California States of Mind Adventure

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This week I'm taking you to California! I call it my California States of Mind trip, because you'll experience a mixture of city living and adventures in nature during this 7 night/8 day vacation plan. You start in San Francisco where you can visit numerous historic sights (such as Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge) and then drive East to the natural wonders of Yosemite Park. Here you can enjoy one of the most spectacular park hotels in the United States. the Majestic Yosemite.

This is not a plan that I am offering, but a post I hope will inspire you to look into different vacation options and explore. With that being said, you can take this idea and adjust it to fit your needs, maybe by cutting nights or even destinations. I list the pricing after tax (except on some transport), and the prices are for July, during the peak travel time. The trip is calculated for a family of four, but I do list what a couple should expect at the bottom. So let's get started. Below are a couple maps of the trip and total cost:

Pricing Breakdown


So to go over the trip costs, I’ll start with transportation. For airfare, I've set the cost to $300 per ticket for a total airfare cost of $1,200. If you have points (or find cheaper flights), then you would just reduce the total cost by that amount.

The best option for this trip is to rent a car, not right away though! You don't want to pay parking fees in San Francisco (self park can be between $50 and $80 a night). So start by picking up a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. This is a relatively inexpensive trip, just about $20 per passenger. Once you’re in the city you can walk, ride the cable car, bike, taxi or Uber. At the end of the stay in San Francisco, that’s when you get your car. There’s several pickup locations around the city, so you don’t have to go back to the airport (try Fisherman’s wharf!) The cost for gas is minimal for the 4 hour drive (there and back) and the rental for 3 nights is only $266. There are trains and buses that will take you to Yosemite, but it's a little bit more involved than simply renting a car and driving. Plus when you get to the resort, you'll have the car to explore the National Park.


Explore the Argonaut Hotel

Explore the Inn at the Presidio

Explore the The Huntington Hotel

For the San Francisco hotels, there are several great choices to consider, but I have narrowed down to the three listed here, each representing a price class.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is one of the best US park hotels, and is conveniently located in the mountains of Yosemite National Park. This hotel, which opened in 1927, is exactly what I think of when I imagine a rustic National Park Lodge. The stonework and wood beams display the craftsmanship of the builders, and provides a wonderful destination for an elegant rustic retreat.


Itinerary and Activities

The overall budget covers all the activities that I have planned for the trip (based on the four family members), so if you see activities that don’t interest you, you could save money by skipping.

Food Budget

I have built-in about $150 per day which I think would be enough to get breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For Couples

For couples, I've adjusted the amount spent on the flight, the activities, the food and the room rate. If you were to go, the prices would be similar to the chart below.



As mentioned earlier, the prices are based on higher summer prices, so if you were to go during the shoulder or off season, you could expect a discount.Overall, I think this trip would be a great option for any age group. It's a chance to explore the California, and get a sense of the State.




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