The Great Californian Adventure | Spring Break Along the PCH

Well hello and happy happy spring! I don’t know about y’all, but this is one of my favorite times of year. Now that we are past spring break and rodeo season, we are refreshed and ready to carry out the rest of the school year and getting pumped for SUMMER!! Not to mention, these few months are when Houston actually has lovely weather, fingers crossed.

View from our hotel in Laguna Niguel, CA.

View from our hotel in Laguna Niguel, CA.

Anyway, today I wanted to share my spring break with y’all. This year my family and I essentially took a self-guided tour of California! Our trip certainly was not a relax on the beach and do nothing kinda vacay but it was so neat to go to so many different places! I’m talking 4 cities in 5 days—it was fun.

Sunday morning, we flew into Orange County and made it there by lunch so we had plenty of time to explore throughout the day. As we made our way to hotel from the airport, we stopped in Newport Beach to take a peek at the town and grab a quick bite at a little lunch spot. We continued into Laguna Niguel/Dana Pointe to get settled into our hotel. That night for dinner, we dined at Chart House, a restaurant with a pretty incredible view. We concluded our first day with s’mores by the fire.

Monday morning we were up early and kicked off the day with breakfast at our hotel’s coffee bar. All of the food looked incredible but Mom and I split the Pumpkin Oats and the Apple Pie Quinoa and I have never loved breakfast more. Seriously, I think this quick breakfast was my favorite meal of the trip. After throwing down some food, we packed our bags, loaded up in the car, and drove about 2 hours to Malibu. There, we toured Pepperdine University which is just so beautiful. And of course, when in Malibu, Malibu Farms is a must, so we tried it out for lunch. Quick note, on the pier, the Malibu Farms restaurant is the first the you see and at the end of the pier is the Malibu Farms Cafe. Although the cafe is the original one, I would definitely recommend the restaurant which is where we went—there are just some more options in terms of the menu and seating. I got the veggie sandwich which was good and the coconut, turmeric latte which was killer! We continued down the PCH into Santa Barbara where we stop for afternoon coffee and tea at Handlebar. After our pitstop we went on to our hotel. We took a quick tour of the property, went on a little family walk, and ate dinner at the hotel’s steakhouse, Angel Oak—so yummy!

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early again in order to get on the road for our longest travel day—from Santa Barbara to Half Moon Bay, a drive that was about 5 hours in total. Although we had a long drive on Tuesday, it was all on the PCH and the weather was fabulous so we had the bright blue ocean alongside us the whole time. Our first stop of the day was around 10 AM at Hearst Castle which is essentially a West Coast and slightly smaller version of the Biltmore. Continuing Northward, we stopped a second time for lunch at Nepenthe, a small little restaurant on a Big Sur cliffside, the view is as beautiful as it seems. As we continued up the coast, we made another pit stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a cute lovely town, for coffee and afternoon snack. We went to the Carmel Bakery and refueled for the last leg of our journey with some delicious baked goodies. Finally, we made it to our hotel in Half Moon Bay in the late afternoon. During this trip, we stayed in 4 different hotels and caught glimpses of roughly 10 different towns/cities, but out of them all, the Half Moon Bay area and hotel was probably my favorite. The combination of the gusty winds, cliffside location, and rather hazy skies made me feel like I should’ve been in Scotland or on some magical movie set. It was so cool! For dinner, we stayed at the hotel and ate the bistro followed by dessert in the lounge.

Lunch break at Nepenthe in Big Sur, CA.

Lunch break at Nepenthe in Big Sur, CA.

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Mom, Dad, Sarah, and I kicked off Wednesday morning with the most lovely 2 mile jog along the coast. Incredible. We then showered, eat bfast at the club and were back on the road. We first drove about 45 min to Palo Alto so we could see the Stanford Campus and the town itself simply because we wanted to take a peak! We had lunch in Palo Alto at Steam, a cute little dumpling dive. Although the food was fabulous, I must say, as we were paying, I took one last bite of pad thai and hadn’t realized there was some type of small red pepper they had used as some time of garnish. Well, long story short, I accidently ate the pepper and Oh. My. Goodness. my mouth has never experienced something so spicy—I’m talking full-blown water works. lol. So after that little situation, we went to a rather popular ice cream shop, Salt and Straw and had a little something sweet. We then made our way into our final destination—San Fransico. After getting settled into our hotels, we strolled over to the Museum of Ice Cream. Quick review: While I am glad we went and saw/did the Museum of Ice Cream, I don’t necessarily think I would do it again. Essentially, the experience is a serious of photo opt rooms that are laced with multiple servings of ice cream and other sweets. Nevertheless, I think the family had fun and we ended up eating ice cream literally all day Wednesday. As we hadn’t consumed enough already, we stopped by a rather popular boba tea shop, Black Sugar, on the way back to the hotel. I order a mango matcha tea w almond milk, little sweetness, and no boba and it was actually so tasty! If I could go back I definitely would’ve added boba.

The Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz.

The Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz.

Thursday morning, we were up bright and early. Before getting onto the days’ activities, we fueled up at a local hole in the wall, Farm : Table. We a variety of yummy fresh foods, this teensie joint was clearly the daily pre-work stop for many San Franners. I had the daily toast which was a hunk of yummy bread, smothered in marscapone, and topped with an assortment of fresh exotic fruits. We then took an Uber down to the bay where we hopped on a ferry that took us to the every famous, Alcatraz. We spent an hour or so doing the self-guided tour and it truly was fascinating to walk the halls of one of a place that once held some of the most dangerous humans in the country. From the tiny island, you also get a killer view of the city, as well as the Golden Gate. We grab lunch at a little restuarant on the wharf that way we could all get the classic clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. The remainder of our afternoon consisted of riding the streetcars and cablecars (two very different things), making a stop at the Ghiradelli factory for some afternoon sundaes, and then enjoying coffee at a little Irish pub. Dinner that night was at a hipster sushi restuarant, PABU. We then concluded the evening with a yummy dessert back at the hotel.

We started our last morning in California with a quick hotel workout session, followed by a delicious breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Parallel 37. We loaded into the car and drove across the Golden Gate and into the Muir Woods Forest in hopes of finding some big trees!! Unfortunately, we couldn’t really see any of the ginormous trees but that being said, we didn’t have too much time to do a lot of digging since we had a flight to catch.

Anddd before we knew it, we were back in htown!! This trip certainly was so neat. If you ever have the chance, I definitely recommend making a road trip down the PCH and perhaps exploring some of the cities along the way. Make sure to subscribe to stay up to date with my latest adventures!