Photo Diary: California Road Trip

If you follow me on Instagram you may know that I recently visited California with my family, and so I thought it'd be a fun idea to show you some of the photos I took on my trip. I also did a fair bit of shopping while I was there, so if you'd be interested in a haul let me know in the comments below! (p.s. please pay no attention to the grubby marks which appear on some of the photos later in this post. My lense got quite dirty but I stupidly forgot to bring my cleaning equipment along with me!)

We started off our holiday in Los Angeles although unfortunately I didn't take any pictures on my camera since we were mostly being cliché tourists and visiting theme parks, although I have a few on my Instagram which you can take a look at. LA is a city which I'd love to visit again and see more of, although I enjoyed visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios (where we even bumped into Steven Spielberg!), and seeing the Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame, as well as having a tour of the stars' homes in the Hollywood Hills (me, stalker? Never!)

Driving down the famous Big Sur which consists of miles of scenic coastline views- after seeing it in person it's easy to see why Californians brag about it so much. We travelled down this road from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, and later Monterey, and even spotted a few whales and dolphins on the way. 

As a bit of a golf enthusiast my dad insisted that we visit Pebble Beach on 17 Mile Drive, which is also where we saw the 'Lone Cypress', perhaps the most photographed tree in America and a western emblem. 

We took a quick stop-off on our travels at the small agricultural town of Salinas, which earned its fame for being the place in which John Steinbeck grew up, so it was only fitting that we visited the Steinbeck museum, especially after seeing Cannery Row in Monterey. 

San Francisco was probably my favourite of the places we visited, and it's definitely somewhere I'd consider revisiting. Our four day stay was made memorable by activities such as a tour of Alcatraz; shopping around Union Square; watching the sea lions of Pier 39 during sunset; a delicious meal in San Francisco's incredible China Town; a drive over Golden Gate Bridge and an afternoon spent in Sausalito; numerous guided bus rides around the city (including a hippie tour which gave us an insight into some of the movement's roots, including the Beatniks and Haight Street, where we saw Hendrix's beloved red house), and of course a ride on one of the city's famous cable cars. I wish we had the opportunity to stay a little longer as I'd have loved to see more of what the city has to offer.

It's almost impossible to comprehend the vastness and sheer beauty of Yosemite National Park, and to at least do it justice through photos. We were lucky enough to go on a hike one morning with a ranger, where we were given merely a glimpse of the scale of the park. On the second night of our stay we were supposed to be going stargazing in a meadow with another ranger, but unfortunately the activity was cancelled due to ash in the air as a result of a huge forest fire happening just miles away. This also meant that our original three hour journey to Death Valley the next morning was extended to eight hours due to road closures. While taking in the beauty of such landscapes it's easy to forget the difficulty places like Yosemite face due to the dry climate, and we even passed through a few small towns suffering from water shortage due to summer temperatures and the lack of rain. It strangely made me appreciative of the wet British weather!

Despite the long drive we finally made it to Death Valley, where we stayed for one night on our way to Las Vegas. I definitely couldn't have lasted any longer as temperatures soared up to almost fifty degrees Celsius! While there we made a quick detour to Badwater Basin, which is 282ft below sea level, making it the lowest point in North America. 

While in Vegas my dad had organised a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, which also passed the Hoover Dam. This was a once in a lifetime experience and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to do it- if you ever get the opportunity I'd highly recommend you seize it!

It rapidly became evident why Vegas is famous for its ridiculousness and novelties, although I could see why some people develop a love for it.

After leaving Las Vegas we headed towards San Diego, although first we paid a visit to Peggy Sue's, an original 1950s diner on Route 66. Everything about the diner was authentic which created a great atmosphere and induced a sense of nostalgia in me, despite having been born in the 90s.  

After a hearty lunch we stopped off at Calico ghost town, which was formerly a mining town established in 1881. I must admit I was rather disappointed to see it so commercialised since being purchased by Walter Knott, although it was interesting to see nonetheless. 

Finally we rounded off our road trip with a few nights spent in San Diego. Highlights for me included a guided tour of the city (including a quick cross over to Coronado) and delicious meals in the Mexican Old Town and Little Italy. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you would like to see more of a similar nature in future please let me know below!

Hugs and kisses, Sarah xo