California is a very rich, beautiful, and diverse state with its marvelous landscapes, enormous mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, gorgeous lakes, and the world's largest and rare trees. It is definitely the place where people should go at least one time on a vacation. There are so many locations to go and things to do. I made a list of destinations we wanted to visit, reasonably estimating time for each trip to squeeze everything in one vacation.
Our journey begins
My boyfriend and I traveled to this state at the end of March. At that time we had at home still really cold weather. Since, I live in North part of USA we have winters and beginning of springs with chill and sometimes lots of snow. When we arrived to Los Angeles it was very hot there especially compare to my home city. For me it was like to come from winter straight to summer. We took out our warm coats and put some summer clothes on.
Since I booked a flight, hotel, and rent car in one bundle, we went directly from the airport to the local car rental company and drove from there on their rental car to our hotel. At that same day we decided to drive on the coast highway 1 up to Santa Barbara. I enjoyed beautiful landscapes and ocean views from the car window. We stopped a few time to walk along the beaches a little bit as well. In such beautiful places like that it is good to climb up the hills in order to see its sights from some high point. There we hike for some period of time. On our way back we didn’t went straight down to Los Angeles, but turn and headed to see the famous and the tallest on the continent mountain, the Mount Whitney.
On our way we stopped at one of their farms and bought some fresh fruits. They were so delicious my boyfriend and I had both such a feeling that we never tasted anything better than that. Those fruits were so fresh and juicy that I could not stop eating them. We drove through the Alabama hills. When we started to approach the mountain it became colder and colder. As on any other high mountain it was snow and we saw that some people drove with ski on top of their vehicles, but we didn’t see anyone skiing. We went to that mountain only with one purpose to enjoy its magnificent beauty and remarkable landscapes. We hiked there and breathed its fresh, crisp, clean, and cold air.
San Francisco travel
Next day we went from Los Angeles to San Francisco. On the way there we drove through Pleasanton city where my friend lives. This city is very nice, sunny, and warm despite the fact that it is very close to San Francisco which is very windy. We saw many wind farms on our way there and some wind turbines are even offshore.
Since we didn’t warn my friend in advance about my visit, I decided not to stop in her city. In addition, we had some time restrains with our trip. We spent on the drive about four hours in one way and we had to spend the same amount of time to come back after exploring a little bit San Francisco. It was a pretty much long and tiring drive. In San Francisco we wanted to see their famous Golden Gate Bridge and sea lions. Of course, this city has so many other ‘must see’ attractions to go, but we wanted to see just those ones for now and fully enjoy them than to plan visit many placed and to be in a rush. Anyway we will come back there again someday.
Nowadays the Golden Gate Bridge is not tallest or newest, but it still remains one of the most visited and photographed places in the world. We capture with our camera the great views of the Bridge. Good thing is that we decided to travel to California in March when it was still cold in the place where I lived because we had to bring our warm jackets with us. We especially needed them in such places as Mount Whitney, Golden Gate Bridge, and Sequoia National Park. In San Francisco was not just cold, but very windy what made things even worse.
Near the Horseshoe Bay is always pretty brisk. Therefore, it is a good idea to take there at least some jackets if not warm ones with you in any time of the year. While being near the Horseshoe Bay we could see San Francisco city and Alcatraz Island which is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. This island has no prisoners any longer and it is managed by the National Park Service. However, we wanted to visit it also because this place contains so many historical events. I was not able to do it, though, because we should have planned this visit ahead and buy tickets on-line. Since, I didn’t do that, we had to just watch Alcatraz from the distance. We saw that many tourists visited this place by the boatload.
After that we drove to visit the PIER 39's West Marina where the sea lions camped out. On the way there we had to cross a mountain one line tunnel where traffic goes in one direction only. We had to wait pretty much long time for our turn to enter there. When we got to the place, I saw the sea lions down lying on stones, they were so cute. I could have spent hours by just watching them. We also enjoyed spectaculars views of this area and made tons of pictures. From that place we also could see the Golden Gate Bridge in full length.
When we saw it like that, I realized even better how long and powerful it is and how hard it was to build such bridge. Despite the fact that we enjoyed there a lot, the time was running out making us to come back to Los Angeles. We drove back to San Francisco city and explore town a little bit and visited their local museum. After that we headed back to our hotel. Since we arrived there only in the morning, I decided not to go next day far from Los Angeles. We were too exhausted. Plus the hosted city has also so many exciting places to go to.
Exploring Los Angeles and surrounding area
On the third day of being in the city we finally get to know a new city for me since I’ve never been there before. We went to Mulholland Drive along the top of Hollywood Hills which offers great views of Los Angeles. We stopped in a few their local parks which were just gorgeous and headed to see the downtown of Los Angeles. When we got there it was already after 5 pm. We parked our rental car in one of their paid parking lots and went to explore the city. We were surprised that compare to its beautiful suburbs that I just saw few minutes ago everything looked there strange, gray, and uninvited. Maybe it was just that time of a day and I got such feelings that it was even dangerous to be there. It was just a little bit after five o'clock, but on streets many stores were closed already and with some metal security gates. After walking a few blocks I decided that we’ve had enough and need to get out of there.
Next we headed further down to Long Beach. Since this was already evening, we didn’t stay there long as well. We just watched amazingly beautiful sunset and made lots of pictures of it. We also decided to come back to this beach one more time, but during the day time. After a good night sleep with new energy we headed to see the famous Sequoia trees. We spent there the whole day because Sequoia National Park is so huge.
We spent our last day of our vacation on Long Beach again. We even didn’t have a full day actually because we had our flight in the evening. Therefore, we should’ve arrive to airport earlier. Plus we had to return our rental car.
While being on the Long Beach we walk along the shore. We saw many surfers in the Pacific Ocean who seem like fly on waves. At that time of a year some people already start to swim in the Ocean, however, the water was still extremely cold. Since there was very windy we didn’t take even sunbathes. I wanted to have an in jump picture. I jumped up high many times and my boyfriend tried to cache a right moment. However, his clicks were whether too early or too late. Therefore, we had so many funny pictures of me. Usually I delete all not good photos, but those ones were rather comical than bad. That's why I even didn’t erase them in order to leave some memories of that fun time that we had there. Finally after many times of trying and practice I got the in jump picture that was desired.
After that trip we return like from summer back again in winter. When our plane landed we were glad to be home even despite the fact that it was snowing at day. However, we had such nice and warm memories from our California vacation which kept us happy until summer.