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Northern California

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
Lake Tahoe, California
Tour Style: First Class
8 Days from $2,495 per person

A showcase of California's many sides: the culture of San Francisco, the wines of Napa, the coastal retreat of Monterey and the beauty of Big Sur, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like... tasting the heartiness of locally grown beets and smelling wonderful rosemary sea salt made from locally sourced, organic ingredients. You'll spend an unforgettable evening with a pair of renowned food preservationists and share a meal together, made from the freshest of ingredients.

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  1. Welcome to San Francisco, the City by the Bay. After checking in at your hotel, enjoy a real San Francisco treat and dive into exploring on your own at nearby Pier 39, the famed marketplace filled with shops, attractions and street performers. Be sure to visit the pier's resident sea lion population. At 6 p.m., gather at a local restaurant with your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Hyatt Regency San Francisco
  2. As the mist rises over the bay, the great city of San Francisco stands before you. Embark on a morning exploration that takes you from Fisherman's Wharf to fashionable Union Square. There's a story around every corner of San Francisco. Enjoy some free time at Fisherman's Wharf before driving across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, heading for Napa Valley's sun-dappled fields, lush vineyards and fragrant flowers.
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    hotel:Embassy Suites Napa Valley
  3. Rise early this morning for an unforgettable optional hot air balloon ride over the lush Napa Valley. Enjoy a scenic drive through the Napa Valley area before boarding the Napa Valley Wine Train's lovingly restored Pullman cars for a taste of the golden age of rail travel. Journey through the sparkling sunlight of a Napa afternoon as you indulge in a Regional Meal lunch and wine tasting. After lunch, travel through the fertile Sacramento River Valley to the alpine splendor of Lake Tahoe, its clear blue waters surrounded by evergreen pines and rocky outcrops.
    meal(s):FB, RM
    hotel:Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel at Heavenly Valley
  4. After a relaxing breakfast, step back in time as you ride along the Pony Express Trail to America's largest historic landmark, Virginia City, where Mark Twain once roamed the streets and everybody wanted a piece of the “Richest Place on Earth". Learning about California's infamous Gold Rush is a true Cultural Insight. Take some time to visit one of the mansions, museums, gold and silver stores and see a real mine. This evening, join an elegant sunset dinner cruise on the lake, complete with live music and magnificent views.
    meal(s):FB, D
  5. Snow covered for much of the year, stunning Tioga Pass is the perfect entry point to the Golden State's most famous National Park, Yosemite. (Weather conditions may cause the Tioga Pass to be closed to traffic, typically from mid-October to the end of May. In this case, an alternate entry point to Yosemite will be used.) Descend from the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Yosemite Valley, passing the misty splendor of Bridal Veil Falls. Enjoy your accommodations inside the park, taking in all of the natural wonders after the crowds have left and just a short stroll from Yosemite Falls.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:Yosemite Valley Lodge Authentic Accommodations
  6. Head west today into Salinas Valley and join an agricultural education tour to learn about fruit and vegetable production and advanced farming techniques of the region with a Local Specialist. Travel to Monterey for a Be My Guest experience. Your hosts share their knowledge and love of food with you this evening as you dine on a meal of the freshest ingredients, an experience meant to empower you as a diner with an understanding of the farm-to-table experience.
    meal(s):FB, BG
    hotel:The Portola Hotel and Spa at Monterey Bay
  7. Experience the glories of the California coast cruising scenic 17-Mile Drive past the famed Lone Cypress Tree and Pebble Beach Golf Link before traveling to Big Sur. Stop in the quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea to browse the many shops, wander down to the water's edge or enjoy a cappuccino at a cafe. Then it's on to hidden coves with sandy beaches, towering redwoods touching the sky and dolphins and sea lions cavorting in the clear waters—Big Sur's natural majesty will take your breath away. Return to Monterey for a tour of Cannery Row, made famous by native Californian author, John Steinbeck. Enjoy some free time at lively, picturesque Fisherman's Wharf, home to restaurants, shops and vibrant street life, or join an optional visit to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tonight, join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a festive Farewell Dinner.
    meal(s):FB, FD
  8. When Isaac Graham settled in the hills outside of Santa Cruz in the 1830s, Mexican authorities named his rowdy settlement "Roaring Camp". Today, journey back in time to the era of lumberjacks and sawmills in a re-created 1880s logging camp, complete with a general store and railroad depot. Luckily, Graham and his lumberjacks didn't cut down the massive redwoods just minutes away in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Walk among the awe-inspiring trees—some of the largest living things on earth—and admire these treasures of California. End your journey where you began, in the golden city of San Francisco. Take a transfer to San Francisco International Airport or return to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, if you wish to extend your stay.
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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals

Meal Summary

7 nights' accommodations, 7 full breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners.

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

Cultural Insight

  • Learn about California's gold rush history as you visit Virginia City.

Be My Guest

  • Enjoy a dinner of locally sourced food with your hosts in Monterey.

Authentic Accommodations

  • Stay at the Yosemite Valley Lodge located right inside the park.

Local Specialist

  • Embark on an agriculture tour in Salinas Valley.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of San Francisco
  • Visit the historic gold and silver mining town of Virginia City, "The Salad Bowl of the World" in Salinas Valley, Lake Tahoe, breathtaking Yosemite National Park, Monterey, Roaring Camp and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
  • See quaint Carmel, Big Sur and Napa Valley
  • Scenic drive along spectacular 17-Mile Drive
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
17 Jun 17 24 Jun 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
8 Jul 17 15 Jul 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
29 Jul 17 5 Aug 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
5 Aug 17 12 Aug 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
19 Aug 17 26 Aug 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
2 Sep 17 9 Sep 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109
16 Sep 17 23 Sep 17 checkmark $2,495pp Call 1-877-622-9109

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,025.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $85 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here 

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation..

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend $4-5 per person/per day for your driver and $6-7 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Reviews

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Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Napa

Napa Valley Hot Air Ballooning (from Napa Valley area)

Adult Price: $249.00 | Child Price: $229.00

Rise early for the experience of a lifetime! Your hot air balloon flight begins at sunrise in the most scenic areas of the Upper Napa Valley – Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Calistoga, Capay Valley – as determined by the winds. Soar peacefully in colorful hot air balloons and float silently above the trees and fields, lush vineyards and orchards and world-renown wineries. The sensation of ballooning is very gentle and its calming effect seems to put the world below into perspective. Your pilots are all experienced, professional and FAA commercially rated. They are familiar with the valley and dedicated to ensuring that your ballooning experience is safe, informative, memorable and fun! Subject to weather conditions.

Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Adult Price: $50.00 | Child Price: $30.00

Located at the ocean's edge on historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is your window to marine life. Visit sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies and much, much more as you spend time exploring this fascinating museum of the Ocean!

San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge Walk & Sausalito

Adult Price: $39.00 | Child Price: $29.00

Stroll across the 1.7 mile span of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge and learn how the bridge was an engineering marvel and about the people who gave so much time to build this icon of San Francisco. Arrive in the quaint seaside community of Sausalito and have time to leisurely browse the charming shops or have lunch along the picturesque bay. Your adventure concludes with a wondrous ferry cruise across the bay, passing haunting Alcatraz Island and catching an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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