The towering redwood trees of the rugged California coast, laid-back San Francisco, the stunning beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite’s breath- taking scenery, sparkling Lake Tahoe, the inky blue waters of Crater Lake, the incredible beauty of Lassen and the Napa Valley are carefully blended into this leisurely 15 day/14 night self-drive tour operating departure dates available between from mid-May to mid-September*.
Day 1. Arrive San Francisco. Days 2 & 3. San Francisco. Day 4. San Francisco to Yosemite National Park (approx. 200 miles). Day 5. Yosemite National Park. Day 6. Yosemite to Lake Tahoe (approx. 220 miles). Day 7. Lake Tahoe. Day 8. Lake Tahoe to Mineral (approx. 190 miles). Day 9. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Day 10. Mineral to Crater Lake National Park (approx. 270 miles). Day 11. Crater Lake National Park. Day 12. Crater Lake to Crescent City (approx. 200 miles). Day 13. Crescent City to Ft.Bragg (approx. 230 miles) Day 14. Ft.Bragg to Napa Valley region (approx. 165 miles) Day 15. Napa Valley to San Francisco (approx. 75 miles)
Day 1. Arrive San Francisco. Upon arrival at San Francisco’s International airport we recommend that you take a taxi or shuttle to your city centre hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to relax and enjoy the nightlife of this fabulous city. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Galleria Park Hotel (Superior).
Days 2 & 3. San Francisco. Two full days to unwind and succumb to the charms of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Explore the shops and attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. Take a city tour, visit Alcatraz (pre-booking essential), enjoy a bike tour, ride the cable cars and then choose from some of the city’s finest restaurants. Overnight: Comfort Inn By The Bay (Standard) or Galleria Park Hotel (Superior).
Day 4. San Francisco to Yosemite National Park (approx. 200 miles). Collect your rental car from the downtown depot in San Francisco and head east over the Bay Bridge and across the Central Valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the spectacular beauty of Yosemite National Park. Overnight: Yosemite View Lodge – Mountain-view room (Standard) or Yosemite View Lodge – River-view room (Superior).
Day 5. Yosemite National Park. A full day to explore Yosemite. The giant redwood trees, the plunging waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, the tranquil lakes of the high country, the wildlife and the mountains – a day of natural wonders. Overnight: Yosemite View Lodge – Mountain-view room (Standard) or Yosemite View Lodge – River-view room (Superior).
Day 6. Yosemite to Lake Tahoe (approx. 220 miles). The journey today takes you through the heart of the California Gold Rush country. In 1848 gold was discovered near Sutter’s Mill in Coloma and this find started the famous gold rush of 1849 when thousands of prospectors flooded into the area to seek their fortunes. Today, the names of the sleepy villages such as Angels Camp, Bullion and Placerville are all that remains of the once thriving gold industry. As you drive north along highway 49 (named after the gold rush), stop at semi-ghost towns such as Columbia with its Victorian buildings, and the Marshall Gold Discovery Site before arriving at South Lake Tahoe. Overnight: Best Western Plus Station House Inn – (Standard) and (Superior).
Day 7. Lake Tahoe. A free day to enjoy the Lake Tahoe area. This beautiful high Sierra lake is now a major recreation area with activities such as sailing, horse-riding, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and relaxing on the lake’s beaches. The ski lift to the top of Heavenly Valley provides panoramic views over the lake and surrounding mountains. In the evening enjoy the nightlife over the casinos of the Nevada town of Stateline a mini Las Vegas by the lake. Overnight: Best Western Plus Station House Inn – (Standard) and (Superior).
Day 8. Lake Tahoe to Mineral (approx. 190 miles). North through the pine forests and mountains of northern California to the small community of Mineral – gateway to one of America’s hidden gems and least known national park – Lassen. Overnight: Mineral Lodge – (Standard & Superior).
Day 9. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Lassen is a volcanic park with lots of thermal activity – fumaroles, mud-pots, volcanic peaks, stunning lakes and lots of wildlife. From late September to mid-June the park is often closed by snow, and even in mid-July there are often high snow drifts lining the road! The lakes are often frozen and a pristine beauty greets the visitor. Take your time discovering this small but beautiful national park. Overnight: Mineral Lodge – (Standard & Superior).
Day 10. Mineral to Crater Lake National Park (approx. 270 miles). Head north through Redding and on into Oregon today as you journey to Crater Lake National Park. Overnight: Mazama Village (Standard) or Crater Lake Lodge – Lakeside room (Superior).
Day 11. Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is surely one of the most spectacular sights on this tour. The deep blue waters of the lake fringed by the sharp peaks of the volcanic crater which forms its rim, the tall Ponderosa Pine trees and the clear mountain air combine to produce a paradise you won’t want to leave. Take a cruise on the lake and a leisurely stroll along the rim and enjoy the peace. Overnight: Mazama Village (Standard) or Crater Lake Lodge – Lakeside room (Superior).
Day 12. Crater Lake to Crescent City (approx. 200 miles). Follow the Rogue River south as it makes its busy way from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. There should be time for you to explore the rugged coastline near Crescent City and visit the Redwood National and State Parks close to the town. Overnight: Best Western Plus Northwoods Inn – (Standard & Superior) – full breakfast included.
Day 13. Crescent City to Ft.Bragg (approx. 230 miles). Take the coast road south today past the Redwoods National Park, stopping at some of the small towns and scenic overlooks before arriving in Ft.Bragg. Overnight: Best Western Vista Manor (Standard & Superior) – Continental breakfast included.
Day 14. Ft.Bragg to Napa Valley region (approx. 165 miles). Choose between the slower – but spectacular – coastal route 1, or the faster inland Highway 101 today on the final leg of your journey to the Napa Valley wine region. You should have time to visit some of the wineries this afternoon before enjoying dinner at one of the area’s many excellent restaurants. Overnight: Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham (Standard) or Flamingo Resort (Superior)
Day 15. Napa Valley to San Francisco (approx. 75 miles). Plenty of time to linger and enjoy the Napa area this morning, before making the short, final journey to San Francisco International airport. Return your rental car and check in for your return flight to the UK.
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* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, optional excursions, meals, petrol, national park admissions & personal expenses.
Children under 12 years are free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels. Max.2 children per room.
Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels San Francisco 3 Comfort Inn By The Bay Galleria Park Hotel Yosemite National Park area 2 Yosemite View Lodge (Mtn view) Yosemite View Lodge (River view) Lake Tahoe 2 Best Western Plus Station House Inn (full bkfst) Best Western Plus Station House Inn (full bkfst) Lassen Volcanic National Park area 2 Mineral Lodge Mineral Lodge Crater Lake National Park 2 Mazama Village Crater Lake Lodge (Lakeside room) Crescent City 1 Best Western Plus Northwoods In (full bkfst) Best Western Plus Northwoods Inn (full bkfst) Fort Bragg 1 Best Western Vista Manor (Cont.bkfst) Best Western Vista Manor (Cont.bkfst) Napa/Sonoma Region 1 Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham Flamingo Resort – Santa Rosa
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
All mileages are approximate. Hotels/Lodges are subject to availability at the time of booking.
* Due to weather conditions, it may not be possible to cross Lassen Volcanic National Park before mid-June or after mid-September under normal snow conditions and a diversion using Interstate 5 and an overnight stay at Redding instead of Mineral, may be necessary.
Just America provides a full tailor-made holiday service and will be pleased to quote packages inclusive of transatlantic flights from the UK, car rental and excursions. We can change the number of nights, add extra nights, offer alternate hotels and offer first-hand personal experience and advice to help you design the itinerary to your specifications, please enquire at the time of booking.