October 31, 2016
The California Highway 1 is one of the world's most famous coast-hugging routes. It starts in my beloved San Francisco and goes all the way to the south ending in the beautiful San Diego. Along the way you can visit some of the most famous California cities: Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. You can go wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley, one of most diverse grape-growing regions in the country. Finally, you must stop at the charming coastal towns of Monterey and Carmel. Today I want to give you a small tour around some of these places.
You can start this trip at either end. However, since the city by the bay was my home during my time in the US, all my trips started there. I've written many posts about San Francisco that you can see here.
Santa Cruz is a surf town. It's actually where the sport was first introduced in California. It's also a great destination for families because of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a yesteryear-style esplanade which includes classic coasters, arcade games and a historic carousel. Finally, it's full of college students attracted by the boho chic restaurants you can find downtown.
MONTEREY & CARMEL
After San Francisco, these are my favorite places to go in California. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a wealthy fairy tale town, I've never seen anything like it before. Monterey is a charming town famous for delicious seafood, its renowned aquarium and for being the setting of some of John Steinbeck's books. Here you can't miss the scenic 17-mile drive and a historic landmark: the beautiful Carmel Mission. I've already devoted a post to each town, click on the names to read them.
William Randolph Hearst built my dream house. The Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California in 1957. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park, so unfortunately it will never be up for sale... Click on the name to read the post.
LOS ANGELES & SANTA MONICA
The City of Angels is the largest one in California. If you prefer smaller places, stay in Santa Monica like I did. From there you can use public transport to get anywhere you want. Musts are the Getty Villa in Malibu, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Downtown L.A.
I had always been obsessed with L.A. It was #1 on my bucket list as a teenager. I thought it'd become my favorite city in the world. Oh boy, how wrong I was. It was a disappointment. Even though I'm a city girl I found it too big and it's not that beautiful. It's a great place to live if you are rich, otherwise, not that great. Don't get me wrong, it's still worth visiting but it's not as glamorous as movies and TV shows have led us to believe.
LAST STOP: SAN DIEGO
I was surprised by how much I liked San Diego. The best places to go are the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, El Coronado and Old Town San Diego. Read this post to see why it stole my heart.
How about you? What are the top 3 places on your bucket list?