Itinerary in brief:
- 3 nights San Francisco
- 3 nights El Portal
Day 1: Arrive San Francisco
On arrival in San Francisco you will make your own way into the city, where you will check into your hotel for 3 nights.
Days 2 & 3: San Francisco
San Francisco is an exciting city to explore with a family – the immigrant heritage of the city means you can be introducing your kids to dim sum in Chinatown at lunch time and enjoying some Mexican food in the Mission District in the evening. We’ve included a trip to Alcatraz where your family will hear exciting tales of escape and learn about the history of the island prison. You’ll also be able to use the hop on hop off bus service to get around the city, allowing you to discover the restaurants and aquarium at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf before heading over to Union Square to fit in some shopping or even hiring bikes and cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge to explore the Marin Headlands with views back over towards the city. Your time here will go in a flash!
Day 4: Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite
Today you’ll collect your rental car and drive east towards the Sierra Nevada mountains, where Yosemite National Park lies. On arrival in El Portal, a small village just outside the park, you’ll check into your hotel for 3 nights.
Days 5 & 6: Yosemite National Park
You have 2 full days to explore the national park. You’ll start, as everyone does, in the Yosemite Valley, a gorge in the endless granite that shows off the famous Yosemite Falls as you drive towards El Capitan. At the end of the valley you can take a steep but beautiful hike up to Vernal Falls, or if you’re feeling fit you can keep going until you reach Nevada Falls, each stunning waterfall cascading down the cliffs before you. For the best views, drive to Glacier Point where you can take a wonderful photo with Half Dome in the background – the drive along here will take you past small, lush paddocks where chipmunks scurry amongst the wildflowers.
On your second day, venture further away from the valley towards Tuolumne Meadows, where you can (carefully!) look out for black bears in the surrounding hills. If you want to embark on a hike you could try a section of the Cloud’s Rest Trail – it’s a hard one if you’re attempting the full walk but a small section with kids is just right. If you just want to relax, why not take a picnic and spend the day at Tenaya Lake, one of the most scenic in the valley where you can swim in the clear water and wander along the rocky shoreline.
Day 7: Depart San Francisco
Today is your last day in California – you’ll drive back to San Francisco through the Sierra Nevada mountains, dropping your rental car at the airport in time to catch your onwards flight.