9 Day Itinerary
San Francisco Day 1: We flew from the Midwest to San Francisco in the early afternoon. This left us with the majority of the day for sightseeing. San Francisco is a feast for sight and taste! We did not leave before we had our fill of both even though we were only here a short time. Our San Francisco hotel, the Hyatt Centric, had a great pool area and was walking distance to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Warf.
Starving, we decided our first meal had to be at the oldest continually operating business in town: the famous Boudin Bakery.
We had to get the classic clam chowder and sourdough bowls!
Those options don’t interest you? They have lots of other choices for food 🙂 Boudin Bakery is renowned for their circa 1849 sourdough bread in various animal shapes! My daughter picked a sea turtle shaped loaf. Cute Right?
After lunch we headed to the Musee Mecanique where we delighted in all kinds of antique and vintage arcade games and fun old machines! It’s free to enter and you only pay $.25 cents to $1 for games. We were amazed at the game collection which provided such fun.
Friends of ours met up with us for an afternoon visit to the Warf. Together, we checked out Magowan’s Mirror Maze and I hate to admit that it took me some time to find my way out! After sampling some snacks at the Warf we quickly found ourselves saying goodbye.
Walking the infamous San Francisco hills led us to the Goorin Bros hat shop! This must do stop was as impeccable as I heard and had delightful staff. After spending some time with our salesman I asked an important question:
Where do you suggest we go for the best food in ChinaTown?
This is a loaded question. Chinatown in San Francisco doesn’t play around. They are as authentic as can be and you would be hard pressed to find a bad restaurant. We wanted the best. Thankfully he delivered. He recommended we visit the Hang Ah Tea Room. We were warned that the restaurant is not on a main street and is located around a corner and under a building. He stated that the staff is mostly rude, the bathroom is questionable at best and there is zero ambiance. My eyebrows went up causing him to shift his feet and say,
‘The food is so damn good none of that matters. Just trust me.’
We trusted him. Everything he said was correct. The staff was unbelievably rude, our food came out in shifts and I never did get my drink. There was absolutely no atmosphere and and the décor was shabby at best. None of that mattered. The restaurant was packed with customers. The food really was ‘so damn good.’ So good that we went back for more!
Trust me. Go.
San Francisco Day 2: This was our only full day in town and it was spent well. Mornings are the best time to view the seals at Pier 39! Hundreds of seals call this pier home during San Francisco’s winters and a small group of seals live there year round. Our next adventure was a day trip to visit Alcatraz! We booked this tour months in advance and it’s a must do excursion! There is something there for everyone.
Boat rides, gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the prison itself-with all its sorted history!
Can you can guess where we ate our meal when we were back on the mainland? Hang Ah Tea Room of course! Next, we hopped into an uber and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge Park where we enjoyed the iconic bridge and water views. We took advantage of the photo ops before heading to the hotel to relax by the pool. Before dinner we stopped by Good Mong Kok Bakery in Chinatown to try their egg tarts as recommended by our friends. Delicious! They have a full menu as well.
Day 3: We picked up our rental car and were heading out of San Francisco and into the redwoods. There was one more memory we had to make before we left town: San Francisco’s Lombard Street. It is the most crooked street you’ll ever travel down and its absolutely beautiful!
On our way to our Yosemite hotel we stopped by Mariposa Grove. Technically, it is located in the southern part of Yosemite National Park. Here you will find over 500 giant mature sequoias and the park has free shuttles to the entrance from their parking lot.
we finally met the beautiful giant sequoias for the first time. the memories we planted will last a lifetime.
Back on the road and driving toward our lodge, which was located just outside the south entrance of Yosemite, we passed through California’s Wawona Tunnel. This is California’s longest highway tunnel and it bores through a mountain of granite and has the nickname: Tunnel View. We were not prepared for the strategic surprise that awaited us on the other side.
The very second you exit this tunnel you are enamored by the most spectacular view of Yosemite.
The overlook demands your attention out of sheer beauty, total awe, and wonder.
Our first and only response was to park our car, get out, and take in this view and introduction to Yosemite. Whatever we were expecting of this national park was far exceeded, already. I whispered, “Hello, Yosemite. Its nice to meet you. It’s wonderful actually.”
When we were able to tear ourselves away from the view and continue our drive we realized that we were headed into Yosimite for the first time. We had to pass through to get to our lodge. Passing by iconic places, like El Capitan, was a dream. We soon checked into the Yosemite View Lodge where we delighted in the fact that the Mercer River ran just outside our deck. Such a tranquil sound and view of perfect emerald colored water. This river only flows this strong in the spring and early summer as snow melt pours down into it.
this Lodge is so close to the south entrance of Yosemite and they have multiple pools, hot tubs, restaurants, and a general store on site.
Day 4: Our first day inside Yosemite National Park was beautiful! We took the Yosemite Valley Floor Hike, checked out El Capitan, Yellowstone Falls, Bridalviel Falls along with sights of many meadows and streams. The trail was stunning with views on views! We packed in and out our lunch and were in the lodge pool by 3pm surrounded by the mountains. We ate dinner at the lodge restaurant The River Restaurant and Lounge!
Day 5: An exciting day! We were out of the woods and trails and onto the Mercer River! If you come to Yosemite in the spring or early summer take advantage of the snow melt and take a class 4 to 3 white water rafting tour! We went on the Zephyr White Water adventure! They provide everything you need-even the photographer!
After all the excitement we relaxed at our pool again and enjoyed Parkside Pizza at the lodge! We made a late evening drive into Yosemite and loved all the views.
Day 6: Our last full day in Yosemite began by hiking the Mist Trail. It began wonderfully. When we made it to the iconic granite steps we began the steep climb. The wind starting whipping around the falls. The mist from the waterfall was more or less power washing us! Everyone was dropping to the side like flies. Unable to safety turn around and go down they would just stayed laying on the puddling slick granite steps.
As we continued to hike upward i totally started crying.
I can’t believe I cried on a hike! There is no railing on parts of the hike and I was scared one of us would slip and be down that waterfall ravine in seconds. When we reached the top of Mist Trail the weather was sunny and 75 degrees. After taking a break and enjoying the fact we were alive we ended up hiking over the top and all the way down on a different trail. We did it and are proud to say we made it out the other side.
driving through the park my husband says, ‘They say beauty is only skin deep. That’s a lie. These rocks? They have it. Beauty is rock deep around here.’ I have to agree.
After our experience on Mist Trail we were ready to treat ourselves. Curry Village inside the park has an Ice Cream Shop and we enjoyed some extra scoops! We headed back to our lodge and relaxed by the pool this late afternoon. Our night was ended by eating popcorn and watching the most gorgeous show around: sunset over Yosemite. We were introduced to the Yosemite at Tunnel View and ended our visit in the same place. I cried once more but this time it was for the thankfulness of it all and not for fear. Highly Recommend.
Day 7: We left the area and headed to Half Moon Bay to end our trip. On the way we stopped at the Mariposa Museum + History Center were we learned about the history of Gold Mining in the area. Admission is only $5 and 12 and under is free. Heading into Half Moon Bay we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Garden Deli Cafe. Their breads are made inhouse and are dynamite. Try the olive and walnut bread. Delish!
Lots of time was spent shopping their cute main street and we fell in love with a few shop like the Garden Apothecary. Arriving to The Beach House at Half Moon Bay we quickly discovered that the property is breath-taking. Beautiful views with access to the bay and a perfect place to soak in a hot tub, swim in the pool and read a book by the fire in our room. We did it all.
Day 8: We spent today shopping, swimming, walking the beach, and stopping at all the overlooks. Moody and mystical Half Moon Bay. Its a wonderful escape and place I had a hard time leaving. I truly miss this town and want to go back. Want to go with?
Day 9: We drove back to San Francisco today to catch our flight and the drive was gorgeous. We stopped at several overlooks and dreamed of what it would be like to live in this area. We tend to have this conversation on every single vacation 🙂
Let me know below if you have traveled to any of these locations!
Wanting to visit Yellowstone? The Badlands? Check out this post!
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