These days, Groveland’s name isn’t quite as recognizable as counterparts like Yosemite and San Francisco, yet those areas wouldn’t be what they are today if it weren’t for the humble town. As an integral part of the California Gold Rush, Groveland today boasts history, nature, and an elevated restaurant scene. The destination also serves as the gateway to Yosemite, which means this itinerary includes time spent hiking and soaking in stunning vantage points along the way. To help relax after adventuring, brews and a spa treatment await as your reward after an invigorating day. In true California style, this trip is anything but monotonous as you explore the more urban areas of San Francisco and Oakland too.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Encounter History in Groveland
After your history lesson, chat about your findings during a wine tasting at Yosemite Cellars. Sip on sweet 2021 Rosé or challenge your tastebuds to a 2020 Fireball Red wine sampling. The first day is also a fabulous opportunity to rent a canoe and spend time on the lake at Stanislaus National Forest. If the weather is warm, add a dip in the water at one of the sandy beaches to your agenda.
To find souvenirs for friends and family, shop at The Grove Mercantile. Not only do they carry various goods in their boutique but having ice cream—they even have dairy-free options—while you’re there is a must. Nearby is the oldest saloon in California, the Iron Door Saloon, where you can sip a cocktail while you listen to live music.
Day 2Find Beauty at Yosemite National Park
Another stunning option, currently only reachable by hike, Glacier Point offers an exquisite view of the mountains if you’re willing to go on foot. No matter the season, there are activities to enjoy, like stargazing and snowshoeing, if you bring your own equipment. Coupled with yesterday’s museum, dive deeper by visiting the Yosemite History Center to see reenactments of forging metal and take a horse-drawn wagon ride.
Or, for multiple moderate hiking routes, Sentinel Dome and Taft Point are both popular with travelers. Either select one trail to hike—each will take about two hours—or spend four hours traversing the almost five-mile loop. One perk about Yosemite is that there are many eateries within the park, and The Ahwahnee Dining Room, where you can look at the landscape through tall windows as you dine, is a must.
Day 3Adventures Near Yosemite
If you skipped packing a lunch, grab a bite at Priest Station Cafe. Not only has it been family-owned for six generations, but the property has served as a restaurant, hotel, and stagecoach stop. For the ultimate in post-rafting unwinding, book treatment services at Rush Creek Spa, where they will treat you to massages and facials, all within a serene setting. You can also choose to eat at one of the on-site dining options.
Perhaps just as rejuvenating as a spa session, a cold beer can have the same effect. Around the Horn Brewing Company is a craft brewery with area-themed names for their beers, such as Hetch Hetchy Haze and Wapama Mama. If beer isn’t your go-to drink, Around the Horn also brews a tongue-tingling Extra Crisp Apple Cider to quench your thirst.
Days 4 and 5Revel in Oakland and San Francisco
While in town, eat at Delancey Street Restaurant. Although it’s a training school, it consistently receives rave reviews for its delectable cuisine. When the mood for Italian food strikes, check out Cotogna. The restaurant serves house-made pasta and changes its menu based on what’s available locally that day. Finally, book a Black Food Tour in Oakland, where you can sample the city’s finest local food and get your fill of distinctive dishes in progressive style.
No matter your interest, this duo of cities offers something to add to your itinerary. Stroll through Oakland’s Morcom Rose Garden, where the first rose was planted in 1932, and the legacy of serenity continues to this day. If you spend hours watching movies and can recite every line, experience a movie location tour in San Francisco, where you can also take an iconic cable car ride. Of course, before heading out of town, make time to eat, drink, and shop at the Ferry Building Marketplace.