Heaven on Earth! That is the best way to describe the drive on scenic Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Monterey Bay. It took us about two and half hours but it wasn’t enough! I could drive that drive every day for the rest of my life!
We spent Christmas in Monterey because it is a cozy beach town and amazingly romantic. We rented a cottage off Airbnb for $165 a night. It was perfect! There was a giant Jacuzzi tub, kitchen, and Netflix. We binge watch documentaries like no bodies business! The first day we got settled in and went on a Trader Joes run for my FIRST ENGLISH CHRISTMAS DINNER. You wouldn’t think it’s that different but Aidan was looking for all kinds of things I had no clue what they were, like goose fat and Yorkshire puddings- which isn’t pudding! We were so hungry from all the grocery shopping and of course forgot to pick up dinner for that night so we stopped at this little BBQ chicken shop; it was SO yummy. For the life of me I can’t remember what it’s called but you must go there. That is if you eat meat- which I no longer do, but if I were to I’d definitely get it from there! It’s right across from Trader Joes and Safeway- you can’t miss it!
I was on Texas time the entire trip which meant waking up at 6 am and going to sleep 8 pm, so this meant we were up for the sun rises! I know Cali is where you watch sun sets but I’ve never been one for following the crowd. The best sun rise of the trip was at Lovers Point in Monterey. We sat on the empty beach and watched the waves roll in as the sun rose over it. There is something so enlightening about watching the sunset- I love it! My favorite thing about Cali was the lifestyle. People are active! When we were walking around lovers point there was a surfer there becoming more one with nature than I could ever imagine, and trust me I’ll never be that close! It was in the 40s- not even a wetsuit would do the trick for me!
So we started our Christmas at a beautiful beach with an amazing sun rise! I even got in my favorite quickie work out- Big Butt Workout. (FIND IT ON, KEEPING FIT ON THE ROAD) But for the most part on Christmas we just stayed in and enjoyed our meal and precious little cottage. The day after Christmas, we went whale watching and it was SO AMAZING… for the first hour then it was boring. It was whale central but there was something about being on a charter boat with strangers that was so un-natural. We should have done a kayaking tour but it was too cold for me. If it’s a warm day that’s what I’d recommend but even if you get a chance to go out on the boat- it’s cool to see the whales!
The Airbnb we stayed in offered free Monterey Aquarium tickets. After the whale watching tour we decided to check out the aquarium that I’d heard about from everyone. I can say I was never taken to aquariums and shows as a child because my mom didn’t agree with it, so this was my first experience and it was a SAD ONE! The creatures are majestic and move so beautifully however the tanks are extremely small with loads of animals cramped together. These animals are used to traveling the world and now for our enjoyment we’ve trapped them in a 9×9 tank.
Traveling through Big Sur
What beauty! All of it! My advice, avoid the crowds at McWay Falls (the famous Big Sur photo) and head to one of the many hiking trails. We did one right off high way one but I cannot remember the name. It was so cool, why? Because we had to hike through a river. In below 50 degree weather! At first I was not about it, bare feet in near freezing water, no thank you! But I am so glad I did it! The hike was nice and the beach we turned out on was just as beautiful as any other view of Big Sur! But mostly STOP and enjoy the view as much as you can! Like at the restaurant above- Nepenthe. It is the perfect spot to chill out after a long day of hiking!
After a long day of driving and hiking our way down the West Coast we needed a good night’s rest before continuing our journey to Venice. We stayed at a hotel in Pismo beach. It looked fine online so we booked- $100 a night. Ocean Breeze Inn was THE WORST PLACE I’ve ever stayed by a mile. It was clean and the front desk was nice but what turned us off was the fact that we were poisoned by the gas heater! We had carbon monoxide poisoning. The front office of course wouldn’t hear us so I am writing it in every place I can- DON’T STAY THERE!
We planned on two days in Venice but decided to head to San Diego early instead. It was a great environment! We packed a picnic and ate on the beach, watched the performers, and even met some awesome locals. This place is a blast!
We stayed at Venice Beach Hostel in a private room for a whopping $80 a night. It was HUGE! Like the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and it was a HOSTEL! Would recommend it to anyone!
San Diego stole my heart! It is everything that I love in this world! The moment we stepped foot out of the car I knew I had found my Heaven! It was much warmer than the first part of the trip, which we all know at this point I hate the cold. It was relaxed! Perfect way to say good bye to California.
We stayed at Pacific Beach because it had everything in a condensed area so there would be no more driving. Thank Heavens! We stayed at Pacific Beach Inn- $119 a night, huge, clean, good tea selection at breakfast, and a 100 ft. walk to the beach. We had the best time in Pacific Beach! We walked the beach, boardwalk, rented bikes, shopped a local farmers market, and ate on or near the beach every meal.
STAY TUNED FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IN PACIFIC BEACH!