The Golden State is a place unlike any other, and a top destination for travelers from all over the world. There’s just something about California that’s exciting, mesmerizing and promises adventure. If you have the time, skip flying to different cities, pack up your car or a rental and take a California road trip.
Nothing compares to driving next to the coast, breathing in the salty smell of the ocean and feeling the cool breeze on your face. Make sure to stop at these classic California towns to experience an unforgettable California road trip. We also included some road trip essentials to help make this the trip of the year.
California Road Trip Stop 1#: Santa Cruz
This quirky beach town is known for its chill vibe, surf spots and weird but charming residents. Featured in the 80’s movie “Lost Boys”, this infamous city is a California novelty and the place to see if you enjoy the eccentric things of life. Ride the Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, one of the last seaside amusement parks in the U.S. Or try a Whiskey Latte from Verve Coffee Roasters, located in Downtown Santa Cruz.
Finish off your day with a scoop of one of the 105 flavors offered at the infamous Marianne’s Ice Cream. Stay hydrated throughout your entire California road trip, and bring a fun water bottle that’s so cute, you’ll want to drink water.
California Road Trip Stop 2#: San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, SLO for short, is a beloved college town that offers the best of California: rolling green hills and sunny beaches. Spend a day at Fisherman’s Beach, the local dog beach. This beach is beautiful and less populated than nearby beaches. Pack some food and a bottle of wine and spend time in the water, playing with the pups.
If you’re into bright colors and flashy decor, the Madonna Inn is a must stop. Order a drink at the Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge and then tour the themed bathrooms and take the ultimate mirror selfie. Before you head to your next destination, stop and grab a Honey Tea Bowl from local coffee shop Scout Coffee. Bring along this KeepCup for BYOM discounts and to lower paper waste.
California Road Trip Stop 3#: Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, also referred to as the American Riviera, has Mediterranean weather, Spanish themed buildings, adorable boutiques and secluded beaches. This beautiful town offers different activities that are enjoyable for every personality. Fulfill the historian in you and take a tour of the Santa Barbara Mission, built in 1820. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, order an iced latte from French Press and taste the flavor filled espresso roast from local roasters Dune Coffee Roasters. Pair your drink with a warm apple strudel from Andersen’s Danish Bakery, a European styled bakery and restaurant.
Beach and nature lovers have to spend some time at Butterfly Beach. This local beach is one of the few beaches that faces the west, and you’re guaranteed to catch a breathtaking sunset over the water. Keep your phone charged with a portable charger like the ones pictured below, so you can capture dazzling sunset pictures.
California Road Trip Stop 4#: Hermosa Beach
L.A. should be on your route if you’re road tripping through California. If you want to spend some time in Southern California but don’t want to be in the heart of the city, then Hermosa Beach is the town for you. This charming seaside city is the picture everyone sees when they envision California. Golden sunsets, surfers riding the ocean waves and tan Californians sunning on the beach and grabbing brunch.
Venture out onto the Hermosa Beach Pier and soak in the sun and fresh ocean air. Eat an authentic French crepe at Creme De La Crepe, then drive along the coast tour the beaches apart of the three Beach Cities. Pack a cute pool float in your car and pull it out on every beach for instagram worthy posts.
For more road trip ideas, stop by our blog tomorrow for an Arizona Road Trip Guide. Click here for cool gadgets you can bring on your next road trip!
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