We’re back from our West Coast road trip and I’m excited to share the details with you!
You may have been following along on Instagram Stories, but we left for the US on Christmas day and we just got back last Saturday. It was an amazing and exhausting trip and as much as I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it, I’m so happy to be back home, in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen.
This is a long post, but that’s what happens when you do so much in 12 days. So if you’re not up for reading the highlights of our adventure, feel free to just enjoy the photos. That’s the best part, really?
Just imagine Shaun and I in our car, eating Lara Bars and singing along to Disney music and that’s basically half of our trip.
Let’s get started!
We left on Christmas day and drove 9 hours through BC and Washington, all the way to Portland, Oregon. We stopped at a few places along the way, but the highlight of our day was when we arrived to the Columbia River Gorge, more specifically, Horsetail and Multnomah Falls.
Once we arrived to the city, we stopped at Powell Butte Nature Park to see a 360° view of the city. Everything was closed for Christmas of course, so we then made our way to our Airbnb and relaxed for the night.
The next day was the only time it rained on our entire road trip (we were fortunate with very good driving conditions). Before leaving Portland, we stopped at Forest Park for a small hike in the rain and spent some time at Powell’s City of Books (I highly recommend this store if you love books!).
The rest of the day was spent driving, all the way to Crescent City.
(Forest Park, Portland)
We woke up early (as usual) the next day and left for the Redwood Parks, stopping at a few beaches along the way. If you’re ever in the area, make sure to stop and see the Big Tree at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The size is unbelievable – And that sign (picture below) represents the forest very well.
We then continued to drive south and stopped at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Again, this park was filled with big Redwood trees. We did a small hike to stretch our legs and then made it to San Francisco.
Our first stop in San Francisco was of course the Golden Gate Bridge. We then had supper at Vegan Burg for delicious vegan fast food. It may not have been healthy, but it was absolutely worth it. I had the avocado beetroot burger with seaweed fries. Yum!
(Big Tree, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park)
(Humboldt Redwoods State Park)
(Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco)
We spent most of the next day in San Francisco. We parked downtown, then walked 30 minutes to Coit Tower to get a view of the city before heading to Pier 39 to see the sea lions. After that, we walked downtown until lunch and ate at Nourish Cafe. I had their Golden Gate Bowl, which was packed with rice and vegetables. It was SO good.
That evening, we drove south and stopped at Stanford University, Apple Campus and Google (a few things that Shaun wanted to see).
We then slept in Salinas, wanting to drive a little south that night, closer to our next destination.
(Pier 39, San Francisco)
(View at Twin Peaks, San Francisco)
The next morning, we visited Monterey and Carmel beach, which was one of my favorite parts of our trip. We stopped at many places along the coast before going for a long walk on Carmel Beach. Carmel-by-the-Sea was the cutest little town I’ve ever seen.
Later that morning, we drove through Big Sur, stopping at many beautiful places along the way to take pictures. We did want to stop at Pfeiffer beach, but unfortunately, the parking was full and we couldn’t get there. So instead, we drove to Santa Maria and stopped at Guadalupe Dunes Park to see the sunset.
(Pacific Grove, California)
(Carmel Beach, California)
(Big Sur, California)
(Guadalupe Dunes Park and Nature Preserve, California)
That morning, we took our time in our beautiful Airbnb and had our first warm breakfast in days – A delicious omelet filled with vegetables and cheese. We then made our way to LA, where we spent the next 2 days.
Our first stop in LA was Santa Monica. We parked the car there for the afternoon and walked along the beach and the famous pier. We then walked almost an hour to get to The Butcher’s Daughter, where we had some amazing vegetarian pizzas (I had the mushroom and arugula pizza and it was delicious).
After our meal, we walked for over an hour on the beach at sunset to get to our car.
(Santa Monica Pier, California)
(Venice Beach, California)
We woke up very early the next morning and went for a hike in Runyon Canyon Park to the Hollywood Sign. By 9am, we finished hiking and made our way to Hollywood blvd to walk along the stars. While it wasn’t our favorite part of the trip, it felt like something we needed to do in LA.
For lunch, we ate at Sage Vegan Bistro, which was Shaun and I’s favorite restaurant of the trip. I had their veggie burger and Shaun had a burrito, which were both vegan and delicious!
That afternoon, we sat at Venice beach to read and relax. It was New Year’s Eve and we got to watch the last sunset of 2018 from the California Coast. Finally, we spent the evening in our Airbnb and ate peanut butter toasts while watching Friends on my laptop, then went to bed at 8pm. Such a wild night!
(Runyon Canyon Park, Hollywood)
On New Year ’s Day, we woke up early again and drove all the way to Grand Canyon West in Arizona. We were hoping to see more of the Grand Canyon, but instead of paying a lot to go on the Skywalk, we just saw it from afar, then stopped at the Hoover Dam before heading for Vegas.
We spent the rest of the night in Vegas, which was very interesting. It was expensive and people smoked in casinos, which to me, were two negatives, but it was still worth the experience. We’re not ones to gamble (Shaun gambled a big 15$), so we simply walked along the strip and saw Caesar’s Palace, Paris, Bellagio and The Mirage where we stayed. Just that was enough to keep us busy all evening.
(View on our way to Grand Canyon West, Arizona)
(Hoover Dam, Nevada/Arizona)
The next morning, we walked at The Venetian, which we didn’t visit the day before, then stopped for an early lunch at Whole Foods on our way out of the city.
Our next stop was Death Valley National Park, which was another highlight of our trip. We walked on Badwater Basin, drove through Artist’s Drive and stopped quickly at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
(Las Vegas, Nevada)
(The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada)
(Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, California)
(Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, California)
(Coyote in Death Valley)
(Badwater Basin, Death Valley, California)
(Artist’s Palette, Death Valley, California)
(Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California)
That day, we only had a short 3 hour drive, so we had our breakfast and worked in our hotel for a good part of the morning.
We arrived in Lake Tahoe early in the afternoon. We were planning on doing a short hike, but the trails ended up being icy, so we decided against it. Instead, we walked a few minutes and enjoyed the view, close to the parking. We then stopped next to the lake to enjoy the view before driving to our Airbnb in Carson City.
(Lake Tahoe, California)
(Lake Tahoe, California)
By this time on our trip, we were getting tired and we only had two long days of driving left. That day, we drove 7 hours from Carson City to Redmond, stopping only at a few places to take pictures.
The last day of our trip was a long one (over 10 hours in the car) and we were both happy to get home.
And that’s the end of our 12 day West Coast road trip. It was a packed 12 day and we were exhausted, but it was an unforgettable experience!