Itinerary Highlights
    • Discover the wonders of wine country in Napa Valley and Paso Robles
    • Stay in the heart of nature and get outdoors in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park
    • Hop on an e-bike tour of sunny Santa Barbara’s surrounding vineyards
    • Explore San Diego’s bustling beer scene on a craft beer tour of the city

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Take a deep dive into wine country and craft beer on this 19-day tour of California’s highlights. Combining famous city sights and spectacular nature with a smattering of wonderful wineries and breweries, this itinerary is for every palate.

Beginning in San Francisco, tour the infamous island prison of Alcatraz and learn all about its notorious former residents. Discover the city’s diverse neighbourhoods and other must-see sights like the Golden Gate Bridge. Next up is Napa Valley, famed for its vineyards and foodie scene. Enjoy a tour of the wineries and the serenity of the valley before it’s time to head for the shores of Lake Tahoe. Here, soak up the spectacular scenes (water sports on the lake are a must-do) and sample the best of the region’s craft IPAs, porters and stouts.
Yosemite National Park is up next, where outdoor adventure, beautiful nature and brewery tours combine for the next few days. You’ll then drive south to Paso Robles, nestled on the central coast, for a few nights’ relaxation in wine country. The quintessential Californian city of Santa Barbara is next on the itinerary, where you’ll sip your way through a craft brewery tour and glide past vineyards on an e-bike. San Diego is the final stop, where golden sandy beaches, creative craft breweries, and a fusion of North and Central American culture await…


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San Francisco Calling

So long, London, and hello, San Francisco. Today, it’s time to head to the airport for your 11-hour flight to the famed Californian city. Arriving this afternoon, collect your luggage and catch a taxi downtown to the hotel where you’ll spend the next two nights. Settle in and unpack before tackling the jet lag head-on. Luckily, the lively energy of the city is enough to keep you wide awake. San Fran is easily discovered on foot, so we recommend heading out and exploring the neighbourhood; downtown is the city's heart, brimming with lively restaurants, shops, and culture on every corner. Chinatown is also close by – boasting the largest enclave of Chinese residents outside of Asia – and is well worth a visit for its rows of red lanterns and enticing eateries. Consult our Dossier for the best steaming dim sum and wonton noodle soup for dinner. Get an early night to ensure you wake up rested and well-adjusted to the Californian clock.


Discover Alcatraz Island

Today, you’ll tour one of the world's most famous maximum-security prisons: Alcatraz. Fuel up with a hearty breakfast before heading to the ferry terminal at Pier 33 and setting sail for the legendary island prison. Alcatraz received its first inmates in the 1850s before becoming the property of the US Department of Justice in 1933. Over the next 30 years, it was home to notoriously hardened criminals, including Al Capone and Robert ‘Birdman’ Stroud. Listen to a fascinating audio guide as you tour the prison grounds that opened to the public in 1973. Walk in the footsteps of the inmates in historic spaces such as the recreation yard, the sallyport and the rose garden. Catch a ferry back to the mainland after the tour and find a spot for lunch along the waterfront in Fisherman’s Wharf (with snoozing sea lions for company).

This afternoon, it’s all about sightseeing. Whether it’s the intriguing architecture and stunning views from North Beach’s Coit Tower or the tantalising taquerias and hipster-cool Valencia Street in the Mission district, there’s plenty to see in San Fran. March up hills (sorry, they’re unavoidable here) for spectacular views and neat rows of colourful houses in neighbourhoods like Russian Hill. Head to Noe Valley for people-watching and artisanal goods, and come evening, bag a coveted table at one of Hayes Valley’s finest restaurants (our Concierge can help with that…).


Next Stop, Napa

Enjoy a final breakfast in the city this morning, as it’s time to head to the next stop on your itinerary, Napa Valley. That’s not before you’ve visited the city’s Golden Gate Bridge (of course). This mighty feat of engineering is every bit as impressive up close. Once you’ve taken enough snaps of the famously foggy view, pick up your rental car and hit the road. The 50-mile journey to Napa takes around an hour, crossing the impressive Bay Bridge to North Oakland, where UC Berkeley welcomes 35,000 students. Why not stop for lunch in this famed university city? It’s then onwards to the town of Crockett and over a second bridge before driving further inland towards Napa. Upon arrival in Napa, unpack and settle in for the next couple of nights at a gorgeous riverfront property. Enjoy basking in the warm Californian sun on the wisteria-clad terrace with a glass of local wine in hand.


Enjoy a Tour of Wine Country

Wake up in the sun-baked wine region and enjoy a morning at leisure, wandering the hotel grounds. Today, you’ll embark on a small group tour of the surrounding wine country. The region boasts over 400 wineries, with lush rolling hills of vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Led by a knowledgeable guide, learn your cabernet from your pinot noir as you tour (and taste) your way through the best spots. Enjoy a picnic lunch among the vines and toast to the wonderful wine region.

After the tour, spend the rest of the day as you like. From cycling through the hills and hiking along trails to boutique shopping and soaking up some art and culture, there’s plenty to do in Napa. And with a thriving foodie scene, you’ll not go hungry (or thirsty) in this splendid valley.


Drive to Lake Tahoe

Wave the wine country goodbye (for now), as it’s time to hit the next stop on your itinerary. You’ll drive for around three hours to reach the beautiful Lake Tahoe, the largest freshwater alpine lake in the country. Famed for sensational skiing in the winter, come summer, Tahoe becomes the ultimate outdoor adventure destination. For the next two nights, you’ll stay in a historic wooden lakeshore lodge surrounded by a towering pine forest.

Settle into your room and enjoy views across the calm water from the large outdoor terrace. Fancy getting out on the lake? You're not short of options, from waterskiing and kayaking to paddle boarding and boat rides. If you’d rather stay on land, there are numerous hiking and biking trails to explore. We recommend following the trailhead to Eagle Rock for spectacular views across the lake once you reach the top. It’s particularly special at sunset, as the canopy of trees below catches the red and orange evening light. After the active afternoon, make your way back to the accommodation for a tasty dinner.


Discover Lake Tahoe (and its Beer)

Feast on a hearty breakfast at the lodge this morning. Then, you choose the agenda for the day: whether you want to get out on the water again or simply enjoy the peaceful setting and a good book on the terrace. Later, you can wander to a nearby eatery for a delicious lunch served lakeside.

This afternoon, we recommend tickling your tastebuds on the South Lake Tahoe Beer Trail; there’s no better way to unwind than with a frosty pint of local craft beer. Discover the burgeoning beer scene by visiting some of our favourite spots. These include the South Lake Brewing Co., for brews inspired by the lake's beauty; Lake Tahoe AleWorX, where pints pair perfectly with their pizzas; the Hangar, for a variety of 30 rotating taps; and the Cold Water Brewery & Grill, a local favourite for its handcrafted all-grain beer brewed on-site.


Road Trip to Yosemite National Park

The lakeshore adventure ends this morning, as it’s time to depart on the next leg of your journey. Where to next? Arguably the most famous national park in the USA: Yosemite. It’ll take around three-and-a-half hours to reach this scenic spot, so make sure to enjoy the views en route. Located in the central Sierra Nevada, Yosemite is renowned for its 1,200 square miles of unspoilt wilderness. Expect spectacular granite cliffs and domes, soaring mountains, tranquil alpine lakes and streams, and groves of giant sequoias.

Drive along the final few mountain passes to reach your destination: a secluded mountain lodge where you’ll spend the next three nights. Settle into your cosy cabin and unpack before exploring the lodge’s amenities, which include an outdoor pool, lounge and games room. Maybe even squeeze in a rejuvenating massage at the wellness cabins.

DAYS 8 & 9

Explore Yosemite National Park

In our humble opinion, you can’t beat waking up in the heart of the wilderness. Even better? Two full days free to discover the magic of Mother Nature in Yosemite. Whether you set off on a hike to reach crystal-clear lakes, towering cliffs and thundering waterfalls or hire bikes for an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, you’re guaranteed some unforgettable sights. Maybe you’ll even opt for an expertly-led guided tour of the area or take to the frothy rapids on a whitewater-rafting extravaganza. One thing’s for certain: the unmissable Mirror Lake, Tuolumne Meadow, and views of Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point will have your jaw on the floor. Have some all-important downtime back at the lodge, too (hello, wellness cabins).

All this outdoor exploration is thirsty work, so we recommend another excursion to (no surprises here) the surrounding breweries. Although breweries and tap rooms within the national park itself are prohibited, the Yosemite area has many craft options to enjoy, just a short trip outside of the valley. Start with the South Gate Brewing Company, where award-winning beers are made on-site, or head to Around The Horn Brewing Company for a range of Kölschs, porters and IPA on tap.

DAY 10

Head to Paso Robles

It’s goodbye to towering trees and alpine scenes as you’re off to the next stop on your trip: Paso Robles. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover today (about five hours’ worth), so settle in for the journey with our California-curated playlist. Paso Robles is a charming wine-country town nestled on the central coast, where rolling vineyards and olive tree groves await. Upon arrival later this afternoon, settle into your hotel for the next two nights. Chill out at the large outdoor pool and soak up the sunshine with a glass of wine in hand. This evening, wander into downtown Paso Robles for a bite to eat (consult our Dossier for the best spots).

DAY 11

Paso Robles Winery Tour

Wake up refreshed and ready to welcome wine country with open arms. Head out on a guided tour through four of the region’s reputable wineries, wandering down neat rows of vines as you learn what makes this region so special. Midway through the tour, you’ll stop for a picnic with a view to indulge in a selection of delicious dishes. We’d recommend adding on a wine tasting, too, as ‘someone’ has to put their newfound knowledge to the test…

After the excursion, why not explore the surrounding area? Just a 45-minute drive from Paso Robles lies the shimmering coast at Morro Bay and Cayucos. Expect quaint fisherman-village vibes, a charming natural harbour and tons of marine life (otters love it here). Stroll along the beaches or get in the water on a paddle or surfboard. If you’d rather not venture from Paso Robles, there’s plenty more to explore in the town. Wander downtown and pick up a souvenir or two (we hear the locally-made olive oil is very good).

DAY 12

South to Santa Barbara

Your time in Paso Robles might be up, but the central Californian discovery continues to Santa Barbara. Embark on a two-hour drive along the coast and the infamous U.S. Route 101. Fulfil all your road-tripping dreams and drive seamlessly south to the ‘American Riviera’. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by swaying palm trees and laidback Cali charm; make your way to a beachfront hotel where you’ll be spending the next three nights.

Unpack, freshen up and spend some time chilling by the hotel pool. Once you’re suitably sunned, we’d recommend exploring the city on foot. Santa Barbara’s Spanish colonial heritage is plain to see as you stroll past red roofed Mediterranean-style buildings and visit the imposing Mission building. Head to the Museum of Fine Arts or the galleries of El Paseo for a healthy dose of art and culture before ending up in the eclectic Funk Zone for dinner and drinks.

DAYS 13 & 14

Discover Sunny Santa Barbara

This coastal paradise is yours to discover over the next two days. To kick off, we’ve arranged for a craft brewery tour, where you’ll sample some of the finest brews in the city. Beer aficionados are in for a hoppy treat, but for the uninitiated, it’s the perfect chance to learn your porters from your IPAs. This tour will take you around the buzzing Funk Zone and State Street, the heart of Santa Barbara. Tuck into a bite to eat here after the tour, where you’ll find everything from tacos to sushi.

Swapping grain for grapes, we’ve also organised a Santa Barbara wine country e-bike tour. Gear up for a 16-mile guided loop, which winds through vineyards, farms and towns of the Santa Ynez Valley. Expect stunning views of the estate wineries from the Ballard Canyon portion and eight challenging climbs. Luckily, you’ll have a trusty electric pedal assist to make riding these sections a breeze, but adjustable levels mean you’re in control of how much effort you put in (no judgment here). For those craving more of a challenge, opt for a fitness bike instead. Reward yourself with a large glass (or two) of local wine at the end of the tour.

DAY 15

Final Stop, San Diego

Take your time getting to your final destination, San Diego, which is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive away. Taking Route One from Malibu, you'll pass miles of Pacific beaches and some truly iconic spots. Amid a jumble of avenues, the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier looms ahead of you. Then, follow the surf beaches of Manhattan Beach and Huntington Beach until reaching La Jolla, which is known for its impressive sea lion reserve. Eventually, reaching San Diego, a stone's throw from the border with Mexico, you’ll be welcomed with a vibrant mash-up of North and Central American culture. Make your way to a stylish boutique hotel downtown, where you’ll spend the next three nights. Located near the city’s Little Italy neighbourhood, why not tuck into some authentic pasta for dinner?

DAYS 16 & 17

Experience San Diego

San Diego is renowned for having some of the country’s best craft beer, so it’d be a sin not to sample it while in the city. You’ll be partaking in one of America's ‘most unique beer tours’, as named by Forbes Travel. Combining a bustling beer scene with a world-renowned coastline, board a custom-built vintage Swiss safari vehicle and drink ice-cold road beers in style – from one brewery to the next. No matter your preferences, San Diego's beer scene offers a delectable assortment of IPAs, ales, lagers, porters and stouts.

Home to some of California’s best beaches, ample time should be spent exploring the city’s golden sands. Head to Moonlight or Swami’s Beach in the bohemian SoCal town of Encinitas or to La Jolla for its famed pristine shores. Aside from the ocean, explore San Diego’s neighbourhoods, from the trendy eateries of North Park to the laidback Ocean Beach district, vibrant Hillcrest uptown and Pacific Beach for lively nightlife. Balboa Park is also a must-see for its beautiful botanic gardens, winding trails and world-class museums. Make sure to get your fill of fish tacos in San Diego, too; the crispy battered cod, crema, pico de gallo and squeeze of lime are the stuff of dreams. Wash it down with your favourite craft beer, of course.

DAY 18

So Long, California

Sadly, your Californian dream comes to an end today. Flying home this evening, you’ve time to do any final sightseeing and snatch the last moments of beach, beer and fish taco time before you head to the airport. It’s around a ten-and-a-half-hour flight back to the UK, so settle into the journey with a good book or snooze your way home. Hopefully, you’ll bring the Californian climate back with you…

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The cost for this trip starts from £3,300 to £4,800 per person.

The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote.

The average starting price for this trip is £3,900 per person.
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