The Weekender’s Guide to the California Coast

My two best friends and I have an annual tradition, road trips. It started when one was moving to Colorado for a season and we helped move her out there. This year we planned a trip to Los Angeles to visit a childhood friend and do a little work. Neither of my friends had been to California before so we quickly decided a road trip up the coast was a must. 

In one week we conquered most of the LA area, as well as all of Big Sur, San Fran and topped it off with my favorite Napa. I think we’ve really mastered the art of ”quick-cation” as I like to call it. 

I like to travel with my girlfriends and I like to travel with Babe but they’re two totally different experiences. With Babe, it’s usually very relaxing, focusing on local restaurants that come highly recommended and romantic places. When I’m with my girlfriends, we usually hit a lot places, spend more time out on the town and don’t care at all about restaurants (they’re not foodies like RJ & I). 

Whether you’re looking to leisurely head up the coast or knock it all out in a weekend, this guide is for you! & If you have no desire about traveling up the coast, I’ve linked some majorly adorable Spring outfits for you throughout the post and at the very bottom! 

First Stop: Solvang, CA 

Leaving from LA, we headed towards Santa Barbara. I’ve heard SO many great things about Santa Barbara but due to time constraints (keep in mind we did this round trip journey in a little bit over 36 hours) we decided to cut it from our list. We made our first stop Solvang, a cute little danish town nestled in the most gorgeous California hills. The drive from LA -> Solvang was incredible. 

It was pretty rainy when we first left LA & super early in the morning. We left from Los Angeles at 6 am and arrived here around 7. I didn’t take many pictures here but I loved it (visiting here was actually on my bucket list! I’m so happy I got to see it!). We stopped in the ‘Solvang Bakery’ & it was adorable and delicious.We didn’t stop but there was the most adorable brewery on the main strip that I would love to try if I ever go back! (If this was a ‘babe trip’ we most likely would have stayed a night in Santa Barbara, spent the morning exploring there and then explore Solvang in the afternoon.) 

–On the way out of Solvang we spotted a field full of Ostriches! We didn’t know it when we started but this little road trip was like a giant Zoo trip! 

Second Stop: Big Sur

This was my favorite part of our road trip. I have always dreamed of driving up the coast and it did not disappoint. Somehow I always get roped into driving during the most dangerous parts of our road trips (last year I was driving us through Oklahoma at 2 am during a torrential downpour and lightening storm while spotting ‘WATCH FOR DEER CROSSING’ signs every 2 miles.), this year I was driving during the curviest part of the drive. It was still insanely gorgeous and Kaitlyn switched with me half way through. 

Anyway, there are some AMAZING spots along the coast you won’t want to miss. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hit all of them but we did stop to see some gorgeous bridges (I LOVE BRIDGES). One place I wanted to stop at was ‘Nepenthe Restaurant’ but due to time constraint, we had to pass it. Not the end of the world, I still loved the coast. I’ve seen a lot of oceans in my life, but none like this. The most gorgeous rocks and beaches. If you have more time I highly suggest hiking one of the trails. 

(If I would have been on a ‘babe trip’ I would have wanted to spend the night cozied up at the Big Sur Bed & Breakfast.) 

–We saw Zebras?! while driving up the coast! We were able to get pretty close to them too! 

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Third Stop: McMay Falls 

This was our little ‘mini hike’ on Big Sur and one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen. Sadly, you cannot walk down to the waterfall (it’s blocked off, but I was SO tempted to ‘fall’ down the hill so I could play on that gorgeous beach!) This would be one of my must sees on the road trip. 

–Guess what! We saw more animals, elephant seals!! They were so cute, they lay on the sand and use their little fins to throw sand on their backs. 

Fourth Stop: San Francisco

 One of my favorite cities! The bay, the mountains, the Golden Gate bridge.. I love it all. We arrived in SF Saturday night and spent the night (If you’re here on a budget or not really planning to spend anytime in your room like us, stay by the airport. We got a very clean, comfy room at the Holiday Inn for $65 a night!). We woke up early Sunday since we had a lot of ground to cover before heading back to Los Angeles that evening. 


We first crossed the bridge towards Sausalito, grabbing a quick breakfast at a quiet cafe and walking around watching the bikers and sailboats. If I lived in SF, my dream would be to live in Sausalito. When you head back towards the bridge, there is the perfect place to pull off on the bay and see the entire SF skyline as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Marshall’s Beach 

There are so many great places you can view the bridge and all it’s beauty. I highly suggest the Golden Gate viewing area if it’s your first time in SF but I also love, love, love Marshall’s Beach. It’s on the opposite side of the city. When I was there, I was one of three people on the beach. It was so gorgeous and relaxing. Not to mention the view is incredible. 

Fisherman’s Wharf

If you don’t want to go over to Alcatraz (we didn’t get a chance to because of time, but I definitely want to go one day) head to Fisherman’s Wharf. Not only can you see Alcatraz and many fish markets, but you also can see seals! Grab a crab cake sandwich at Boudin, it’s incredible. 

Lombard Street 

This street is crazy, all the San Fran streets are crazy! Some are so steep, I didn’t think the car would make it up them. This one zig zags back & forth. Drive down it and then park at the bottom for an amazing 360 view of the city! 

*A few more must sees in the city: The Painted Ladies, Chinatown, Ride a trolley!, a baseball game, and more 

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Last Stop: Napa Valley

Ending our journey, we headed an hour north through Sonoma & straight into a pot of gold.. literally! Look at the gorgeous rainbow we saw. I must say, Napa was not looking it’s best when we were there. It was the off season and rainy, although it was still gorgeous and I’m happy we went.. it’s much prettier when the grapes are on the vine in the summertime. We went to Castello di Amorosa for wine tasting and it was gorgeous. 

Funny story, we were there on Sunday and on Monday Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kris Jenner were there for a girl’s trip! One day later and we would have met them!! #StillBitter.

These are my two best friends that I travel with, I’m SO lucky to get to share all these amazing adventures with them. I know as we get older it will be harder to travel but we’ve promised each other once a year we will take a trip & we will never travel the same place twice! Do you guys have any traditions or favorite places with your friends?! 

Ps. Today is the last day for the SHOPBOP sale, shop my favorite picks here & here. Also, ASOS is currently having a huge 50% off sale and surprise, surprise I want everything. 

Cactus Shirt | Denim Shorts*25% off w. Code ‘INTHEFAM’ | Sweater | Karen Walker Sunnies*25% off w. Code ‘INTHEFAM’ Necklace [℅ Shop Gold & Stone] | 

Denim Shorts *25% Off w. Code ‘INTHEFAM’ (Can you tell these are my favorites?!) | Denim Shirt (Almost IdenticalSimilar) | Gucci Disco Crossbody (Budget Friendly Option) | Prada Sunglasses *25% Off w. Code ‘INTHEFAM’ [℅ Ditto] | Gladiator Sandals *25% Off w. Code ‘INTHEFAM’ |

| Polaroid Camera

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