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California

National parks

Our most recommended California National Parks

San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

1. San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

Experience both the Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoia Walk on this day tour. See why artists and poets have been inspired for generations by the breathtaking sceneries at the national park. Since 1890, the beautiful Yosemite National Park has been the jewel of America's National Parks, possessing some of the best-known landmarks in the world, such as the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. Have 5 to 6 hours to explore the stunning national park, and take in the majestic natural wonders, accompanied by a complimentary audio-guided tour. See the spectacular Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most frequently climbed cliffs in the world. It is also home to several groves of stunning Giant Sequoia trees, the largest trees on earth. The Giant Sequoia Walk is along 1 mile (1.5 km) of paved trail with a 400 ft (120 m) incline, snow depth permitting. On a group tour, view stunning panoramas, go on walks, and even hike a little, before returning to San Francisco. Or if you prefer, upgrade to a private tour for your group only.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

2. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

From top to bottom, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway delivers a scenic and educational journey as you travel through 5 transitional zones. Some have compared it to taking a ride from Mexico to Alaska in just 10 minutes. See for yourself as you ride up to the top, where spectacular views await! The 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) ride from the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet, or 805 meters) to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet, or 2,596 meters) transports you from the warm desert sands to cool mountain air, with temperatures that are generally 30-degrees cooler than on the ground. The tramway is the threshold of the 14,000-acre Mt. San Jacinto State Park, a natural place with some of the last pristine wilderness in Southern California. In the winter, try cross-county skiing or snowshoeing. Rental equipment is available at the Adventure Cether, snow conditions permitting. During the summer months, camping, guided nature walks, and 54 miles (87 kilometers) of hiking are available. There are 2 dining options at the Mountain Station: Peaks Restaurant offers upscale contemporary cuisine with a spectacular view of the desert floor, and Pines Cafe is a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers a casual dining experience. Also at the top are gift shops, a Natural History Museum, and 2 documentary-style movies on the history of the tramway and the Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods Guided Bus Tour

3. From San Francisco: Muir Woods Guided Bus Tour

Hop on board a bus tour of Muir Woods. Experience the awe and wonder of one of California’s oldest redwood groves as you stroll through dedicated paths of 1000-year-old redwood trees. Your tour will begin with a 45-minute, fully-narrated scenic drive that heads across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and into coastal mountains on the Marin Headlands. Arrive at Muir Woods National Forest where you will be provided park entry tickets and have 1.5 hours to explore the park at your own pace - maps detailing walking trails will be available at the Muir Woods Visitor Center. After exploring the park, enjoy a scenic drive to the coastal town of Sausalito. This beautiful seaside Mediterranean-style town offers a wide selection of distinctive boutiques, restaurants, parks, cafés, and unique art galleries. Guests may choose to depart from Sausalito and return on their own via ferry or remain on the bus and return to a designated drop-off point within San Francisco.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods & Sausalito Group Tour

4. From San Francisco: Muir Woods & Sausalito Group Tour

Starting from San Francisco, this guided tour takes you to Muir Woods National Monument and Sausalito. Discover the mystery of 300-feet tall redwood and sequoia trees at Muir Woods before stopping in Sausalito to sightsee, shop, and more. After pickup, start your tour with a scenic and informative drive to the Golden Gate Bridge through several of the best San Francisco neighborhoods as well as the presidio, a former military area of great beauty. Crossing the GG Bridge, stop at the northern vista point for stunning views of the bay and the bridge. Scenic views continue as the tour passes above the town of Sausalito and through portions of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park, which merge with Muir Woods. Arriving in Muir Woods National Monument, your guide will inform you of the best way to experience the grove and where the oldest trees are located. An approximately 1 hour and 15 minute stay gives you time to see much of the grove and to explore the gift shop, café, and visitor center. Included in the tour is a stop in Sausalito to enjoy the art galleries, shops, cafes, restaurants, and yacht marinas. Views from Sausalito include the Bay Bridge, parts of the east bay, and San Francisco. After about an hour in Sausalito, you’ll get driven back to your hotel. Alternatively, if you want more time in Sausalito, a ferry boat, taxi, Lyft, or Uber service back to San Francisco can be arranged at your own expense.

San Francisco: Muir Woods Redwoods and Wine Country Tour

5. San Francisco: Muir Woods Redwoods and Wine Country Tour

See the giant sequoia trees at Muir Woods National Monument and discover California's Wine Country on this San Francisco day trip with pickup. Walk in the shadows of the world's tallest trees before enjoying wine tastings at 3 wineries in the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Begin your morning with a convenient pickup at most San Francisco hotels. Take the the scenic drive to California's premier wine country as the tour crosses the Golden Gate Bridge on its way to a unique experience. Walk under and admire giant sequoia trees at Muir Woods National Park. Enjoy a comfortable ride to your first winery experience. Witness the golden scenery as your tour guide shares stories from the region's early winemaking history and prepares you for day that includes touring, tasting, and relaxing at three boutique wineries with characters representative of Napa and Sonoma valleys. Visit three wineries that have been carefully selected to include welcoming presentations by winemakers and educators about their vineyard, winemaking process, and unique features of their wines - most of which are only available for purchase at the winery. At midday, enjoy a generous lunch break and explore the boutique shops, history, and restaurants that surround the charming Sonoma Plaza. Finish the trip together with a memory making photo stop at the Golden Gate Bridge before being dropped off at your San Francisco hotel.

Mendocino County: Skunk Train Wolf Tree Turn Train Ride

6. Mendocino County: Skunk Train Wolf Tree Turn Train Ride

Join this magical train ride through the redwoods on the world-famous Skunk Train. Since 1885 the historic train has made its way through old-growth redwood groves, through spectacular tunnels, and into the heart of the Noyo River canyon.  On this 2 hour round trip, discover an amazing ecological wonderland and an excellent opportunity to discover the mighty giants that made Mendocino County famous. Your train ride will stop briefly at Crowley while you enjoy the splendor of one of the oldest and most iconic trees along the route. The Wolf Tree was so named for the large growth off of one side. The original Skunk Train began as a logging route back in 1885, transporting families and workers to and from logging camps. The train received its now-famous nickname back in 1925 when motorcars were introduced that ran on gasoline and which had a pot-bellied stove burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm.

SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

7. SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

San Francisco: Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, & Sausalito Tour

8. San Francisco: Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, & Sausalito Tour

See the giant redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument and stroll through the picturesque city of Sausalito on a guided tour from San Francisco. Choose to extend your time in Sausalito and return by ferry, or rent a bike to explore on 2 wheels. Meet your guide in San Francisco and board the bus to begin your experience. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge as you leave the city, and pass through the Rainbow Tunnels on Highway 101. Admire the views of tidal flats and rolling hills, with Mount Tamalpais in the distance. Arrive at Muir Woods National Monument, where you’ll spend 1 hour and 15 minutes exploring. Stroll through the landscape of giant sequoia trees, unchanged since the Coast Miwok Native American tribe lived here centuries ago. Follow the Nature Trail along Redwood Creek, passing 500- to 800-year-old redwoods. Wander through Cathedral and Bohemian Groves. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center and the gift shop for more gems. Continue onto Sausalito, a coastal community filled with elegant homes that face the bay. Enjoy a 1-hour stop to explore the city, which has unrivaled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. See the unique colony of floating homes moored along the waterfront. Walk through the downtown area — a National Historic Landmark District —  passing quaint boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Select the option including the Sausalito ferry, to enjoy a scenic 1-way ferry trip back to San Francisco. Upgrade your activity with a 4-hour bike rental to extend your time in Fisherman's Wharf. With this option, you can explore at your own pace and return to San Francisco at your leisure.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

9. From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

Escape the crowds of San Francisco on a full-day guided tour to Yosemite National Park. See highlights, including Yosemite Falls and Inspiration Point. Enjoy seamless travel in a bio-fueled mini-coach. Heading east across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge offers great views of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. En route to the park the tour crosses through the Central Valley, where you will stop at a fruit stand for some local produce. Famous for its rich volcanic soil, the Central Valley is the largest agricultural region in the United States. The section the tour drives through is best known for specialty fruits and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cherries, and strawberries. After this quick rest stop, you will enter the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Continuing into the mountains brings you to California gold country and the gold rush town of Groveland before the tour winds its way into Yosemite National Park. On your 1.5-hour narrated coach tour of Yosemite's glaciated valley, you will see famous waterfalls and rock formations including Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America. Continue on past El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Sentinel Dome, and much more. During the tour you will see Yosemite Valley from a number of great vantage points, the best of which is perhaps Inspiration Point. After the tour, you will stop for the afternoon near the base of Yosemite Falls. If you have not already picked up picnic supplies, there are many options for getting lunch in the park. You will have 3-4 hours of free time to explore the valley as you choose. You can walk to the base of Yosemite Falls, check out the visitor center, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, stop in at the Ahwahnee Hotel, rent a cruiser bike, or hike some of the trails that originate from the valley. Although you could easily spend 3 weeks in Yosemite, the 3 hours you get on your own is enough time to understand why Yosemite is one of America's most popular national parks.

Las Vegas: Death Valley Day Tour

10. Las Vegas: Death Valley Day Tour

Enjoy the scenic outdoors and rugged extremes of the western United States with a visit to Death Valley. Sample local treats and visit top secret Area 51. See ghost towns of the Wild West, and famous Zabriskie Point. Stop at remote Area 51 Alien Center. Keep watch for top secret military aircraft flying training runs nearby. Work up an appetite and visit Death Valley Nut and Candy Company. See the ghost town of Rhyolite, which came into prosperity in 1904 when gold was found. Pay a visit to the Goldwell Open Air Museum with its local oddities. Enter Death Valley, with a stop at Hell's Gate. Head out to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Trek through the sand where Star Wars characters once walked, then take off to Furnace Creek Visitor Center, where the highest-ever temperature was recorded. Ask the park rangers questions or pick up a souvenir. Finally, visit Badwater Basin, with the lowest elevation in North America (282 feet below sea level) and then Zabriskie Point. Snap a selfie in the 150-mile-long park, a swirl of colors in the background.

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,150 reviews

The freedom to explore was wonderful (albeit short) - we had a good group that was reliable for each return, which motivated everyone. The driver Rob was absolutely amazing and engaging with us. (Though please provide improved equipment. The microphone in the bus was really bad and people in the back had difficulties to understand half of what was said. A lot of the 'Audio guide experience' was lost because of it. This was a bit unfortunate. But since it was a technical aspect, the driver had no influence on said technical difficulties)

We saw the Golden Gate Bridge and we’re given the opportunity to take plenty of pictures of it. Then we went to Muir Woods and saw those awesome redwoods. Then we went to Sausalito and spent the rest of the day and took a cruise on the Blue and Gold Line back to Fisherman’s Wharf. Everything was perfect!

Loved Muir woods, so peaceful to explore. Nice way to reset by enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the woods. Sausalito was a good spot for lunch. The tour guide Joe taught us lots about San Francisco. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole day.

This trip was a great way to see all three areas. It was organized and on time. The driver gave us good information about each site.

What an enjoyable and perfect day! We totally appreciated the experience.