Northern California (or NorCal as it is affectionately nicknamed) is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty. The region spans 48 counties which include the vibrant San Francisco Bay and Greater Sacramento Areas, the phenomenal Yosemite Valley and Death Valley National Parks, and prestigious universities such as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.  

Vibrant Sacramento
Photo by divergenttravelers on Instagram

Northern California has gone from strength to strength since the California Gold Rush that occurred from 1848 – 1855. While this sparked the beginnings of towns and cities (like San Francisco), it also had a negative effect on Native Americans who lost their land (and lives) in favour of mining practices. Since then, Northern California has been at the forefront of a range of things. NorCal has seen the development of online business models such as Apple, Google and eBay; it was the home of cultural icons Ansel Adams and Clint Eastwood; and can even claim to have started CrossFit. It’s also a melting pot of cultures having had Spanish, England, Mexican and Russian explorers and presences throughout its history. 

Join Globus on a journey to uncover the history and natural beauty of Northern California over 9 days. This Choice Touring by Globus holiday includes YourChoice excursions when in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park; giving you added flexibility and the opportunity to tailor your holiday to suit your interests.  

San Francisco 

Trek through towering redwoods 

Muir Woods trees
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If you’ve never stood amongst giants, this is your chance. Lace up your shoes for a breath of fresh air as you explore Muir Woods. The redwood trees here are over 1,000 years old and have grown to 80 metres tall, with a unique, crisp scent that will envelop you during this walk. You may even encounter Northern California’s signature fog that can shroud the canopy above, making for some wonderfully misty photos.  

Taste your way through Little Italy 

Little Italy
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This walking tour isn’t just for the foodies, but for the avid history buffs as well. Little Italy began setting down roots in the North Beach neighbourhood of San Francisco around the 1920’s with over 30% of its residents holding Italian ancestry. It has since grown a strong Italian American community so your Local Guide will take you through much of its history, as well as some of the best Italian food that Little Italy has to offer. Buon appetito! 

Delve into the California Academy of Sciences 

California Academy of Sciences
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It wouldn’t be a trip to San Francisco without spending time at the California Academy of Sciences. If you love anything science-related, this fascinating YourChoice excursion is right up your alley. From the Steinhart Aquarium that is home to the deepest, indoor, living coral reef, to the giant-sized terrarium Osher Rainforest at four storeys high, prepare to be wowed by the sheer number of flora and wildlife housed under one roof. Speaking of roofs, don’t miss taking the elevator to the Academy’s Living Roof. Fields of grass cover 87% of the 2.5-acre rooftop with spectacular views to Golden Gate Park.  

Lake Tahoe 

Sail across Lake Tahoe 

Lake Tahoe
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The azure waters of Lake Tahoe are breath taking. Melted snow comes off the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains to create extraordinarily clear water, and therefore its unique colour. And what better way to experience Lake Tahoe than onboard a yacht? Your knowledgeable Captain will paint an interesting history of the area as you sail past Emerald Bay, Vikingsholm Castle and the Tea House on Fannette Island. 

Glide your way to Heaven(ly) 

Gondola at Heavenly Mountain Resort
Photo by skiheavenly on Instagram

Stretching towards the sky is Heavenly Mountain Resort, a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders in winter. This YourChoice excursion is all about the views where you’ll take the Heavenly gondola over Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Observation Deck at almost 3 kilometres high!  

Delve into the American Wild West 

Virginia City is less than an hour from Lake Tahoe, and here you will find a nugget of Northern California’s Gold Rush history. Follow part of the old Pony Express trolley service to reach the Comstock Lode, discovered in 1859 during the Gold Rush. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, there were over 100 mines in this area which produced over 7 million tons of silver ore. That would equate to over $600 million in today’s silver and gold market!  

Yosemite National Park 

Gaze at the beauty of the park 

Yosemite National Park
Photo by goingawesomeplaces on Instagram

Get up close and personal to Yosemite, one of Northern California’s beloved National Parks. This YourChoice excursion will take you on a fun tour around Yosemite onboard a tram. You will also meet a local Park Ranger who will share the history and stories of the Native People and settlers to the area.  

Trek through Yosemite 

Yosemite National Park
Photo by divergenttravelers on Instagram

Get your adrenaline pumping on an active walk through Yosemite National Park. You will be accompanied by a Naturalist Guide who will make sure you come away with newfound facts and knowledge about the park’s flora, fauna and wilderness. 

For the avid photographers 

Northern California was the home of one of America’s most renowned photographers, Ansel Adams. Adams was famous for his landscape photographs depicting natural beauty, especially that of Yosemite. This YourChoice excursion is a private, guided photography tour of the park with a guide from the Ansel Adams Gallery. Your guide will share some of Adams’ tips and tricks to capture the best vantage points, hidden locations and ideal time of day to shoot.  

Join us on the Golden State of Mind: Northern California by Design Choice tour to uncover the history and natural beauty of this spectacular part of America with freedom and flexibility. You won’t regret it! 

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