I have to start by telling you that my husband is quite the outdoor enthusiast and me? Oh well, I’m more of the relax, stay in bed resting type of person. Fortunately for us, the fact that we both like different things has brought us balance. So, when we start planning vacations, I always look for relaxing things to do, while he searches for the adventures.
We took a 7-day trip and drove quite a lot, but it was fantastic all the time. What we usually do is, we find different things to do and group them by areas. For example, we knew we would arrive at LAX, and that’s an hour in half away from where we were staying (Baker Ranch, CA). Therefore we picked an early flight to arrive there in the morning and take advantage of our first day to visit all the touristic places around LA; also because it was my husband’s first time there.
On our first day, we visited the Venice Canals, walked to Venice Beach, rode scooters to Santa Monica Pier and back, then drove to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and finally up to see the Hollywood sign.
On our second day, we had bought in advance tickets to go whale watching at Newport Beach. We had the fortune to saw a Whale momma and her two calves, along with many dolphins. Once the tour was done, we met my sister and nephews for lunch and stayed at the beach in the afternoon relaxing. Later that day we drove to Laguna beach which is like 20 minutes up the Pacific Coastal Highway. Laguna is one of my favourite places to visit in California, the beaches next to the cliffs are breathtaking.
On our third day, we had planned to go to Sequoia National Forest, but again, I wanted to add a relax time to it, so I found some natural hot springs on the way (almost). We drove close to 50 minutes east of our route to find the Remington hot springs by the Kern River. The views of this canyon are amazing, we went up to the mountain in the car, then hiked for around 10 minutes down to the river.
There we found some rock pools built by the locals next to the river, the hot water poured from the ground into these pools, but most of these were flooded by the river, which had a temperature of 30 degrees or less. Therefore we had to take turns to get into the only tiny hot water pool available. Also, they have a sulphur smell (I’m guessing from the volcanic water) which is a bit uncomfortable, but the whole vibe is really relaxing, and I felt an extraordinary connection with nature, very comforting from that drive.
We stayed there for almost two hours and then drove back to our route and into Sequoia. FYI there is no signal whatsoever around these hills. We went up to the giant forest which takes about another hour after you enter the national park. It was the afternoon already, and it was a little cold since it had snow the days before, and the snow was melting. But seeing these Sequoia giant trees left us in awe, they are thousands of years old and literally the tallest in the world.
We decided to head back before the sunset since we had to drive down the mountain and the roads are very steep. My husband made a reservation to spend the night at an airstream in a nearby town, where met my sisters and nephews at their camping site (who were supposed to join us, up in Sequoia Park but were unable to communicate with us).
On the Fourth day, we decided to stay around that area to give the kids a break from the road, we stayed in the camping site till the afternoon made a bbq, then headed back to Kern Canyon to visit Miracle Springs this time. These are much bigger, hotter, and a lot more crowded but definitely a gem you should visit if you go around Sequoia.
For the Fifth day, we went down to San Diego, which was an hour away from my sister’s house. I had been there last year during summer, and the number of sea lions laying on the beach was incredible, I was able to take a ton of pictures at that time. This time since it was just the beginning of spring there weren’t as many, but we saw a few from a distance. We took the whole afternoon just to enjoy the views and sit down by the beach. We had a late lunch and headed back home where we jumped into the Jacuzzi and Pool with all the kids.
On the sixth day as you can assume I was already exhausted from the drives and all, but we still had two more days. My husband had bought ferry tickets to go to Santa Catalina Island and let me tell you, I get seasick very quickly, so I was agitated at his decision. Luckily they sell the motion sickness pills aboard, and I didn’t throw up. In all honesty, this was the tour I liked the least, the island is pretty! But is just a small town on an island, not much to do or see, and we were dropped there for the whole day. We rented a golf car to go around the island, we did that in an hour! And since the pills had made me super drowsy, I just fell asleep in the sand around what it’s supposed to be the beach section but is not lol.
For the last day, I had two options, stayed home resting by the pool, or drive (again) an hour and thirty minutes to Palm Springs. My lazy self wanted that, but hey it’s PALM SPRINGS, CA! I had to go before coming back, so I did. It was my favourite day lol, it could have been the fact that I kept my little nephew with me the whole day, or just because it was the last day. We stopped by this Dinosaur road attraction to entertain my nephew and took some really cool photos too.
Afterwards, we went to the Palm Springs Tramway, went up in the hills and there was a bit of snow, which we enjoyed playing snowball fights with. We explored and took many many many photos, we headed down in the afternoon, just to drive around the oasis city, had lunch, and when we were about to head back home, we decided to drive twenty-five more minutes to Joshua Tree. It was the golden hour, the desert, a great outfit, and a precious company. I took most of my favourite photos of the whole trip here, so brace yourselves for a ton of these images going on my Instagram feed for the next couple of weeks.
We flew back home with more than 2k pictures, a bunch of memories and a full heart! For the places we visited, and the time we spent with our family.
Ps: My advice for taking advantage of your time is simply, group activities by zones, always google things to do around the city you’d be. Take time to relax between your activities, enjoy local food, and take a crazy amount of pictures and print album books with them.