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Redwoods National Park, California

Northern California self-drive tour

14 days from $5,440pp

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Tour highlights

  • Explore beautiful, cosmopolitan San Francisco.

  • See the enormous redwood trees in Redwood National Park.

  • Discover the beauty and tranquility of Lake Tahoe.

  • Explore a mix of vineyards, rugged coastline and flowing rivers in Sonoma County.

  • Go hiking at mighty Mount Shasta.

Price includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Vehicle rental
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Private customized tour.

  • Upon arrival in San Francisco, make your way to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the 'City by the Bay'.

  • Enjoy a full day exploring San Francisco. You may wish to take a boat trip out on the bay, visit Chinatown with its quirky shops and decorative gates, stroll along Fisherman's Wharf and see the sea lions at Pier 39, or take a trip on one of the city's iconic cable cars.

  • Take a boat trip out to the former prison island of Alcatraz. Here, you can enjoy an audio tour of the old prison, learning about the lives of former inmates and how they attempted to escape. Afterwards, you may wish to visit the bayside suburb of Sausalito. It's easy to take a ferry across the bay to and from Fisherman's Wharf.

  • Collect your rental car and drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge to the rolling vineyards of Sonoma County, around an hour away. This afternoon, you could visit some of the area's vineyards to sample locally produced wines and indulge in an alfresco lunch in the heart of wine country.

  • Today, explore further afield in Sonoma's vast county with an afternoon spent paddling down the mighty Russian River in a kayak. Then, cycle through the vineyards on your way to taste some more of the finest wines in the county.

  • Drive for around three and a half hours up the picturesque coast of Highway 1 to the pretty Victorian town of Mendocino on the coast. On the drive, we highly recommend stopping at Bodega Bay, Point Arena and Elk for impressive coastal views. On arrival at Mendocino, explore the old painted houses, art shops, cafes, and wineries.

  • Drive 15 minutes up the coast to nearby Fort Bragg to begin your peddle-powered adventure through the mighty redwoods, on the Pudding Creek Railbikes. These Railbikes take you along the majestic wooden trestle bridges and the old railway line and into the heart of the ancient redwoods of Mendocino County.

  • Journey further north along the beautiful coastline of northern California to Trinidad. The drive takes around three and a half hours, but there are many scenic state parks to stop at on the way. Be sure to visit the Avenue of the Giants trees in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Trinidad is home to beautifully rugged driftwood-strewn beaches, ideal for a secluded sunset stroll.

  • Spend the day on a guided tour to learn about the enormous redwood trees of Redwood National Park. Some trees here can grow up to 100 m (328 ft) in height and are over 2,000 years old. Your guide will talk about the trees, their history, and the park's wildlife — look out for herds of elk, which thrive in these coastal forests.

  • Leave Trinidad behind this morning and drive for around four and a half hours north to Mount Shasta. Along the way, you pass through the beautiful scenery of Trinity National Forest and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Once at Mount Shasta, you may have time to follow one of the many walking trails. We like the loop trail that takes in several waterfalls along the McCloud River. There's also the Panther Meadow Loop, which follows the spring water through the alpine meadows.

  • Leave Mount Shasta behind this morning and drive south a couple of hours to Lassen Volcanic National Park. This park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. We highly recommend spending most of the day exploring the park and taking a couple of short hikes before making your way to your overnight accommodation.

    Stay at Highlands Ranch Resort   
  • This morning, wind your way south, enjoying the dramatic mountain scenery, passing Lake Almanor and Plumas National Forest before reaching the north of Lake Tahoe. Wherever you stay, around the lake is sure to afford sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the 72 miles of stretching shoreline as it sinks into glistening blue waters.

  • Today you have a whole day exploring Lake Tahoe. Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, take a boat cruise on the lake to Emerald Bay on M.S. Dixie, or enjoy a high-altitude gondola ride to the top of Heavenly Mountain. The lake offers a plethora of exciting outdoor activities to enjoy during your day here.

  • Make your way back west through the mountains and back to San Francisco — a drive of around four hours. Once at the airport, you can drop off your rental car before boarding your onward flight.

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)
San Francisco

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