We covered a lot of ground in two weeks. As you have probably read in Part 1: Road Tripping through Cali we covered LA, Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Seimon, Napa and Sonoma Valley. Part 2 covers San Fran, Yosemite National Park, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree.
various locations throughout the city
Hiring bikes in SF was definitely one of the highlights of the entire Cali trip. We road over the Golden Gate bridge and had lunch in Sausalito. Beautiful views the whole way and a bit of workout so you can really enjoy your meal. To get back you can either take a ferry back or ride back over the bridge. There are some pretty massive hills on the way and we were all in a bit of a food como and running short on time so we took a take to the top of the hill/beginning of the bridge and then road the rest of the way back! Definitely a good option :)
660 Bridgeway, Sausalito
This restaurant has beautiful food, especially the seafood! To top it off they have a beautiful view of the water and bridge and an epic wood fire oven. The service was excellent, especially for a big group and no one had complaints about their food. Nice lunch and a glass of wine here is the perfect reward for your bike ride.
**Please note San Fran has so much on offer and will have its own blog coming soon!**
Yosemite National Park
Yosiemite Nationall Park is stunning and sooo big! It covers over 3,000 square kilometres! We drove from SF and only had one day to spend hiking so here is what we did!
Surprising Airbnb is not very popular out in the national park, they use VRBDO . We decided to rent a house for our group as we were too late to book a camping spot. This was a great option though as it gave us a chance to cook our own food and have hot showers after a long day of hiking! Try to book a place inside the national park. You will still have to drive an hour to where you can actually start hiking but this is as close as you can get with rentals.
During high season you have to book camping spots well in advance. We were too late to the mark and missed our opportunity. Camp sites are located right in the heart of the park which gives you really easy access to the hiking trails. There is a mix of campsites, glamping and cabins.
This is a very popular hike and will take a full day. You will need to prepared with hiking shoes and be prepared for some dificult hiking. You have to buy a separate ticket to go up Half Dome so again be prepared.
This is a great hike for all ages. You get to see several beautiful waterfalls as you climb to the top of Misty Falls. Be prepared though, its not called Misty Falls for nothing. We got soaked on the way up because we didn't bring pochos. All part of the fun and luckily it was a warm day so we dried off quickly.
Continuing on from Misty Falls you can hike all the way up the Nevada Falls. This ended up taking us around 6 hours round trip, excluding a break to eat our lunch. It is a stunning view from the top though, looking down on the valleys from the top of the falls and looking up to half dome.
This was one of our favourite hikes and great to do at sunset. It was a short hike (less than 2 hours roundtrip) which was a perfect at the end of a long day of hiking. From up here you get 360 degree views of a lot of the highlights of the park!
Massive Sequoia trees, one you can even drive your car through. Unfortunately for us the park grounds were under renovations so it was closed! If you are travelling there in 2017 you should be luckier then we were as apparently they are an amazing site to see!
When in Palm Springs you feel you have stepped back in time. I felt like I was in a Mad Men episode, waiting for my scotch and cigar. All of the taxi drivers are decked out in Hawaiian floral shirts and there is an ease in the air. Plenty of retro fitted hotels to choose from, amazing restaurants to boot and pool parties to the point you thought you were in the wrong desert city (do they call this mini vegas?)
We ended up staying here as it was cost effective and also had a wellness spin to it. The owners are a lovely couple from NY who is have just transited to the west coast lifestyle. The hotel is beautiful, clean and a close distance to town.
This a beautiful hotel where the cocktail bar is a barn. They also do farm-to-table dinners on set nights so definitely worth it.
Who doesn't love an Ace hotel? It is in a good location at the end of town, restaurant and a cool cocktail bar as well.
OMG lets talk about meat. If you are craving a cow to eat this is the place. The food is amazing but I wanted to give up meat after eating here as the portion sizes were massive. Service is delightful and great wine. This is definitely a place to go but I recommend to share one meal and you will still be delightfully full!
Yum! This place was amazing and pretty trendy. As we are lovers of farm to table the food did not disappoint and was stunning from the scallops to the wine. Definitely recommend making a booking at this one.
An amazing national park filled with you guessed it Joshua Trees! It is a stunning national park and we actually really regretted not spending a night camping in the park so if you have extra time definitely go camping. We definitely missed out but will have to be back again.
See photo above. Yes this was built for time travel. It may sound crazy and weird but this is definitely a stop you must make! This capsule which was, as I said originally built for time travel sits on top of many energy lines (not power lines, energy lines) and offers amazing sound bath, sound healing with crystal bowls. This 60 minute meditation experience is crazy. I felt a bit loose in the head after but it was worth the drive out to no mans land. Sign up early because it can sell out weeks in advance.
Desert Palm Outlets
If you haven't had your shopping fix in America yet, then you have come to right place. There are over 180 stores in this outlet so if you are up for it and have the patience it is definitely worth the stop. Nike, All Saints, Adidas to name a few but whatever you want, it is most likely here and half the price you would pay in Oz.