Northern California Charm

12 day Self Drive with flights - from £1,759

San Francisco | Sonoma | Lake Tahoe | Yosemite

Begin your journey in San Francisco, where you can explore the city's iconic landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Alcatraz Island. From there, drive north to Sonoma Valley, a charming wine country destination known for its vineyards, hot springs, and world-class dining. Next, travel east to Lake Tahoe, a stunning alpine lake surrounded by towering mountains. In the summer, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, or kayaking, while in the winter, you can hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding.

Finally, venture south to Yosemite National Park, a breathtakingly beautiful wilderness area known for its towering sequoia trees, cascading waterfalls, and granite cliffs. Yosemite is a nature lover's paradise, with endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

This road trip through San Francisco, Sonoma Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite offers the perfect mix of city and nature, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds. So, pack your bags, hit the open road, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

This Holiday Includes

  • Flights Return flights from the UK
  • Car Hire 9 Days Car Hire
  • Hotels 11 Nights Accommodation
  • Days 12 Days


Full Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive San Francisco, California

    Hotel: Hilton San Francisco Union Square 4*

    Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport, make your way independently to your hotel to begin your adventure in the City by the Bay.

    Start your trip by renting a bike and exploring the city's many attractions, including the famous Golden Gate Bridge, vibrant neighbourhoods, and scenic coastal paths. After crossing the bridge to Sausalito and taking a ferry back to get an up-close view of Alcatraz, take some time to relax and enjoy the city's diverse culinary offerings in neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy.

    On the next day of your trip, take a hike to see San Francisco from a unique perspective. You'll share the trails with locals walking their dogs or enjoying the scenic beauty of the Bay Area. The hiking trails offer a chance to see some of San Francisco's best nature, including the redwood forests of Muir Woods, the ocean views of The Presidio, and the historic Golden Gate Bridge up close on the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. Don't forget to snap some photos to remember this unforgettable experience before heading to your next destination.

  • Day 4

    Sonoma County, California - 65 Miles

    Hotel: Timber Cove Resort 4*

    After picking up your rental car, your journey continues north from San Francisco to Sonoma County, famous for its exceptional wineries. On the way, spend the afternoon in Santa Rosa, the hub for American cycling, with roads that have been tested by both world-class and novice riders. You'll have plenty of outdoor activity options, including visiting Laguna de Santa Rosa or Trione-Annadel State Park for a walk, hike, or bike ride through the many trails that feature ponds, native plants, and vineyard views. You can also stop by nearby tasting experiences at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens and Matanzas Creek Winery, where you can take a garden tour, sample a flight of wines, or learn about the best food and wine pairings (optional).

    As you continue your journey into Sonoma Valley, you'll discover that there is no shortage of entertainment. The Sonoma Valley is rich in history and a perfect destination for hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, and more. Take a leisurely bike ride on vineyard-lined roads and visit over ten wineries within 5 miles. This is a perfect day itinerary to pinpoint your favourite spots to visit (optional).

    After experiencing Sonoma on two wheels, discover some of the valley’s scenic gems on foot. You can hike along the trails located in Sugarloaf Park, home to the largest observatory in the western United States, or stroll through the Sonoma State Historic Park, where you can visit the Mission San Francisco Solano (optional). In the Montini Open Space Preserve, take a pleasant hike on the Sonoma Overlook Trail, leading you to stunning views of the valley. Before the end of the day, make sure to visit downtown Sonoma. At Sonoma Plaza, you'll find wine tasting rooms, shopping, galleries, and restaurants serving cuisine featuring local farm and harvest bites (optional).

  • Day 7

    Lake Tahoe, California - 208 Miles

    Hotel: Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa 3*

    Continue to Lake Tahoe, home to North America's largest alpine lake, surrounded by the magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountains. At Lake Tahoe, cycling enthusiasts can explore the calm and smooth paved roads, suitable for families, or opt for mountain biking adventures. Follow the Forest Bicycle Trail, which leads to two picturesque beaches, Pope, and Baldwin, while cycling through the forested route. Along the way, take a break to visit the restored Baldwin Estate and Forest Service Visitor Centre before returning to your accommodation to prepare for the next day's activities.

    On day two in Lake Tahoe, take a break from biking and discover the lake’s stunning natural beauty on foot. With an abundance of hiking trails to choose from, you're sure to find one that suits your preferences. For families, the gentle trails of Fallen Leaf Lake are perfect, especially during the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. The Skyline Trail offers an exciting challenge for more experienced hikers and can be accessed via a lift (not included). The Rubicon Trail, situated along the shoreline, offers breath-taking photo opportunities. After your morning and afternoon of hiking, treat yourself to a meal at one of the many locally owned restaurants, each offering a unique atmosphere and signature dishes.

  • Day 9

    Yosemite National Park, California - 203 Miles

    Hotel: Yosemite View Lodge 3*

    Continue your journey to the iconic Yosemite National Park, a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the United States. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, this park spans over 1,000 square miles and offers visitors an unforgettable experience filled with exciting wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and giant sequoias. Take a leisurely nature walk along one of the park's best trails, which meanders through the Yosemite Valley on a wide and smooth path, allowing you to peacefully take in the natural landscape and breath-taking scenery.

    After your nature walk, indulge in more of the park's natural wonders by embarking on a rewarding challenge – hiking the Yosemite Falls trail. This trail is one of the oldest in Yosemite and leads hikers to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you energized throughout the journey. You don't need to reach the top to appreciate the magnificent views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Sentinel Rock, so have your camera ready to capture some stunning photographs to share with friends and family.

  • Day 11

    San Francisco, California - 195 Miles

    Hotel: Hotel Zoe, San Francisco 4*

    Take some time in the morning to immerse yourself in the fragrances and melodies of Yosemite before embarking on your return journey to San Francisco. In the afternoon, consider exploring Oakland's waterfront or making a side trip to San Jose or Silicon Valley before reaching your hotel near San Francisco Airport.

  • Day 12

    Depart San Francisco, California

    Today marks the end of your Northern California journey. Make your own way to San Francisco International Airport for your outbound flight.

View full itinerary

Tailor your holiday

All of our self drive holidays can be tailored to suit your needs; add extra nights and destinations, upgrade your hotels, flights and car hire, or allow us to completely tailor an itinerary that's right for you!

Call today on 0207 749 9282 or enquire online to speak to a member of our expert team. We'll help you bring the art of escape to your American adventure.

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from £1,759

Call today on 0207 749 9282 to speak to a member of our expert team.
We'll help you bring the art of escape to your American adventure.

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