Last week I shared the first half of our trip to California where we saw San Diego, Disneyland, and LA! The 2nd half of our vacation brought us a different side of California with lots of amazing views and nature.
We headed out from LA on Sunday morning and hit the road for our longest stretch of driving. We were driving about 4 hours north to Carmel, CA. Our only plan for this day was to enjoy the drive, and we planned to stop at Hearst Castle as well. We hit a few nice beaches, collected some amazing sand dollars (which i promptly broke by accidentally sitting on!) and finally made it to the castle. I didn’t get to take many pictures at Hearst, but it’s definitely an interesting experience!Monday was the day I was most excited about for our entire trip, Big Sur! Unfortunately Route 1 was closed on the southern end, so we opted to drive all the way north, and spend the day driving down and back (about 80 miles round trip.) There are just no words how beautiful it was. We took our time driving down the coast just taking it all in. Robbie had to drive because that road is hella windy and was slightly terrifying!
We hiked a small, easy hike back to McWay Falls, and then we headed to Pfeiffer Beach. The purple sand there was so cool! We also found these crazy seaweed tubes, which were fun to swing around like I was Indiana Jones. I actually whipped Robbie’s hat right off his head by accident! This is also where we saw our first Redwood tree. Nothing makes you feel tinier than a giant tree, let me tell ya!After our morning at Big Sur, we headed out to take in the sights at the Carmel Mission Basilica. This is kind of a random stop for us, but it’s actually the setting of one of my favorite book series as a kid. If you’re a Meg Cabot fan then you know i’m talking about The Mediator Series! It was awesome to get to explore the Basilica and see all the details described in the book in person. I also did not know that the Mission has California’s very first library, so that was pretty neat to see also.
After the mission, we headed out for some dinner and took a drive along “17 Mile Drive.” This stretch is one of the most traveled roads in America, and features some of the prettiest scenery along the Pacific Coast! Also found myself a dinglehopper so of course I had to take a picture of that!After our day exploring Big Sur, we hit the road for our final destination, San Francisco! We stopped along the way at a cute little lighthouse we found but I can’t remember the name of. Once we got into San Francisco, our first stop was Coit Tower for some amazing views of the city, which are not pictured because I am terrified of heights and clung to the wall for dear life haha!
After that, we explored the city for the rest of the day hitting some popular sights like Ghiradhelli Square, Lombard Street, and the Painted Ladies. (Yes, I sang the Full House theme song when we got there, because i’m basic and couldn’t pass up the opportunity!)
We rounded out the day exploring Chinatown and trying a new food for us, Dim Sum! It was amazing, 10/10 would eat all the time. It was fun trying to decide which restaurant to eat at because there are about 1000 to choose from. I actually found myself in the middle of a fight between two women who were canvassing the same corner. One woman handed me a flyer for her restaurant, and the other straight snatched it out of my hand and gave me hers and told me “hers sucks mine is bettter!” They proceeded to start yelling at each other and I just snuck away. Needless to say we ate at neither of those places!
The next day was all about Alcatraz! We hit one of the first ferries out to the island. I’m glad we took the early ferry because holy moly it was crowded when we got back. I really loved how the tour was done with headsets. You listen to an audio guided tour that takes you throughout the jail. My only complaint was that it was so crowded, and that really made it less enjoyable. I think if I were to do it again, i’d splurge for the night tour which I hear is less crowded. I also had no idea there was such a rich history involving Native Americans and Alcatraz. It was really interesting to learn about that!