I enjoyed a lot of culture and a dreamy amount of sun, sea and sand. This blog will take you through everything I did, places I visited and hotels I stayed at. You’ll also find all of my vlogs. From San Francisco to Yosemite and LA to Pacific Coast Highway, I hope you are inspired by my ultimate two-week California road trip!
Going on a road trip? Make sure you read my top ten tips to driving and hiring a car in America.
Day One – San Francisco
We popped along to a pretty famous landmark in San Francisco – The gorgeous painted ladies. These houses stand proud on the hill-top. They’ve been in so many films and give great views over the city.
We then went to the observation tower at De Young Museum. They had a huge map on the wall, which really showed just how much is crammed into the city! The tower has glass walls and gives incredible views.
We also trekked to the other side of San Francisco to enjoy a slightly more hidden treasure, Ocean beach! It’s so far out there aren’t many tourists, which made it even more wonderful.
We stayed at the Fitzegerald Hotel in Union Square – a great location and basic hotel to stay in. (AD) Book your stay in the area!
Day Two – San Francisco
We wandered past The TransAmerican Pyramid which stuck out loud and proud in the San Francisco skyline – it’s the tallest in the city! It definitely lives up to its name.
We also went full tourist and headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. It’s super cheesy but such fun! Expect attractions, restaurants and seals on the bay. We also found a gigantic whale mural on the walk. Further down you’ll learn we saw lots of whales in Monterey.
Day Three – San Francisco
It’s official. The best views of San Francisco definitely come from Coit Tower! It’s a huge 210 foot high column that sits on top of a hill providing 360 views of the city! There’s a small charge to take the lift to the top.
We visited Lombard, a very famous street! It’s a crooked road that wiggles down a small section of hill. Sit and watch the cars move up and down, and just enjoy the views.
We also found the secret Filbert steps. There’s loads of hidden stairways dotted around San Francisco to hunt down!
And not forgetting our super fun trip to The Exploratorium! A playful science centre with artistic installations. We attended one of their Late nights for adults only.
Like visiting America? I have lots of Florida blogs. Find out about my loves and hates of Florida, read a guide to Key West, don’t miss my ultimate Disney World tips and learn about kayaking with Manatees!
Day Four – San Francisco
You can’t take a trip to San Francisco without heading over to the most famous prison in the world, Alcatraz! Sitting on a small island, it’s impossible to escape, had brutal conditions and housed the likes of Al Capone. We booked the trip a month in advance as it’s so popular. The audio tour through the cell blocks was by far the best bit – so informative! Totally made the experience memorable. DO NOT MISS THIS.
Don’t forget to find these 5 amazing views in San Francisco!
Day Five – San Francisco
Pretty high up on my list of things to see was the Palace of Fine Arts! This grand building housed the world fair in the 1900s. It looked pretty out-of-place in the city but is by far the prettiest sight there is to see! A breath-taking building.
You can’t come to San Francisco and not make time to see the Golden Gate bridge! It’s the most famous bridge in the world and the most popular sight in this city. It took us hours to trek across it but it was worth the exhaustion and heat stroke!
We also stopped off at the wave organ, an installation on the bay that uses water to make music.
Day Six – Mariposa
San Francisco has lots of protests and today we found ourselves in the middle of a massive march for World Earth Day. Many of the signs opposed Trump and created a sea of hatred towards their president. It’s powerful to see so many like-minded people gather, especially for a topic as important as global warming. We only have one earth. Let’s treat her right.
Our final breakfast in San Francisco was at Blue Bottle Coffee. It’s ranked as the number one place to get coffee in SF. I can happily tell you it was THE best coffee I have ever tasted and THE best breakfast we had all trip.
It was time to leave this colourful city and drive to a tiny place called Mariposa, just outside Yosemite. It’s almost like going back in time to a vintage American town. We loved how kitsch and cute it was!
(AD) We stayed at Mariposa Hotel Inn. A small, lovely little hotel. The owners were sweet and it was placed close to Yosemite.
Day Seven – Yosemite
Today we adventured to Yosemite National Park. It’s a giant reserve only a few hours drive from San Francisco. I can honestly say it’s the most beautiful place I have ever been. Ever.
Yosemite National Park took my breath away. We hiked waterfalls, which were gigantic and so powerful. The mammoth mountains surrounding us stood strong and the wild life roamed free. We even got up close to grazing deer. There’s so many trials you can take in this huge park. Expect a small entrance fee.
Day Eight – Los Angeles
Today we drove across to LA and caught a live recording of The Late Late Show with James Corden! HERE’S HOW TO GET FREE AUDIENCE TICKETS. It was a super cool experience!
We also stopped at The Grove, which is a very upmarket shopping and eating centre just down the road from CBS Studios! We obviously ate at the cheescake factory and even passed celebrity, Isla Fisher.
Next we explored the streets of Beverly Hills! They were lined with posh houses, gigantic palm trees and women jogging with their dogs. Exactly how I pictured LA. And we spotted Vin Diesel!
(AD) We stayed at the Hollywood La Brea Inn, which was a very basic motel. No thrills here. But we weren’t looking for anything fancy. Just cheap and central. It was right next to the walk of fame.
Day Nine – Los Angeles
The Warner Brothers Studio tour was unforgettable and definitely one of the best things to do in LA! From batman mobiles to the friends set and prop tours to sound stages, you really get a fascinating insight into film making. I fell in love with La La Land before this trip and I only went on the bluddy set didn’t I!? It was being taken down a few days later, so I was lucky enough to see it. This tour is WELL WORTH YOUR DOLLAR.
We then watched the sunset at Griffith Observatory. It was uetterly stunning and topped off our amazing day perfectly. For the best view of LA, head up here, especially to see the Hollywood sign. Don’t forget to go inside to see the Museum and planetarium.
Day Ten – Pacific Coast
Time to leave LA and beach hop along the Pacific Coast, a highway that hugs the stunning coast of California.
We stopped off at Venice Beach for a stroll along the pier. There were surfers in the sea and seagulls in the air. It’s a quirky area of LA with so much colour and energy! We even had a cheeky peek at Muscle Beach! I loved the graffiti in Santa Monica too. It was everywhere and showed some real skill!
I drove further up the Pacific Coast Highway, which had incredible scenery! We stopped off at the road side to check out the beach and mountains. Such a memorable moment.
(AD) We had a night in Los Padres Inn – a nice, simple hotel. San Luis Obispo was the perfect middle stop on the pacific coast journey to give us a rest from all the driving!
Day Eleven – Pacific Coast
A California road trip wouldn’t be complete without leaving time to wing it. Today we stopped off at Avila Beach after a recommendation from a guy we met at Scout Cofffee in San Luis Obispo! It’s a cute little spot and completely unplanned for us! We loved the detour and spent a good hour exploring.
We also pulled off the highway for an adventure around Morro Bay. This little seaside town had beautiful views with lots of cute wild otters in the bay!? We even went into a small skateboard museum with the second biggest skate board (it’s huge). We loved this random stop on the way up the coast!
Day Twelve – Monteray
We adventured to Point Lobos Reserve just outside Monteray to look for seals. And boy did we find them! You can see dozens basking in the sun with lots of seal pups. It’s incredible to see animals in the wild safely protected by reserves like this.
Our last trip was Monteray Bay Whale watching. It was probably the most incredible experience of my life. We saw ten gigantic humpback whales, one of which gave a real show slapping its tail. Then a huge humpback breached the water right in front of us. It was apparently the best jump they’d seen in over a year. I can not recommend this boat tour enough. Seriously. Wrap up warm and take a sea sickness pill though!
(AD) We stayed at the Arbor Inn Monteray, our favourite hotel of the road trip. Clean, smart and comfortable.
Day Thirteen – Santa Cruz
The last stop of our California Road trip was to Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. It’s one of the best places to surf and dozens of people were riding the waves. We got talking to a guy who said our visit had the perfect conditions; hot with a little wind. This was a relaxing way to end our fortnight and reflect on our dream California Road Trip.
So there you have it – a day by day account of my two week road trip in California. Where would you stop off if you had the chance?