*notcot in travel , 12:08

10 Favorite Spots up the CA Coast- 10.16.12

cali0c.jpg This post is sponsored by Merrell shoes and clothes.  For more great ways to enjoy the California outdoors, check out the Merrell blog for information on their Vendemmia Collection inspired by the grape harvest.

As a born and raised Angeleno ~ since walking the few blocks to the beach in Santa Monica with my parents as a toddler, nothing has ever felt more calming and invigorating that being near (or in!) the ocean… especially the pacific! Even during college and on and off in San Diego, i bounced through various apartments and houses that seldom left me far from the beach… When living in San Francisco, as brisk and foggy as the beach was, we always went regularly! And now, having my home base be back in LA the last few years, the beach is merely a roll down the hill once again… and whenever i need to clear my head i usually hop in my car, and depending on the amount of time i have - head up/down along the 1, aka Pacific Coast Highway which spans up and down the California coast. While often, heading up to SF or down to SD means hopping the 5/405, whenever time permits, nothing beats taking your time cruising along the ocean as closely as possible! The rolling sound of the waves, the sparkling sea right beside you, that smell of fresh ocean air makes you forget everything (even if you’re in traffic!) and just enjoy the beauty of the moment!

So when Merrell approached us to share some of our California outdoor loves, it seemed like the perfect time to pull together some of our favorite spots to stop along the coast… focused between San Diego and San Francisco, these are some of my favorite roads i’ve spent countless hours cruising along at every which hour since i got my drivers license at 16! So take a peek on the next page at my top 10 from the best beach spot to pull up to in SD, to malibu hideouts, to the elephant seals, otters, monarchs and more… on the next page!

cali12.jpg Lets start from the very south and work our way up!

cali9.jpg 1. LA JOLLA … between the seals down at the point… La Jolla Shores… and walking out to the bluffs and Black’s beach at UCSD… it’s a must stop, even if just to take in the breath taking views.

cali2.jpg 2. JUST BEFORE TORREY PINES - this has always been my absolute favorite to just pull up to the beach and watch the sunset… whether with friends, alone, a good book, or grabbing lunch in the car between classes while cramming for a final… I still try to stop by when i pass through SD… it’s even where i took the Mercedes CLS63 for sunset

cali10.jpg 3. VENICE BEACH… even though cliché, and as it changes over the years… a stroll down the boardwalk, along the skate park, down to the water… there is always something inspiring and bizarre to see!

cali11.jpg 4. SANTA MONICA INCLINE - regardless of weather, driving down the incline from Santa Monica to PCH always reminds me why i love home… the bay always looks incredible from this point, and everything feels possible!

cali3.jpg 5. MALIBU - it’s my shortest distance from home escape - from wandering up to Malibu Countrymart and the Lumber Yard for a snack or some quick shopping while wandering up further to Point Dume… and even beyond to Leo Carrillo (tide pools!) and up to Neptune’s Net… for a fun drive and amazing views, wander up into the canyons at Las Flores too… you’ll be away from the chaos in minutes and sometimes even up above the foggy clouds looking out at the ocean.

cali4.jpg 6. SAN SIMEON - the elephant seals. wow. It is somehow a surprise every time we drive by this spot and simply HAVE to stop… even when its insanely windy and freezing… there are SO many elephant seals beached here!

calicoast4.jpg 7. BIG SUR - the drive up winding along the 1 is ridiculously fun and gorgeous (especially in a fun car) - and having Nepenthe at the end for the ultimate view, fun architecture, and an amazing back story… as well as deliciousness… is always a treat! And if you have good eyes, you can spot the tiny specks of otters far down below in the water!

cali8.jpg 8. PACIFIC GROVE - as you pass through carmel and pebble beach and you reach the top of the peninsula… if you get lucky with timing (usually fall), visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary - you can see literally trees COVERED with monarchs. It is beyond surreal.

cali7.jpg 9. MONTEREY - the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must! … their jellies are always incredible… i definitely recommend booking their behind the scenes tour… and you simply must take the time to just relax seaside and count the MANY otters that just float about in the kelp in the bay!

10. SANTA CRUZ - The sea lions are amazing. A cozy pit stop, we love curling up at the Dream Inn, and you’ll be surprised to hear what sounds like all night honking echoing in from the ocean between the roar of the waves… turns out the sea lions (TONS of them!) hide out and curl up on the pylons beneath the pier!

While surely there are far more spots along the California coast to check out… and many more i need to explore above SF… these have been my favorites over the last few decades… feel free to share your favorites too!

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1 Notes

Great TOP 10!
Beautiful spots. I like your pictures (Hipstamatic???) but i really love La Jolla!

----- Thomas 25.10.12 13:37

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