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Visit California fam: Golden coast culture, cuisine & sporting marvels

You recently discovered what went down on the Visit California’s SoCal fam, but what about the NorCal crew? Travelling from Australia to San Francisco with United, we have been along for the ride (digitally, anyway) sharing insights and highlights. Find out what went down.

You recently discovered what went down on the Visit California’s SoCal fam, but what about the NorCal crew? Travelling from Australia to San Francisco with United, we have been along for the ride (digitally, anyway) sharing insights and highlights. Find out what went down.

Visit California, in partnership with Infinity Holidays and United Airlines, invited four agents to join them on an epic adventure through Northern California. It’s all part of their California Agent Advisory Council, giving agents who are passionate about the Golden State a chance to experience the best bits firsthand.

Monique Campanella from Visit California showcased the highlights and high vibes of electric San Francisco and the bohemian surfing mecca of Santa Cruz.

The NorCal fam group then joined the concurrently running Southern California famil group in Monterey for a jam-packed final 24 hours!  

San Francisco 

Visit California
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge proved a San Francisco highlight. ©Belle Goldie

Visit California sure know how to hit a home run on their famils. As evidenced by the group’s enthusiasm for their guided behind-the-scenes tour of San Francisco’s Oracle Park! Sitting in the major league’s dugout and a peek inside the Visitor’s Clubhouse proved the perfect start to this Northern California fam. 

Next, time at the famed Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf before a Cali comfort food welcome dinner in the lively Castro neighbourhood. 

Day two saw the group take the Tastes of Little Italy: North Beach San Francisco Food Tour. Their Instagram pics made us wish we were there immediately! North Beach is the city’s famed Italian-American neighbourhood with everything you’d expect to enjoy there, including bakeries, delis, coffee shops (of course!) and gourmet chocolate boutiques.

Michelle Barker from Jayes Travel claimed the North Beach food tour as her San Francisco highlight, “A little history, a little fashion, and a LOT of food. Trying hole-in-the-wall places you would usually walk past and meeting the local businesss operators make it an absolute San Francisco must-do (ask for Bryan)”.

An afternoon electric bike ride with Blazing Saddles saw the group ride San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Belle Goldie from itravel Penrith loved it, commenting, “Biking the back streets and little pockets of San Francisco, I was surprised by how many layers this city has. There are so many beautiful parks, monuments, and waterfront views to enjoy before even getting to the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge took my breath away, and the ferry from Sausalito proved a lovely ending to an awesome day.”

The final San Francisco day included riding the SkyStar Observation Wheel at Fisherman’s Wharf and a half-day at leisure with a CityPASS. The group loved the flexibility to choose two extra attractions, alongside a San Francisco Bay cruise and California Academy of Sciences. 

Santa Cruz 

Visit California
Choo choo: the NorCal fam rode the Redwood Forest Steam Train. ©Kate Walsh

Known for its stunning beaches, lively downtown area, and rich cultural heritage, Santa Cruz is an ideal next stop on any Northern California adventure. It’s only 90 minutes from San Francisco.  

Taking in the Pacific Ocean vistas and epic views of Monterey Bay along West Cliff Drive is a Santa Cruz must-do, as is shopping Pacific Avenue. A sensational Wine Tasting Experience at Birichino wowed, as did dinner with Santa Cruz Country host Flavia. He took the group to his fave restaurant, Lillian’s Italian Kitchen.

The following day, the Visit California kicked off the day with a self-guided hike through the ancient redwoods, and a journey aboard the historic Redwood Forest Steam Train revealed a different side to the region. 

Visit California NorCal Fam
Capitola Village delivered vibrant colours, vibes & good times for the fam group. ©Kate Walsh

Can you visit Santa Cruz and not visit The Penny Ice Creamery? Probably, but should you miss it? Definitely not! They’re famous for serving five unique flavours daily alongside two staples.

After a visit to vibrant Capitola Village and craft brew tasting at English Ales Brewery, dinner at Home Soquel saw the group head to bed with huge smiles and full bellies. 

Kate Walsh from Wauchope Travel raved about Santa Cruz, “Capitola Village was vibrantly gorgeous and such a cute beachfront community. I absolutely loved seeing the sea lions off Santa Cruz Pier, which is the largest pier I’ve ever set foot on!”


NorCal Fam
The exciting union of the Northern California & Southern California famil groups. ©Kate Walsh

Only an hour from Santa Cruz, Monterey hosted the finale for both the Northern California and Southern California famil groups.  

This coastal gem charms with its timeless architecture, marine wonders, and laidback atmosphere. An iconic not-to-be-missed stop is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, followed by a stop to Schooners to see if it lives up to its ‘best drink with a view’ spot, Schooners (it does, apparently).  

Caroline Moit from MTA Travel loved the beauty of Monterey. She shared, “Wonderful waterfront, great dining, cute downtown area, and one of the best aquariums”.

The final day came far too fast, but the activities weren’t done just yet. A drive along the stunning Big Sur Coast to Carmel on Sea wowed, as did a spot of golf at Pebble Beach Resort.  

Visit California NorCal Fam
A wow-worthy scenic drive along the Big Sur Coast. ©Kate Walsh

The joined group headed to SFO for their United Economy Plus flight home. Alongside extra legroom, they’ve got tons of tales, California souvenirs, and an even greater thirst to promote California to Aussie travellers.

Visit California host, Monique Campanella, added to the group highlights, “In Santa Cruz, we loved drifting off to ocean sounds at the retro Dream Inn, plus walking among the ancient redwoods. We were all very impressed with the Monterey Aquarium.”

She concluded, “We had a fantastic time road-tripping from city to sea and loved uncovering California’s diversity, both in landscape and activities. It’s given the group plenty of fun experiences to share with their clients!”

The deets 

Visit California
SoCal & NorCal unite at Monterey’s Stokes Adobe. L-R John, Samantha, David, Belle, Caroline, Vanessa, Monique, Michelle, Kate, Tracey, Dana & Eva. ©Dana Brown

Got clients who will love this amazing Northern California itinerary? Infinity Holidays has both fam itineraries packaged and ready for sale, making life super chill (just like California)! Check them out here.

To discover more stellar Northern California attractions, head to the Visit California website.  

For all things United Airlines, visit their website here

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