The Perfect California Roadtrip

April 6, 2019

Last week we had a chance to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles and so many of you have asked for a peek at the itinerary! I wish we would’ve done a bit more planning, but we found some gems and have some learnings to share with you.

Day 1: MUIR WOODS & SAN FRANCISCO
Both of us had spent time in San Francisco, so we didn’t take a whole day to explore this time, but I would highly recommend checking out this city on your first day if you haven’t yet!

We started our day in Muir Woods and spent about 3 hours there hiking the Dipsea Trail. There are multiple different trails with varying degrees of difficulty, so no worries if you’re not up for a steep trek. Dipsea was challenging but beautiful. Before going, make sure to secure a parking reservation online. The lots fill up fast and you must have a ticket to enter. Also, be sure to screenshot your ticket because there is no internet there to pull it up!

On our way back down the coast, we stopped at the last exit before the Golden Gate Bridge and it leads to a few incredible vantage points – a must see!

DAY 2: SANTA CRUZ, MONTEREY, CARMEL
If you love fun and whimsical amusement parks, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a dream! You can pay for each ride individually or you can buy a full day pass. We rode the buckets for an overhead view of the park and snacked on grilled corn and Dole Whip.

Afterward, we headed down to Monterey. I would definitely recommend checking out the Aquarium, Cannery Row and the 17-mile drive. We also stopped at Revival Ice Cream and they had the most incredible vegan/gluten free homemade waffle cones and vegan ice cream.

We stayed in Carmel, drove along the beach on Scenic Drive and had dinner in the cute town of Carmel-By-The-Sea.

Day 3: BIG SUR, HEARST CASTLE, PISMO BEACH, SOLVANG, SANTA BARBARA
We started the day early and drove through Big Sur. We stopped about 10 times to take pictures because the coastline was that beautiful!!!
We missed the turn, but I would definitely take the time to check out Pfeiffer Beach State Park. Be sure to download maps before you go, because there is no cell service.

Next, we stopped at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, but we didn’t make reservations so we were unable to tour the property – sad!! Lesson learned – reserve a tour in advance, they don’t offer general admission at all.

In Pismo Beach, head to the Oceano Dunes SVRA, off of Grand Ave. You will drive on the beach for a while, park, and then climb up over the overgrown sand dunes to reach the beautiful vast dunes. We ran and played and soaked in the beauty of this space. It felt like we were in another country,

Afterward, we stopped in Solvang to check out the cute Danish Town! Graham snacked on a pretzel from a bakery and we walked in and out of all of the cute shops.

We ended the day in Santa Barbara. We parked on State Street, walked through the shops and farmer’s market, all the way to the beach, and then walked down to see the Chromatic Gate. It was a lot of walking but totally worth it to take in the scenery!