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Yosemite National Park & Pacific Coast Highway

Yosemite and Pacific Coast Highway with Target Travel, we feel three or four nights are ideal in the breathtaking Yosemite National Park, famed as one of the most beautiful parks in the US. It is about 4.5 hrs away by car, but there are also day trips available from San Francisco, but it really deserves a two-day, three-night break here. The main central valley floor looks as if it is out of a fairy tale, lined with the sheer faces of vast granite mountains; picturesque lakes and elegant waterfalls. There are roughly a dozen areas to stop in here, each with a selection of walks to take, some for half an hour others for longer. The upland area looking down on the valley is considerably larger, but many parts of this are closed until June due to lingering snow.

A great family bonding experience is the Mist Trail, which starts are the far end of the valley floor. We feel this is A Must Do Experience. It’s steep but most families will be able to walk it and do take plenty of water and good walking shoes. This is a big adventure and I will guarantee a great sense of pride when you have done it. At the top, most people have a picnic in the pools by the waterfall and then head back. You either come back the same way up via the stone steps, or you take the Muir Trail which requires a further uphill walk before you meet up with the Muir trail. This option is longer but more gentle and you see different scenery. Be aware that Yosemite in the summer is very hot, so the finale is usually to sit in the delicious streams at the trailhead to cool off and bask in your achievement.

Our strong recommendation for the next day is to get the shuttle up to Glacier Point, it feels like you are in an aircraft looking down on the valley below and will be able to pick out the Mist Trail you had walked trekked. Sometimes this area is closed, but there are other areas of the high country on the northern side of the valley on the way towards.

Our suggestion is you leave the park by driving through toward the southern exit near Fish Camp. This is the area of the Giant Redwood trees and worth a walk around the grove, and some exercise before the boring drive back across the California Central Valley.

If booking late and at weekends there may be an issue staying within the park, but we have a number of alternatives. Combined with a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway makes a delightful and well-balanced trip.

An alternative is to go through the park and end up on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Range, head south and stop in Death Valley, then possibly into Las Vegas

Highway 1/The Pacific Coast Highway

You need once again a few nights to do this justice, three is ideal, but it’s well worth the investment as this is one of the world’s greatest roads. It is imperative that you drive going south, as the viewpoints and turn-outs are all on the right-hand side of the road. You can then safely and without stress pull over or re-enter the road. It is a small point but will make all the difference to your enjoyment. Our recommendation is to have a brief stop in Monterey and then continue for an overnight in the charming town of Carmel. You will then be ready for an early start along the photogenic and very wiggly section from Big Sur down to Morro Bay. This section is the top half and by far the most interesting part on the way to Los Angeles. It is best you take this portion at a relaxed pace with plenty of stops. It is possible to race all the way to LA, but then you arrive in their rush hour and will be very tired. We therefore normally suggest an overnight stop in the cliffside town of Pismo Beach to break up the journey, then possibly a stop in Santa Monica which is 20 mins from Los Angeles LAX Airport. Returning home from Los Angeles is normally the same cost as San Francisco.

Some California and Nevada add-ons…

Napa and Sonoma Valleys

Relatively near San Francisco and perfect for a calm relaxed few nights away from the city then we have the perfect place, a luxurious resort about two and half hours away. It has some elegant restaurants and a good quality Spa, but most importantly is a great base to visit the wine lands of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Should you not want to drive much, then there is the Pullman-style scenic wine train that tours the length of the Napa Valley, with a restaurant car and observation carriage.

Las Vegas

An easy add-on and way of letting your hair down, Vegas is relatively easy to get to, with only short flight or 4-5 hour drive from Los Angeles. Two days and three nights gives you a chance to for a flight across the Grand Canyon and catch a show. Accommodation midweek is usually not an issue but weekends are often double the cost, so worth booking well ahead for a good selection.

Laguna Beach

A delightful former artist colony, 45 mins south of LA. Full of galleries; shops and restaurants. We have a beautiful; cliff-top inn overlooking the little bay. There are convenient flights from San Francisco to Santa Ana airport which is quite close, or it’s about an hour and a half from LAX outside the rush hour.



Mist Trail, Yosemite

Laguna Beach 

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