Explore the best of the San Francisco Bay Area by ferry, minicoach and vineyard tram on this 2-day combo tour that gets you out on the water, in the hills and onto the grounds of an award-winning winery. What more could you want out of a stay in San Francisco?
Alcatraz tour and Aquarium of the Bay (Day 1):
At Pier 33 on the Embarcadero, board the Alcatraz ferry for the 15-minute ride across San Francisco Bay to ‘the Rock,’ the former federal penitentiary that’s now a National Historic Landmark District. When you arrive on the island, listen to a quick overview, and then walk inside the cellblock to receive your provided headset that allows you to explore the prison independently via the acclaimed audio tour, ‘Doing Time.’
Wander through the cellblock and around the grounds, listening to commentary from former inmates and staff. You’ll learn about notorious criminals like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, and enjoy views of San Francisco across the water. Most visitors spend about 2.5 hours at Alcatraz; you can stay as long as you like before getting back on the ferry to return to the city (ferries depart about every 30 minutes).
Then, head over to the Aquarium of the Bay and use your all-day access pass.
Napa and Sonoma Day Trip (Day 2):
This 10-hour tour from San Francisco to Sonoma and Napa begins with hotel pickup by biodiesel minicoach. Travel north toward wine country, exiting the city by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Look out at the Pacific Ocean on one side and San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz on the other before moving into the Marin Headlands, near Mt Tamalpais.
As you enter Sonoma County, admire rolling vineyards and hills while your guide tells you about this renowned viticulture region and its different varietals of wine. Your first stop is Benziger Family Winery, where you’ll take a 45-minute tour by open-air tram. Traverse the property’s biodynamic vineyards, see the fermentation center and crush pad, and walk into the cool barrel cave. You’ll learn about Benziger’s winemaking philosophy and practices, from the growing of pesticide-free organic grapes to the aging process to the bottle.
Visit the tasting room for a sample of wines, and then sit down to a picnic lunch, which includes a deli sandwich (ham, turkey, roast beef or vegetarian), pasta salad, fruit and a cookie. Afterward, return to your minicoach for the drive through more of wine country’s picturesque terrain, making your way into Napa County. Visit three to five wineries and tasting rooms in the towns of Oakville, Yountville or Napa.
Your day trip ends with the return journey to San Francisco; make a photo stop at a viewpoint above the Golden Gate Bridge before hotel drop-off in the city.