So it’s been a year since mine and Tom’s road trip in California. One whole year! I can’t believe it. Although I wrote a series of blog posts about each individual place, I found it hard to write a summary post as there was just so much to talk about. I’ve started this post numerous times. In fact I have about 8 versions in my drafts! The point is, this trip was amazing and there was just so much I could write, I didn’t know where to start.
I still very regularly daydream about all the places we visited. A year on, I think I can finally muster up words that actually make sense and aren’t complete rambles of how amazing everywhere and everything was. I mean, everything was amazing but I figure the things that have stuck in my mind, are probably the better parts I should share with you. So here’s what you need to know…
Do what suits you. You read so many different opinions on what you should do – some say don’t plan much at all, don’t book accommodation. Others say plan everything so you don’t miss anything but where’s the fun in that?!
We were somewhere in the middle of the two opinions above. We started with a very open mind and just wrote down the places we wanted to visit. From there we started reading about each place and started to plot out a timeline of our trip, depending on how much we wanted to see in each place.
We did book accommodation and we booked a few attractions too – a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon and a trip to Alcatraz. I’d highly recommend booking both trips before you arrive as they get extremely booked up in advance. Other than that timings and plans were pretty loose.
Where to visit
So we did the round trip: LA, Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Fran, Monterey, Big Sur, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. Each of which are worth a visit. If I were to do it again the only thing I would slightly change would be just stopping off in Monterey and not staying the night. It was nice but out of all the places we visited, it had the least to see. Instead I would of had 2 nights in Big Sur so we could have seen a little more of the beautiful natural park.
Pismo beach is very underrated. I loved this little surfer city. Out of all of our stops we had the least time here but I could have happily stayed another night. It has beautiful beaches, an abundance of 60’s style eateries and bars and several tattoo parlours dotted around the place. We lounged on the beach, ate BBQ food and visited a drive in cinema. Don’t worry, no dodgy tattoos were obtained during our trip, although it was tempting 🙂 For somewhere we had probably done the least research on as it was only a short visit, it really exceeded our expectations.
What to see
I am going to let the pictures do most of the talking here but this is a short list of must-see places…
- Cycle along Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier
- Make the journey part of the adventure and stop off at bottle tree ranch (between LA and Vegas)
- See a show in Vegas – I’d highly recommend ‘O’ by Cirque du Soleil
- Visit the Grand Canyon for a completely jaw dropping experience
- Stand outside the Bellagio to watch the fountain and daydream
- Drive through Death Valley or even stay the night
- See Tunnel View in Yosemite
- Waterfall hunting in Yosemite won’t be hard – see as many as possible
- Not that you can miss it but make sure you see the Golden Gate Bridge
- Visit the Painted Ladies in San Fran
- Glamping in Big Sur
- See McWay Falls
- Visit a drive-in movie
- Drive through Santa Barbara wine country and visit a winery
- Stop of as many times as you want on Highway 1
And finally, road trip essentials
- A hat – girls trust me you’ll want one to save your hair!
- Trusty satnav
- Plenty of water
- Journey snacks
- Your ultimate playlist
- Comfy shoes
I hope this helps inspire or plan your own american road trip, it’s one (if not, the best) trips I’ve ever been on and seriously recommend everyone does. A year has gone by but I still remember everything about this trip as if it was yesterday. My time in America is not done, I am already mentally planning my next US trip. Maybe a trip across the south of America..? What does everyone think?