Never in my life has ten days gone by so fast, yet so slowly, at the same time. June 15th at 4:30 in the morning, I left my house with my family to head to BWI airport to fly across the country to California. After six hours in the air, we arrived on the West Coast. Unfortunately, I did not get to cross off any of the art museums on my list, due to a tight schedule and construction, but I did get to do a lot of amazing things.
Days 1-3: Yosemite National Park
It was incredible to see so many people in one place to just take in the beauty of Mother Nature. I could not believe the size of the rock faces surrounding me from all sides from the bottom of the valley. There were also a series of waterfalls all around that were each breathtaking for a different reason. I was able to do an Ansel Adams photo walk, which you can read more about here. Lastly, it was crazy to see snow in the middle of June. I did a snow angel on one of the mountains.
Wow. Wow wow wow. If you think you have seen a big tree, and have never been to see a giant sequoia, you have not seen a big tree. I felt like an ant beside these trees. Very very cool.
Day 5: Santa Monica Pier
Kind of a personal stop because my brother and I are big Pokemon Go players. We also dined at the Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. restaurant since we’re all fans of Forrest Gump.
Day 6: Laguna Beach
We climbed across rocks at low tide to explore some tide pools that had formed along the shore. It was at this time we came to find out that the water on the West Coast is very frigid. Afterwards, we ate the best Chinese food I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, I could not believe how good it was. This was also the first day I got sunburn.
We started the day at the Birch Aquarium where I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of touching a sea cucumber. Spoiler alert: they are very slippery feeling and squishy. (Fun fact! When a sea cucumber is frightened, it will expel its organs out its rear end and later regenerate new ones!) Sea cucumbers are pretty cool, you should check them out. Later in the day, we visited Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve where the endangered Torrey Pine tree is protected and being conserved.
Day 8: San Diego Zoo
This was a long day. My brother loves his animals. We arrived at the zoo at 10:00 AM, and we left at 8:00 PM. This zoo in particular was really neat because they had koalas and pandas, which are not kept in many zoos across the globe, so that was awesome to see. I also got to see some of my favorite animals including the sun bear and tapirs.
Day 9: La Jolla Coves
We saw sea lions resting on rocks along the water. Super, super cool. We were able to get fairly close to them, but not close enough to disturb them! We also climbed down a bunch of stairs into a cave that housed 65% of California’s bootleg liquor during prohibition at Sunny Jim’s cave. He would store the liquor at low tide, so when the tide came in, it would be hidden underwater. Pretty clever! We ended the day with dinner at The Spot which had such delicious food I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more in my life. 10/10 recommend.
Day 10: Kayaking, Snorkeling, Pizza, and Ice Cream
I did something I had never done before on this trip. Well, two things. I kayaked into the ocean and I went snorkeling off shore of one of the caves in La Jolla. Kayaking was so much fun, but exhausting. The only complaint I have is that the water was FREEZING. It was a frigid 66 degrees that felt more like 26 in the shade. Even in wetsuits I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes! After peeling off our wetsuits, we ventured into downtown San Diego where we found the best pizza at an authentic Italian restaurant in Little Italy called Landini’s. So good. After that, we strolled around the beautiful Balboa Park for a bit until we worked up an appetite for some ice cream, so we headed over to Hammond’s where we got two flights of six mini ice cream cones. A delicious way to end our final day in California!
That’s our trip in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed reading!