So we recently went on a 9 day journey throughout the southern region of California. To give you an idea of how long this 9 days took to plan, let’s just say we booked the flights in November just before Thanksgiving, then the Air BNB’s after that and didn’t finally finish booking the lodging until the end of December… Mostly we were looking for good deals, but we were also trying to gauge our ability to actually do as much as I had planned for us to do…
We ended up with 7 (ok 10) destinations, 12 pages of itinerary, and a lot of amazing sites to see ahead of us.
I’ll admit, I’ve been reluctant to dive into the experience because (selfishly) I was so overwhelmed with joy while we were there, that I was afraid by sharing it I would lose a piece… but maybe instead this will inspire some new grand tour! I hope so!
So the plan was… to take a rod trip… a fun, carefully planned adventure which I assure you was an eye opener (brilliant and terrifying).
In the process of deciding where we wanted to go we considered Hawaii (flight took too long), Bali (we have a friend there who could tour guide us on a budget, but again the flight problem), Iceland (too cold in February), and finally… it dawned on me… I’ve (I mean we) always wanted to go to California!!
In fact, (my geeky side is showing) on my “5 year plan” (that is actually more of a loose set of hopes for the next 5 years) California is on there! It seems like a logical destination as well, since we wouldn’t need to worry about international barriers.
The good news is I checked off this glorious item from my bucket list. The bad news is, now I want to go back and see everything else!
Considering the length (depth) of the trip I chose to break it down into several blogs. Ready!
Oh yes the city of Angels: traffic, surfing, legal marijuana (which was clear by the clouds), and of course Hollywood. How can you possibly not be excited to brush past some super famous star on your way to get a gluten-free-soy-organic-bone-broth-frappe?
All jokes aside, I hardly pay attention to movie stars, I don’t watch reality shows, and unless it’s Mila Kunis, Ryan Reynolds or like 3 other people I could recognize, I wouldn’t be that excited. So Hollywood, we avoided. Venice beach however, was a totally different vibe.
The beach, was gigantic! It’s like a football field of sand. I guess the East Coast beaches have less girth… it was awesome!
The urban art game was amazing (on fleek)!
I was shocked at the homeless population; but despite their circumstances everyone seemed content, which was another surprise. I didn’t see many people that looked unhappy. It’s hard to pin down but going to a city like New York, people aren’t that outwardly easy to read. It seemed that there was a lot more transparency on the west coast.
So we walked Ocean Ave from our Air BNB to the downtown area of Venice, up the boardwalk and down to Bulletproof which was where my coffee game changed forever.
Clearly I had to bring this recipe to my kitchen because it was literally the best tasting, most energizing coffee I’ve had but without the crash! I should be getting paid for this endorsement, but it’s just true!
There we had brunch and it was still only 9:30 am, thanks to East Coast time for making me a West Coast morning person!
This was a yucca (gluten free potato-like thing) toast with avocado, smoked salmon and some other glorious magic! It was a whole new level of avocado toast.
So we fueled up and headed down route 1, starting out on our epic 9 day journey all around the southern part of California.
Santa Monica Pier
We would have ridden bikes down to it but it was a bit further than we wanted so we drove about 15 minutes north to check it out!
As we were walking in, a Buddhist monk offered Joe a bracelet saying something that sounded like “Pizza” and we realized he was saying “peace”. He was asking for a donation to help build a temple, so naturally joe offered him $5. But he pointed in his wallet to the $20 and said “noooo peeeaaassa”.
So we gave him a $10 and got two bracelets , wrote our names in his little book and now we can add “getting shaken down by a Buddhist monk for temple money” to our list of random life experiences we never expected!
The place was cute for kids! I think if I were a teenager I’d want my boyfriend to take me here for a date!
There were many people playing instruments and singing and even some jazz flute which made my day!
It was a cool place, but off we went to our next destination(s).
On the list of beaches I wanted to see this one was pretty high, mainly because it’s somewhere in the middle of busy LA life and laid back OC life…
It was a bit overcast but no problem for us since we didn’t plan to actually lay on the beach…
This was the Narragansett of the LA beaches in my opinion. Quaint but upscale and definetly beautiful!
So peaceful and again the beaches were huge in depth!
We then drove down Route 1 through some rough neighborhoods, and some oil rigs, (the Bridgeport of route 1), industrial and not too pretty.
Then we got to the pretty parts:
As we drove down this historic highway 1, I couldn’t help but think how cool it must have been in the 1960s driving a muscle car or a convertible down this route.
It really is the most beautiful after we got out of the city, and refinery area.
I couldn’t believe it was only 2:00pm… we had jammed so much in such a small amount of time but we didn’t feel rushed or tired it was just incredible!
I had an itinerary for each place we went, the LA one was pretty short, since we really only wanted to sleep, see some beaches, eat some tacos and set out our way… but the way down to San Diego had a lot of stops.
Beaches mostly, but the last stop was in Orange County at Laguna beach. Again, not for the reality stars, just for the beaches. I must say, I definitely understand what the hype is about. It’s amazingly beautiful!
We walked the majority of the walk on this walkway which I’m sure was donated by someone or in memory of someone but I didn’t catch the plaque.
So, there were a few different beaches here, the first was Goff’s Island beach.
The next was Treasure Island, where there were sea caves that glow purple and possibly hidden treasure.
As we continued down this path, my ultimate goal beach was Victoria beach and 1000 Steps beach, which were on opposite ends of each other.
Victoria beach was my main interest. The castle-like structure has a conflicting history. Some say it was for pirates, others say it was a light house. What is known for sure, is that the most recent owner was Bette Mitler. It is definetly a staircase, and it is definitely beautiful!
Some history is unknown by me but maybe someone can fill in the blanks. I know at high tide these (foundation looking) pools fill up with water and become warm tide pools!
What is inside? A rusty old spiral staircase. Spoiler!
What a beautiful place though! It really has this enchanting element, doesn’t it?
We got here just in time to realize we only paid for 2 hours of parking and we definetly were going to miss that window… so we scrambled back to the car.
At this point it was about 4:30 almost 5:00 and the sun was going down fast… 1000 Steps beach will be for my next Southern California tour.
We met up with some friends at a rooftop bar in town, called Sky Loft. It was a little swanky but mostly laid back, and the view was amazing!
We had some cocktails and dinner then headed for our final destination…
20,572 steps later….and a couple hundred drivable miles.
Stay tuned to hear about the next step in this 9 day adventure. Fun, fancy free, creative and on a budget!
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For more information on the details of this trip shoot me an email or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to give you more info!