California Vacations & Adventure Tours

california vacation adventure tours

With nine national parks, more than any other state, California is an adventurers dream. Explore its vast beauty on our California Vacations and Adventure Tours!

Venturing through the lush meadows of Yosemite National Park, one could explore for years and continuously come across new vistas. Hike, rock-climb, and swim through the most unique scenery imaginable on our California vacations and adventure tours. Whether you prefer hiking between towering mountains, wandering giant sequoia forests, or climbing in dramatic canyons, California will have just the adventure for you. Travel to Yosemite and hike from raging waterfall to wildflower-covered meadows.

It goes without saying that California isn't a place you can visit just once. Embarking on our California vacation and adventure tours is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the Golden State's natural wonders.

California Trips

North America

Yosemite Adventure

4.80

  • Duration 6 days
  • Activity Level Level 3 
    • Activity Level 3

      Step It Up

      I love an active vacation. Engaging in a challenging activity with a difficult goal, such as reaching a summit, is exactly what I need to unwind in the evenings.

    Read more about the Active Range

 ADULT ONLY

Hike the best of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, from Half Dome to El Capitan, and behold jaw-dropping views around every corner. Stand before giant sequoias, towering granite monoliths, and lands that inspired countless artists.

Trip Start: Fresno, CA Trip End: Fresno, CA

North America

Yosemite Family Vacation

4.83

  • Duration 6 days
  • Activity Level Level 3 
    • Activity Level 3

      Step It Up

      I love an active vacation. Engaging in a challenging activity with a difficult goal, such as reaching a summit, is exactly what I need to unwind in the evenings.

    Read more about the Active Range

 FAMILY VACATION

Discover the iconic sites of one of America’s beloved national parks – from El Capitan to Half Dome. Try your hand at rock climbing, channel your inner Ansel Adams, and be humbled before Giant Sequoias on this family adventure to remember.

Trip Start: Fresno, CA Trip End: Fresno, CA

Hear from our Happy Guests
4.85/5 Rating | 6,500+ Reviews

Reviews from our California Vacations

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Yosemite Family Vacation - June 2023

Trip of a Lifetime

"We took our two children on a family adventure to Yosemite and had the most amazing time. Five stars, highly recommend! We made great friends, had so many adventures and the accommodations and food were superb. Our guides Jayson and Kevin were the absolute best- we want to sign up for another trip!!

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"We took our two children on a family adventure to Yosemite and had the most… read more

"We took our two children on a family adventure to Yosemite and had the most amazing time. Five stars, highly recommend! We made great friends, had so many adventures and the accommodations and food were superb. Our guides Jayson and Kevin were the absolute best- we want to sign up for another trip!! read less

5 Stars (42 reviews)

R Rebecca | June 2023

Yosemite Adventure - May 2023

Yosemite

"Again - Austin Adventures delivers a wonderful experience. The leaders were supportive, personable and knowledgeable. The activities were well planned, the activity levels were explained and you knew exactly what to expect.

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"Again - Austin Adventures delivers a wonderful experience. The leaders were supportive, personable and knowledgeable.… read more

"Again - Austin Adventures delivers a wonderful experience. The leaders were supportive, personable and knowledgeable. The activities were well planned, the activity levels were explained and you knew exactly what to expect. read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

N Nancy | May 2023

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

"I had an amazing time in Yosemite. I saw and experienced things I would not even dreamt of- rock climbing. The hiking was beautiful.
It was living moment-to-moment, one step at a time. It

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"I had an amazing time in Yosemite. I saw and experienced things I would not… read more

"I had an amazing time in Yosemite. I saw and experienced things I would not even dreamt of- rock climbing. The hiking was beautiful.
It was living moment-to-moment, one step at a time. It read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

J Janice | August 2022

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

"This is the first trip that I did not feel that I got my money's worth. The first two trips were spectacular, and I sang your praises. I could not do so on this trip.

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"This is the first trip that I did not feel that I got my money's… read more

"This is the first trip that I did not feel that I got my money's worth. The first two trips were spectacular, and I sang your praises. I could not do so on this trip. read less

4 Stars (10 reviews)

L Lisa | August 2022

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

"The guides make the trip special. Yosemite is a beautiful place but the knowledge shared by the guides and the passion that they exude heightens the overall experience. From what I understand , the Guides had to change the itinerary around to accommodate road closures and fire activity but we would never had known their struggle in doing so. Also, Bob's Make-you-own-pasta night was a success.

The Snack basket in the van should include gum/mints-- some people get car sick easily and this helps tremendously!

Rush Creek Lodge is amazing and the people there were so nice. I would have preferred to stay there the whole time. I don't feel like i had adequate time to take advantage of the facility there and Tenaya Lodge just wasn't as nice to us.

Also, i know you haven't had a print catalog for a while now, but had a print catalog been available and perhaps given to everyone on the last night you probably would have had 10 bookings this week already! Its nice to see so many alumni on these trips but there was an overall consensus that we are worried about the re-branding and merger with…

read more

"The guides make the trip special. Yosemite is a beautiful place but the knowledge shared… read more

"The guides make the trip special. Yosemite is a beautiful place but the knowledge shared by the guides and the passion that they exude heightens the overall experience. From what I understand , the Guides had to change the itinerary around to accommodate road closures and fire activity but we would never had known their struggle in doing so. Also, Bob's Make-you-own-pasta night was a success.

The Snack basket in the van should include gum/mints-- some people get car sick easily and this helps tremendously!

Rush Creek Lodge is amazing and the people there were so nice. I would have preferred to stay there the whole time. I don't feel like i had adequate time to take advantage of the facility there and Tenaya Lodge just wasn't as nice to us.

Also, i know you haven't had a print catalog for a while now, but had a print catalog been available and perhaps given to everyone on the last night you probably would have had 10 bookings this week already! Its nice to see so many alumni on these trips but there was an overall consensus that we are worried about the re-branding and merger with Active and hope that the family-feel of Austin doesn't go away.

Lastly, the blue water bottles are the best! THE BEST! read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

R Rebecca | August 2022

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

"The guides worked very hard, and Bob was extremely knowledgeable. We saw some fantastic sights and enjoyed the group of guests. Overall, it was a great trip, with some exceptions. We spent a LOT of time in the van. The itinerary was good but lacked variety. Past trips have included hiking, biking, kayaking, beaches, and other activities. This was hiking and one day of rock climbing which was outstanding.

read more

"The guides worked very hard, and Bob was extremely knowledgeable. We saw some fantastic sights… read more

"The guides worked very hard, and Bob was extremely knowledgeable. We saw some fantastic sights and enjoyed the group of guests. Overall, it was a great trip, with some exceptions. We spent a LOT of time in the van. The itinerary was good but lacked variety. Past trips have included hiking, biking, kayaking, beaches, and other activities. This was hiking and one day of rock climbing which was outstanding. read less

4 Stars (10 reviews)

D Deborah | August 2022

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

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5 Stars (10 reviews)

F Fabiola | August 2022

Yosemite Adventure - August 2022

Yosemite Adventure

"I booked this trip with my friend Heather after she described a trip she took with Austin/Active Adventures in the past and the trip to Yosemite far exceeded my expectations.

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"I booked this trip with my friend Heather after she described a trip she took… read more

"I booked this trip with my friend Heather after she described a trip she took with Austin/Active Adventures in the past and the trip to Yosemite far exceeded my expectations. read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

S Susie | August 2022

Yosemite Family Vacation - July 2022

Yosemite Family Vacation

"Austin delivers! This was our second trip w/ you (Yellowstone 2016 was the other), and we continue to be impressed. Each aspect of the adventure is well thought out, and the guides are professional, friendly, and lots of fun to be with.

Austin is great value for money because the trips ensure that guests get the most out of the experience. The guides are knowledgable about the terrain, the activities, amenities and logistics. There is really nothing to worry about in terms of planning, variety of activities, or food. Great experience always.

read more

"Austin delivers! This was our second trip w/ you (Yellowstone 2016 was the other),… read more

"Austin delivers! This was our second trip w/ you (Yellowstone 2016 was the other), and we continue to be impressed. Each aspect of the adventure is well thought out, and the guides are professional, friendly, and lots of fun to be with.

Austin is great value for money because the trips ensure that guests get the most out of the experience. The guides are knowledgable about the terrain, the activities, amenities and logistics. There is really nothing to worry about in terms of planning, variety of activities, or food. Great experience always. read less

5 Stars (42 reviews)

S Sean | July 2022

Yosemite Family Vacation - August 2021

Yosemite Family Vacation

"The guides Steve and Grace were incredible. My wife and I were the slowest people in the group but there was always Steve or Grace with us encouraging my wife (who had knee problems) to give us a great experience. They were enthusiastic and it showed in their eyes when they spoke to us. Whatever you are paying them, it's not enough. They made the adventure. Our last trip was 7 years ago but we won't wait 7 years for our next trip.

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"The guides Steve and Grace were incredible. My wife and I were the slowest people… read more

"The guides Steve and Grace were incredible. My wife and I were the slowest people in the group but there was always Steve or Grace with us encouraging my wife (who had knee problems) to give us a great experience. They were enthusiastic and it showed in their eyes when they spoke to us. Whatever you are paying them, it's not enough. They made the adventure. Our last trip was 7 years ago but we won't wait 7 years for our next trip. read less

5 Stars (42 reviews)

T Tom | August 2021

Yosemite Family Vacation - August 2021

Yosemite Family Vacation

"First trip with Austin and very pleased overall with the trip.

One constructive comment. Two of our party came down with Covid before the trip so could not attend. Appreciated the flexibility with substituting another traveler on my trip, though we did pay for one unused spot. Totally understand that I chose not to buy travel insurance so my loss and that the majority of the trip expenses are sunk. That said not all trip expenses are sunk particularly meals, food, activities such as horse riding, etc. As you run many of the trips below the 12 cap the trips can do fine if not full. Would have been nice to have a small partial credit toward a future trip as we paid $3,800 for an unused trip.

read more

"First trip with Austin and very pleased overall with the trip.

One constructive comment. Two… read more

"First trip with Austin and very pleased overall with the trip.

One constructive comment. Two of our party came down with Covid before the trip so could not attend. Appreciated the flexibility with substituting another traveler on my trip, though we did pay for one unused spot. Totally understand that I chose not to buy travel insurance so my loss and that the majority of the trip expenses are sunk. That said not all trip expenses are sunk particularly meals, food, activities such as horse riding, etc. As you run many of the trips below the 12 cap the trips can do fine if not full. Would have been nice to have a small partial credit toward a future trip as we paid $3,800 for an unused trip. read less

5 Stars (42 reviews)

R Rick | August 2021

Yosemite Adventure - August 2021

Yosemite Adventure

"Yosemite National Park is an amazing place, and this trip took us to a wide variety of places - forests, lakes, mountains, water falls, canyons, etc. The hiking was challenging in some spots but definitely doable and the views from the top of the domes and various peaks, as well as looking up from the valley, could take your breadth away. The accommodations were great, particularly considering that usually hotels near the entrances of national parks are modest at best. While this was my first trip with Austin Adventures, I have been on numerous active travel group trips and I have always concluded that the trip guides/leaders are the biggest factor in my overall enjoyment of the trip. That was the case here as well. Grace and Steve were outstanding leaders. Not only did they have all the requisite knowledge about the area and skills to run a group trip, but they genuinely wanted to make sure we were all having a great time and our needs were met. They were enthusiastic, encouraging in a non-pushy way, had great senses of humor and were able to adapt the schedule as necessary to ensure we had the best experience possible -…

read more

"Yosemite National Park is an amazing place, and this trip took us to a wide… read more

"Yosemite National Park is an amazing place, and this trip took us to a wide variety of places - forests, lakes, mountains, water falls, canyons, etc. The hiking was challenging in some spots but definitely doable and the views from the top of the domes and various peaks, as well as looking up from the valley, could take your breadth away. The accommodations were great, particularly considering that usually hotels near the entrances of national parks are modest at best. While this was my first trip with Austin Adventures, I have been on numerous active travel group trips and I have always concluded that the trip guides/leaders are the biggest factor in my overall enjoyment of the trip. That was the case here as well. Grace and Steve were outstanding leaders. Not only did they have all the requisite knowledge about the area and skills to run a group trip, but they genuinely wanted to make sure we were all having a great time and our needs were met. They were enthusiastic, encouraging in a non-pushy way, had great senses of humor and were able to adapt the schedule as necessary to ensure we had the best experience possible - which was really important given the staffing challenges this summer in and around the national parks. read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

C Christine | August 2021

Yosemite Adventure - August 2021

Yosemite Adventure

"The trip was perfect. The guides were outstanding and took care of all our needs and then some. I had high expectations for the trip and it was better than I could have imagined. The hotels were great - the food that the guides provided was also more than expected. The most important thing was that always felt safe and supported. Grace and Steve were professional, friendly, and fun...can't ask for more than that.

read more

"The trip was perfect. The guides were outstanding and took care of all our… read more

"The trip was perfect. The guides were outstanding and took care of all our needs and then some. I had high expectations for the trip and it was better than I could have imagined. The hotels were great - the food that the guides provided was also more than expected. The most important thing was that always felt safe and supported. Grace and Steve were professional, friendly, and fun...can't ask for more than that. read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

K Karen | August 2021

Yosemite Adventure - August 2021

Yosemite Adventure

"I had such a wonderful time on this trip. Yosemite was beautiful and the itinerary was well planned. I

read more

"I had such a wonderful time on this trip. Yosemite was beautiful and the itinerary… read more

"I had such a wonderful time on this trip. Yosemite was beautiful and the itinerary was well planned. I read less

5 Stars (10 reviews)

L Lindsay | August 2021

Yosemite Family Vacation - August 2021

Yosemite Family Vacation

"Trip was great

read more

"Trip was great read more

"Trip was great read less

5 Stars (42 reviews)

D Doug | August 2021

Earlybird Explorer Offer tile

Save 10% When You Book Early

Dreaming of an epic adventure, but haven't quite taken the next step? Now is the time! Take advantage of our Earlybird Explorers offer, and enjoy 10% off* ANY of our trips. (*T&Cs apply, please see below.)

This limited-time offer ensures you are on the path to advance your adventure plans, and turn your travel dream into a reality. Until February 29, 2024, secure your booking with only a 50% deposit, and receive a 10% discount off the trip price.

If you'd like to learn more, or need any help finding your next adventure, get in touch with our dedicated customer service team. Be an Earlybird Explorer, catch your next adventure, and start counting down to the trip of a lifetime!

 

Terms & Conditions

Take 10% off the trip price when you book a trip and pay a 50% deposit by February 29, 2024. By opting for this payment plan, your 50% deposit is non-refundable, and your booking is non-cancellable, and non-changeable. The discount only applies to bookings which are scheduled to depart no sooner than 180 days from the date of payment (no sooner than 270 days for Africa). The cancellation and refund (by you) and change of trip or departure terms and conditions do not apply to bookings subject to this payment plan. If you change or cancel your trip, you will forfeit your 50% deposit, and no refunds will apply. This discount cannot be combined with any other offers and applies to the trip cost only. We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. We recommend Redpoint Insurance – you can find details here. Use promocode EARLYBIRD10 at time of booking.

Your Expert Local Guides

California FAQs

Do you recommend buying travel insurance?

As an Austin Adventures traveler, it’s highly recommended you take out travel insurance to cover the likes of travel delays, missed connections, medical expenses or injury, or lost baggage for your travel with us. Please head to our Travel Protection page for more in-depth information and our recommended insurance provider.

What's included on your North America trips?

Accommodation

We've spent years finding places to stay that are quaint, perfectly-located, and comfortable when we take you to the most amazing parts of North America. We offer a wide variety of accommodations on our trips ranging from locally run inns and first-class hotels to resorts, dude ranches and historic national park cabins. Accommodations are selected for their location, unique charm and history, and offer a true feel for the region. We strongly believe in the value of a good night's sleep and our accommodation reflects this. We also like to have somewhere comfortable to relax after the day's activities.

Transport

We're really focused on ensuring that we spend as little time as possible sitting in vehicles, and that we optimise your vacation for adventuring in the great outdoors. Our average driving time is just over two hours a day, and we make plenty of stops for bathroom breaks and sightseeing along the way. We use modern, comfortable 15-passenger vans for all of our transfers and a second van is added to most departures to provide more flexibility and more room to spread out while seeing the sights! Make no mistake - our trips are not typical bus tour vacation packages! Picture more of a road trip with family complete with good music, tasty snacks, and plenty of guide-supplied fun facts along the way to keep you entertained!

Meals

Just about all your meals are included when you travel with Austin Adventures in North America. We provide a wide variety of cuisine - breakfasts are typically eaten at your hotel on your own time in the morning before meeting up with the group. Lunches feature everything from elaborate picnics to roadside cafes to sandwiches trailside. Dinners are usually eaten at our hotel's dining room or a local restaurant with plenty of options to choose from. We easily cater to vegetarians, picky kids, and people with particular dietary needs. All our guides have food safety certificates and are well-practiced in the art of food prep and serving while on-the-move. You'll find the meals are a real highlight of your trip!

All Guiding Services

Each trip features two or three incredible guides and our average guest to guide ratio is 6:1. Our guests are often drawn to North America by the beautiful scenic landscapes, promise of wilderness and clean air - and there's no doubt you'll find all that, though what you may not be expecting is to forge real, genuine friendships with your fellow tripmates, including our wonderful guides. They're hands-down the BEST guides you'll ever come across.

Activities

Any activity described in our itinerary, such as hiking, rafting, horseback riding, kayaking and biking, are included in your trip cost. Our itineraries are pretty jam-packed to maximize our time spent exploring in these amazing places, and your guides will make it clear if there are additional activities available (at your expense).

How many people are there on each of our North America trips?

We get a real variety of people on our trips and they all seem to have one thing in common – a love of the outdoors! Our trips can accommodate up to 22 guests, depending on each departure. Our adult-only departures require a minimum age of 16 years and generally feature a mix of singles, couples and friends, and our family departures require a minimum age of 6 years to join (7 years on our Alaska Family Adventure) and are a great way to meet other like-minded families who like to get outside.
Please note child rates apply to children 12 years and under.

Do you charge a forced single supplement if I'm a solo traveller?

We welcome many solo travelers on our trips – in fact, we get so many solo travelers and they always say it’s a great way to travel alone, but not actually by themselves. You’ll have an incredible adventure sharing your experiences with other like-minded travelers, and the best part is we don't charge extra for solo travelers, providing you don’t mind sharing a room. However, for bookings within 90 days of your chosen departure, a forced single supplement will apply if there is no other guest of the same gender already booked to share with.

If you prefer not to share a room at all, you can upgrade to a single room, if one is available. 

If I book a trip with my children, will I be sharing a room with them?

Active Adventures & Austin Adventures family vacations are naturally about spending time with family and as such, most families opt to share rooms on our trips. At time of booking, families consisting of four guests with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at the guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

What if I need a special diet?

We’re accustomed to catering to the following special diets:

  • vegan (no meat or animal products)
  • vegetarian (no meat products)
  • pescatarian (vegetarian, and eat fish)
  • no red meat (eat chicken & fish)
  • no pork (eat chicken & fish)
  • gluten intolerant (no wheat, rye, barley or oats)
  • lactose intolerant (no dairy products)
  • picky kids (send us a list of what your child will eat and we'll make sure to have it!)
You will get the opportunity to specify your particular requirements when you fill in your travel wallet. If you have any other dietary requirements please let us know well in advance, via email or the online travel wallet.

 

How much luggage can I bring on the North America trips?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

How much spending money should I bring and where do I get cash?

You'll be able to find a reliable ATM once you arrive to start your trip, within the township or at the airport you land in, as national park ATM locations are sparse at best. Aside from tips for your guides, you could bring $200 and go home with change though some people like to bring some cash to cover a round of drinks, a few souvenirs, and dinner on "night on your own", although you could just as easily use a credit card for these purchases too.

What are your recommended guide gratuity guidelines?

You will have 2-3 guides on your Austin Adventure (depending on group size) and we recommend $15-25 per day, per guest, per guide. Typically, gratuities are offered by check or cash in local currency on the final morning of the trip and can either be given to each guide individually or to one guide to be equally distributed. Most of our guides these days also accept gratuities via Venmo (please note this app does not work in Canada). All dining, housekeeping and activity tips are included in your trip price.

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Why Travel With US

11

Experience adventure the way you want

You’ll be inspired and exhilarated, enjoying mind-blowing scenery on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike - all at your own pace.

benefits awards

Crafting award-winning trips for decades - the Kiwi way

We're proud of our Kiwi roots and you’ll love our professional and warm style of hosting. We’re always here to help with planning... even hiking boot recommendations!

benefit time v2

Every detail covered, to maximise your time

We've got everything covered – top-notch meals, comfortable transport, superb accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

benefit group travel

Group travel for those who aren’t ‘group travelers’

With an average of 12 guests per departure and an industry-leading average 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, you'll get to know your fellow travelers and have the flexibility to go at your own pace.

benefit gems

Explore hidden gems through our expert local guides

All our carefully selected guides are highly experienced and have deep personal connections to nature and culture. You’ll enjoy an authentic local experience.

benefit review

Over 10,000 5-star reviews - that’s pretty solid

We could hang around all day telling you how wonderful our trips are... but the best people to hear it from are our guests themselves.