It’s no secret that I love to travel. And most of the time, I dream big, from European adventures to exotic cruises. But there is something really sweet and special about hopping in the car for a road trip to explore our home state! I hope the recap below of my 5 favorite CA cities give you some inspiration for a quick weekend getaway!
No. 1: Big Sur
Big Sur is the perfect road trip location from anywhere in California, really. The drive there along is stunning, from coastal views to more inland sights through the mountains, the entire Highway 1 route is breathtaking.
The best things to do while in Big Sur are honestly just exploring all that there is to see. From grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Big Sur River Inn (home to some of the best food I have ever had), to driving across the Bixby Bridge, every single inch of Big Sur has something to offer. You can spend time relaxing on the beach, or wander around for a couple of hours hiking the hundreds of trails that line the coast. There really is something for everyone here!
Read more on our times in Big Sur here.
No. 2: Napa Valley
Napa Valley is probably one of my favorite cities in all of California. There is something so magical, romantic, and unique about this place. You can read a full recap of our weekend spent in Napa here (including our dreamy Hot Air Balloon Ride over the vineyards). Whether you have plans of wine tasting, or wandering Yountville main street for shopping and dining, Napa has a lot to offer. Not to mention its undeniable resemblance to the rolling outskirts of Italy. Napa Valley truly is STUNNING.
No. 3: Catalina Island
Catalina Island is a really fun and convenient way to experience all the fun of island excursions without having to travel very far. The island has a ferry that offers pretty reasonable rates to get to and from the island, and its a fairly quick boat ride (about an hour), and has boats that leave at multiple times throughout the day.
Catalina Island is FILLED with so many fun things to do. We spent my birthday weekend here on year, and it was incredible. You can start the day with Parasailing, explore the boardwalk’s shops and grab some ice cream or salt water taffy, play a round of mini golf, enjoy pizza at Antonio’s Pizzeria right on the water, and maybe even rent a golf cart to take to the top of the Island for breathtaking views. So many fun excursions are offered here, and the island has a number of cute boutique hotels for overnight stays.
No. 4: San Luis Obispo
As many of you know, we have made it a tradition to spend our anniversary every year in San Luis Obispo at the Apple Farm Inn. So its no secret that we absolutely love this place (especially during Christmas time). Read more about our love for this romantic getaway here.
Its only about a 10 minute drive from Pismo beach, so we do usually spend some time here, dining at F. McLintock’s Saloon (soooo yummy). We also always make a point to spend time at the Sycamore Mineral Springs relaxing in one of their hillside hot tubs. On our list for next time, is catching a movie at the Sunset Drive-In Theatre. I have been dying to check one of these out, and this one looks super fun!
No. 5: Mammoth Lakes
Growing up, my family spent a good number of Thanksgiving weekends at a cabin in Mammoth Lakes, so this city has a very special place in my heart. From wandering around the Village, to snowboarding or skiing down the mountain, there is so much to do in this beautiful town. We also always make a point to see a movie at the local movie theater (tickets are SO cheap), and always grab dinner at John’s Pizza. If you go during high snow season, its fun to even cuddle up with a cup of hot cocoa and play games in the cabin with mountain views just out the window.
There is so much to do in this pretty little town, for all seasons! Also be sure to stop at Schat’s Bakery on the way up in Bishop for some INCREDIBLE treats!
California is a beautiful place. It’s so unique that you can spend the morning at the beach, and then watch the sunset on the same day in the mountains surrounded by snow. There is so much to explore and so many diverse cities that all have something different to offer. I hope these five ideas give you all some inspiration! Share with me if you pick any of them for your next weekend getaway!