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Central Valley, California

Viewing Points

Our most recommended Central Valley, California Viewing Points

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Napa: Napa Valley History Guided Kayaking Tour

2. Napa: Napa Valley History Guided Kayaking Tour

Go beyond the stunning natural beauty of the Napa Valley as you listen to local history and tales from your guide on a tranquil kayaking tour on the Napa river. Enjoy using stable and high-quality kayaking equipment that suited for both beginners and advanced kayakers. Meet your guide at a conveniently-located spot that is close to downtown Napa and get set up with well maintained kayaking gear. Put on your life jacket and sett off down the river with your guide. Journey to the past as your guide gives you a run-down of local lore, including tales you’re not likely to read about in any guidebook. Learn about first settlers to Napa Valley and hear about Napa’s famed wineries and local businesses. Paddle at a leisurely pace through the waterways of the Napa Valley and meander past historic sites and learn about their significance. Find out about the first people in the Napa Valley and hear some Native names that are still used for places. Hear about Native culture. Uncover the history of the Napa earthquake and the historic buildings it damaged. Watch as your guide identifies birds and other animals along the Napa river. Look for beavers, otters, egrets, and minks. Have the chance to explore on your own after the first hour of the tour. Finish your tour at the centrally-located meeting point where it began.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

3. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

Travel through the Great Central Valley into the Sierra Foothills where Forty-Niners panned for Gold. Follow the beautiful Merced River to the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Glaciers cut through these mountains forming spectacular granite monuments you will see throughout the park. Spend a total of 4 hours within the Yosemite National Park: 1-hour on a guided tour and 3 hours to explore on your own. There is the option of selecting a Chinese-speaking guide on certain days. Take advantage of the photo opportunities at: • El Capitan • Bridalveil Falls • Vernal Falls • Yosemite Falls • Cathedral Spires • Half Dome

Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

4. Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

Join an eco-friendly, small group guided tour and witness the stunning Yosemite National Park. Choose between three pickup locations covering hotels on Highway 41, 140 & 120. Then drive 30-60 minutes through Yosemite National Park to reach Yosemite Valley. On the way, your guide will explain the history and geology before stopping at El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith. Your guide will provide a park orientation and hiking briefing so you can wander around alone. Be dropped off either at Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge in the park. During your 5 hours of free time, explore Yosemite either by hiking its most famous trails or biking your way around Yosemite Valley.  Marvel at views of Half Dome, a granite dome known for its distinct shape. Go for a swim in the nearby Merced River to cool down from Yosemite’s summer heat. Your expert guide can recommend the best trails and where to rent a bike.  After a day of exploration, meet your guide back at either Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge to be dropped off back at your original point: Yosemite View Lodge.

Monterey: Electric Bike Rental with GPS Guided Tours

5. Monterey: Electric Bike Rental with GPS Guided Tours

Discover the best of Monterey at your own pace and enjoy an eco-friendly way to sightsee with this electric bike rental. Choose from 2 different GPS-guided tours: a scenic or historic tour, or follow your own route and create your own adventure. Choose from electric-assist or full throttle modes to help you see more of the area. You could visit the Great Tide Pools and get a close-up view of creatures hiding among the rocks. Explore Lover's Point area and beach, and let the sand fill in between your toes. Stop at the various turnouts along the coast to catch a glimpse of whales during migration. You can also bike to Asilomar State Beach and watch the surfers find their perfect wave. Find your way into Pebble Beach and marvel at the golf courses, the coastal drive, and the famous 17-Mile Drive.

Monterey: Scenic Half-Day Self-Guided Electric Scooter Tour

6. Monterey: Scenic Half-Day Self-Guided Electric Scooter Tour

The experience begins with check-in at the local partner’s office in Monterey and a short video and demonstration on how to use the electric scooters safety. Once you’re kitted out with your riding gear, hop onboard and set out onto the streets of Monterey where adventure awaits. The tour allows you the flexibility to follow the route on the app or explore the area according to your interests, taking any detour that looks appealing to you. On your scooter, follow the GPS driven app on your phone to a selection of different locations. The tour starts on Wave Streets, traveling towards San Carlos Beach and onto Breakwater Cove Marina where sea otters and sea lions are frequently seen frolicking among the jetties and the kelp forest tops. Stop by Hopkins Marine Sanctuary next, which is home to harbor seals soaking up the sun on the beach or nesting their young. Continue the tour to Lover’s Point, followed by Perkins Park, then see the great tide-pools that dot the shoreline and offer epic scenic views. Soak up the tranquility at Asilomar Beach, then head to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary where you can admire clusters of butterflies in the pine trees above. At the end of an unforgettable day of exploring, return the scooter to the starting point.

Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

7. Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

Experience one of the most famous scenic drives in the world with a live GPS route and auto-playing narration for a complete hands-free and fully guided driving experience along the 17-Mile Drive. Simply download the app and drive hands-free like Google maps. On approaching an attraction, it’s photo pops up and you will hear its audio story, just like having a local guide sitting with you. The tour is developed by local tour guides, curated by creative writers, narrated by professional voice artists and put together using an award-winning platform. At Point Joe, stop and listen to the audio guide to learn about the European explorers that first came to this part of the coast. Later, drive past Bird Rock, where you can see Brandt's cormorants, pelicans, and California sea lions sharing the rock. At your next stop, get to see the harbor seals at Fanshell Overlook and learn about their pupping season from your guide. As you continue your drive, learn about the history of the 5000-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees and listen to the intriguing story of a 250-year-old Lone Cypress that isn't entirely alone. Finally, stop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and rest at one of the public areas or putter around in one of the many charming shops in the area. 

Carson City: Hot Air Balloon Flight

8. Carson City: Hot Air Balloon Flight

Fly high in the sky in your balloon. Witness breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife. Benefit from professionals with two decades worth of hot air ballooning experience. Enjoy an invigorating Nevada hot air balloon tour with unparalleled, panoramic views of Carson Valley. See wildlife like bald and golden eagles, prairie falcon, red-tailed hawks, deer, and more. Relish the views of the Carson River and Carson Range. See the spur of the Sierra Nevada, including the Jobs Peak. Some flights are even lucky enough to see Lake Tahoe over the mountains. Learn from your pilot about historical and popular points of interest. Take comfort in knowing you're in the hands of balloon experts with more than two decades worth of experience, and get ready to float high above Nevada.

Yosemite: Valley Hiking Tour from Oakhurst

9. Yosemite: Valley Hiking Tour from Oakhurst

Witness some of the most awe-inspiring views of nature on a full-day trip through Yosemite Valley with an expert guide. See the towering and famous El Capitan, revel in the majestic Half Dome, dine under the tallest waterfall in North America — Yosemite Falls — and hike along the Mist Trail. Meet your guide before heading straight to Yosemite National Park via the south entrance. Arrive at Tunnel View to witness the most well-known views in Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome, and be awe-struck by their sheer grandeur and height. Follow the Merced River to Curry Village, where your guide will lead you on a 3-mile (5.4-kilometer) round-trip hike on the most famous trail in the Valley, the Mist Trail, to the Vernal Falls Footbridge. After the hike, head to Yosemite Village to enjoy a boxed lunch while taking in a spectacular view of Yosemite Falls. Next, stroll along the Valley Loop Trail to the Ahwahnee Hotel. See its fascinating design and architecture of this 1927 hotel, which puts it on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Walk back to Yosemite Village through the meadows before heading over to El Capitan Meadows for more stunning photos. Then, sit back and relax on the scenic drive back to Oakhurst.

Reno: Downtown Pedicab Motorized Tour

10. Reno: Downtown Pedicab Motorized Tour

Roll through "The Biggest Little City in the World" with pedicabs, a service that helps tourists and locals get to their destinations the fun way. Allow your environmentally conscious ride to transport you around downtown Reno and see the main sights. Once you climb aboard, head to the Reno Strip and see the myriad of lights and local restaurants, bars, and casinos. Passby city murals, the famous Truckee River and Riverwalk, Wingfield Park, and both the Reno Arches. Learn fun information about the history of Reno and the Truckee River from your guide, and get to where you want to go a little wiser.

Frequently asked questions about Central Valley, California Viewing Points

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Other Sightseeing Options in Central Valley, California

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What people are saying about Central Valley, California

Discovery Whale Watch was great! The captain and guide explained how they kept in close communication with other tour operators in the area, in order to let each other know where the best viewing experience was. While we were traveling to the best viewing spot, Isaiah, the on-board marine biologist, explained how all species were dependent on each other, from plankton to anchovies, to humans, and he helped guests understand how massive the humpback whales are that we saw. The entire experience, from ticket purchase to check-in, and boarding to completion, was top-notch. We would highly recommend Discovery Whale Watch for such an exciting experience!

The Whalewatching tour was awesome! We have seen whales and Isiah and his friend ( I forgot his name:) ) were great guides! It is hard to choose a tour with so many being online but if you are still wondering which one to go to, choose them ! Definitely the best one around !!! Thanks again for the amazing trip and the fast boat

The tour was easy to schedule online. Excellent and detailed information to prepare and get to the tour. The tour was so much fun! The staff was knowledgable, kind, and fun. We saw several whales and sea lions. Would definitely recommend!!!

We saw 10 humpback whales on our trip. The biologist on board was very informative and also shared his pictures with us. It was an amazing trip and I will be going again.

It was amazing and the staff was excellent as well as informative.