Sometimes I’ve seen places in pictures, and when visiting them in real life they just haven’t lived up to my expectations. Yosemite National Park on the other hand, is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to, and was even more amazing than I could ever have imagined.
Yosemite is about 3.5 hours drive from San Francisco. Instead of booking with a big bus company we looked for someone that offered a more personal, comfy service. Best Bay Area Tours offered exactly what we were looking for. A small van that can take 15 people to Yosemite, was much more appealing than one of the larger tour buses. This meant everyone was off and on the van a lot quicker, which meant for more time at the amazing sites.
We were picked up from our hotel at 6.20am by Thomas. He gave everyone some quiet time (very much appreciated) where a few of us enjoyed a quick nap or just stared out of the window until we properly woke up.
It was a long drive to Yosemite so we made a restroom and food stop at Oakdale. Thomas suggested we picked up a picnic for the day instead of eating at Yosemite so we had more time to explore.
We will continue on into the Sierra Nevada foothills and California’s gold country where we will drive through the historic gold country town of Groveland California and finally into the mountains and Yosemite National Park.
As we entered the National Park Thomas told us all about the forest fires (which aren’t a bad thing), to keep an eye out for bears even though it wasn’t the best time of year to see them and some history on the park.
Our first stop was to see the world’s largest trees, the Sequoia. What I didn’t know was that it involved a bit of a hike! Good thing I was in all of my Craghoppers gear.
As we made the hike down the scenery just got more beautiful.
Then we came across the first Sequoia. WOW!
The giant redwood trees, also known as Sequoias. Yosemite’s giant redwoods amaze and astound. The largest tree is over 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter at its base and lives to well over 3,000 years.
We continued along the trail to find the base of an old tree you could actually walk through.
Then the bad part of the day came. The hike back up the trail haha!
I’m not very fit so this was a total struggle for me, but the views we saw made all of the pain worth it.
Back in the van we drove to our next stop. The site of Yosemite Valley. This is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life, and I doubt anything will ever be able to beat it.
Further stops included El Capitan.
“El Capitan is the largest exposed piece of granite in the world, rising 4000 feet above the valley floor.” Here we managed to spot some climbers. Thomas advised us they can take up to five days to climb to the top and sleep in tents off the side of the granite.
And Half Dome
We later stopped in Yosemite Village, where we did a bit of shopping in the guest shop and enjoyed an ice cream to cool down.
Unfortunately it was then time to head back to San Francisco. This has to be the best place I’ve ever visited and Best Bay Area Tours showed us exactly what we wanted to see in the little time that we had.
One of the many advantages of booking with Best Bay Area Tours is the small size of our groups (no more than 15 people). This allows for a more personalized tour with more time in the park, many more photo stops, and less time climbing in and out of overcrowded buses.
The Yosemite tour is offered all year-round.
Children: $130.00 (ages 0-12)
Price includes all park entrance fees.
**A massive thank you to Best Bay Area Tours and Thomas for hosting us on this trip. Our tickets were complimentary but as always all opinions are my own**