California, Here We Come!

Even though February just began, I’m counting down to spring break in March because my friends and I are planning the ultimate Pacific coast road trip from San Francisco to LA! While researching for this trip, I was overwhelmed by the number of things we could do in this state. California’s got it all – ocean, mountains, forests, desert…no wonder y’all call it “west coast best coast.” So this is why I need your help narrowing down the best of the best! Below, I listed a few of the cities we plan to visit. Please send over suggestions: where are your favorite places to eat and see?

A. San Francisco

B, C. Monterey & Carmel

monterey carmel California

Does anyone know what’s the significance of this tree? It pops up a lot in my Google image searches of “Monterey.” Source

D. Big Sur

E. Morro Bay

F. Santa Barbara

G. Los Angeles

I’m interested in visiting “unique” places, such as little known, local hangout spots, rather than the big-name tourist attractions (though I’ll indulge in some, of course!). As you can see on the map below, our destinations are pretty spaced out. Please help us fill in the blanks!

Since this trip will last only 1 week, I currently have the “I’ll sleep when I die!” mentality. I literally want to see everything. A friend once told me that if I loved a city/place enough, I would go back and visit often. Perhaps this thought will help curb my greedy appetite so that I can slowly soak in California’s beauty one day at a time.

Thanks for reading, and for your duly-noted suggestions!

P.S. Road trip complete! Check out my posts about it here.

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29 thoughts on “California, Here We Come!

  1. Absolutely love that drive!! Stay on Highway 1 as much as you can (it pops onto the 101 and back) it takes way longer but is so very worth it!
    San Francisco – museums and trolley rides for the culture, food is amazing almost everywhere, Lands End for a nice short hike and view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
    Monterey/Carmel – take the 17 mile drive! That’s where you’ll see the Cyprus trees. They are iconic for the area. Take a picnic with you! Oh and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see/do also.
    Big Sur is lovely little place! But go an hour south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the gorgeous waterfall spilling into the ocean.
    Morro Bay is a cute little fishing town…if you like salt water taffy they have a place downtown you can’t miss! There’s some beautiful trails up Montana De Oro and the sand dunes are sort of cool too!
    Between Morro Bay and Santa Barbara there’s a little German town called Solvang that would be a must see also if you like German food/pastries and is also a great place to stretch your legs! There’s also Andersen’s Pea soup which has amazing pea soup!
    Oh how I miss Santa Barbara! There’s a restaurant at the base of the pier, Brophy Bros, that is amazing! Then walk the downtown shops….or just sit at the beach and enjoy.
    There is a way to hop off the 101 at Oxnard/Pt Mugu (south of Santa Barbara) to take highway 1 around and through Malibu. It’s a far prettier drive than the 101 to the 405 parking lot.
    Los Angeles has sooo much to do! I wouldn’t know where to direct you there. Just so much available!
    California is a crazy big state! I have lived in So Cal and Nor Cal for 20 years and still haven’t gotten to experience all of it! Have a wonderful time!! I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with ideas!

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    • Wow, thanks for that detailed reply! I appreciate all the suggestions and will definitely have to check out Solvang now. I’m sure it’ll take a lifetime to experience all of California!

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  9. I recommend to visit Solvang too, It’s a lovely place. Around Solvang there are various wineries where you can see the process of making wine https://mariannegv.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/solvang-california-like-a-fairy-tale/.
    What I usually do in Santa Barbara is strolling around downtown and you will always find lovely places. I recommend to visit Santa Barbara Courthouse, an amazing building, there you can ask for a freee downtown map where you can locate the interesting places there. The last time I went to Santa Barbara I took a walking architecture tour that starts at the public library, it was well worth and it’s not crowded (we were only 3 persons). There are LOT of things to do. I would love to live in this City.
    In LA I LOVE the Getty Center, the architecture is great, another interesting museum is the JANM.
    As you say, there are lots of thing to do in California.
    Greetings,
    Marianne

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    • Hi Marianne, thanks for all your recommendations! I’ll definitely keep your suggestions in mind for next time. I imagine that the walking tour of Santa Barbara would be really cool, and I’d totally love to visit LA’s museums. Thank you!

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