Hello friends- long time no chat! I wish I had a better reason for going MIA other than the fact that ‘life‘ has been crazy (in all the best ways!) I’ve really just been enjoying time with my family, friends, and wedding planning. Seriously, how is it already June?
So going along with the title of this post, Myles and just got back from our long awaited roadtrip up the California coast a few weeks ago. I’d been looking forward to this trip for months (…literally six but who’s counting 😉 ) and was so pumped when the day was finally here! I also felt really inspired to whip out my DSLR and put it to use after weeks of not being behind the lens. Needless to say it felt so GOOD to be back.
We enjoyed our trip so much that I really wanted to share what we did/where we stayed with ya’ll. When I set out on planning our trip, I definitely turned to blogs, instagram, google, etc to help map out our itinerary. It was somewhat overwhelming. So I figured why not do a day by day travel blog style to help anyone planning a trip of their own! If anything, I hope ya’ll can enjoy the beautiful pictures- California is truly spectacular <3
In typical accountant style, I mapped out our plans day by day on a nice little spreadsheet (Myles got a kick out of this). This was just a ‘rough’ itinerary of things that we hoped to see/do and we definitely strayed from plans – but that’s the fun in road trips right? We also booked all of our hotels up front, so we didn’t have to worry about where we were staying every night.
Five Day California Roadtrip Overview:
Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach
Point Dumes, Santa Barbara, Slovang, Pismo Beach
San Simeon, Paso Robles, Monterey
Point Lobos, Big Sur, Carmel
Santa Cruz, Henry Cowell Redwoods Park
So without further adieu…let’s get started (apologies in advance for picture overload)
Myles and I decided to take a late flight out on Wednesday after work, which seemed like a good idea at the time but we didn’t get to LAX until after 11:00 pm (2 AM east coast time!) Needless to say we were exhausted, but pumped for the trip ahead. We picked up our rental car and headed straight to the hotel to catch up on sleep. Since we were only going to be at the hotel for less than 10 hours, we stayed close to the airport using one of our free Marriott nights (win!)
Surprisingly, we both woke up really early and headed out to start our day. Myles has been to California a few times, but really wanted to see Muscle Beach on the Venice Beach boardwalk. It definitely wasn’t what either of us expected, but was pretty cool to see in person. Plus we were both excited to finally see the Pacific Ocean (despite how cold it was!)
Random, but I’ve never seen a public parking lot this before where they stack cars- kind of cool!
Next stop was Santa Monica, which was just down the road. We parked at the pier and walked around for about an hour or so. Such a cool spot and I told Myles next time we need to ride the ferris wheel 😉
As soon as we left Santa Monica, the clouds finally parted and the sun came out! I noticed in California the weather can change so quickly. One minute it’s foggy/cloudy and the next it’s blue skies.
I’m not going to lie, our next stop in Huntington Beach was one I had been looking forward to for way too long- Lemonade! I’d heard so many good things about this California chain and couldn’t wait to try it for myself. Seriously, check out the menu – it’s too die for.
As expected, Lemonade didn’t disappoint and of course the lemonade itself was delicious (I had watermelon rosemary). For those visiting Cali- add this to your list of must eats NOW!
*seared tuna, curried cauliflower, and sugar snap peas/edamame*
*Don’t mind me, but I’ll sit here and eat Lemonade all day every day*
After lunch, we walked around Huntington Beach and the pier for about an hour soaking in the sun (note to self, sunscreen is a must even when it;s only like 60 degrees…) We both decided that next time we visit Cali, we want to stay in Huntington Beach for a night. There were so many nice restaurants on the water and cute shops…. definitely could have used more time here.
Also how gorgeous is the water and crystal clear blue skies?!?
*I love the palm tree lined streets!!*
*Finally found someone to take our pic!*
We seriously could have spent a few more hours walking around exploring Huntington Beach, but we had to head to our next stop about 30 min south – Newport Beach!
Before checking into our hotel, we explored a little bit of the Balboa Peninsula and both agreed that we could stay here for a night (notice a theme, ha?!) This area was way more secluded/less touristy and up our alley. The houses were so cute and the little waterways that connected to the mainland we’re really cool too.
At this point it was about 4 PM and we were exhausted from a day full of activities, so we decided to head to our hotel – The Newport Beach Marriott Bayview. Checking in was painless, and we were so excited to find out we were upgraded to a balcony room with a view!
A round of naps and a few selfies later and we were off to the Balboa Resort for drinks on the water. Myles had stayed here before and raved about the resort/location so I was so excited to check it out! Needless to say it didn’t disappoint….
*This Lilly dress might be my new favorite! Also if you follow along on my Insta, I’ve probably worn these shoes 50x (not even joking). They’re SO good and so comfy! Worth the splurge*
After a round of drinks, it was time for Myles’ favorite part of the trip (slightly kidding..haha). We headed to Fashion Island to pick up my very early birthday present. This mall is incredible first of all- it blows all of the outdoor malls in RVA to shame! Honestly, I’m glad I don’t live nearby!
After our shopping adventure, we finally decided on dinner at Red O Restaurant near the mall. It seriously was the cutest restaurant ever (hence the above snap, lol!) and I’m bummed I didn’t take any pics – which normally means I devoured my food! We enjoyed margs, chips/salsa, and fajitas. All and all a perfect night cap to an amazing Day 1 in California.
Phew- Well I hope ya’ll enjoyed my first Cali recap. I really loved our plans for the first day. I felt like we weren’t too rushed and saw a lot. However, I definitely would have liked to add another night in either Huntington or Newport Beach. But if you can take one thing away from this it would be to eat at Lemonade if you’re in the area!!!
Thanks for reading!