Down in sunny Carlsbad California, for eight weeks out of the year, fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus are in bloom and, let me tell you, they are GORGEOUS. It's like a big happy scene from a musical Disney Princess movie. There are rows and rows of color-coordinated giant blooms, overlooking the ocean. Seriously. Pack up the car and drive down there before they're gone!
Tucked away on Pacific Coast Highway in little Laguna Beach is the gem of all Laguna's beach hikes. Thousand Steps Beach is a beautiful, picture perfect, and bring your Nikes because it's a workout. It sits at a little you-blink-you-miss-it stop on the side of the highway. It's perfect Adventure Day List mini-hike.
Photography: Mason Cleveland
This was my favorite snorkeling trip. Ever. In the world. 🐬 It definitely tops my list for adventuring. If you're into sharks and beautiful, clear waters, put this on your vacation list. During the summer months, they have their pups in the San diego area, and the La Jolla beaches are home to thousands of these Leopard Sharks. They grow from 4-6 feet as adults. They live in the shallow waters, so right when you hop in, you can see hundreds swarming around your feet. If you're a snorkeler, the best place to go is to the La Jolla Shores beach. It's a marine protected area, so the wildlife thrives there. I park a few blocks away from the beach on the streets, where parking is free, and suit up and walk down. If you're new to snorkeling but you want to swim with the Leopards in La Jolla, the absolute best place ever to go on a snorkeling tour or rent your equipment is La Jolla Kayak. They are the serious best. The guided tours are awesome for newbies, but the also rent out equipment and wetsuits if you want to go it alone. The waters are a bit chilly in San Diego, so if you don't have your own wetsuit, I for sure recommend renting one out. If you're not into the snorkel set-up, they also have kayak tours that come highly recommended and well rated.
It seems like swimming with sharks would be the most terrifying snorkel trip of all time, but it's so relaxing. The Leopard Sharks are not aggressive or violent in the least. They're very calm, and their diets consists of mostly crustaceans, so they're not dangerous to humans. I would do this one hundred times over again and not be tired of it. It's a must, must, must to put on your travel adventure list 🌊.
La Jolla Shores, San Diego
I have to say, Los Angeles is really all it's cracked up to be. I spent a few days last week at the Christian Community Development Conference in LA, and Jesus kicked my face in. In a really good way, but He still kicked my face in, but that's a story for another day. Being spiritually punched in the face really makes you hungry, and I ate at some really legit restaurants in LA. Here are my favorite places for you to add to your LA food line up on your next visit.
401 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Whatever you order, order it with the horchata.
611 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
They have a huge menu and a really cute loft to sit in upstairs.
Just the whole town. I went to a Korean barbecue restaurant, which is a life experience I highly recommend, but I only managed to get a picture of dessert. But really, go eat Korean barbecue.
[Homer Laughlin Building]
This is seriously the coolest place to visit in LA. It's right across the street from the Angel's Flight Railway, which is a super classic Los Angeles landmark, and you won't leave without finding something you like. The Grand Central Market has been its own landmark since 1917, but it's been re-vamped and hipster-ized over the years. There's 38 different vendors, market stands, and restaurants inside. DTLA Cheese is so far my favorite. And what goes well with spiritual conviction during a Christian conference? Melted Cheese. The Grand Central Market is packed and busy, but super worth it.
Los Angeles, CA
Once upon a time, a crazy-pants little blonde girl took a day trip to Santa Barbara. Then her car broke down. And she was trapped in good ol' Santa B, and it turned into the longest, most expensive road trip ever. Murphey's law, am I right? It ended up turning out pretty well, despite the break down. Santa Barbara is America's Riviera and oh man, it is beautiful. The architecture and style is incredible. The beaches are a must. Okay, everything is kind of a must.
Here are some little hidden and not so hidden gems you should visit on your next Santa Barbara Trip:
Stearns Wharf is a true Santa Barbara gem. Everything is good in my book, except there's a no heel rule. So to my fellow heel wearers, bring your flats and wedges. There's restaurants, shops, and beautiful lookout points.
Pick a beach, any beach. They're all 5 stars in the Carl Beach Book. Butterfly Beach and the Beach by the Wharf are my favorite picks.
This is where it's at. It's incredibly beautiful, and has everything. The rooms are amazing and very clean. Everything has a sophisticated Cali style. It's pet friendly, but very well up-kept. Bike-rentals, breakfast, fireplace, courtyard, and pool use are provided to guests. A. Maze. Ing.
State Street and Downtown
Downtown is the happenin' place in Santa Barbara. Farmers Markets, stores galore, and shopping districts all-around. Take a bike and cruise around.
The lovely Santa Monica is just about as SoCal as you can get in SoCal. It's right outside of LA on the coast and is home to Pacific Park [Sharknado Forever ♡], Muscle Beach, 3rd Street Promenade, the end of Route 66, and the famous Santa Monica Pier. There is literally everything to do here. It's a perfect day-cation spot. Here's a list of my favorite favorites in Santa Monica for your next day-trip adventure.
A Santa Monica Daycation:
1. The Ferris Wheel
This is definitely a place you have to hit up when you come to Santa Monica. It's $8 in Pacific Park, and it gives you the full Santa Monica view.
2. The Beach
Walk down to the pier and head to the beach, the right side is the best.
3. Walk the Third Street Promenade
They have every store. Ever. It's blocks and blocks and streets and streets of stores.
4. Eat at a Venice Beach Food Truck
Top the day off with some trendy and hipster food trucks that line the streets of Venice Beach. It's a super picturesque area that has fun shops and boutiques to stroll through while you wait for your food truck tacos.
5. Bike Muscle Beach
Rent a bike, take your board, or walk around down the sandy sidewalk around muscle beach to the pier. At night, it's the best place to get a full-view picture of Pacific Park all lit up.
Adventure Day List: ✓
Okay, it's way easier than you'd think. If you want to feel like a really cool California girl, I highly reccomend it. The easiest place to improve your paddle boarding skills in southern Cali is the Back Bay in Newport Beach. Pirate Coast Paddle Boarding has great rentals and all the accessories a super fly paddle boarder could want. Put it on your adventure day list and head to the bay.
Best place to spot a sea lion? Inspiration point, Corona del Mar, off of the CDM Main Beach. Best place to feel like you're on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean? Also Inspiration Point.
Adventure Day List ✓
Adventure Day List ✓
Favorite Eats List ✓
Palm Springs is HOT people. Pack your swimsuits and your sun hats. This beautiful dessert has one of the best Main Streets and downtown areas. It's toasty, but it's one of the best to satisfy your boutique and hipster restaurant cravings.
Birba is a great little outdoor restaurant with super trendy gormet meals. The twinkly lights and live music set the tone for their delicious food. Next time you're in the ol' Springs, check it out.
Right outside of Santa Barbara, bring your cameras and paddle boards folks.
Butterfly Beach, Monteceito CA
Southern Utah's favorite beach in the desert, one to put on your summertime list. It's much more fun with a puppy.
San Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane UT
If you like hikes up beautiful canyons using ropes and sketchy foot-holes, this is the hike for you. It's gorgeous and it's princess hiker approved, so if hiking isn't your strong-suit, I understand and you'll totally make it on this hike. It's amazing in the summer and a perfect water hike. It's like the mild, uphill version of the narrows. Adventure Day List approved ✓
Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Hurricane UT
This picture cost me a minor panic attack but super worth it. Horseshoe Bend! It's free and a short hike to a great view.
Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ
Another one for the adventure day list: Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT.
Pack a sweater and bring your camera ✓
Photo Cred: David Vandervorst