along the bridge for a different perspective on the city. Hit the shops in Union Square, dine on dim sum in China Town, or check out the museums and gardens of leafy Golden Gate Park. And don’t miss the Frisco must-do - riding the cable cars up and down the city’s 43 hills.
4* Hotel Zephyr
City Insiders tour with Alcatraz
Continue on to Bodega Bay, whose claim to fame is that it was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Aside from touring the filming spots, the main activity here is admiring the rugged scenery of the Bodega Bay Headlands and keeping an eye out for whales offshore. Take a walk in one of the many parks or browse the impressive local art galleries including the Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery. Swing by in August for the sumptuous Seafood, Art and Wine Festival.
4* Bodega Bay Lodge
Get back to nature in Mendocino County, where the lush forests of cypress and pine trees of Van Damme State Beach and Park and the scenic Fern Canyon offer numerous walking trails and cycling paths. The park’s rugged coastline is best explored by kayak, or you could take the Skunk Train, a 40-mile route passing through redwood forests, meadows and mountains, with plenty of birds to spot along the way.
3* Little River Inn
Taste your way around the sun-drenched Napa Valley and its collection of fine wines. It’s not just wine though – there are also artisan cheeses, craft ciders and freshly cured meats to feast upon. Filled with gourmet restaurants and relaxing spas, Napa is definitely a place to unwind, soak up the sun-drenched scenery and appreciate the peace and tranquillity. Explore the surrounding forests and rivers or, if the vineyards inspire you, why not try one of the many art workshops, or visit a gallery or two?
4* River Terrace Inn
Hike the glorious mountains of Yosemite National Park, where waterfalls plunge from sheer granite cliffs, crystal clear streams flow through dense forests and giant sequoia trees tower over green meadows. Be sure to keep a look out for the park’s 300 mammal species, including black bears and mule deer. As you might expect from an outdoor wonderland, there are plenty of adventurous activities to try such as hiking, climbing and even skiing in winter.
4.5* Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
Sequoia Canyon National Park
Sleep among the forests of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where a dramatic landscape of mountains, canyons and caverns awaits. Perhaps set off on a scenic drive or try your hand at horse riding, fly fishing or spelunking (caving). If you’re here in winter you may well see snow, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore by sledge or snowshoe. It’s even possible to ski. Whenever you visit, keep a look out for Tunnel Log, a manmade passage cut through a 6.4m diameter sequoia tree that fell across the road.
3* Wukasachi Lodge
Look for whales, dolphins and seals along Monterey’s rugged coastline. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects the area’s sea lions, kelp and blue whales and otters, but Monterey is perhaps most famous for its excellent aquarium filled with over 600 marine species. Then there’s the Monterey State Historic Park filled with historic buildings including California’s first theatre and the Custom House where California was first declared part of the United States in 1846. More up to date are the funky boutiques, contemporary galleries and independent shops of Cannery Row waterfront.
4* Intercontinental the Clement
Depart Monterey and return to the UK
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