Heritage railways, historic sites, beautiful cities, some of the country’s best wine and even a national park are on full display as we set out on this 8-day showcase of the beautiful state of California.
About the Tour
California is a land of possibilities, and this unforgettable tour gives you 8 days to explore them all. Our journey begins in San Francisco, where we explore both the modern and historic sides of the city through guided tours and memorable excursions. From San Francisco it is on to Yosemite - but not before embarking on the first of three railway journeys this trip provides, the Roaring Camp Railroad’s Redwood Forest Steam Train. In Yosemite, a guided tour of the park allows us to experience the grandeur of nature, and the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad gives us yet another perspective. It is after Yosemite that we begin the culinary portion of our journey - one that kicks off with a visit to a winery that has been in operation for four generations. Napa, Sonoma and Healdsburg are all on the itinerary, and in each destination, we savor the spectacular food and wine. Our ride through the vineyards of Napa aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train makes this journey even more memorable. Whether you seek gastronomic delights or deep history, this California adventure is one not to miss.
- Three scenic rail excursions: Redwood Forest Steam Train, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad and Napa Valley Wine Train
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights, including 2 nights in Yosemite National Park
- 10 meals, including lunch aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train
- San Francisco city tour, including Fisherman’s Wharf
- Alcatraz tour
- Yosemite National Park tour
- Visit to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
- J. Rickards Winery tasting
- Sterling Vineyards tour and tasting
- National Park entrance fees
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Arrive in San Francisco
Arrive in San Francisco and transfer on your own to your hotel, which is conveniently located at Fisherman’s Wharf. After check-in, relax at the hotel or begin to explore the city. Meet your tour manager and fellow travelers in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. for a briefing on the coming days. The rest of the evening is at leisure to explore the world-renowned dining scene or to begin your explorations. Overnight San Francisco.
Day 2 - San Francisco Sightseeing
San Francisco’s most famous sites are showcased on this morning’s sightseeing tour. The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and Chinatown are just some of the landmarks we encounter as we drive through the city. The excursion concludes as we arrive at Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you have time to explore the shops, restaurants and stalls; to take in the picture-perfect views of the city; to see the seals and sea lions; and to watch the boats pass. Do not leave without grabbing a bowl of world-famous clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bread bowl. After lunch, a ferry takes you across the bay to Alcatraz. History comes to life as you walk through the cell blocks and see artifacts that were left behind after the prison’s closing. The ferry takes you back to San Francisco, where your evening is at leisure to continue your sightseeing independently or to check out the city’s incredible dining scene. Overnight San Francisco. (B)
Day 3 - Redwood Forest Steam Train
Leaving San Francisco, experience the logging history of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Roaring Camp Railroads. Enjoy a look at the towering redwoods while riding aboard the narrow-gauge Redwood Forest Steam Train. The train departs from Felton and winds through the forest en route to the summit of Bear Mountain. In all, the journey lasts approximately 1 hour, and passengers have the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery from closed or open-air train cars. Lunch is on your own, then we re-board the motorcoach for our inland journey to Yosemite National Park. Join the group for dinner, then the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Overnight Yosemite National Park. (B, D)
Day 4 - Yosemite National Park
After breakfast, we head toward the South Gate of Yosemite to visit the site of the old Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company. Here we board the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for a 4-mile journey through the Sierra National Forest. This excursion is made aboard fully restored Shay engines and presents scenic highlights, such as Lewis Creek Canyon. Moving back into Yosemite, we embark on a guided tour through the park. An expert tour guide offers invaluable insight about the history of the park, the wildlife, the indigenous people who once lived here and more. The scenic vistas along the way are truly breathtaking and include waterfalls and the High Sierra Mountains. This evening is yours to explore the local dining scene or to pack a picnic and find a wonderful lookout point from which to watch the sun go down. Overnight Yosemite National Park. (B)
Day 5 - Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Step back in time this morning with a visit to a California Historical Landmark, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. This attraction is located in the heart of gold mining country and includes a still-operational Roundhouse and locomotive repair facility; the famous Jamestown Historic Shops, including the Depot Store; an interpretive center filled with informative exhibits and experiences that combine California’s history with the film industry. There are even operational trains onsite. From Railtown, we continue by motorcoach on our westerly route through California. As the passing scenes turn from city to rolling hills and lush vineyards, we have arrived in the heart of wine country, Sonoma. Immerse yourself in one of the best wine and food destinations in the world by trying one of the many renowned restaurants, which range from pizza to haute cuisine in your free time this evening. Overnight Sonoma. (B)
Day 6 - Napa Valley Wine Train
Experience the Golden Age of rail travel once more with today’s excursion aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. The 36-mile route begins in downtown Napa and takes passengers to St. Helena and back. As the train rolls through the landscape, vistas of rolling vineyards and grand estates come into view. Onboard the train, the mahogany-lined lounge car is the perfect place to enjoy the sights, and there are four onboard kitchens in which chefs prepare some of the most luxurious food one could imagine paired with wines of several of the region’s beloved wineries. The ambiance afforded by this antique train is truly unforgettable. Following the train ride, we return to Sonoma where your evening is at leisure to sample even more of the region’s fabulous offerings. Overnight Sonoma. (B, L)
Day 7 - Wine Country Touring
We begin the day in the midst of green vines and juicy grapes, as we arrive at J. Rickards Winery. This 60-acre estate boasts Zinfandel vines that date back to 1908, as well as modern vines that the vineyard has been cultivating for the last 30 years. Taste some of its offerings, including Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Malbec and a lovely five-grape blend. Enjoy lunch on your own before visiting the second winery of the day, Sterling Vineyards. This winery has been in operation for over 50 years and is located ideally on a cliff, offering breathtaking views over the entire Napa Valley, the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges and Mt. Saint Helena. In addition to taking in the vistas, you have the opportunity to explore the winemaking process here and taste some of the fruits of their labor, including Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and sparkling wines. Back in Sonoma, spend the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sights before freshening up at the hotel and joining the group for a farewell dinner. As you sip the local varietals and taste the complementary cuisine, reminisce about the grand adventures of this California expedition. Overnight Sonoma. (B, D)
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion
Your rail journey through the Golden State concludes after breakfast. A group transfer to San Francisco International Airport will accomodate planes departing after 1:00 PM (B)
Accommodations include the Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf (San Francisco), Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite (Fish Camp), and DoubleTree Sonoma Wine Country (Rohnert Park),
Roaring Camp Redwood Forest Steam Train
Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest. In the 1880s, narrow-gauge steam locomotives were used to haul giant redwood logs out of the mountains. Roaring Camp's steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines providing regularly scheduled passenger service in America.
Tour Dates & Prices
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