USA: Big Sur, the iconic Roadtrip
by Carolina S.
Monday, September 12, 2016
It’s the best way to travel. You make your own schedules, you decide where and when to go, you can stop wherever you like and you will certainly see things you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. And there´s no better country in the world to go on roadtrips than the USA. The Pacific Coast Highway, or Big Sur, is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. We couldn’t be more excited to drive along the beautiful coast that we’ve been seeing in movies and commercials for a long time.
It is funny how you can be half way around the world from home, with a 8 hour difference and it just doesn’t matter. We didn’t suffer from jet lag at all. The excitement keeps you awake and looking forward to start your journey.
Just before we kicked of our roadtrip on the Pacific Highway, we spent a couple of days in San Francisco. We had the most amazing time. We went to Alcatraz, saw the sea lion colony at Pier 39, rode a San Francisco cable car and walked through San Francisco Chinatown, the one we liked the most from all the Chinatowns we have ever been at.
We went to the Twin Peaks where you have the most amazing view over the city and we went to the Golden Gate visitor center and recreation area, where you can take amazing photos of the world’s most iconic bridge.
It was a very nice way to start our journey.
Santa Cruz and Monterey, CA
On the way there are many viewpoints where you can stop and take some very nice pictures. Our very first stop was at Santa Cruz, CA. Santa Cruz is known for its beaches and waves. It is a very popular surf destination. There´s even a Surfing Museum, which is located inside one of the Santa Cruz Lighthouses, the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Field State Beach.
One of the places we wanted to stop at was Santa Cruz Boardwalk. It is an amusement park by the beach where you can go for a relaxing walk or an exciting ride. There are lots of places where you can have a drink or eat something and we tried for the first time a Corn Dog. A corn dog is a sausage (usually a hot dog) coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter on a stick. Is a little sweet, but with mustard its OK. After a nice walk and some pictures we got back on our way towards Monterey, CA, where we spent the night. Monterey is a small city with many historical sites and modern attractions, such as Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Museum of Art and Cannery Row, where we had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Loved it!!
Carmel-by-the-sea, Bixby Bridge and Elephant Seals View Point
On the next day we continued our roadtrip. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a city situated on the Monterey Peninsula and is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. The beaches are so beautiful, the only thing you want to do is to seat there and contemplate. About 20 km down from Carmel is Bixby Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in California. Its location and the fact that it has been featured in many movies and commercials makes it a place you don’t want to miss.
Our next stop was at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals View Point. A large colony of elephant seals (at last count 17,000 members) gathers there every year. It all started on November 25, 1990, when a few elephant seals were spotted in the small cove near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Every year after that the seals returned, growing in population each time. It is a spectacular sight of nature. There were so many of them, it’s just amazing. But it smelled so bad!! I had to breathe through my mouth all the time, i just couldn’t stand the smell.
Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara and Malibu, CA
Our two last stops on our way to Los Angeles were Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. Pismo Beach has an award-winning boardwalk adjacent to the Pismo Beach pier, where the views over the beach are beautiful. You can go there for a walk and watch the sunset. Santa Barbara is a very popular tourist and resort destination and is often referred as the American Riviera. Its Spanish-style architecture, long white-sand beaches, fabulous shopping and outstanding restaurants makes Santa Barbara the ultimate weekend destination. We didn’t had the time to enjoy all Santa Barbara has to offer but we visited Stearns Wharf, had a relaxing moment by the beach and did some shopping. But you have much more to do there. You can go for a walk at the most famous street in Santa Barbara: the State Street; you can visit Old Mission Santa Barbara or Santa Barbara Zoo and you can even go for food and wine tasting. Maybe next time we´ll have time for all that 🙂
Finally, our last photo op before arriving in LA was Malibu. Malibu is known for being the home of Hollywood movie stars and other people in the entertainment industry and one of its beaches, the Malibu Surfrider Beach, was considered the first World Surfing Reserve. The houses right above the ocean look amazing! It must be very nice to have a house there 🙂
Santa Monica and Route 66
Our Pacific Coast roadtrip ended at Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles. It was a Saturday afternoon and it was sooooo busy. It was very nice to walk around the Pier and see all those people at the beach and at the Pacific Park. The Pacific Wheel is one of the most iconic features in Santa Monica and it’s an awesome place to take pictures! The beaches are just like in the movies, with the blue lifeguard stations and the surfers.
Another place to take nice pictures is the End of the Trail of Route 66. It’s nice to stand at the end of the one of the most iconic roads in the world.
It was the best way to end our roadtrip. We really enjoyed our Pacific Coast Roadtrip and we have to say to all of you that it is very worth it. If you are considering it, just do it! You´ll love it!
by Carolina S.Monday, September 12, 2016
We are a couple from a little country named Portugal, in the edge of Europe, where you can have the most amazing experience as a traveler. We have gorgeous beaches, amazing landscapes, a very old and vast culture and the best of it all, the food!! But, even though we live in this beautiful country, just like any other traveler all we want to do is to discover the world. We have decided to create this journal of our adventures so we can relive them every now and then, and we are very excited to share them with you all. We hope you’ll enjoy it!Read more at stampthepassport.com