California is a great state to explore! Growing up here, I had the opportunity to live in a few of its beautiful cities – La Jolla, Montecito, and most recently the suburbs of L.A. I have traveled most of the state, from north to south. I’ve even made a stop in Death Valley. My husband and I did a California road trip in 2021 and hit a few spots worth seeing.
Check out the list below and leave a comment or message me if you have any favorite places in California worth checking out!
If you’re driving north from L.A., you may want to stop in Santa Barbara on your way here. Santa Ynez is close to Solvang and Los Olivos – all are spots worth checking out. Solvang is very cute and known for its Danish-style architecture. It’s a great spot to grab an apple Danish and have a look around.
Los Olivos and Santa Ynez are quieter towns. Both have wine and olive oil tastings. We also visited a lavender farm and an ostrich farm. If you like horses and biking, those are two popular activities in these areas as well.
Make sure you do some research before you head to SF. I’ve been there a few times so I didn’t do all the touristy stuff again, but there is a lot to see in this city – from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz to Ghirardelli Square to Haight-Ashbury to Fisherman’s Wharf.
San Francisco and its surrounding areas like Sausalito also have beautiful hiking. I would highly recommend spending some time outdoors while there. The Palace of Fine Arts is another tucked-away local spot known for its nature and beauty. You can easily drive into Sonoma for a day trip from here too.
Close to Monterey Bay, it’s worth doing the famous 17-Mile Drive when visiting Carmel-By-The-Sea (cool name, right?). The scenic route captures history and gorgeous views on the Monterey Peninsula.
I love tennis, golf, biking and hiking in Carmel. Again, you’re close to Monterey so check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Old Fisherman’s Wharf.
It’s a big state so give yourself plenty of time to experience your California road trip and all the state has to offer!