California Winter Expedition

California Winter Vacations – Pacific Coast and National Parks in Winter, Tour Itinerary

Explore the coast, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks with our California winter travel option


Embark on this California winter tour and experience California winter landscapes firsthand. Depart San Francisco to explore the magic of the “off-season”, both along the coast and through inland National Parks. Offering an incredible diversity of sights California winter travel has the benefit of gorgeous snowy landscapes without the usual crowds of summer. Our small group adventure focuses on some of the most beautiful California winter destinations and gives you the chance to explore these first hand.

Our tour combines the comfort of hotels and lodges with many nature walks, drives to spectacular overlooks, and optional snowshoe and cross-country ski expeditions. The California coast in winter is home to breeding colonies of elephant seals, deserted beaches and impressive waves. Inland the snow covers the giant Sequoia trees at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, providing an incredible winter wonderland. And staying within Yosemite National Park provides sunrise and sunset opportunities over the snow covered Valley, waterfalls surrounded by icicles, and the opportunity to spot elusive wildlife.

Sequoia trees

More information about our California winter tour:
California Winter Vacations Overview


Top tour Attractions on our California Winter Vacations: 9 days / 8 nights, roundtrip from San Francisco

Day 1: San Francisco

Meet your group and tour guide at the hotel in San Francisco then head to Sausalito for some beautiful views of the bay area, complete with a short walk to a viewpoint and a drive across the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Receive your tour documentation and spend some time going over the route while enjoying dinner as a group; a drink and appetizer is on us. One night in San Francisco.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 2: San Francisco – Monterey

Today’s drive takes us along the beautiful California coast to Monterey. Stop at the Ano Nuevo State Reserve for a two hour walk along the Pacific coast to see the largest mainland breeding colony of elephant seals. During the winter months the elephant seals are breeding and babies and families can be viewed interacting on the beaches. Lunch stop will be at a place full of history, San Juan Bautista at an “old California style” restaurant. After lunch visit the Spanish mission San Juan Bautista with it’s impressive history and charm. The evening is spent at the Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. One night in Monterey.

Elephant Seals

Elephant Seals

Mission San Juan Bautista

Mission San Juan Bautista

Day 3: Monterey – Morro Bay

Drive along the magnificent coastal Hwy 1 with spectacular views over rugged cliffs out onto the ocean. Known a Big Sur this region includes 90 miles of coastline and stops along the way allow for shorter walks and viewpoints. Towards evening arrive in Morro Bay with its quaint downtown of galleries and restaurants. Enjoy views of Morro Rock and stroll along the waterfront. One night in Morro Bay.

Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur Coastline

Pacific Highway 1

Pacific Highway 1

Day 4: Morro Bay – Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park

Today’s drive takes us to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks where we step into the heart of winter. Giant old groves of Sequoia trees, rugged foothills and deep canyons welcome us in this beautiful, diverse and little visited area. The next two nights are spent in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park.

Giant Sequoia Trees

Giant Sequoia Trees

Kings Canyon N.P.

Kings Canyon N.P.

Day 5: Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park

Snowshoe through this winter wonderland or partake in other wintertime activities hosted by the lodge. There are guided walks and individual options. With beautiful views, cozy rooms and included meals there’s time for relaxation and adventure! Second Night Kings Canyon NP.

Winter in Kings Canyon

Winter in Kings Canyon

Snowshoes

Snowshoes

Day 6: Sequoia NP – Yosemite National Park

Today’s drive takes us to the rightly famous Yosemite National Park. In the morning a trip leads to spectacular overlooks of Kings Canyon, with steep cliffs and huge expanses (drive dependent on weather/road conditions). The evening is spent in Yosemite National Park. Two nights Yosemite National Park.

Kings Canyon N.P.

Kings Canyon N.P.

Yosemite N.P. Sunset

Yosemite N.P. Sunset

Day 7: Yosemite National Park

The whole day is spent exploring magnificent Yosemite National Park, with its picturesque deep valley surrounded by giant granite cliffs and spotted with waterfalls. Our day is complete with waterfall views, a chance for photos from the famous “tunnel view”, and a visit to the Ansell Adams Gallery. A short walk takes us to a lookout over Bridalveil Falls. There is time to explore the stops offered on the park’s shuttle bus and, depending on snow conditions, snowshoes can be rented. Sunset in Yosemite Valley comes early this time of year, and with a little luck lights up the sky.

Coyote

Coyote

Tunnel View

Tunnel View

Day 8: Yosemite National Park – San Francisco

Enjoy the sunrise in Yosemite before heading back to San Francisco. In the afternoon, take your time to get to know famous San Francisco highlights. We eat dinner as a group then head back to our hotel for our last tour night.

Merced River

Merced River

Orange Grove

Orange Grove

Day 9: San Francisco – tour ends

Continue your independent travel or fly home. We are happy to help you arrange accommodations and give you suggestions for activities in and around San Francisco.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at info@traveldreamwest.com. These California winter vacations leave from December to February and can be reserved for a group as custom adventure travel tours.