Have you been thinking about taking the scenic trip down the ethereal California coast? Our Flightie Amanda Callaghan travelled down the Pacific Coast Highway, shares the journey she made in the Golden State starting in the City By the Bay:
It’s always been a dream of mine to travel the coast of California, see the views, and explore all of the little towns along the way. The day finally arrived when I was lucky enough to experience five quintessentially California places in five days.
San Francisco. We met in San Fran and left for Monterey first thing in the morning. The drive was beautiful, peaceful, and scenic. We drove through redwood forests and the ocean glistened. We visited the Monterey Aquarium which was amazing and would be great for families. We checked in to a hotel called The Hotel Pacific. This hotel was deceiving – maybe in one of the best ways possible. While the outside looked like it’s seen better days, the rooms were immaculate and felt like the inside of a cozy cottage. I would definitely go back and stay there again.
Carmel and San Jose. The next day we stopped for a spiritual visit to the Carmel Mission and had lunch at Portabella. This restaurant is a must! The service was fantastic, the seafood is fresh and tasty and the burgers are such a treat. Carmel is like a fantasy village. The buildings are unique and the beach is large and swimmable. I would go back in a heartbeat. Later in the day we went to San Jose to visit the Tech Museum, a really cool interactive science and technology centre.
Napa Valley. The next morning we travelled to Wine Country. I can’t even begin to explain how peaceful Napa is. We stayed in town at the Westin which I would recommend. It’s in an ideal location and perfect for all kinds of travellers. We visited Mumm Winery, Napa Winery, and the Robert Mondavi Winery. Mumm produces a fantastic bubbly wine. It was really interesting learning about the science behind creating wine on the wine tour we went on, while of course sampling some. Robert Mondavi was my favorite. The vineyard was beautiful, lunch was incredible, and I felt like I was in heaven. Rolling hills, so many grapes, the scenery, the sun. It was the perfect setting. I can’t really put into words how beautiful it was.
Days Four + Five
Back to San Francisco. We finished the trip in San Fran. I think San Francisco is now one of my favourite cities. Sea lions lay out in the sun, the board walk is abuzz with, and Alcatraz is in the distance. Travel tip: purchase Alcatraz tickets ahead of your travel if this is a definite excursion you want to do you need to secure it ahead of time. Tickets sell out quickly so reserve the tour! I recommend taking the boat cruise: it goes around Alcatraz, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and the views of the San Francisco skyline are unforgettable.
Bonus Travel Tips!
Prepare yourself head of time if you want to do an excursion. Visit Pier 39 in San Francisco and check out the sea lions. Bring a jacket to San Francisco as it can get cold through the night. If you are in San Francisco and love wine, make the trip to Napa because it’s only an hour and a half away. You won’t be sorry. The Carmel Mission is worth a stop for a spiritual experience. Enjoy the town of Carmel. You may want to stay forever.