This iconic national park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a homegrown favourite. The views begin as soon as you enter the park, driving past giant sequoias and beautiful blue water bodies, with the chalk-white granite cliffs on one side. You can stay inside or on the outskirts of the park, or in a nearby town named Mariposa, which gives you ideal access to the different viewpoints. Start your drive towards the Bridal Veil Falls, and take the short trek to them, before continuing up to Glacier Point for a view of the Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. Stop at Tunnel View on your way for one of the most photographed spots in the park with a literal tunnel-like view of the cliffs surrounding the valley.
As we were short on time, we couldn’t complete any of the hiking trails, but if you’re up for it, the trail to Half Dome is reportedly an adventure. A visit to the giant sequoia forest is also a must-do if you have the time!
Wine Country : Napa / Sonoma
Ok, you’ve been driving for a while now, and if you’ve done a decent amount of hiking or say maybe been in a sandstorm (hey, any excuse works), you deserve some wine. World-renowned Napa and Sonoma valleys live up to the hype. Spend a day or two wine tasting – no need to book a tour or tasting, there’s plenty available – and walking through California’s expansive vineyards.
Some favourties include the Francis Ford Coppola Winery (yes, the man who made The Godfather) in Sonoma, Artesa in Napa, and, close enough but not as well known, the Concannon Winery in Livermore. Rustic, at the Coppola Winery, makes for a fantastic lunch stop.
You’ve made it to SF, so take a few days to do this city some kind of justice, though you will still be wanting for more. Check out my guide to San Francisco to see my hit list for the city.