Arrival in San Francisco
Fly to San Francisco Airport and transfer independently to your chosen hotel to check in and get a good night’s sleep. We advise you don’t pick up your hire car until you’re ready to move on from San Francisco as you won’t need it in the city.
Chase away any jet lag with a cycle around the city and over the Golden Gate bridge. We can pre-book you bike rental or you may prefer to do this as part of a guided tour to help find your way around this great city. If you haven’t quite got the energy, then maybe book a Segway tour, or simply ride the iconic street cars – a day pass costs just $21. Perhaps the craziest way to explore, is on a “GoCar Tour – drive yourself around in two-seater mini-cars with sat nav showing you the way!
The number one attraction in San Francisco is the prison island of Alcatraz, and if you want to visit then you have to pre-book your ticket as every day is a sell-out. If you’re feeling brave you can choose the night-time option when everything feels even more menacing in one of the toughest prisons in American history. This evening why not take a trip to Chinatown for an Asian feast.
San Francisco – Mariposa - Yosemite National Park – 189 miles
Pick your hire car up then head westwards towards Yosemite National Park. A nice route takes you through the towns of Modesto and Merced with time to stop in Mariposa for lunch. Mariposa is a charming old town dating back to the Gold Rush and retaining much of it’s Wild West character. You are now at the gateway to Yosemite, so you can take your time exploring the town, then later in the afternoon head to your chosen lodge in the park
Yosemite National Park
There are miles and miles of trails in this beautiful national park, so just choose how you want to explore. You can drive to various vantage points to see the massive rock formation El Capitan – taller than the world’s highest building. The other famous granite formation is Half Dome, named after its shape, and located in the east of the park. Described as the ultimate Yosemite day hike, you’ll need to be pretty fit to tackle this one. However there are countless more sedate trails, where you will still see stunning sights and vistas, and you can also hire bikes to explore the thousand square miles of this park.
Yosemite National Park
Another full day to enjoy all that Yosemite has to offer. Perhaps today book a kayak or rafting trip on the Merced River. In Spring it is a gushing torrent fed by the melting snows, by Summer it has calmed down into a gentle free-flowing river ideal for a float-trip downstream. The entire valley is filled with meadows which are just lovely for having a picnic beside the river. There are also beautiful lakes to seek out – the favourites being Mirror Lake and Tenaya Lake.
Yosemite - Tioga Pass – Bodie State Historic Park – Lake Tahoe – 184 miles
Today will be the most spectacular drive of your holiday. Taking Route 120, you will head eastbound to the Sierra Nevada mountains and to the Tioga Pass. This is impassable through the winter, and sometimes the snow doesn’t clear on this mountain pass until well into May or sometimes even June. The road twists and turns through the mountains, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of snow-capped peaks and beautiful alpine meadows. There are plenty of places to stop to take in the vistas and take photos. Once you’ve left the park, stop for a bite to eat in Lee Vining as the short detour we recommend on today’s route is Bodie – a ghost town, where you won’t find any eateries. This is California’s official state gold rush ghost town, preserved in a state of “arrested decay” and no commercial buildings. After soaking up the spooky atmosphere, you might want to take one of their ghost tours, continue onto the splendid shores of Lake Tahoe.
Beautiful and vast, Lake Tahoe surrounded by soaring peaks lying between the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range. Wherever you are staying, you will find nearby places to rent bikes, hire kayaks or book a cruise. There are beaches all around the lake, where you can swim and relax. In the south there the tree-lined Pope Beach is a favourite for picnics, Secret Cove is more secluded on the eastern shore and Commons Beach in the north west is family-friendly with a playground and facilities.
Another day to enjoy wonderful Lake Tahoe. Relax, explore, have fun on the water – the choice is yours.
Lake Tahoe – Sacramento – San Francisco International Airport - 188 miles
You’ll be heading home today but if your flight isn’t until the evening, then you could stop off en route to the airport in Sacramento. Enjoy a relaxing few hours, and perhaps a nice lunch, in the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Located on the river, this 28 acre park is alive with historical attractions from the time of the Gold Rush. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage then wander the boardwalk to find your final lunch spot. Its then just a short drive to San Francisco International Airport and your flight home.