You may think you don’t have time for a Yosemite trip during your stay in San Francisco, but this 20-hour tour by luxury biodiesel van provides a stress-free way to do so. Your day trip starts with early morning hotel pickup for the drive across the Bay Bridge toward California’s Central Valley, one of the country’s largest farming regions.
Total driving time is about 4.5 hours, and you’ll stop briefly at a roadside fruit stand to purchase some local nuts or fruit (own expense). Continue the drive past horse and cattle ranches as you make your way into the foothills of the Sierras and Gold County, where ambitious pioneers panned for gold during the 1849 Gold Rush.
When you arrive at Yosemite National Park, you’ll start your visit with a 1.5-hour driving tour of the park’s main natural attraction, Yosemite Valley. Stop often for photo ops of this glacial valley known for its rock formations and waterfalls, and enjoy access to some areas that big-bus tours can’t reach. See Half Dome, Yosemite’s most iconic feature, and observe daring rock climbers ascend the 3,000-foot (914-meter) sheer granite face of El Capitan. Visit Bridalveil Falls, check out the Tunnel View overlook for an expansive view of the Yosemite Valley, and head to Yosemite Falls, North America’s tallest waterfall.
You have time to buy lunch here at one of the various eatery options, and then enjoy three hours of free time to experience the park however you wish. Perhaps go for a hike, or rent a bike to cover more ground. If you’re not feeling active, make your way to the visitor’s center for informational exhibits, head to the Ansel Adams Gallery to see works by the legendary photographer, or visit the Ahwahnee Hotel for some Yosemite history.
In the late afternoon, meet back up with your group for the return drive to San Francisco, which includes one short rest stop. You’ll arrive in the city in the evening, enjoying a twinkling view of the downtown skyline and the bay before hotel drop-off.