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Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park

Active California: LA to San Francisco self-drive tour

15 days from $6,095pp

Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park
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Tour highlights

  • Explore the mighty Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with a knowledgeable naturalist guide.

  • In Northern California, spend time in the vineyards, tasting the different varietals grown in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

  • At sunset, sail under the famous Golden Gate Bridge to conclude your epic California adventure.

  • Learn the basics of surfing with a private lesson, with a top surf instructor, on Santa Monica Beach.

  • A guided group adventure around iconic Yosemite National Park will allow you to explore the famed granite domes up close.

Price includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Vehicle rental
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Private customized tour.

  • Arriving in the ocean-front city of Santa Monica, indulge in a leisurely stroll along the vibrant pier and down the boardwalk. Discover hidden gems in boutique shops on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and satisfy your appetite with freshly caught seafood at many top local restaurants.

  • California is iconic for surfers, and today you'll walk down to the beach from your hotel and meet your professional surfing instructor, who will show you the ropes in a private surfing lesson. Begin by getting familiar with your board before taking to the shallows to give it a go!

  • Depart Santa Monica early this morning and head north to the mighty Sequoia groves of Sequoia National Park; a journey of around five hours. Upon arrival at your hotel, spend the afternoon exploring the sights at your own leisure. We recommend visiting the General Sherman — the largest tree on Earth by volume. There are lots of walking trails that help you explore the forests and take in the sheer size of the trees here.

  • Enjoy a full day exploring Sequoia National Park with your knowledgeable naturalist guide on today's private tour. There are several hiking trails leading to stunning vistas, waterfalls, and wildflower-filled meadows, which your guide can tailor to your level of fitness. We can also recommend visiting Kings Canyon National Park, where you can hike through the impressive Kings Canyon, a steep gorge carved out by the Kings River, or visit Zumwalt Meadow, a scenic area with wildflowers and countless views. Both parks are also great places for wildlife watching, with the chance to see black bears, mountain lions, deer, and various bird species.

  • Continue your journey today as you drive three and a half hours further north. The scenic drive from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite Valley has several attractions worth stopping at on the drive. Begin by exploring the historic town of Mariposa, located at the gateway to Yosemite National Park. The town is a treasure trove of charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants serving local cuisine.

  • Spend the day exploring the iconic mountain scenery on a small group guided tour of Yosemite National Park. Your guide will drive you around the park, teaching you about the park's geology, wildlife and history. If you're visiting between April and June you'll be able to see the waterfalls in full flow as they spill over the sheer-sided rock face. Between mid-May and November, the winding road to Glacier Point will be open, where you'll have a bird's-eye view over the whole of Yosemite Valley.

  • Today you have a free day to independently explore Yosemite National Park and the surrounding areas. Drive into the park and explore some of the trails you didn't hike the day before or visit the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Mariposa, a living museum with restored historical buildings and exhibits showcasing the region's past. There are also some fantastic gold rush towns and hikes in the northern part of the park, around Groveland and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

  • Leave Yosemite this morning and venture to the undulating vineyards of Napa Valley, which can be reached in roughly four and a half hours. Upon arriving at your accommodation in Yountville, take the afternoon to unwind by strolling through the town. Napa Valley's restaurant scene is diverse, innovative, and world-class, making it a top destination for food lovers. In the evening, enjoy a wonderful meal in one of the local top-rated restaurants.

  • Indulge in a full day of discovery amidst the rolling hills of Napa Valley. Immerse yourself in the region's rich wine culture by visiting the many world-renowned wineries that dot the area on a small group guided wine tour. Learn about the varietals grown here, the art of winemaking and the unique history of the region.

  • Drive further north today, up to the hills of Sonoma County, which is also famed for growing wine, but with a more northern, cooler climate, the varietals grown here are very different. On arrival at your hotel, explore the charming town of Healdsburg, which is dotted with boutique shops, cellar doors and unique farm-to-table restaurants.

  • Today you'll meet your guide in Healdsburg and be fitted with your bike before riding through the Russian River Valley, passing many vineyards along the way and stopping for a drink at some of the best spots. After a delicious lunch, climb into your kayak for a leisurely paddle along this picturesque, slow-moving river, while your guide points out native birdlife on the banks.

  • Leave Sonoma County's rolling vineyards and journey west toward San Francisco, and Sausalito, a mere hour's drive away. We strongly suggest stopping at the enchanting Muir Woods and enjoying lunch by the waterfront in Sausalito, before checking into your hotel.

  • Make the most of your day to discover the incredible city of San Francisco. It's easy to take the ferry over from Sausalito into the city. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Chinatown, unwind amidst the natural beauty of Golden Gate Park, or hop on a tram and navigate the city's steep streets, en route to a fresh seafood lunch at Fisherman's Wharf.

  • Today is yours to explore the city. Why not hire a bike ride around the vast open spaces of the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge or hike along some of the rugged coastline for the best views of the city? Come sunset, you'll board a catamaran and journey from Fisherman's Wharf around the bay, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. The perfect end to your Californian adventure.

  • Depart San Francisco today for your onward flight, concluding your active road trip around California.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley Travel Specialist Shannon
Contact a California specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to California will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Los Angeles
Sequoia National Park
Yosemite National Park
Napa Valley
San Francisco

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