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Wild California Escape: San Francisco to Monterey Bay

California Cruise Trip Information

Summary : Cruise from the bustling wharfs of San Francisco to the stunning shores of Monterey Bay on an exploration of California’s coastal cities and fascinating ecosystems. Delve into the state’s dynamic history at an immigration station on spectacular Angel Island, and taste your way through the golden hills of California wine country. Observe mysterious kelp forests in the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve; meet charismatic sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; and you may even be able get up close to sea lions on the docks. Spend a day participating in a conservation project and contributing to the protection of the Monterey Bay ecosystem for future generations.

  • Glide past the glittering San Francisco skyline at sunset, and explore California’s rugged coast aboard the National Geographic Venture.
  • Hike to the summit of historic Angel Island for spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais.
  • Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, home to fascinating marine life, including endangered sea otters.
  • Discover the rolling vineyards and quaint towns of California wine country on an inland excursion.

Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins


Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!

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Day 1
San Francisco, California

Arrive in San Francisco, California’s city by the bay. Drop your bags at a hospitality room near historic Fisherman’s Wharf, a bustling waterfront district that harkens back to the city’s fishing heyday. Explore on your own, choosing to sample chocolate at the famed Ghirardelli Factory or heading to a busy pier for a taste of fresh Dungeness crab. This afternoon, make your own way to the dock to embark the National Geographic Venture. Gather for cocktails as you cruise through the sparkling harbor, and enjoy a welcome dinner with views of the iconic San Francisco skyline.

Day 2
Angel Island

Wake up for a sunrise stretch session on deck with the ship's wellness specialist. After breakfast, go ashore on Angel Island, a California Historic Landmark and the largest natural island in San Francisco Bay. From 1910 to 1940, the U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island processed thousands of immigrants arriving in California from China, Japan, and beyond. Join your naturalists on leisurely walks along the shore or more strenuous hikes to the island’s summit, which offers spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County headlands, and iconic Mount Tamalpais. Or set out by kayak to explore the rugged shoreline from the water, keeping an eye out for curious seals and sea lions, as well as majestic blue herons and pelicans.

Day 3
Monterey Bay / Point Lobos

Cruise into the sweeping, mist-shrouded crescent of Monterey Bay, a hotspot of biodiversity along California’s stunning coast. Begin the day with an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium, which stands at the forefront of research into delicate marine ecosystems and the impacts of overfishing. Marvel at exhibits of mesmerizing jellyfish, living kelp forest, and complex shoreline ecosystems. Then hit the streets of Monterey to discover historic Cannery Row, once lined with numerous sardine-canning factories, and immortalized by John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name. This afternoon explore Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Day 4
Monterey Bay

Today, enjoy a unique opportunity to be involved in the preservation of Monterey’s spectacular ecosystems. Roll up your sleeves, pull on your boots, and pitch in with a local conservation project for the day, helping to protect the surrounding environment for future generations. As you work alongside local conservation leaders and volunteers, learn about Monterey’s natural and cultural heritage and gain a deeper understanding of what’s at stake when people and wild places coexist.

Day 5
Vallejo / California Wine Country

This morning, dock at the historic Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the first U.S. Navy Base established on the Pacific Ocean and a hub of submarine and shipbuilding activity. For 150 years, the base was off limits to the public. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark, complete with a fascinating museum. From here, head inland to explore the rolling golden hills of California wine country and stop at quaint towns nestled between vineyards to learn about the area’s history. Enjoy wine tasting and lunch at the Culinary Institute of America.

Day 6
San Francisco / Disembark

Disembark in San Francisco and make your own way to the airport to connect with your flight home.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.

Shipboard accommodations; kayaking; video chronicle of your trip; certified photo instructor; all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, Internet, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos ©: Lindblad Expeditions, Jack Swenson (Kayaking), Sven-Olaf Lindblad (Dolphin and Zodiac), Ralph Lee Hopkins (Sunset Cactus)

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