Best of Northern California

The Sonoma Coast, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Monterey Bay & Big Sur National Park

From $7900 per person in low season
From $9000 per person in high season

based on 9 nights

Price includes:

  • Accommodation

  • Car rental

  • Selected experiences

  • Daily Breakfast

Based on 2 people sharing.

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At a Glance

  • A shorter version of the classic route, ideal for families

  • Drive down the iconic Big Sur to explore secret beaches, watch sealions play, or hike inland through ancient redwood forests

  • Explore the waters of Monterey Bay and experience a private behind-the-scenes tour of Monterey's famous aquarium

  • Kayak through the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

The California coast has a year-round climate. Summer (June - September) is the peak-tourist season, this is when the weather is hottest but beaches and roads can be crowded. April and October are good times to visit for fewer crowds. May and June bring a morning marine layer, a cloudy overcast, fog-like cloud which can affect the beach in the mornings, but this usually clears in the afternoon. January and February are the rainiest months, and although still a spectacular drive and far less crowded,  the weather can be unpredictable.   

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Insider's View

If you get the chance, it's worth detouring off Big Sur a few miles inland to visit the opulent magnificence of Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst's extraordinary home near San Simeon.

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. To start planning your vacation

Itinerary

Discover Northern California in style and take in its natural wonders through hiking, kayaking or rafting and enjoy other unique, private experiences through Sonoma, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and the Monterey Peninsula.

  1. Days 1-3: Sonoma

    Departing from San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate Bridge en route to the Sonoma Coast. After getting settled at your hotel, meet a local guide for a private hike through Sonoma County’s stunning wilderness. Follow an enchanting trail as you learn about the hulking redwood trees that anchor this unique ecosystem before emerging from the woods and feeling the salty spray of the ocean at a scenic cliffside overlook.

    Accommodation: Farmhouse Inn (2 nights)

  2. Days 3-5: Lake Tahoe

    Leave the coast behind as you proceed inland through California’s fertile central valley to the picture-perfect shores of Lake Tahoe. Explore the lake’s crystal-clear waters on a private guided kayak tour where you'll have time to enjoy lunch on a relaxed beach and soak up the sunshine. Drawing on your local guide’s insider knowledge, visit hidden beaches and secluded coves in this undeveloped section of the lake.

    Accommodation: The Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe (2 nights)

  3. Days 5-7: Yosemite National Park

    Trace a scenic route along California’s eastern border en route to Yosemite National Park. Explore Yosemite with a local conservationist guide and private driver, enjoying a route customized to your physical abilities and interests. Gaze at majestic cliffs, giant sequoia trees and tumbling waterfalls as your guide explains the region's geography, wildlife, and ecology.

    Accommodation: The Redwoods in Yosemite (2 nights)

  4. Days 7-10: Monterey and Carmel

    Day 7: Yosemite to The Monterey Peninsula

    Depart Yosemite and soak in the scenic Carmel Valley. Along the way, you may opt to stop by America’s technology hub, the Silicon Valley for a self-guided exploration. Stroll across Facebook’s high-tech campus and walk through the beautiful sculpture garden at the prestigious Stanford University.   Day 8: Monterey Bay Head to Moss Landing where you will speed through the waters of the bay on an exciting private eco-raft ocean safari. Get up close and personal with the region's magnificent residents, including humpback and blue whales, dolphins, otters, and seals. Then head into town for a behind-the-scenes tour of the fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium that will allow you to visit areas off-limits to the general public.   Day 9: Big Sur State Park Get an early morning and head south to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, traveling along California’s breathtaking Highway 1. Meet your private guide for a scenic hiking tour that will reveal the spectacular beauty of this park, such as old-growth redwoods, mountain streams, and rugged ocean coves.   Day 10: Departure Time to say goodbye to California! Be sure to make your way to Monterey, San Francisco or San Jose airports to drop off your rental car in time for your flight. Safe travels!

    Accommodation: Carmel Valley Ranch (3 nights)

Experiences

  • Big Sur Private Hike Adventure

    Enjoy an introduction to the many natural wonders of Big Sur on a half-day hike amongst gigantic redwood trees with an expert guide leading the way.

  • Lake Tahoe Private Kayak Tour

    Explore the undeveloped and natural East Shore during a private guided kayak and hiking tour on Lake Tahoe.

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Private Tour

    Go behind-the-scenes of the fascinating Monterey Bay Aquarium with an expert guide who will tailor your experience to your aquatic interests.

  • Monterey Bay Private Eco-Raft Safari

    Head over to Moss Landing and speed through Monterey Bay's beautiful waters on an exciting eco-raft ocean safari where you will have the chance to get up close and personal with magnificent whales and dolphins.

  • Silicon Valley Tour

    Spend the tour wandering the campuses of Google, Apple, Facebook, Stanford and more on this customizable tour of the nation's technology capital.

  • Sonoma Valley Private Hike

    Take a backcountry hiking adventure to discover the iconic redwoods of Sonoma Valley.

  • Yosemite National Park Private Tour

    Enjoy a stunning half-day hike through some of the most iconic areas of Yosemite National Park with a naturalist guide.

Location

The Sonoma Coast, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Monterey Bay & Big Sur National Park

Speak to our specialists 858 523 9000

    Why book with Scott Dunn?

  • 24/7 concierge service
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
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We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. To start planning your vacation