Driving 80mph Along PCH Listening to Beach Boys Classics

Taking the cruise from San Francisco to LA along the Pacific Coast Highway is the probably the most picturesque and also cliche ‘California Dreaming’ thing you can do. And, its worth it. You’ll land in San Francisco, rent a mustang from Hertz and get started with your six day roadtrip along the water, through wine country, bypass LA, and land smack dab in the desert.

Beauty Beyond the Big Sur Name

California’s rugged coastline between Carmel and San Simeon is what people call Big Sur. It’s bordered by the Santa Lucia mountains and the Pacific Ocean. To me, Big Sur is more of a peaceful, spiritual state of mind that a pinpoint on the globe. You watch the sun set out in the Pacific Ocean, you camp along the coast, you see the starry night sky a couple hours later. You sit and chat with your pals while making quesadillas. This is where you will have the most genuine relationship with nature, an unspoiled moment where not even the Cali beach haze can’t take it away.
Stay (Camp): Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Stay (Hotel): Esalen Institution 

Napa, You’ve Got Competition

The weirdest thing about the Ojai region (Northeast of Santa Barbara) is the obsession with wine. Everyone walks around with a glass in their hands 10AM onwards. And, rightfully so. Old Creek Ranch Winery beats O’Brien Estate winery any day. Napa isn’t California’s only wine region. After you have wine overload at the winery, what’s better than boozy shopping and sightseeing? Santa Barbara is only 45 minutes away from Napa, so leave in the late afternoon so you have sunset hour in SB.

Shimmy on Down To Santa Barbara

Go to the Santa Barbara fishermen wharf and check out the view, maybe add in another rosé at the Habor Restaurant on the wharf. After you simmer down from your booze, go to State Street and have a nice sushi dinner at Arigato or Lebanese food at Zaytoon. 

Stay: Kimpton Goodland Hotels (Lucky you! My UCSB alumni discount is already applied)



Top Down Cruisin’

Los Angeles is a destination where you’ll need at least a week to understand why people either love it or hate it. If you do must make a pit stop in LA, do try Little Sister, an Asian fusion restaurant in Manhattan Beach right off HWY 1. Order the lemongrass beef vermicelli and the imperial rolls. Make that, two orders of imperial rolls. Afterwards catch sunset on the pier before your night out in LA. Go see why LA rooftops are featured in every travel magazine published. Take an uber to EPLP in Hollywood and see where the night takes you! (Probably down to In N Out by 1:00AM)

Stay: The London West Hollywood

Or, Airbnb has many good options for your pricepoint. (LA’s $$$)

Go to the Desert (And Never Come Back…)

There’s always something about leaving the city life and heading to the desert that is magical. We skipped Palm Springs and went straight to Joshua Tree. The summer heat was relentless, so we opted for an Airbnb rather than camping. Our group played Jimi Hendrix on the old school recordplayer while the guys cooked more quesadillas. When it hit ten, the outdoor speakers were serenading us with Tycho’s Burning man set that lasted until morning. We sat on the couches outdoor sharing traveling stories and watching the constellations.

Stay: Airbnb

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