I am so excited to share these photos from our recent trip to California!
My sister, Kelsey, and I gifted our parents a trip to California as a thank you for being wonderful parents. It was a lot of planning, but it all came together so well. We flew to Oakland and drove to Monterey, where we spent two days exploring the Big Sur area. Due to the recent mudslides, route one was closed after Pfieffer Big Sur State Park, so we were only able to go that far, but there is still so much to see. On day two, we went on a fantastic whale watching adventure – it was unbelievable! Then we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and went to my favorite Monterey restaurant – Hula’s! On day three, we drove to Yosemite, which was about a four hour drive except a major forest fire – the Detwiler Forest Fire – shut down the road we were driving on and we were re-routed to an unpaved single lane cliffside road for 15 (terrifying!) miles! We were so relived to get to our campsite at Half Dome Village in Yosemite – only to discover that the forest fire had taken out the power in Yosemite. We were glad we had our headlamps (and luckily the fire is 50% controlled at this point, but it has been incredibly destructive). In Yosemite, we hiked to Bridal Veil Fall and Lower Yosemite Falls the afternoon we arrived, and we explored the swinging bridge area (stunning!). The next day, we hiked the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls, which was a LONG uphill walk but the view was beautiful! Then we walked to mirror lake, and then it was time to head to Napa Valley! We spent two days in Napa and went to Castello di Amorosa, V. Sattui, and Sutter Home, then on day two we had an incredible food and wine pairing course at Judd Hill (the highlight of our visit!), then went to Sterling Vineyards, and ended with a chocolate and wine pairing at Rutherford Ranch. On our last day, we drove to San Francisco bright and early and saw the incredible Golden Gate bridge, and then took a fun tour through the city in a vintage VW bus named Poppy with Painted Ladies Tours. It was so fun!
Our entire trip was such an incredible experience and it was the biggest trip we have ever taken as a family! Normally we go camping for our family vacations, so this was very different. It was my dad’s first time on the West Coast too! Kelsey and I loved being able to gift this experience to our parents and share in these adventures together. We were also so thankful to my husband, Justin, and best friend, Laura, who stayed in Maryland and took care of all of our pets! Enjoy some photos from the first half of our trip!
We saw these otters swimming in a small body of water while we were driving by and just had to stop. They were SO CUTE!
Whale watching was UNBELIEVABLE! Every direction you looked had whales. It was truly incredible. Although, in all honesty, the water was very rough – I am glad Kelsey brought Dramamine!
Visiting Yosemite National Park was a very last minute addition to our trip, but I am so glad we made the drive; it was so beautiful!
Our tent! We loved “camping” in Yosemite!