Welcome to Northern California

Natural Splendor

Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show across Northern California. In the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains, blue Lake Tahoe is so deep that if drained it would fill the state with 14 inches of water. Yosemite National Park is home to some of the world's highest waterfalls, and the tallest trees on the planet grow in Redwood National Park. Lassen Volcanic National Park showcases a bona fide volcano, while King's Canyon has gorges deeper than even the Grand Canyon. Across the Sierra's eastern escarpment, the mountains hang like curtains above the vast high deserts of the Great Basin.

Food & Drink

Expect to eat really well – this is a region at the forefront of American culinary trends. Everything grows here, from apple trees to Zinfandel grapes, and great food and wine are a collective fetish. You need not be fancy. Locals wax poetic about the humble burrito, or a platter of fresh cracked crab, plucked that day from the sea. Napa and Sonoma are the rural outposts of the Bay Area's dynamic and progressive food scene, with restaurants by celeb chefs, you-pick-'em orchards and artisanal dairy farms producing some of the highest-grade foods anywhere in the nation.

Weekend Escapes

Idyllic escapes are never far away here – just pick your theme. For road trips, it's hard to beat coastal drives up fog-shrouded Hwy 1 to Mendocino; or down the dramatic Pacific Coast Hwy to Big Sur, a thousand feet above the crashing surf. For history, head east to explore the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Old West towns dating to the gold rush. For outdoor adventure, go up, up, up the mighty Sierra Nevada and hike granite domes and valleys made famous by John Muir. And for world-class art and culture, you need never leave San Francisco's city limits.

Big City, Little Towns

Whether it comes from the dramatic, Victorian-clad hills, the buzzing innovations of the culinary scene, or the eccentric, larger-than-life residents, there's an unmistakable energy crackling through San Francisco, beckoning visitors. Orbiting this cultural capital, Northern California's smaller cities and towns each hold their own unique appeal. There's the vibrant diversity of Oakland, the seaside elegance of Mendocino, and the sun-drenched idyll of Santa Cruz. Nevada City is the picture of a well-preserved and charming former gold-rush town, and even Sacramento, with its historic parks and agricultural bounty, will occasionally inspire a traveler to gasp with awe.

Top experiences in Northern California

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Northern California activities

$134 Day Trips & Excursions

Muir Woods and Wine Country, Lunch Option from San Francisco

Get an early start at Muir Woods National Monument with hotel pickup in the morning. You’ll depart San Francisco, passing the Palace of Fine Arts and the Presidio, for a drive north across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Gaze at the city skyline and Alcatraz Island en route to the renowned wine country of Northern California.Enjoy early arrival at Muir Woods, before most other tour groups reach the park. This national monument is the site of a virgin forest of California Coast redwood trees, among the oldest and tallest on Earth. You'll have approximately one hour to admire the groves of giant sequoias. Behold the majestic redwoods as you take a leisurely nature walk with your informative guide, who points out native coastal flora and fauna including ferns, laurel trees and the occasional deer.Cross moss-lined creeks and stand in awe beneath trees that reach 250 feet (76 meters) skyward. Then re-board the vehicle to spend a leisurely afternoon wine tasting at three wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Typical stops include Madonna Estate Winery, Cline Cellars and Mayo Family Winery, but locations are subject to change, depending on availability.You’ll spend up to one hour at each selected winery, with the opportunity to try 3 to 5 delicious wines, enjoy a sparkling wine tasting, and purchase bottled wine to take home. All wine tastings are complimentary!Arrive at your first winery in the Carneros region of Sonoma County, where you'll indulge in a variety of elegant wines. Stroll the winery grounds, take scenic photos among the vines, and enjoy the friendly atmosphere as you enjoy a personalized experience.You have an hour of free time at the Sonoma Plaza to purchase lunch, browse the boutiques or enjoy additional wine tasting at the many tasting rooms (fees not included), before sipping more California varietals at your second and third winery, including Napa Valley.Then relax on the return journey over the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoying sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and seaside cliffs before hotel drop-off.Redwoods & Wine Country Escape with Gourmet Food & Wine Pairing UPGRADE Muir Woods National Monument, Sonoma & Napa Valley in 1 Day Enjoy an exclusive three course gourmet food and wine pairing! Lunch for children not included in rate and needs to get paid at the restaurant

$73 Day Trips & Excursions

Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, and Sausalito Half-Day Trip

After crossing the impressive Golden Gate Bridge, you'll stop for a view of San Francisco from Vista Point before driving through the coastal mountains to Muir Woods (admission included). This national monument is the site of a virgin forest of California Coast redwood trees, among the oldest and tallest on earth. Take the opportunity to roam through an ancient forest of giant redwood trees on your 75-minute visit of Muir Woods.This morning or afternoon tour also takes you to Sausalito, a quaint Mediterranean-style seaside village. Stroll along the waterfront, shop or take photos in this picturesque artists' colony nestled on the northern shores of San Francisco Bay.From Sausalito you can choose between being dropped off at Union Square in San Francisco or taking the Sausalito ferry back to San Francisco.

$115 Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour Combo

Likely to Sell-out! Alcatraz regularly sells out weeks in advance. Book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.The San Francisco City Tour begins with a drive along the famous waterfront for views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island. Photo stops are made at the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks (weather permitting).Some of the attractions you will see on this San Francisco City Tour include: Chinatown Fisherman's Wharf Victorian homes Palace of Fine Arts North Beach Presidio National Park Awe-inspiring views of Alcatraz and the Pacific Ocean Your tour also includes the ferry ride to Alcatraz Island and an audio walking tour of the "Cell Block". This former federal penitentiary was also known as "The Rock" and housed gangsters such as Al Capone (Scarface) and Machine Gun Kelly. You'll learn about the famous escape from Alcatraz, the prison's notorious inmates and much more on this tour.The schedule for the day depends on the availability for Alcatraz. You will be advised of the tour schedule 72-hours prior to tour date.

$105 Day Trips & Excursions

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour

On your Sonoma and Napa wine tour, you'll visit a mix of three boutique and large-scale wineries for tastings and guided tours of the winery grounds. At each place, walk through beautiful vineyards; see how the grapes are picked, crushed, blended and bottled; and then sample the finished product in the tasting room. All tasting fees are included!Hop aboard a luxury coach at your San Francisco hotel in the morning and relax on a scenic drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. Savor the last views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz before making your way north to wine country. Your coach comes with tons of amenities including a restroom, reclining seats and Wi-Fi, ensuring the most comfortable ride possible. Throughout your tour, your expert guide will teach you about the region’s winemaking history, from the early Spanish missionaries who brought grapevines from Europe to the Forty-Niners who served wines in their saloons.When you reach Sonoma Valley, your first stop is Nicholson Ranch Winery, whose vineyards are planted in one of the world's most prized grape-growing regions. This family-owned artisan winery produces premium grapes for chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and Syrah, which you'll taste during your visit. Continue driving to Napa Valley to visit Madonna Estate, located in the world-renowned Carneros region. During your tour and tasting, learn about why this family-owned winery uses organic farming methods and combines traditional and modern winemaking techniques.Once you’ve worked up an appetite, your tour stops for lunch. Pick one of the many restaurants in the popular Sonoma Square Plaza.Afterward, hop back on the coach and continue to Sutter Home in Napa, your last stop of the day. Established in the late 1800s, this famous winery has become a household name for its white zinfandels. Learn how it has become the second-largest independent, family-run winery in the US!After your last tasting, settle into your seat on the coach and unwind as you enjoy a scenic drive through wine country back to San Francisco.Please note: Winery locations and itinerary may change due to traffic or a previously booked special event at the location.

$30 Tours & Sightseeing

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Trolley Tour Option

Ride on a double-decker bus as you listen to facts about San Francisco's most popular neighborhoods and attractions. You can hop on and off the double-decker bus as many times as you like, departing from any stop at 15- to 20-minute intervals throughout the day. In the summer, the top deck is open, and during winter, clear screens shelter you from the cold and offer unobstructed views of the city.The San Francisco loop will take you across 24 stops where you can automatically redeem your voucher. With 1- or 2-day City Loop passes available, you have plenty of time to explore San Francisco at your leisure. If you miss something on your first loop of the city, simply re-board the bus and go around again.The Sausalito Loop pass gives you the option of simply taking a trolley tour, crossing San Francisco Bay via the Golden Gate Bridge. Or upgrade to the 2-day All Loops pass and enjoy two days of hop-on hop-off privileges that combines both tours with a night tour of San Francisco. For a list of stops see Itinerary below:

$192.50 Day Trips & Excursions

Alcatraz Early Access and Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

This experience in San Francisco combines one of the city’s top attractions, Alcatraz, with a city tour of famous neighborhoods, landmarks and sights on board a Hornblower's Classic Cable Car. You will start the tour in the early morning at Pier 33, where you will meet your tour guide. After checking in with us, enjoy the views as you make your way to Alcatraz Island aboard an early ferry to Alcatraz. This ferry provides admission to the island prison before most other visitors, so you can enjoy your experience without the jam-packed crowds. When you arrive, independently tour the cellblock and other areas using the award-winning audio guide that includes commentary from former inmates and guards. Learn what life was like inside the jail cells of notorious criminals like Al Capone.Once back to Pier 33, meet with your tour guide to pick-up your boxed-lunch and then take some time to explore Alcatraz Cruises' beautiful grounds. Up next, the city tour! After boarding our converted, but still authentic version of San Francisco's iconic Cable Car, the tour will depart Fisherman’s Wharf for hidden gems that other tours typically don't access. Listen to live narration from your professional city guide, and disembark for further exploration of a few different landmark locations along the way. Stops include the Palace of Fine Arts, the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Vista Point Lookout North, and historic Fort Point: • Palace of Fine Arts is an architectural treasure dating back to the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Disembark at the monumental structure for a close-up look of it's art and architecture, and snap photos of the city treasure with swans in the foreground. • The world famous Golden Gate Bridge speaks for itself. It is, plainly put, an engineering marvel built across San Francisco Bay in 1937. You will get a chance to step foot onto the grand suspension bridge, and listen to stories of its art deco structure from your tour guide. • The National Historic Site at Fort Point offers a close-up vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a front row seat to where the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Farallones meets San Francisco's Bay at this amazing location underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the fort's rich military significance and maritime history. In addition to these sights, the Alcatraz Early Access & Cable Car Sightseeing Tour includes notable sights such as Ghirardelli Square, Crissy Field, and Presidio National Park. Cruise up and down the hills of San Francisco to admire views of Victorian homes. Traverse Pacific Heights, and take advantage of some great photo opportunitiess as you pass by the home featured in the blockbuster film Mrs. Doubtfire. Pass through North Beach and Chinatown. See everything that matter on Hornblower's Alcatraz Early Access & Cable Car Sightseeing Tour.