Californian Road Trip

My husband and I hadn’t had a big holiday since we went to Morocco in 2010, job changes and a mortgage depleted our disposable funds so finally after lots of squirrelling away our pennies we got to the point where we could book our next adventure! Any of you who follow the Bugs & Birds Instagram feed will have seen some snaps from my recent trip down the Californian coast. It took a little while to sort through the 1500 or so photos so two months on and I am finally ready to share some of my adventure with you!

San Francisco. We flew out to San Francisco and stayed there for a couple of days. It is hard to grasp how steep some of the roads are until you are actually walking up one and getting vertigo! This city is so full of charm which is surprising considering how big it is, beautiful street art is scattered throughout and succulents grow up through cracks in the sidewalk.

Fantastically stocked vintage shops filled the Haight-Asbury district and we happened to be just around the corner from Mr Holmes Bakehouse so were able to start our day with delicious pastries including the incredible matcha croissant pictured below!


On The Road. Our next stop; Yosemite. This doesn’t quite count as Route 1 and certainly wasn’t on the coast, in fact it was a four hour drive inland.  This phenomenal national park was worth the drive (which itself was stunning) and has stolen a piece of my heart forever. I wish my photos did it justice, it was quite literally breathtaking.


After Yosemite we made a 2000 foot decent into Mariposa, a little untouched all-american town. This is where we had our best meal and worst breakfast! Seriously – coffee that tasted like sausages and breakfast crusted with garlic powder , whilst  we ate we were being watched by the owners and had to eat every last bite!

Monteray. After the disastrous breakfast which left us with garlic breath that unbeknown to us at that time would plague us for days we headed on to Monteray. This is where we began to understand why California is called the Golden State.

Monteray is a beautiful little seaside town which is anything but sleepy. Its shores are home to dolphins, migrating whales, sea otters, seals and the list goes on. Inland it is full of beautiful colonial houses and friendly deer roaming around…

One thing Monteray is well known for is its aquarium, we didn’t really want to spend our limited time there shut inside especially after seeing the ticket prices but it had been recommended by so many people we decided to take a chance. It’s safe to say we made the right choice, the aquarium was spectacular.

Big Sur. After a couple of days recovering from our big Yosemite drive we set off down the stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway known as the Big Sur. This is the most stunning stretch of rugged coastline I have ever cast my eyes on.

The time of year we went at is famous for the haunting Pacific Coast Mist that rolls in from the sea, never quite reaching land.

Unfortunately the Big Sur has been plagued with mudslides and road collapses rendering a stretch of it totally off limits to the outside world but we were able to experience a good amount of it before backtracking on ourselves to complete a 150 mile detour on Highway 101 to get us to our next stop (and one of my favourites; San Simeon).

San Simeon. Here we stayed in a classic american motel (with the biggest bed I’ve ever seen!) across from a stunning stretch of beach, we ate veggie burgers then watched the most magical sunset with some adorable Chinese tourists.

The next morning I let Wil have a lay in whilst I taught the hotel concierge to make a macchiato (for Wil who is very particular about his macchiato being just right) then I took my coffee to enjoy on the deserted beach, I could have stayed in that moment forever.

Once Wil’s macchiato had worked its magic we went back up the coast to see some more of the Big Sur and to meet some very smelly moulting elephant seals, then we headed back south to Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara was one of our shortest stays which is probably why it was our least favourite as we didn’t get to experience it fully. However our Air BnB was phenomenal, as were the restaurants! On our short trip to our next destination we drove through Malibu and couldn’t resist exploring, we got lucky and after a bit of hiking found a little secluded stretch of beach.

Venice Beach. This stop gave us a few days to relax in one place, Venice has such an amazing vibe and there is so much more to this area behind the famous boardwalk. The canals have so many beautiful houses hidden along them and Abbott Kinney street has some phenomenal shopping and street art. Here I enjoyed a day of beach, tea and reading whilst the other half was off playing drums somewhere!

Hollywood. Our final stop and quite a stark contrast to the clean laid back vibe of Venice. Hollywood was grubby and pretty hostile, but we were based centrally which was perfect for lots of exploring and once you ascended the hills out of central Hollywood the grit and grime was just a memory below. The views across the city were enchanting.

Writing this post and keeping it fairly short has been so tough! There are so many more experiences we had that I would love to share, but some things can’t be shared in a way that can do them justice. I hope you have enjoyed having a little peak into our adventure and I would love to hear if you have done something similar!
Now to get planning the next adventure!

Kate x


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