Yosemite Valley and California Coast Explorer
Sure, you’ve seen photos of California’s beautiful coastline, but you have no idea how amazing the view really is until you see it for yourself. But that’s just the beginning of the stunning sights and forever memories you’ll experience on your three-day tour to Monterey and Yosemite National Park. (Make sure your camera batteries are charged up!)
You’ll start out in style when our luxury coach pulls up to the front door of your hotel in downtown San Francisco and our experienced Expedition Leader welcomes you aboard. Even before leaving the city your guide will show off a bit and give you some cool insights as we tour through fashionable Union Square, mysterious Chinatown and Golden Gate Park. (If you haven’t had time to explore the city yet, build in some time after our tour!)
Then it’s onto southbound Highway 1 toward Monterey. The Pacific coast lives up to its beautiful reputation with new vistas around every bend. In Monterey, you’ll have time to visit its world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium or dive into some water sports, visit the Dali 17 Museum, or walk the city’s historic streets.
You’ll gather more memories during our stop at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, an “underwater park” that offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. It stretches for 276 miles along the shore in an area encompassing over 6,000 square miles. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of sea otters, elephant seals, humpback whales, white sharks and much more. (No selfies with the sharks, please!)
You’ll get more than an eyeful as we slow the pace a bit on the 17-Mile Drive starting in Pacific Grove and winding toward Pebble Beach and Carmel by the Sea. (If you’re a golfer, your jaw will drop at the challenging holes on the courses you’ll see! Fore!) You’ll admire the tenacity of the Lone Cypress tree, a native species that has adapted to harsh coastal conditions. You and your tour mates will be back in Monterey in time for a warm welcome reception hosted by your Expedition Leader.
Talk about a memory: Just before sunset, take a stroll on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and lose yourself in golden light and rhythmic sound of waves crashing along the beach. (But don’t forget to stroll back to your hotel!)
After an early breakfast, we’ll head northeast for Yosemite across the fertile San Joaquin Valley. You’ll rise from sea level in the morning to the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains in the afternoon. And talk about soaring? Your entrance to Yosemite Valley will be at the Mariposa Grove, where 500 Giant Sequoia trees soar to the heavens. So impressed with the magic of Yosemite and the grove, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act of 1864 to designate the valley and the grove as a wilderness area. (A great decision, Mr President!)
The flat, two-mile Grizzly Giant Loop Trail introduces you to the most famous inhabitants in the grove – the Bachelor, Three Graces, Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel trees. During our Yosemite stops at Inspiration Point and El Capitan Meadow, you again will experience nature’s handiwork the best way – in person. (The photos never do justice, do they?)
You’ll see the spellbinding beauty of Half Dome, Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls. Your Expedition Leader will provide engaging details about the history, geology and wildlife that will enhance the outdoor experience. (Not to worry! There’s no test!)
In this glacier-carved valley, you’ll also have time for hiking (explore the trail to the top of Nevada Falls!) or cooling off in waters of the Merced River (it’s chilly!). You can rent bikes and ride to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery (it’s free!) or historic Ahwahnee Hotel.
After a relaxing night at a comfortable, nearby 3-star or 4-start hotel, and a tasty continental breakfast, we’ll leave the national park and head for the Gold Rush town of Groveland and soak up the ambience of the Iron Door Saloon and pick up another enjoyable history lesson. (Why not try a selfie with an old-timey filter and go back in time!)
As your tour arrives in the Marin Headlands of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay in the late-afternoon sun will take your breath away. You’ll linger a bit before a short jaunt to the Spinnaker restaurant in Sausalito for a four-course departure dinner. You’ll enjoy fantastic cuisine and good company with your tour mates as you watch twilight settle over the city across the bay.
Then you’ll cruise across the most famous bridge in the world and arrive at the front door of your hotel.
What’s included in the tour?
- Luxury transport along California’s Pacific Coast
- Admission to 17-mile Drive to Carmel by the Sea
- Welcome reception in Monterey
- 1-night stay at Monterey Bay Travel Lodge
- Yosemite Valley National Park entrance fee
- 1-night stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge
- Continental breakfasts each morning
- Departure dinner celebration in Sausalito
- Travel amenities kit
NOTE: Call us 415-357-0700 to add any fun activities of your choice at the locations that you will be visiting with us (additional fee applies).
How much is the admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium?
Adult - $49.95; Children age 3–12 - $29.95; Under 3 – Free
What is the best time to visit Yosemite?
Yosemite is gorgeous any time of the year. Spring is best for catching waterfalls at their peak. In winter, there are fewer visitors – you might have some trails all to yourself!
Facts & Figures
What is the distance from San Francisco to Monterey?
What are average temperatures in Monterey and Yosemite?
Average Monterey temperature in winter: 58°F; summer 66°F
Average Yosemite weather is 40-50°F in winter; 70-80°F in summer
How big is Monterey Bay Sanctuary?
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary covers 5,312 square miles. At its center is an underwater canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
How many people visit Yosemite?
Around 4 million people visit Yosemite every year. August is the busiest month.
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Departs every other Sunday starting on October 7, 2018.