Luxurious Destinations
Northern California
Destinations Within Northern California

Northern California Trip Itineraries

First Time in Yosemite

First Time in Yosemite
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is 30 x 40 miles huge, but for your first visit you should see the giant sequoias in the south end, Yosemite Valley in the middle and the high country of Tuolumne Meadows on the east. Plan on a bit of mountain driving and taking your time with the winding roads through scenery that is a stunning as it gets on this planet. Consider packing picnic supplies and water so you'll have flexibility on where and when you stop for a break - but don't leave any food in your car unattended; bears will sniff it out. Head for the nearest visitor center to get oriented, and go on a hour's ranger walk to spend time with an expert. Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. It is hard to go wrong here. read more about First Time in Yosemite... Read More

Romantic Pacific Grove Weekend

Romantic Pacific Grove Weekend
Destination(s): Monterey

October through February is monarch butterfly time in Pacific Grove. "PG" is a lot quieter than Carmel or Monterey, and yet close to everything. It's less than 1 mile to the Aquarium and Cannery Row from here, and only a short drive to the beaches. This is a central, moderately-priced location for access to the entire coastal area. You can do the crowded tourist things on Cannery Row, including the must-see Monterey Aquarium, and yet spend the next day discovering the more intimate treasures of Pacific Grove. For a little extra romance, check out what Romantic Room Designs (www.romanticroomdesigns.com) can do for you. read more about Romantic Pacific Grove Weekend... Read More

San Francisco: Best Hidden Gems

San Francisco: Best Hidden Gems
Destination(s): Mill Valley

Get away from the crowds at these low-key San Francisco Bay Area attractions Want to know where the San Francisco locals go? Look no further! To explore San Francisco’s cultural heritage, check out the Asian Art Museum’s fantastic collection or go on a mural walk of the Mission District (check out Balmy Alley, The Women’s Building, and Precita Eyes for the very best), which features public works by local Latin artists. Enjoy a laid-back beach picnic in direct view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands at Crissy Field. When in Golden Gate Park, check out Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Garden’s secluded micro-park feel. Links lovers will find the 18-hole Lincoln Park Golf Course featuring affordable greens fees and astounding views of the bay, ocean, and Golden Gate Bridge. Outdoors enthusiasts can also find hidden hiking trails on Mt. Tamalpais, serene paths with unparalleled bay views on Angel Island, and a low-key alternative to Muir woods at Oakland Redwoods Regional State Park. read more about San Francisco: Best Hidden Gems... Read More

Top San Francisco Free Attractions

Top San Francisco Free Attractions
Destination(s): San Francisco

There are plenty of free things to see and do in San Francisco. There are tons of neighborhoods to explore, from the country’s biggest Chinatown to the mural-lined alleys of the Latin-flavored Mission District (Balmy Alley, Precita Eyes, and Women’s Building are the best) to the former hippie enclave of Haight-Ashbury, which happens to be perched on the edge of the natural wonderland of Golden Gate Park. You can also take a leisurely stroll down Lombard Street, of the city’s most famous sights, or challenge yourself by walking up Telegraph Hill’s shady streets to Coit Tower, which affords unparalleled views of the city and bay. In summer months, the Stern Grove Music Festival features free outdoor world music performances every Sunday; we recommend getting there early to stake a prime spot and enjoy a picnic. read more about Top San Francisco Free Attractions... Read More

Architectural Jewels in SF. A Joie de Vivre Guide.

Architectural Jewels in SF. A Joie de Vivre Guide.
Destination(s): San Francisco

Some of San Francisco’s attractions are obvious, and most tour companies explore the well-known tourist traps. There are, however, loads of hidden treasures and a whole lotta folks who make it their business to show you their favorite spots. In this guide we present a sampling of the architecture of our beautiful city, so get out there and have fun! (NOTE: Our suggestion of San Francisco’s “architectural jewels” are excerpted from Don & Betty Martin’s Best of San Francisco book.) read more about Architectural Jewels in SF. A Joie de Vivre Guide. ... Read More

Your First Time at Lake Tahoe

Your First Time at Lake Tahoe
Destination(s): Lake Tahoe

Heaven can be found between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, and it's covered with snow. For your first time to the "Jewel of the Sierras" get ready for blue skies, loads of powder and warm hearts. Lake Tahoe offers everything from high class casino resorts to down home local flavor all sprinkled with the laid back attitude of its residents.

Lake Tahoe was recently voted the best ski area in the U.S. by Orbitz and 2010 is shaping up to be a great year for the Lake. Over 10 feet of snow has fallen so far this year, creating a killer snow pack for winter sports. Each part of Lake Tahoe has a different vibe, from the blue collar area of King's Beach in Nevada, to the resort and shopping areas of South Lake Tahoe in California. Each area of the lake has an area for winter sports followed by followed by a wide range of aprés ski opportunities.

You can get around the lake using the Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) bus system, which runs along 30 miles of the Lake's shoreline. Ski racks are available on the buses in the winter. There are also various shuttles like the North Tahoe Express or the Mt. Rose Shuttle which will bring you from the airport or from downtown Reno up to your hotel. However, for freedom and to access some of the lesser known areas of the lake, rent a car. read more about Your First Time at Lake Tahoe... Read More

Tahoe Breakfast Spots

Tahoe Breakfast Spots
Destination(s): Lake Tahoe

All around Tahoe there are some excellent breakfast spots. Try the popular Squeeze In in Truckee or the hidden Fire Sign Cafe near Tahoe City. You won't regret a bagel stop at Rude Brothers or the great coffee at Tahoma Aroma.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Rappeneker/Flickr

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San Francisco: Top Attractions

San Francisco: Top Attractions
Destination(s): Mill Valley

San Francisco attractions and activities offer a plethora of delights for the whole family, from world-class museums to outdoor adventures. Exceptional exhibits await at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, while kids and adults will love the California Academy of Sciences’ tribute to the natural world. Visit Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown for unique San Francisco historic attractions. Soak up some nature in Golden Gate Park and the redwoods wonderland of Muir Woods. For two truly don’t-miss San Fran experiences, ride a Cable Car up, up, up and down the famous San Francisco hills and take a walk across the Bay Area’s most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. read more about San Francisco: Top Attractions... Read More

Romantic San Francisco

Romantic San Francisco
Destination(s): San Francisco

We know it’s rather trite—droll, even—to start waxing poetic on how visitors will leave their hearts in San Francisco, et cetera, et cetera. However, we have to admit that the song is right. Once you’ve visited the City by the Bay, you realize there is a certain magic here that sets the heart aflutter, whether you’re basking in beautiful sunset vistas, enjoying stolen moments in serene spots, or savoring the sensual flavors of local cuisine. read more about Romantic San Francisco... Read More

In love in Yosemite

In love in Yosemite
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

One of the first books about Yosemite was called, "In the Heart of the Sierras." Later, John Muir wrote that, "Nature seems to have put all her best treasures in one place, to draw her lovers closer to her." Today it's still a place we love, and a perfect place to be with that special partner on the trail of life. Whether hiking, snowshoing, or sitting by the campfire together, this park has many ways for catalyzing emotional connections. For this weekend of romance we'll stay at the expansive Tenaya Lodge on the park's southern boundary and make excursions in to the awesome chasm of Yosemite Valley and to the edge of the sky. read more about In love in Yosemite... Read More