Majestic giant Redwoods, a spectacular coastline, rugged mountains and crystal clear alpine lakes. Welcome to Northern California.
The relatively undiscovered region of Northern California effortlessly blends together the coast, mountains, and the awesome wilderness. Throw in the delicious fresh air, marvellous climate and the lack of crowds and you've got yourself a truly unforgettable holiday.
For an extra touch on this fly-drive, Mustang, Mini, Chevy Camaro, Chrysler 200 and Mitsubishi Eclipse convertibles are available. Speak to a Bon Voyage travel specialists for more details.
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Everything you’ve heard about the city is true. It’s quaint, it’s vibrant and the food is great. There are whole neighbourhoods of historic homes, narrow winding streets and incredible views from the top.
If you would like an overview of San Francisco, take the Barbary Coast Trail, a 3.8 mile stroll through the heart of historic San Francisco. Bronze medallions and arrows set in the sidewalk mark the trail which connects 20 of the city’s most important historic sites. Fisherman’s Wharf was created when a large seawall was built to provide more docking space for ships. Ghirardelli Square, rebuilt several times after fires, was once home to the candy company of the same name. Now it’s a vibrant shopping area.
Nob Hill was once an inaccessible backwater that became famous when four rich industrialists built their mansions high above the city. Exploring San Fran's neighbourhoods is a joy - be sure to include Haight- Ashbury and China Town - one of the oldest in the USA. Alcatraz is a must and we'd also recommend biking across the Golden Gate Bridge - both of which can be booked before you travel.
While you are here, plan to get out into nature at the many parks and preserves that surround the Bay. Some of which include Annadel State Park which encompasses 5,000 acres and Armstrong Woods State Reserve which lets you hike among 2,000 year old trees. Doran Park is a great vantage point for observing gray whales and Hood Mountain Regional Park has panoramic views of the Valley of the Moon from a 2,700 foot summit. Also you could visit the Jack London State Historic Park which commemorates the home of this world famous author.
There are also five public trails along Highway 1 that provide access to the beach.
Fans of Murder She Wrote will recognize this seaside village as Cabot Cove. The long running television show featuring a writer from Maine was filmed in the town over several years.
For those who want to venture farther afield, the tallest and oldest living things in in the world can be found in Mendocino County in the ancient Redwood Forest that boasts the tallest trees in the world. Jughandle is best known for its ecological staircase, Russian Gulch has two parts and The ocean side features the Devil’s Punch Bowl and the east side has a scenic hike to a graceful waterfall.
Although some suggest that Ferndale is a fairytale setting, it is actually a working all American town where residents take pride in their community and heritage. In the late 1800s, Ferndale was an agricultural and transportation center, a melting pot for Scandinavian, Swiss, Italian and Portuguese immigrants.
You’ll be staying right in the midst of the extremely well preserved buildings that appear to have materialized right out of the turn of the century. Explore the old-fashioned mercantile establishments, as stores were called back then. Browse the antique shops, art galleries and specialty shops, hear the ringing of the blacksmith’s hammer and watch fresh candy being dipped by hand. When you yearn for the sea, Ferndale’s historic main street is just five miles from California’s Lost Coast.
An amazing diversity of life exists at Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Here, banana slugs, gray whales, Douglas-fir, black bears, and sea anemones are equally at home with redwoods. Park staff work to maintain and restore the area's biological diversity through a wide range of resource management and educational activities. Preserving both natural processes and the region's species and genetic diversity helps ensure that countless generations can experience the beauty and complexity of an old-growth redwood forest.
At the Everett Vista Point savor the panoramic views of Eddys, the Marble Mountains and on a clear day, even Mount Lassen. At 8000 feet you can walk through the Red Fir Forest and feed blue birds so tame that they will eat from an outstretched hand. Passing 8,000 feet, you will be about the tree line, ready to experience the alpine vegetation of Panther Meadow.
The air is thin at these elevations, so take care while making your way to the top. On the other hand, it’s a once in a lifetime journey.
Lassen Peak is the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range which extends from here into Canada. The western part of the park features great lava pinnacles, huge mountains created by lava flows, jagged craters, and steaming sulphur vents. It is cut by spectacular glaciated canyons and is dotted and threaded by lakes and rushing clear streams. Snowbanks persist year-round and beautiful meadows are spread with wildflowers in spring. The eastern part of the park is a vast lava plateau more than 1 mile above sea level. Here are found small cinder cones--Fairfield Peak, Hat Mountain, and Crater Butte. Forested with pine and fir, this area is studded with small lakes, but it boasts few streams. Warner Valley, features hot spring areas--Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Terminal Geyser. This forested, steep valley also has gorgeous large meadows.
Lassen geothermal area--Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell (largest), Little Hot Springs Valley, Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Terminal Geyser--offer bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, and boiling water. Some of these thermal features are getting hotter. Scientists think that Lassen Park and Mount Shasta are the most likely candidates in the Cascades to join Mount Saint Helens.
Travellers have been awed by the solace and natural beauty of Lake Tahoe since John Freemont arrived in 1844. Always known for its spectacular scenery, Lake Tahoe began life in earnest as a playground for the rich and famous when socialites from San Francisco built summer homes and cottages around the lake in the early 1900s. The world discovered Lake Tahoe during the Winter Olympic Games in 1960, when skiers, bobsledders, skaters and all of the rest of the winter sport’s elite converged on Olympic Valley.
Many of the original farmers established small vineyards with cuttings supplied by the Catholic Missions in Sonoma and San Rafael. The Riesling cuttings that generated the premier wines in the Napa Valley were first planted in 1861. Virtually all the best known wineries offer tours and tasting daily, with the most popular time for knowledgeable visitors being from late August through early October, the time of the grape harvest and crush.
Noted author Robert Louis Stevenson drew the most eloquent word picture of the Valley at the close of the pioneer period. After riding the train from Vallejo to Calistoga in 1880 on his honeymoon, he wrote this passage in 'The Silverado Squatters': "A great variety of oaks, stood now severally, now in a becoming grove, among the fields and vineyards. The towns were compact, in about equal proportions, of bright, new wooden houses and great and growing forest trees; and the chapel bell on the engine sounded most festally that sunny Sunday, as we drew up at one green town after another, with the townsfolk trooping in their Sunday's best to see the strangers, with the sun sparkling on the clean houses, and great domes of foliage humming overhead in the breeze."
Sausalito takes its name for the little willow trees (Saucelito) which 18th century Spanish explorers found growing along its streams. Sausalito is a small town of only 7,500 residents, best known for its spectacular waterfront views. It's a quiet, charming town that some say reminds them of the Mediterranean. Music fans may be interested to know that performer Otis Redding wrote his hit song The Dock of the Bay in Sausalito, where he had rented a houseboat in late 1967 to get some peace and quiet.
Most Sausalito visitors restrict their visit to a stroll past the art galleries and souvenir shops along Bridgeway. To get a different point of view, take a walk north along the waterfront, past the yacht harbor. Along the way, you'll find the Bay Model, a three-dimensional hydraulic model of the San Francisco and Delta covering over 1.5 acres.
Your adventure doesn't have to end here though, perhaps yo may want to extend your stay and fly to the Hawaiian Islands for some relaxation before heading home.
Call the travel specialists at Bon Voyage to discuss your dream Northern California Great Outdoors adventure.