Where to go in California
Jake is from California and after we first met we of course did the traditional highway 1 road trip from San Diego to San Francisco. If you don’t mind driving this is something you have to do once in your life and if you are a fan of motorcycles then do it on a bike. The highway along the coast is amazing and there are so many small little towns worth visiting on the way.
Have you ever had a hard time choosing between a big city and a beach town when deciding where to live? Well, San Diego allows you to have both. San Diego might be one of the most comfortable places in the US; it’s the perfect mix between a big city, a laid-back beach town and an entrepreneurial mecca. You will have great weather all year around and there is something for everyone. I would recommend visiting La Jolla with its beautiful beaches and sea lions.
Read more about what to do in San Diego here from travelbloguer.
This is an interesting place and most people have mixed feelings about LA, either you love or you hate it. With the entertainment business at its heart you get a sense of anything’s possible and I can understand why so many people travel or move here from around the world. LA is Hollywood with all the celebrities and if you happen to come here you need to take the “celebrity buss”
where they take you around Beverly Hills and point out all the celebrity’s homes. Other than that I wouldn’t say Hollywood is that much to see, it’s quite dirty with a lot of homeless people. Unfortunately, we never made it out to some of LA’s famous clubs but I’m sure it’s a great place if you like fancy clubs.
Los Angeles, either you Love it or Hate it
My problem with LA is all the traffic and fog, wherever you go or try to go, there will be traffic, cars, cars, cars… However outside of all this traffic once you make it to the coast you have several beaches to visit. First the most famous ones; Venice beach and Santa Monica but we would recommend Hermosa Beach for its little hipster community vibe, Huntington beach for its long beautiful sand beach and Jake’s personal favorite Surfrider beach in Malibu.
We didn’t get to spend much time in Santa Barbara but when we drove into downtown I was struck by just how beautiful this city is. The downtown is very clean and filled with expensive shops, nice restaurants and bars. The city itself lies on a small flat outcropping from the large mountains that line the coast. So, most of the city is along the coast on the flat section but many of the homes are on the mountain hills and overlook the city. They must all have million dollar views.
– See also One Girl One Worlds tips on what to do in Santa Barbara.
San Luis Obispo
The laid back collage town where you will find fun and cheap bars, great affordable BBQ and friendly people. Every Thursday they arrange Farmers market where you can find fresh food from the farms, people hanging out at the outdoor restaurants and
sometimes some live bands along the street.
Every month there is some kind of festival and people hanging out in the streets on the weekends, you will also find a couple of wineries and hiking or bike trails around the area that could be worth looking into.
Monterey, a small coastal town with an amazing aquarium to see but unless you have the gear to go scuba diving I don’t know what else there is to do here. I would recommend heading south a little bit to the tiny town of Carmel. This is the cutest little town, with small picturesque houses and shops. Walk through the town window gazing and even if its not the summer, you need to visit their beach. It is at the end of the city with beautiful white sand, cypress trees, cliffs and a view of the famous Pebble Beach golf course.
Beautiful and cute little town that close down at 9pm
It’s an absolutely beautiful beach. Then, about 10 min south of Carmel, you will find Point Lobos. A natural reserve with beautiful cliffs and great trails to explore the nature, it’s definitely worth seeing. Something to remember in Carmel though is the hours, I believe it’s a bit of a retirement town since everything close (even restaurants and bars) at 9pm! So don’t plan to go there for a late dinner, it’s also quite expensive.
The most laid-back surf town in the US, this is where all the hippies, surfers, biker riders and skaters settle down. Its a great atmosphere with a small downtown where you find everything from big chains to small personal shops and people selling their handmade bracelets on the street. Walk along the main strip and it will take you down to the famous beach with the amusement park, I have honestly never tried it out but it looks fun.
Santa Cruz the laid back surf town
Santa Cruz is where Jake grew up so therefore we decided to also have our wedding there on the beach and I can highly recommend it! It was beautiful with the water in the background and all the surfers, we used Dream inn Hotels for accommodations and dinner with a view of the sea.
Opposite to LA, this is not the entertainment city of US, this in my mind is a city of free will. With so many different districts to choose from, there is something here for everyone. You have the main areas like China town, North beach (Little Italy), Haight (the hippie area), The Mission, Union Square, Sunset, Pacific Heights, The Marina, Castro and soooo many other little areas to discover. The amazing thing about SF is how close they all are and yet they can seem and feel so different.
San Francisco, a little bit of everything
Personally, San Francisco is my favorite city because you have a lot of diversity in the people and the culture and it is so international. The scenery is beautiful with water surrounding you and the Golden gate bridge. Only 30 min south you have great beaches, 1 hour north you have wineries in Napa and to the east you have the mountains and lakes for hiking or skiing (Lake Tahoe).
– Only here for a short time? Check out these tips from Flirting With the Globe
What to think about:
- The trip takes about 15 hours straight if you drive along the coast the entire way.
- Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Carmel is so beautiful but be prepared to drive slow and stop many times along the way. Don’t take this highway if your in a hurry.
- DON’T visit the “lonely cypress” if you have been to Italy its not worth seeing.