California | Yosemite

Yosemite National Park was one of the first wilderness parks in the US, yet still maintains its status as one of the country’s most popular national parks. Although famous for its incredible waterfalls, it also boasts over 1,165 square miles of extraordinarily deep valleys, grand meadows and ancient giant sequoias. Visitors marvel at its superb hiking and walking trails, fishing opportunities and the myriad of wildlife which call it home. Yosemite evokes an awe of mother natures’ magnificence making any visit a worthwhile experience.


Northern California Hy-Lights

12 Days/11 Nights

Begins and ends in San Francisco.

Departures year round

Your fly drive includes:
• Round trip scheduled flights
• Fully-inclusive Intermediate 4 door car hire
• Accommodations as stated
• Route maps and detailed itinerary  

Day 1 Arrive San Francisco

Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to San Francisco. Upon arrival proceed to your hotel located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square.
Hotel: Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Days 2 & 3 San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the world’s most famous, exciting and vibrant cities. Take an early morning cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf and find boutique shops, restaurants and street entertainers, then wander down ‘Fish Alley’ and perhaps try San Francisco’s famous chowder soup, served in a sourdough bread bowl. Rent a bike and cycle over famous Golden Gate Bridge, making sure you take plenty of photos of the amazing views along the way. A short boat ride takes you to Alcatraz Island, where a self-guided tour of the eerie prison is a must. Union Square is a great place for shopping and dining with world-class department stores and restaurants, and the city’s China Town offers authentic Chinese cuisine and bargain shopping. If you’re looking to experience San Francisco’s hippy movement then visit Haight Ashbury, where you’ll find multi-coloured houses, quirky shops, cafes and bars.
Hotel: Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Days 4 & 5 Santa Rosa

Driving distance: 55Mi/89Km
This morning, collect your rental car and prepare your taste buds to be tantalized on an adventure into California’s wine region. Visit some of the area’s renowned vineyards, where you not only get to see how the wine is produced but also enjoy tastings and perhaps even build up your own wine cellar. Your hotel is located in Santa Rosa, in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, just minutes from a myriad of shops and restaurants, as well as some 200 wineries and vineyards.
Hotel: Hyatt Vineyard Creek Resort & Spa 

Days 6, 7 & 8 Lake Tahoe

Driving distance: 216Mi/348Km
Today’s scenic drive takes you through old town Sacramento, where historic buildings, vintage stores and wooden sidewalks offer a great insight into the gold rush era. Next it's across the California/Nevada border to Lake Tahoe which spans the two states. This area is an adventurers paradise throughout the year, from top quality skiing in winter to hiking, biking and boating through the warmer months. Your hotel for the next three nights, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, is nestled within the Sierra Mountain Range on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. With 26 lakefront acres the Hyatt offers a fabulous array of activities, including miles of hiking trails, many water sports, a heated lagoon-style pool, a relaxing spa and even a 24 hour casino. There is certainly plenty to keep you entertained!
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

Days 9 & 10 Yosemite

Driving distance: 224Mi/361Km
Today’s journey takes you from one idyllic wonder to another - Yosemite National Park. Magnificent waterfalls, beautiful forested valleys, huge granite cliffs and the abundance of wildlife takes your breath away. The options for touring the park is varied. You may choose to take a Glacier Point tour, elevating you 8,000 feet for a panoramic view of Yosemite Valley or take a trip to Tunnels View and the Merced River.
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge

Day 11 Carmel

Driving distance: 193Mi/311Km
It is time to return to the beautiful California coastline and the picture-perfect seaside town of Carmel. En route we suggest a stop in Monterey, to wander Cannery Row and browse Fisherman’s Wharf or perhaps even spend some time at the popular Monterey Aquarium. Next it’s on to Carmel, a quaint town filled with character and scattered with boutique shops, galleries and fine seafood restaurants. Your hotel for the night, Hyatt Carmel Highlands, is a picturesque retreat overlooking the Big Sur coast with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
Hotel: Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Day 12 Journey Home

Driving distance: 114Mi/184Km
You may chose to extend your holiday and follow the coastline south, perhaps stopping in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. We will happily assist in creating an extension to this itinerary should you wish to do so. Otherwise, you can spend your final morning relaxing on the beach, before driving back to San Francisco, returning your rental car and checking in for your flight back to the UK.

From £1699 per adult based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season.
From £575 per child (under 12 years), when sharing with two adults. Other prices available on request.

Majestic California: The Pacific, Redwoods & Yosemite

8 Days/7 Nights

Begins in San Francisco, and ends in Monterey.

April, June, July & August.

Your Tauck Bridges Itinerary includes:
• Round trip scheduled flights
• Accommodation for 7 nights as specified
• 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 5 dinners
• Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
• Services of a Tauck Tour Director


Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to San Francisco. Upon arrival transfer to the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf. You'll enjoy a welcome reception and dinner this evening, with your new fellow travelling companions.
Hotel: Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf
Dinner included

DAY 2 A bay cruise, wonders of science and more in San Francisco

Get a great day of San Francisco exploration started with a private catamaran cruise of San Francisco Bay that takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge and passes Alcatraz Island, the site of the first lighthouse and U.S. fort on the West Coast and later an infamous federal prison that held some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals of the time. Return to land for a visit to the California Academy of Sciences, where a world of natural wonders waits; it's the only place on Earth with an aquarium, a planetarium and a natural history museum all under one roof! There's a lot to see and a lot to learn at this terrific place that houses more than 38,000 living things including penguins, but maybe one of the coolest things about the Academy is that its roof is alive! This afternoon, your family's California travel continues with a sightseeing drive to view Nob Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Victorian homes and Lombard Street, "the crookedest street in the world" all world-famous symbols of San Francisco. The rest of the day and evening are free.
Hotel: Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf
Breakfast included


As the song says, "run and catch the wind" and that's just what's been happening at the Altamont Wind Farm, one of the earliest wind farms in the United States, which you'll see en route from San Francisco toward the Sierra Nevada. You can take some great pictures of the kind of giant windmills technically, wind turbines that may look like "alien visitors," but will produce more and more of our electricity as the future unfolds. Continue on to Jamestown for lunch in a historic 1859 hotel. Later, arrive at your mountain resort just outside Yosemite National Park, where dinner is at your leisure this evening. Tonight, see what really goes on the woods at night during an interpretive hike lit by flashlights and perhaps by starlight or moonlight, too in the Sierra National Forest.
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge At Yosemite
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 4 The giant trees of Yosemite and a ride on a moonlight dinner train

Have you ever heard of a drive-through tree? You may see one today, as well as the Grizzly Giant, a humungous sequoia tree thought to be between 1,900 and 2,400 years old! The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park is home to about 500 of such ancient trees many of them real "celebrities" with their own names and stories as you'll find out during the Big Trees Tram Tour. After a boxed lunch in the park, you could spend your free afternoon putting your rock-wall climbing* skills to the test on the rock-climbing wall. Tonight, try your luck panning for gold, just like the old prospectors then get set for a rip-roaring evening on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Moonlight Special. Chow down at a great barbecue dinner while the Sugar Pine Singers entertain you with old-fashioned melodies. Then, it's ALL ABOARD The Logger for a narrow-gauge rail excursion powered by a vintage Shay steam locomotive through Sierra National Forest... back in time to the days when lumberjacks ruled the woods. Gather round the campfire for a sing-along during a stopover in the canyon, and hear that lonesome whistle blow as you chug home in the moonlight!
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge At Yosemite
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You'll learn about Yosemite National Park's history, geology, plant and animal life, and must-see attractions from park rangers during a two-hour tram tour along the valley floor. Have lunch on your own, then spend the rest of the day with your family exploring this amazing place... or return to your lodge to go for a hike, rent bikes, go to programs presented by park rangers... or anything else you choose. Dinner is at your leisure tonight.
Hotel: Tenaya Lodge At Yosemite
Breakfast and dinner included

DAY 6 From the mountains to Mariposa to the Pacific coast and Monterey

En route from Yosemite to the coast of the blue Pacific, stop in historic Mariposa a town settled by families came in search of grazing and farmland after prospectors in California's Gold Rush of the 1850s began abandoning hopes of striking it rich. Visit the Mariposa Museum & History Center, whose exhibits tell the stories of indigenous Miwuk Indians, Chinese immigrants who came to California seeking a better way of life and the oldest county courthouse west of the Rockies. Continue your California travel through the San Joaquin Valley, part of a region dubbed the "salad bowl to the world." At least 25% of America's agricultural products come from California, many of them from this area; you may see vineyards, nuts, citrus fruits and vegetables basking in the sun as you drive along. After lunch, traverse the Coast Mountains to California's Pacific coast, winding your way along the Monterey Peninsula via the 17-Mile Drive to the renowned Pebble Beach golf course. Spend the next two nights in seaside Monterey at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay, right on Fisherman's Wharf, near Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Hotel: Portola Hotel & Spa
Breakfast and lunch included

DAY 7 Seaside adventures and behind-the-scenes at Monterey Bay Aquarium

This morning, your family can choose between three fun things to do in Monterey - a bicycle tour* along the coast, a kayak adventure* in Monterey Bay or a self-guided walking tour of old Monterey, once the capital of California. Did you know that an octopus tastes with its tentacles or that corals and jellyfish are cousins? That's just part of what you may learn at a late-afternoon behind-the-scenes visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located on the former site of a sardine cannery and one of the world's largest aquariums. Its 200 galleries and exhibits introduce you to an amazing underwater world, including giant octupuses, jellyfish, large green sea turtles, barracuda, sharks and coral reefs, as well as natural displays that showcase playful otters and endearing black-footed penguins. Your visit ends with a special, private farewell reception and dinner right at the Aquarium in seaside Monterey.
Hotel: Portola Hotel & Spa
Breakfast and dinner included


There may be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before you transfer back to the airport for your flight home.
Breakfast included

2014 Prices

From £3437 per adult and £2473 per child, based on 2 adults and 2 children (under 12 year), sharing a standard room in low season. Prices for children over 12 years, alternative party sizes, seperate room for children and other date seasons are all available on request.

Winner of ‘Top Tour Operator to the USA & Canada 2012’ voted by readers of Selling Long Haul magazine.


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