California Dreamin' Tours are sightseeing / camping tours of California and the South Western USA, including, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Big Sur, Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and more.
The Alternative Tour
California Dreamin' Trips
California Dreamin' Trips take in the major highlights of California as well as Las Vegas. During these tours you will have a chance to visit some of the following exciting cities and parks; Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs, the spectacular Big Sur Coast and more. All tours start and end at your prearranged meeting point in Los Angeles.
Destination Descriptions for California Dreamin' Trips
Below are descriptions of all the destinations available on our California trips. At the bottom of these descriptions is a 2007 schedule of all available trips with a list of the destinations which will be visited on each individual tour.
Coastal Drive, Big Sur (1 Night):
Leaving Los Angeles you cruise the "Pacific Coast Highway" through Malibu on the way to Ventura to stop for coffee and supplies in the scenic old town. After Ventura we move on to one of California's most beautiful and historic cities, Santa Barbara. Here you will have time for some sight seeing, shopping and lunch. Leaving Santa Barbara you make your way up the rugged California coastline where the mountains of Big Sur meet the sea. Along the way there will be plenty opportunities for you to capture this incredible scenery on film. Beach side camping in the Big Sur area with a campfire is a great way to spend your first night on tour and you can't beat those great camp meals. From Big Sur you will make your way to Monterey, one of California's great coastal towns, to stop for shopping and lunch. Monterey is famous for it's beautiful coastline and is a major destination for California divers. For a real California experience stop in at "A Taste of Monterey" wine tasting room. It's excellent views over the Monterey Bay and fine wines from Monterey County, will let you know you are truly in California.
San Francisco (2 Nights Hostel Stay):
San Francisco is just a short drive from Monterey and is considered by many, including myself, to be the greatest city in the US! Here we'll put away the camping gear for two nights because you'll be staying in a centrally located hostel (hostel stay is included in tour package, Fort Mason at the "Fisherman's Wharf" is our regular stop). The city by the bay has so much to see and do that it's hard to cover it all in two days but we at California Dreamin' certainly make a good effort and you may be surprised by how much you can see in just two days. Your leader will give you a guided tour of the city from Haight Ashbury to "down town". From Alamo Square, to Lombard Street and of course the Golden Gate Bridge, you will see all the major highlights, and that's only the first day. On the second day of your stay in San Francisco you will have free time to yourself, to shop or sight see as you please. If you are interested in a visit Alcatraz, a baseball game, or a cruise on the Bay, your leader can help you make all the necessary arrangements, I recommend the Bay Cruise. For dinner you will have an opportunity to sample the innumerable flavors of San Francisco's fine cuisine, from North Beach Italian to Fisherman's Wharf for the fresh catch of the day, there is a meal to satisfy every pallet (dinners in San Francisco and Las Vegas are not included in tour package). This is also a good chance to get a dose of San Francisco nightlife, weather you like to dance or favor a traditional Irish pub there is something for everyone to do every night of the week in the city by the bay.
Yosemite National Park (2 Nights):
Yosemite National Park the flagship of the US National Park system and the premier climbing destination for climbers of all levels from all over the world embraces a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California as an inalienable public trust. This was the first time in history that a federal government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect them and to allow for their enjoyment by all people and it's not hard to understand why when you get your first breathtaking view of Yosemite Valley. It was then set aside as a national park in 1890. The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias. The Mel Gibson movie Maverick, was filmed in Yosemite Valley at the base of El Capitan which is noted to be the largest piece of exposed granite in the world.
Before entering the park proper you will have an opportunity to swim in one of the many excellent swimming holes located along the scenic Yosemite highways, so don't forget your bathing suit. A hike among the incredible waterfalls granite cliffs and domes is the norm for a day in Yosemite but of course you have the freedom to spend the day as you like. Other options include biking, rock climbing, rafting or just plain relaxing. A "gourmet camp dinner" and a campfire will round out your nights in Yosemite. Before leaving the park you will have a chance to visit the giant sequoia trees of Yosemite.
The east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a land full of strange and fascinating landscapes. There are hotsprings pouring out of the surface of the earth, some just right for swimming and others too hot to handle! We prefer the ones for swimming but we camp in the vicinity of both at Mammoth Hot Creek. Mono Lake is in the center of a massive volcanic crater and is more like a fantastic moonscape than a National Park in California. Mono Lake was used as the backdrop for the town of Lago in the Clint Eastwood movie "High Plains Drifter". The Eastern Sierra played a major role in the history of the Wild, Wild, West. Gold mines, western towns and historic ranches are found throughout this barren landscape. Bodie Ghost Town, which you will visit on your trip, is the largest ghost town in the west, and is located in a desolate high desert within view of the rugged snowcapped High Sierra Mountains and is surrounded by the remains of hundreds of gold mines. There are alpine lakes and creeks at the base of the Sierras and California's largest ski resort, Mammoth Mountain is just off scenic Highway 395 which follows virtually the entire length of the Sierra Nevada, North America's longest continuous mountain range.
Death Valley and MT Whitney (Day Visit):
The Eastern Sierra Nevada is also home to Death Valley NP and MT Whitney. On the map of Death Valley you will find features with names like the Funeral Mountains, Coffin Peak, Hell's Gate, Starvation Canyon and Dead Man Pass - this is clearly a place with a bad history, reflecting the troubles and misfortunes endured by the pioneers who first traversed, inhabited and mined the region during the end of the last century. But even so this is a land which is alive with fantastic colors and incredible formations. One of the most notable landmarks in the valley is, "Bad Water"lowest point in the US, 282 feet below sea level (pictured to the left). The depth of the depression is partly responsible for the extreme high temperatures, which can exceed 130 °F in summer. It's a strange paradox that in this barren, waterless landscape you will actually find water but only in the very hottest place in the park. Incredible as this may seem just 120 miles away as the crow flies are the Alabama Hills where you will find a perfect view of the snow capped MT Whitney, the highest point in the Continental US, 14,494 ft. above sea level, (pictured to the right). Majestic Whitney as well as the Alabama Hills were used as the backdrop for the blockbuster movie "Gladiator" starring Russell Crowe.
Las Vegas (1 Night Hotel Stay):
Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the United States. The "Vegas Strip" with it's lights and extravagent casinos can leave you in wonder, in bewilderment or just plain disgust but whatever you feel you won't forget a night in the city which truly never sleeps. Here you will put away the camping gear for good because you will be staying in a comfortable hotel just off the strip (Hotel included in the price of tour package. All rooms are shared, double occupancy). Las Vegas has many attractions, casinos, nightclubs, great food, bunji jumping, roller coasters and more. Heck you may even want to get married at one of Las Vegas' famous wedding chapels. Sounds crazy? Well it wouldn't be the first time someone got married on one of our tours. Upon entering the city your guide will give you a driving tour, then check into your room, freshen up and go out to dinner at one of Vegas' many great buffets. After dinner it's time to hit the strip and party in the city which truely never sleeps. (Dinner not included in the price of your tour.)
Hollywood Tour (Day Visit):
The last destination of your California trip which is included in all our tours, is a tour of Hollywood. The Tour starts with a photo opportunity of the Hollywood sign in the Hollywood Hills and continues on to Hollywood Blvd. where you will see the footprints and hand prints of the stars, the famous Chinese Theatre, and the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held each year, as well as "The Walk of Fame". Finishing our Hollywood tour, we'll cruise the Sunset strip and Beverly Hills to see how the other half lives. Sadly all good things must come to an end and your trip will end at approximately 7:00 PM after the conclusion of the Hollywood tour. The Backpacker's Paradise is the perfect place for just such an occasion with it's swimming pool and pool side bar and cafe, a great last night to your tour is guaranteed. Be sure to ask your guide about special discounts on hotel rooms for all California Dreamers at the Backpacker's Paradise.
Included in our tours: All lodging, camping, meals, (San Francisco and Las Vegas dinners are not included) park entrances, transportation and all the necessary equipment to make camping easy and you comfortable.
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by Joseph A Toska
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Last Revised on September 30, 2010