1. The Weather
Who doesn’t love sunny, 70-degree weather? You can literally wear shorts all year round in most parts of California. Isn’t that amazing news? Recently, California has been in a state of drought because of how little rainfall they receive, but recently El Niño has helped to fix that. So if you ever visit, make sure to pack your shorts, sunglasses, and suntan lotion because you’ll never want to leave the Golden State.
2. Range in Temperature
Notice how when talking about the weather I said most parts of California were warm? That’s because when you travel to San Francisco, it can get pretty chilly as I have learned through experience.There is even a quote, some attribute it to Mark Twain, but that's up for debate, that says, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." A friend of mine who lives in California once told me that in the winter, you can even go skiing in the morning and make it to the beach in the afternoon. #justcalithings.
3. Theme Parks
California is home to many amazing theme parks: Disneyland, Universal Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, and many more. I’ve had the pleasure of spending a day at Disneyland after having been to Disney World in Orlando, FL many times. Though Disneyland is very different, it’s just as fun. (Psst, if you ever go to Disneyland, ride Radiator Springs Racers. Many times. You won’t regret it.)
Though I haven’t met any big time celebrities is California (yet), I’m sure I’ve walked or driven by one without even realizing it. That’s the amazing thing about LA and Hollywood. Many celebs live out in California, and the people there are a little more accustomed to them roaming around, so they’re out very often. My California friend knows all of the Kardashian/Jenner hangouts in Cali, just putting that out there.
5. In-N-Out Burger
Need I say anything else? I probably should, so all I can think of is wow. In-N-Out might just seem like another fast food joint to the people who’ve never had it, but for those who have, you know what I mean when I say it’s Heaven on Earth. I’d venture to say it’s better than Cook-Out; sorry Nashville. I’ve had the pleasure to try the Animal Style Fries, and let me tell you: amazing. So please, if you ever go to California, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Who doesn’t love the beach after a nice day of skiing, or just in general? According to beachcalifornia.com, California is home to over 1,000 miles of beach. Venice Beach in Los Angeles is one of my favorites because of all of the people. It has its very own skate park and boardwalk, not to mention the gorgeous coastline. Another one of my favorite is Huntington Beach. Located an hour from Los Angeles, Huntington Beach is a beautiful place to relax and watch the sunset. This goes without saying, but make sure you stop and visit a beach in California.
When I visited California for the first time, I saw a ton of amazing sights. Sights you only ever see on postcards. There’s the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Hollywood Sign, the Chinese Theater, 17 Mile Drive, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Walk of Fame, and many many more. If you ever have the chance to see any of these sights, do it. You won’t regret it. Ever.
8. So. Much. Nature.
Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chance to go hiking in California, but they do have some amazing spots. Yosemite National Park takes up 1,200 square miles, so there are plenty of opportunities to hike. It features ten hiking trails that can all be completed in a day, according to The National Park Service website, that range from easy to strenuous to appeal to all hikers. Of course, there are many many more places to hike in California, such as Sequoia National Park and Redwood National and State Parks, so if you’re ever around any of these areas, be sure to check them out.
9. Movie/TV Locations
California is home to many movie and television locations. When I visited San Francisco a couple years ago, we stopped to see the homes used for Full House and That’s So Raven. Though the houses aren’t used for the inside, it was amazing to see where my favorite childhood characters “grew up”. For all of those American Horror Story fans out there, I also got the chance to see the Murder House in Los Angeles. You can definitely see many many other film sites, but those are the few I was lucky enough to see when I was in California.
10. Haunted Locations
For some of you, haunted might be something you want to stay away from, but for me, it’s something I’m drawn to. California is the host of many haunted attractions (many of which were featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Syfy’s Ghost Hunters), such as Alcatraz, the RMS Queen Mary, Los Coches Adobe, Linda Vista Hospital, and the Winchester House. Many of these places offer tours, so if you ever decide to visit, watch your back.
I’m so excited! I will be in California for 10 days! A little short for a state with so many things to see and so many things to do, but I am enthusiastic to discover as much as I can! I am the kind of person who is willing to wake up early and stay up late and maximize my time to see as many places as I can. So here is the break down of my itinerary for my 10 days in the Golden State. As you’ll see, it’s pretty much the classical path, but it’s a good start for a first-timer like me.
Day 1 – Montreal to San Francisco
Well… I need to get there first… I will fly with US Airways.
My favorite search engine for flights is Skyscanner. You should always do a test and check the price on this site before buying from anywhere else.
Day 2 – San Francisco
We’ll start with the most touristic path and walk near the Golden Gate, Lombard Street and the Seven Painted Ladies. We entend to visit San Francisco by foot as I think it’s the best way to feel the vibe of a town. The day will be spend taking pictures of colorful houses in various neighbourhoods.
San Francisco is filled up with rooms to rent on Airbnb. And you’ll save A LOT of money by renting an Airbnb instead of a hotel room, trust me! Sign up to Airbnb with this link and get a $25 credit towards your first stay!
Update post-trip: What You Can See in One Day Walking in San Francisco
Day 3 – San Francisco : Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf
If my boyfriend isn’t acting good, I plan on leaving him at Alcatraz. He has been warned. And since we’re at the port, we’ll take a look at Pier 39, where we can observe sea lions.
If you plan on visiting Alcatraz and other popular attractions in San Francisco, definitely take a look at CityPASS. It gives you access to the major attractions and, since it’s a bundle, you can save around 40%.
Update post-trip: Photo Essay: Alcatraz Prison
Day 4 – Napa Valley and Berkeley
Let’s drink all the wine!!!! I thought wine tasting would be a very expensive activity, but it’s finally kind of cheap, around 10$ for 3 wines. We’ll spend the day in Napa Valley, and sleep in Berkeley to get a little closer to our next stop.
In the Napa Valley, Airbnbs are as expensive as hotel rooms, so you might prefer to have the comfort of a room. Hotels.com has pretty great prices for hotels in Napa Valley, plus you get a free night every 10 nights. You should take a look.
Day 5 – Yosemite National Park
Does this need explanation? For my boyfriend and I, a stop in this big national park was a must during our road trip in California. It’s a detour from the Pacific Highway though.
Update post-trip: Why We Had a Terrible Day at Yosemite(Yeah… it didn’t really go well…)
Photo from Unsplash
Day 6 – Monterey
I heard the Monterey Aquarium is amazing! And I love fish. I haven’t dived in a long time so I think it will be the perfect visit for me. I like how peaceful aquariums are. It’s a good way to relax.
Near Monterey, we rented an old school bus transformed into a room. That was pretty cool! We found it on Airbnb.
Update post-trip: Monterey Aquarium: Please don’t flash the octopus
Day 7 – Santa Barbara
When I hear this name, I just think of the soap opera my grandmother watched everyday. I need to reprogram my brain and create new associations. I intend to discover what this town is really about: beaches.
In Santa Barbara, it’s a room in an old container that we found on Airbnb. We really had fun with our type of accommodations during that trip! Ahah!
Curious about Airbnb? Take a look at my Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb.
Day 8 – Los Angeles
This town has a lot of haters, and I have no idea what to think. This will be the last destination of our road trip, and I don’t have the pretension to discover this huge town in only two days. On the program: Venice Beach and Hollywood.
I found the most beautiful hostel ever for my stay, take a look : Freehand Los Angeles, Los Angeles. Have you ever seen a dorm like that? That’s what I call luxury for 60$/night.
Update post-trip: Los Angeles is Disney World on Crack
Day 9 – Los Angeles
This stay will be spent walking the Hall of Fame and other random musings.
Day 10 – Los Angeles to Montreal
Back home with American Airlines…. until next time.
Now let’s see if this itinerary is realistic. I can’t wait to tell you stories from California when I’ll be back in 10 days!
Have you been to California? Where are your favorite places? Any questions about the itinerary? Ask your questions in comments below.
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Annie est rédactrice et chargée de projets. Elle adore le Street Art, le café, le wifi et les endroits qui sortent de l'ordinaire. Elle aime aussi faire connaissance, alors n'hésitez pas à cliquer sur les icônes plus bas pour prendre contact!