Welcome to San Joaquin Valley

The southern half of California’s Central Valley – named for the San Joaquin River – sprawls from Stockton to the turbine-covered Tehachapi Mountains, southeast of Bakersfield. Everything stretches to the horizon in straight lines – railroad tracks, two-lane blacktop and long irrigation channels.Through the elaborate politics and machinery of water management, this once-arid region ranks among the most... Read More

Top experiences in San Joaquin Valley

Travel guides

Starting at $24.99

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San Joaquin Valley activities

$149 Day Trips & Excursions

Yosemite in a Day Tour from San Francisco

Your small-group tour, limited to 15 participants to allow for a more personalized experience, begins with a pickup at selected hotels or in front of the Parc 55 Hotel. Heading across the San Francisco Bay Bridge by minivan, take in the views of San Francisco, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Continuing on through the San Joaquin Valley, you're driven past fruit and nut orchards. After making a quick stop for snacks, you'll arrive in the Sierra Nevada foothills and California Gold Country. Entering Yosemite National Park via historical Groveland, spend time (weather conditions permitting) walking among Yosemite’s giant sequoias — the largest of these ancient redwood trees spans more than 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter at its base and lives to at least 3,000 years old.After the 1-mile hike, it's onward to Yosemite Valley via Tunnel View, a vista point that includes views of Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome. From here it's a short drive to these sights. Marvel at 'El Cap,' considered the world's largest exposed piece of granite, which rises 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above the valley floor. Search for rock climbers ascending the vertical wall before gazing up at nearby Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.Spend your free time for lunch (own expense), hike along nature trails, relax at the base of Yosemite Falls, or visit Yosemite Village. The return journey includes another snack stop in the Central Valley before your 14-hour tour ends with hotel drop-off in San Francisco.

$363 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Semi-Guided Tour of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco

Your 2-day Yosemite tour begins with a scenic drive from San Francisco, passing through San Joaquin Valley along the way. On arrival at Yosemite National Park, your guided tour visits famous landmarks including El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and the Tunnel View. In addition to offering amazing scenery, Yosemite is one of the first wilderness park in the USA and home to diverse wildlife such as golden eagles, black-tailed deers, marmots and even black bears – hopefully you'll be lucky enough to spot them during your visit.After your semi-guided tour, enjoy free time to further explore Yosemite at your own pace. There are numerous activities for all interests - go rafting down the Merced River, learn rock climbing on Yosemite's beautiful granite cliffs or simply relax on an open tram tour of Yosemite Valley. Then, when the tour buses depart for the evening, you can sit back, relax and watch the sun set over Yosemite.Choose from 2 different styles of accommodation to suit your budget for your overnight stay in Yosemite. Settle in at the comfortable Yosemite View Lodge or enjoy modern conveniences and a great scenic location at Yosemite Park Lodge.On day 2, after having enjoyed a morning of free time, rejoin your tour group for the afternoon’s guided tour. You’ll be departing Yosemite in the late afternoon, arriving back in San Francisco by nightfall. Drop off at your San Francisco hotel is included.

$34 Day Trips & Excursions

Family Float Trip on the Stanislaus River near Yosemite

You will be given a thorough safety orientation and geared up before you’re launched on your rafting adventure. The first mile serves as a nice warm-up with several fun riffles. Then you will come to “Russian Rapid,” a 200-yard-long class II rapid. Once you clear the rapid, you’ll come across a few calm pools with clear water and stunning scenery. Stop at Horseshoe Bend Park for lunch alongside the river.After lunch, you’ll float along through another scenic section of the river. Your rafting adventure will end at Orange Blossom boat ramp, where you will catch a short ride back to your car.

$30 Water Sports

Knights Ferry to Orange Blossom Float Trip

Your trip begins in Knights Ferry, an excellent place to explore before or after your trip. Among the town’s attractions are an old ice cream shop, a general store, a flour mill that is over 150 years old and, of course, the Knights Ferry covered bridge. After checking in, everyone in your group will be fitted for life jackets, receive a paddle and then huddle up for a safety talk, where instructors will discuss the finer points of water safety before helping you launch your boat onto the water.The first quarter-mile of your trip will be scenic, easy floating while you hone your rafting skills. Along the way you will pass the Russian Rapids, where you can prepare to get wet, along with Lovers Leap, which features a park area off the river to pull over and stretch your legs. Your end point is marked by Orange Blossom Bridge. Nearby you'll find acres of green grass and shade to play volleyball, eat or just unwind after your trip. Once you are ready, Orange Blossom Park will also be the area where you can catch a shuttle back to your car.