Los Angeles to Wine Country
Californ-i-ay! What a place indeed. The three of us decided last minute to hop in the car and take a road trip to Cali. The Colorado winter was wearing on us and we were ready for some sunshine and the coast. After 17.5 hours of driving we made it to our first destination of Malibu and from there went all the way north to Sonoma. What we planned on just being a week long trip quickly turned into a two week trip filled with camping, good food, friendly faces and endless sunsets! If you aren't already aware, California is such a special place. It felt like every corner we turned there was something new and beautiful to look at! Minus a few set backs ie. we forgot our tent polls night one and Aspen threw up on Sarah, we had such a great time!
We can't wait to go back again and can't believe we don't go more often. Just to give you an idea of how everything flowed, we left from Denver and drove straight to Malibu (we don't like stopping so we make food beforehand to eat in the car .. plus it saves time and your belly from all the bad road food out there). From there we explored Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon. From Malibu we went to Santa Barbara and stayed three nights. Next stop was Carmel by way of San Louis Obispo. Big Sur was next for three nights and then we headed toward Wine Country after making a stop in Point Reyes for the day.
Leo Carrillo State Park - This was a great place to camp while we were in the Malibu area. Note that all the campsite we stayed in were at least $45 which was more than we were expecting but in the end were definitely worth it. We were just a short drive into town and from the beach.
Malibu Farm - This restaurant is directly on Malibu's pier and is so beautiful! Just an FYI, they don't allow dogs on the pier, unless they are a service animal, so just be aware of that...annoying we know. We just grabbed smoothies to go since we had Aspen, but it looked amazing
We fell absolutely in love with Venice from the start. The food, the shopping, just the whole vibe of that place is amazing!
The Butchers Daughter - Not only was this place's interior spot on, but the food was delicious and they let dogs sit in the little inside patio area.
Pressed Juicery - These are spotted all over L.A but honestly this is the best frozen yogurt we have ever had in our lives. Make sure the one you go to serves frozen yogurt because not all of them do and you really don't want to miss out.
Blue Star Donut - Such tasty donuts. We had only been to the one in Portland, but when we saw that they had one in Venice we were pumped!
Take a stroll around the Venice Canals.
Then for the whole day we just walked about the main street in Venice called Abbot Kenney. It will take you a while to walk the whole thing and see all the shops, restaurants, so grab a coffee to-go and take it all in one shop at a time.
Santa Barbara was such a pleasant surprise to us. We were expecting it to be pretty uppidy, but to our surprise it was incredibly charming and down to earth. We ended up staying an extra night just so we could spend more time there.
The French Press - Great coffee and pastries.
La Super-Rica Taqueria - This place had some incredible mexican food. It's a hole in the wall place that was a favorite of Julia Childs.
Municipal Winemakers - We went here on a rainy afternoon and just sat by the fire. They allowed Aspen to come inside while we got warm and enjoyed our wine tasting.
Helena Bakery - We spent our last morning here eating breakfast and working before we headed back on the road. This place doubles as a wine tasting room which was super cool.
Additional Recommendations that we lovED
Sama Sama - We ate dinner here our first night and it was delicious! It was pretty dark so we weren't able to snap any photos, but you should definitely make a stop here!
Lucky Penny - We went here for dinner twice, once for pizza and once for sandwhiches. It's a super cute and small spot located right next to a fancier restaurant called The Lark.
Park and go down the stairs to Mesa Lane Beach. It's beautiful and super close to town.
Walk around town and go to the Courthouse. The website does not do it justice at all. It's beautiful and free to go up to the top where you have amazing views of the city. The inside feels like Spain! Just go and check it out while you are walking around town.
San Luis Obispo and Carmel
When we left Santa Barbara we made a quick stop in San Luis Obispo for gas and a coffee at Scout Coffee Co which was a great spot to fuel up for the drive!
We then headed to Carmel which has one of the most beautiful beaches! We camped outside of Carmel at Saddle Mountain Ranch which was a really great spot (they had unlimited hot water in the showers which was a major plus!).
Carmel is a pretty touristy town that feels geared towards an older wealthier crowd. There are a ton of art galleries and the restaurants are pretty pricey, but if you do go, make sure you eat at Le Bicyclette and go see all the beautiful homes along the beach.
Big Sur is out of this world. It's one of the few places in the States that actually feels like we are in another country. It is seriously so magical and worth all the high priced gas.
Ventanna Camp Ground - We camped here for three nights and absolutely loved it. We could hear the sound of the river and we were engulfed by a forest of red woods every night. Just be aware that everything in Big Sur is more expensive so to camp here was $85 a night.
Deetjens - This adorable little spot right off of highway 1 has some of the best breakfast. We loved it so much we went two days in a row. Get the eggs benedict.
Big Sur Bakery - We stopped in for breakfast here one morning and got quiche and coffee and sat outside. It's a great place to grab breakfast before a hike.
Big Sur Tap House - This restaurant, located really close to the bakery offers beer and food in a casual setting. They also have a patio out back for your pups which was great for Aspen.
We made a couple hour stop in this quaint little town on our way to Davis from Big Sur. We would love to go back to this place and stay for a weekend. There was incredible food, shopping and the beach was stunning.
Side Street Kitchen - We stopped in here for lunch and there food blew us away for such a small town. Their ginger lemonade was insane.
Cline Family Wine - If you are on a budget, and want an affordable bottle to share with your crew, this is a great spot for that.
Scribe Winery - We saved the best for last...honestly, if you are ever in Sonoma you HAVE to go to this place! Skip everything else, and just go here, you can thank us later.