Arrival in San Francisco.
Arrival at the San Francisco Airport (SFO). Transfer to the hotel in San Francisco in accessible vehicles. Check-in at the hotel. Welcome reception of the travelers with a lead Tapooz team member. Refreshments will be served according to the time of arrival (AM or early PM: coffee/tea and pastries. PM or evening: local wines and cheese). Introductions and presentations about San Francisco, the Bay Area and interesting current activities (festivals, concerts, events, etc.). Handing out the welcome packages of information/maps/brochures/special deals-discounts, tickets, etc.
If time permits (depending on the time of arrival), we will go on a motorized day tour of San Francisco. Visits and stops at all major points of interest: Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Twin Peaks, the Marina, Crissy Field, Fort Point, the Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio Park, Golden Gate Park, etc. Night: hotel in San Francisco.
Fishermen’s Wharf and North Beach.
Morning: A guided walking tour of Fishermen’s Wharf. The theme is the history of early San Francisco. We start at Ghirardelli Square (including sampling of chocolate), visit the Maritime Museum, and then board the historic ships docked at the Hyde Street Pier. We then follow the small back alleys to the sailors’ chapel and finish the tour at the Musée Mecanique. Lunch is a typical “wharf food “meal at a local eatery (weather permitting, we will sit outside by the Bay): Fish-and-chips, crabs, clam chowder, etc.
Afternoon: A guided walking tour of North Beach. The theme is “Tastes and tales”. Easy and relax pace with multiple stops for degustation and stories. We start in Washington Square in front of the Church and meander through the street of the neighborhood, with many stops at points of interest. The tour ends on the far end of the neighborhood with a visit of City Lights Bookstore and the history of the Beat Movement.
Free dinner: recommendations for a typical North Beach Italian-style meal in a local eatery (Original Joe’s, the Stinking Rose, Café Greco, etc.) Night: hotel in San Francisco.
Chinatown and the Mission District.
Morning: A guided tour of Chinatown. The theme is “Benevolent Associations, Tongs and Gangs: a history of Chinatown”. We start at Portsmouth Square and walk at an easy pace through the small streets and alleyways of the neighborhood, with many stops along the way at points of interest. We also stop at a local teashop to sample the dozens of tea varieties and understand their health benefits.
Lunch is a typical “dim-sum”- style meal in a local Chinatown restaurant. (“dim-sum” are dozens of small plates that are circulated on rolling carts throughout the meal. No menus. Customers choose by pointing at the plates. Can be busy and noisy at lunchtime, but it is a lot of fun).
Afternoon: A guided tour of the Mission District. The theme is “History, arts, food and technology: the vibrant Mission scene”. We access some parts of the sites by vehicle first (the Mission Dolores and Dolores Park), then continue on foot through the Mission District itself. An important part of the tour is walking the many small streets and alleyways to experience the famous “murals”. A fascinating look at multi-cultural neighborhood: a mix of traditional Latino values and tech-hipster trends. This is a fairly long tour but on level grounds, at an easy pace. Many options for rest, food and snacks options along the way.
Free dinner in the neighborhood, with many options/budgets to choose. From typical Latin cuisines (Peruvian, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.) to modern fusion-style foods. Night: hotel in San Francisco.
Nob Hill or the Golden Gate Park and Alcatraz.
Morning: Free morning with relaxation and/or autonomous activities. Free lunch. The Tapooz Team is on-site to assist in all manners.
Afternoon: A guided tour of Nob Hill. The theme is “The Barons of San Francisco, past and present”, which covers the history of the five railroad
magnates who shaped the City, as well as the pivotal event of the 1906 earthquake and the rebirth of San Francisco. We stop at all the major landmarks (the famous Mark Hopkins hotel, Grace Cathedral, the Fairmount hotel, etc.). This is a fascinating tour but a little more strenuous than others (some small portions of the tour involve a bit of incline).
Or A tour of Golden Gate Park. The theme is history, culture and urban oasis. We take a stroll through the five-acre world-famous Tea Garden in the heart of Golden Gate Park and learn about its icons and the Japanese-American family that lived there. Naturally, we will have tea in the beautiful tea-house. We then walk a short distance to the Conservatory of Plants for a private guided tour of the most exotic plants in the West. We end the tour at the De Young Museum where the travelers are invited to explore the museum on their own or to join a docent-led tour of the exhibits.
Dinner is at or around the Ferry Building on Embarcadero. Typical American diner-style meal “Burgers-and-shakes”.
Evening: Depart from the Embarcadero and travel across the Bay by ferry-boat to Alcatraz Island. Night visit of the prison and the island. At each traveler’s option, the tour can be accompanied by a guide and/or a Park Ranger, or self-guided with audio narration (this is a great option and allows maximum flexibility of movement). Return late to San Francisco by ferry-boat. Night: hotel in San Francisco.
San Francisco Go-car tour or a bay tour of the BayVoyager.
Morning: Go-car tour of San Francisco. Go-cars are small, hand-controlled 2-seaters. The theme is to experience many parts of the city that are not necessarily walkable within the constraint of time. We go out as a small convoy and drive along the Marina and Crissy Field, stop at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, visit the Presidio with stops of the Palace of the Legion of Honor, then ride through the Golden Gate Park with the De Young Museum, the Academy of Science, the Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Plants, etc. Naturally we also descend Lombard Street (the “crookedest street in the world”). There are multiple stops along the way for refreshments and sightseeing or A motorboat ride on the Bay with Captain Charles on the Bayvoyager. This tour, in an open-deck powerful motorboat, takes the travelers for a ride along the coastline of the City, under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the ocean, to Richardson Bay, along Angel Island and around Alcatraz. The travelers experience views rarely seen from land, often including close encounters with the marine wildlife in Bay such as seals, sea lions and many species of birds.
Free lunch at the end of the tour.
Afternoon: The afternoon is earmarked for relaxation and/or autonomous activities. The Tapooz Team is on-site to assist in all manners.
Night: hotel in San Francisco
Morning check-out from the hotel. We depart from San Francisco early morning and drive east toward.
Just to the west of the entry to the park, we stop in the small town of Mariposa. Mariposa used to (and still is) a center of supplies and entertainment for the miners that came from all over the world in the 1850’s to dig for gold and silver in the “mother lode” of California. We go shopping at one of the best Western store where one can still buy picks and shovels, jeans and cowboy boots.
Lunch: In one of the local restaurant for a typical “miner’s meal” of flapjacks (a sort of pancake), bacon and eggs. Of course, other dishes are available.
Afternoon: We enter Yosemite Park from its south-western entry at El Portal. We drive to Yosemite Valley Village first for a visit of the Center, and then spend the rest of the day visiting many of the most famous icons: Yosemite Falls, Mirror Lake, Half-Dome and El Capitan.
In the evening, we exit the park again and settle for the night in the hotel around El Portal/Mariposa.
Dinner in El Portal/Mariposa
Night: hotel in El Portal/Mariposa
Yosemite, Tioga Pass and Mono Lake.
Check out from the hotel in the morning. Morning: We enter Yosemite Park and go for an accessible hike to Glacier Point. The views from there are extraordinary and worth the effort. After the hike, we go to the famous Ahwahnee Hotel. This impressive historical building is one of a number of stone-and-timber lodges built in the National Parks. It is a National Landmark. Though the hotel is one of the most luxurious and expensive in California, its dining facilities are open to all and reasonably priced.
Lunch: we lunch in the grand dining room of the Ahwahnee Hotel. The décor is grandiose.
Afternoon: After lunch, we drive through the forest and mountain road of Yosemite and climb up to Tioga Pass. After crossing the pass (at 3300 meters), we drive down to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Mono Lake.
Mono Lake is absolutely unique in the world for its mineral formations resembling phantasmagoric columns and creatures, the “tufas”. This is a site that cannot be missed. An accessible path leads all the way to the south shore of the Lake.
After visiting Mono Lake, we drive a few miles up the road to the tiny town of Bridgeport where we will spend the night.
Dinner: In or around Bridgeport
Night: hotel in or around Bridgeport
The ghost town of Bodie and the Grover hot springs.
Check out from the hotel in the morning. Morning: We drive a short distance to the ghost town of Bodie. This is one of the largest and best preserved ghost towns in the American West. Once a small trading post on the road between California and Nevada, this boomtown will go from 20 residents at the start of the gold rush to more than 10,000 in a very few short years. Before its rapid decline once the gold in the mines got exhausted, the town could boast over 65 saloons and many brothels where the gold diggers from the whole region would come to drink, relax and gamble their finds. Some portions of the site are accessible to people on wheelchairs and others require the assistance of a companion, but this place is not to be missed.
Lunch: in or around Bridgeport.
Afternoon: From Bridgeport, the road climbs back up the mountains through Monitor Pass. This route takes us through spectacular scenery of alpine forest and lakes. We arrive in the small town of Markleeville. This small mountain community is known for its hospitality, great food and its famous natural hot springs.
We check in the hotel in Markleeville and then go relax in the Grover hot springs.
Dinner: At the local bar-restaurant in Markleeville
Night: hotel in Markleeville
The giant sequoia trees and Columbia.
Check-out from hotel in the morning. Morning: We depart from Markleeville and follow the beautiful Route 4 through alpine scenery of high peaks, forests and mountain lakes. We stop by Alpine Lake then continue to Calaveras Big Trees Park for a walk in the forest. This is a well-deserved name. This forest of giant sequoias, some of them almost 100 meters high, is one of the most magnificent groves on the West Coast. From there, we drive to the small pretty town of Murphys. We are now in the heart of the Gold Country.
Lunch: Local restaurant in Arnold, Murphys or Angel Camp.
Afternoon: After lunch we go to Columbia. This town, preserved as it was in the year 1860 at the height of the Gold Rush, is a unique way to experience the life and culture of the time of the “gold fever”. We walk the main street, visit the local shops and take refreshments at the local saloon.
In late afternoon, we drive to nearby Sonora/Jamestown. We settle at the hotel then go out again for dinner in town. Often in the summer, there are many opportunities for live music (usually country music or blue-grass).
Dinner: in a local restaurant in Sonora
Night: hotel in Sonora or Jamestown
The Gold Country.
Check-out from the hotel in the morning. Morning: We take the time to visit the historic train depot and an old mining site in Jamestown. In the company of a local gold miner, we learn the art of gold-panning by the river side. We then depart from Jamestown in the direction of Stockton.
Lunch: we stop for lunch in Stockton.
Afternoon: We arrive back in San Francisco in late afternoon and settle in the hotel.
Dinner: free dinner in San Francisco.
Night: hotel in San Francisco
The day is free for relaxation and independent activities. The Tapooz Team is present to give make all arrangements for the travelers’ chosen activities.For example: visit of Sausalito and Angel Island, a motorboat tour on the Bay, visit of a distillery in the old Navy base in Alameda, bicycle excursions, shopping, visit of the Exploratorium, etc.
Dinner: A festive dinner to mark the end of the trip. Many possible options, such as “The Empress of China”: we gather on the top floor of the famous landmark restaurant for cocktails at sunset (views of the city and the Bay). Dinner is a multi-course feast served in a decorated room with ancient wood carvings and gilded chandeliers. It could be the set of a 40’s Bogart movie. Optionally, a traditional Chinese music and dance presentation.
Night: hotel in San Francisco.
Depart from San Francisco
Check-out from the hotel in the morning. Depending on the time of departure from the airport, there might be time for individual activities. Independent lunch. The Tapooz Team is on-site to assist in all manners. Transfer to the airport in accessible vehicles.