Northern California Vacation Ideas

Northern California Vacation Ideas #1: Tour The Hearst Castle. With over 90,000 square feet, it’s one of the largest historic house museums in the U.S. Built by William Randolph Hearst around 1919; it has grown over the years. Today there are over 150 rooms and over 100 acres of ground devoted to the beautiful gardens. The Hearst Castle is one of the world’s greatest estate showplaces.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #2: Sequoia National Park is home to the incredible Sequoia tree, the largest living thing on Earth. The General Grant, the world’s third largest Sequoia, is over 276 feet tall and between 1500 and 2000 years old.
sequoia tree

Visit the Tunnel Log,, a fallen Sequoia that’s been hollowed out. Also in Sequoia National Park enjoy the underground beauty of Crystal Cave. A tour of Crystal Cave is an unforgettable experience. The most picturesque meadow in the park is Crescent Meadow. This stream-fed, flower-filled, Sequoia-rimmed meadow was called the "gem of the Sierra" by John Muir.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #3: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the top rated family attractions in the U.S. It is next to Carmel and Pebble Beach on Monterey Bay. Their stunning one million gallon aquarium has one of the largest windows in the world. Giant Bluefin tuna, sea turtles, sharks and jellyfish all swim inches away. The 28 feet tall Kelp Forest aquarium is home to sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels and a host of other fish.
California Vacation Ideas #4: Big Sur has been called the "Best Place to Play Hooky," and "Best Romantic Getaway." Big Sur is a huge natural and relatively undeveloped section of California between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Popular for its scenic views and waterfalls it is treated by many with a spiritual reverence.

There is much to do here for the vacationer. Lodging choices range from year-round family camping among the redwood trees at Big Sur Campground and Cabins to luxury ocean overlooks like Vantana Inn & Spa.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #5: Pebble Beach, California is home to the famous 17-Mile Drive Tour. The drive takes you through the ancient pine groves of Del Monte forest.

Enjoy the stunning scenery. Stop at the 20 or so landmarks along the way such as the Lone Cypress tree, the Restless Sea, Seal Rock, Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill along with a few castles and mansions. Some other attractions at Pebble Beach are the world famous golf courses, 34 miles of bridle trails at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center and the scenic Monterey coastline.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #6: The Lick Observatory is part of the University of California 14 miles east of downtown San Jose. It is a leading astronomical research observatory and it offers tours during most of the year. You can take a tour that shows off the Great Lick Refractor in the 36-inch telescope dome and the Shane Dome’s 120-inch Reflector.

During a limited number of summer evenings, it is possible to view through both the 36-inch refracting telescope and 40-inch reflecting telescope. Also during the summer, the observatory offers a concert series, Music of the Spheres which includes viewing through the 36-inch telescope.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #7: A wonderful way to enjoy the Napa Valley on your next California vacation is a Wine Country Bike Tour. There are lots of small, family run wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Getaway Adventures has one to six day bike tours that will guide you through the scenic back roads of California's wine country.
napa valley grapes

They have knowledgeable local guides and can personalize a route just for you. Along with wine country gourmet lunches and vineyard tours you can take in local sights such as Bodega Bay and Armstrong Redwoods State Park.

Northern California Vacation Ideas #8: Wine lovers may want to check out Crushpad where you can make your very own luxury custom wine. Crushpad is a high-end San Francisco winery that lets you become the wine-maker. With their expert help, you choose from among some 50 top vineyards in California, Oregon and Washington. They help you plan the whole process.

Your grapes are planted and when they are ready you come help with the process by sorting the bunches, de-stemming, crushing and pressing the grapes. While your persona; barrel of custom wine is aging over the next 8 to 24 months, Crushpad wine experts will help you with blending decisions.

You can even taste your wine as it ages. You then help design the label and make final blending decisions. Your wine is then bottled and you have your own personal collection of fine wine.

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