Welcome to my dwelling state of California. I used to be born and raised within the Los Angeles space, have lived all around the southern coast, am now primarily based close to Lake Tahoe up north, and have made it my mission to discover nearly each nook of the Golden state – it’s my favourite for a cause.
I’ve taken extra solo journeys than I can rely in California, and over the previous 30+ years, some actually stand out. From Southern to Northern California, right here’s the place to go and the way to keep protected in your California journey:
1) San Diego – Surf and Nightlife
It’s simple to like San Diego. California’s third largest metropolitan space has an enthralling outdated city, full of life nightlife scene, and lots of seaside communities that vary from social (like Pacific Seashore) to good for rest and reflection (like Encinitas, La Jolla, and Ocean Seashore).
Decide a seaside city if you need the chance to exit and meet folks and surf, keep downtown for the historic areas, Little Italy, the Zoo, and to be near the airport, or head to Ocean Seashore or Encinitas for extra of a laid again vibe.
If you happen to’re seeking to drive the Pacific Coast Freeway, which is well the perfect highway journey out West, that is the proper leaping off level!
Keep: Resort del Coronado is a well-known luxurious resort within the space positioned on Coronado island with a beautiful seaside. Tower 23 is a good alternative in Pacific Seashore if you need one thing extra inexpensive and with a social vibe.
2) Anza Borrego – Desert Solitude
For me, solo journey typically means embracing being by myself. Many overlook the California desert, but it surely’s considered one of my favourite components of the state! I’ve been to the entire deserts on this record on my own a number of occasions and am at all times wowed by the quiet, the stargazing, and the colourful sunrises and sunsets.
One in all my favorites is Anza Borrego. It’s accessed by way of the small city of Borrego Springs, which has loads of motels, campsites, and boutique motels and eating places. You may also free camp in a few of the public land surrounding Borrego Springs.
Pictured above is Font’s level, simply the perfect dawn in all of California. You may also discover the wind tunnels, seasonal wildflowers, and some different intriguing land formations inside Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There are a couple of hikes, however the actual magic can solely be accessed with a four-wheel-drive automobile, so hire accordingly! Learn extra about my favourite issues to do in Anza Borrego right here.
Keep: The Borrego Valley Inn is an adults-only boutique resort with a pool that comes out on high for me, however I’ve additionally stayed on the western-themed Palm Canyon and Borrego Springs Resort and Spa and each have been good. I might hear just a little an excessive amount of noise from my neighbors at Palm Canyon although the room was good and the situation was nice. Borrego Springs Resort and Spa is a bit out of city however was good and quiet with a giant pool.
3) Joshua Tree – Funky Airbnbs
Joshua tree is one other desert cease that I really like visiting alone. The closest city is Twentynine Palms and for some cause it’s develop into a haven for distinctive locations to remain, together with the Airbnb with the rock tub sizzling spring pictured within the video beneath.
Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is great for stargazing, the Cholla cactus backyard for dawn, and I really like simply driving round and marveling on the Joshua timber, which solely develop in a pair locations the world over. You’ll be able to see my solo journey there and Borrego within the video beneath. One might simply go to each on the identical journey:
Keep: Learn extra about all of the great issues to do in Joshua Tree and the place to remain right here.
4) Orange County – Solar and Disney
Earlier than leaving California with a one-way ticket to Bangkok 10 years in the past, I lived in Newport Seashore for 4 years. I additionally grew up quarter-hour away from Disney and may verify, it’s tons of enjoyable as an grownup and even by your self.
Orange County is actually a bit extra approachable than Los Angeles when you nonetheless need that better Los Angeles vibe and the perfect seashores, that are a few of the most stunning within the state. I really like Laguna Seashore for the artsiness and the really stunning shoreline, Newport Seashore has a few of the greatest surf and wide-open sandy seashores, and Huntington Seashore’s downtown has a full of life bar scene and as a bit extra laid-back.
Keep: The Montage in Laguna Seashore is among the loveliest motels I’ve ever stayed at and is among the most well-known luxurious motels within the space. The views are out of this world. The Lido Home is considered one of few motels on the Newport Seashore Peninsula and is a quaint boutique resort strolling distance from the water.
5) Santa Monica – Metropolis Vibes
I used to be born and raised within the better Los Angeles space and though such an enormous, sprawling Metropolitan will be intimidating, I believe all of it comes all the way down to choosing the right place to get pleasure from it from.
Most first-time vacationers to Los Angeles make the error of going to Hollywood. I might keep away from it and spend your time in Santa Monica or Venice Seashore as a substitute. I additionally love the hipster Silver Lake space when you nonetheless wish to be near Hollywood with out the seediness. Take a hike in Runyon canyon or as much as the Hollywood signal, benefit from the seashores and funky environment of Venice, and the various eating places and nightlife of Santa Monica.
Keep: If you’d like one thing walkable, a rarity in LA, keep at considered one of these beachfront motels in Venice Seashore or Santa Monica.
6) Santa Barbara – Attraction and Purchasing
Santa Barbara is considered one of my favourite locations in California. I admit to being biased since I went to undergrad at UCSB, however no person doesn’t love Santa Barbara.
What makes Santa Barbara so charming is the Spanish structure, the purchasing of State Road, and aside from Orange County, a few of the most stunning seashores within the state together with Butterfly seaside. It’s an upscale space, however nonetheless has a nature-loving, hippie vibe with natural cafes and yoga lessons. In close by Montecito of Duke and Duchess and Oprah fame, there are additionally pretty climbing trails.
It’s an ideal cease in your Pacific coast freeway highway journey.
Keep: Once I was a pupil within the space, the Bacara, now owned by the Ritz Carlton, was generally known as being on among the finest and least crowded seashores and for being a celeb escape. For one thing extra inexpensive, household would typically keep right here once they visited. Additionally think about the Palihouse boutique resort downtown, among the finest areas to go to as a vacationer.
7) Dying Valley – Distinctive Landscapes
On the far jap aspect of the state, so long as it’s not summertime as Dying Valley is the most popular place on Earth, I extremely advocate visiting this Nationwide Park. Though the Pacific Coast Freeway is considered one of my favourite drives on the West Coast, Freeway 395 is breathtaking as nicely and takes you thru the Sierra Mountain Vary – considered one of my favorites on this planet — in addition to proper by the Alabama Hills and Dying Valley. If you’re the climbing sort, you would possibly decide to skip the coast and hand around in this a part of the state as a substitute!
Dying Valley is understood for its numerous land formations, together with the salty Badwater Basin, the bottom level within the US, the Artist’s Palette pictured above, the dawn at Zabriskie level, the Golden Canyon hike, and Mesquite Dunes, amongst many different stunning areas. See extra right here:
I really like Dying Valley as a result of it’s one of many solely nationwide parks the place you’ll be able to free camp in sure areas, will be completely by your self if you want, however will also be round different folks when you go to a few of the extra fashionable points of interest. However once more, in your personal security, make this a spot you solely go to within the cooler months!
Keep: If in case you have a tent, take a look at my tenting suggestions or for an ideal resort choice, keep within the park on the Twenties-themed Ranch at Dying Valley – I really loved my keep there, plus the proximity to Zabriskie level was good for dawn.
9) Mammoth Lakes – Sizzling Springs and Mountains
Mammoth lakes is ideal for individuals who like to ski, however even when you don’t, it’s great for snowshoeing, climbing within the hotter months, and sizzling springs! Once I visited final winter, I went with the categorical goal of having fun with the solar rises on the mountains, the Sizzling Creek Geological website, and the various sizzling springs, together with the heart-shaped one pictured above.
I’ve additionally visited in the summertime and really love the hikes within the space, together with Two-Duck lake, Rainbow falls, and the Satan’s Postpile. Minaret Vista can also be great for stargazing.
Keep: If you happen to’re eager to sizzling spring hop, staying within the Convict Lake space is ideal. If you wish to be near the slopes and climbing, keep in Mammoth Lakes, both tenting within the hotter months or within the Mammoth Village, which has a sizzling tub and plenty of eating places onsite.
8) Large Sur – Indescribable Magnificence
The central coast of California actually has my coronary heart. Locations like Large Sur and the whole drive north from right here to San Francisco are the explanation why. You’ll see jagged, rocky shoreline, probabilities of whale spouts within the distance, and delightful climbing trails alongside coastal buffs and in Redwood forests. A couple of of my favorites round listed here are McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in addition to Pfeiffer Seashore with its purple sand.
Keep: Large Sur is nice for tenting, particularly among the many redwoods. Ventana is a good choice in addition to the state parks. There aren’t loads of locations to remain in Large Sur usually, nevertheless the lodge is ok and when you have the finances, the adults-only Alila is divine.
10) Monterey – Seaside Escape
Simply up the coast from Large Sur, Monterey is one other dreamy seaside city alongside the Pacific Coast Freeway. It’s recognized for its big aquarium, nice diving when you’re keen to stuff into an 8mm wetsuit, and sweeping views. This is usually a nice leaping off level for Large Sur when you’ve struggled to search out lodging on the town.
Keep: I cherished the evening I spent on the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. We had a beautiful view and noticed whale spouts as we watched the sundown.
11) Yosemite – Dramatic Glacial-Carved Valley
Again towards the east aspect of the state, Yosemite could also be some of the fashionable nationwide parks within the system, but it surely’s for a great cause. I grew up coming right here with my household, and a few of my favorites are the entire waterfalls, together with the tallest waterfall within the US – Yosemite falls. The hike to Half Dome is famous, although you’ll need a allow, and I really like the hike as much as Nevada and Vernal falls, particularly from Glacier Level quite than the valley. It’s much less strenuous and far much less crowded.
Within the winter, it’s a magical scene with occasional snowfall, the 2-day per 12 months hearth fall, and frozen lakes. Learn extra about what to do within the winter in Yosemite right here.
I additionally extremely advocate heading south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Parks when you’re within the space.
Keep: Your greatest wager within the finances vary is the Yosemite Valley Lodge, although there are tented camps which might be heated within the winter, or the extra luxurious Tenaya Lodge, which I really like as nicely.
12) Lake Tahoe – Blue Past Phrases
Lake Tahoe is the place I now name dwelling, and for a lady who grew up loving the ocean, this gorgeous lake is sufficient to make up for being farther from the coast. As North America’s largest alpine lake, It’s an enormous space with practically half of the lake in Nevada and the opposite half in California. Within the winter, this can be a snowboarding Mecca with ski resorts throughout the lake.
However even when you don’t ski, there are many issues to do in Lake Tahoe within the winter, and in case you are a summertime customer, there’s much more to get pleasure from. Listed here are a few of my favourite pictures locations within the space in addition to my favourite hike, Mt Tallac.
Keep: These are a few of my favourite boutique motels in South Lake Tahoe and Lake Tahoe usually.
13) Mendocino – Redwoods and Sunsets
Though I couldn’t presumably decide a favourite place in California, Mendocino will surely make my high 5. I’ve been out right here 5 occasions and every time I adore it just a little bit extra. This isn’t the kind of place the place you’ll lay out on the sand and catch a tan, however for individuals who love Redwoods, moody and dramatic shoreline, and wild nature, it’s a peaceable escape I believe you’ll discover intoxicating.
It’s additionally an space filled with state parks with hikes, waterfalls, and wonderful seashores. You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the mattress issues to do in Mendocino right here. I’m additionally a fan of the extra working class Fort Bragg the place Glass Seashore, pictured above, options glittering sea glass at low tide at sundown.
Keep: These are a few of my favourite boutique motels in Mendocino and the encircling space, a area recognized for its high-end BnBs, in addition to the gorgeous Inn at Newport Ranch that I can’t advocate sufficient if you wish to actually get away from all of it.
14) Humboldt – BIGGER Redwoods
Situated within the far north of the state, the Humboldt space, well-known for Redwoods, is one other spot I’ve returned to at the very least eight occasions. It may be cloudy, moody, and it’s a far cry from the nice and cozy and crowded seashores of Southern California, however to me that’s what makes it so magical. It’s a extra distant, rural space the place you’ll discover a few of the greatest Redwood timber – the tallest timber on this planet!
Head to Redwood Nationwide Park and stroll to Large Tree, camp or hike in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and benefit from the many stunning seashores together with Moonstone, Trinidad, Mad River, and as much as Crescent Metropolis.
Keep: I extremely advocate tenting within the Jedediah Smith Redwoods when you have the gear, or the View Crest Lodge in Trinidad, considered one of my favourite areas.
15) Lassen Nationwide Park – Solitude and Mountaineering
In distinction to Yosemite and Joshua tree, two of the most well-liked nationwide parks within the system, Lassen Volcanic is among the least-visited. It might be because of the distant location, or maybe it simply hasn’t develop into Instagram well-known, however I cherished the solitude of climbing and truck tenting within the space. You’ll discover effervescent, child blue panorama on the Bumpass Hell path (its actual title, sure), and lovely views from Brokeoff and Lassen Peak trails.
The lakes within the space are crystal clear and although frigid, a pleasant technique to cool off after a day of climbing in the summertime.
Keep: within the video, you’ll see that I free camped within the Nationwide Forest close by. A high-clearance automobile is a good suggestion for many of those campsites, and they don’t have any providers. Nonetheless the Nationwide Park has a number of campgrounds with paved tons and bogs.
Though California is amongst my favourite locations to journey alone, there are additionally some essential issues to find out about staying protected. Within the massive cities, significantly Los Angeles and particularly San Francisco (and the whole Bay Space), automobile break-ins will be widespread and it’s essential by no means to go away something of worth in your automobile. I’ve even had a break-in at a considerably distant seaside close to Santa Cruz.
It’s additionally essential to notice that the large cities will not be usually walkable and their public transportation isn’t nice both. Though San Francisco has the BART, it’s seedy at evening. Since you’ll almost definitely should hire a automobile in your California journey, as California is hard to journey by means of with out one, I might depend on your automobile or Uber/Lyft to get round after darkish.
Moreover, watch out about strolling across the massive cities alone at evening. I might provide the similar recommendation for almost wherever on this planet. Tenting-wise, I are inclined to really feel superb solo tenting in the course of nowhere, however when you’re apprehensive about it, you’ll be able to keep in established campgrounds as a substitute.
In any other case my typical recommendation of staying conscious and never getting too intoxicated all apply. You’ll be able to learn extra about my high security ideas for solo feminine vacationers right here.
The Golden State has a lot variety from the gorgeous seashores to the unbelievable timber, deserts with a lot life and coloration, and cities with personalities every their very own. I hope you adore it as a lot as I do!
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