California Roadtrippin’: Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sonoma

It feels kind of cruel to share these photos as much of North America freezes in a polar vortex, but perhaps pictures of sunshine and warmth will provide hope!

Basically, our holiday was perfect (besides the whole getting sick thing which always seems to happen to me). We were fortunate to spend a week in Palm Springs with Chris’s family, and then a week in SF with my grand familia (and lots of wonderful friends scattered throughout).

This vacation marked Chris and my 8th California road trip together, and I realized that adventuring in California is one of our all-time favourite past times! And since there are endless possibilities of what to do while on a California roadtrip, I wanted to share 5 of my favourite places in the Golden State. So if you find yourself in California with some wheels, sunshine, and time on your hands, here are my Grown-Up Party suggestions of what to do:

1. Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree – Ever wanted to feel like you are neighbours with Fred Flintstone, or in a Doctor Suess book? If yes, then go to Joshua Tree. The landscape is so drastically different compared to our deciduous Pacific Northwest that we wondered what planet we just stepped onto. And while you are there, hit up Ryan Mountain for a 2.5 hour hike. You’ll get your sweat on and be treated to a 360 degree view of the national park. 

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2. The Creationist Museum (aka Cabazon Dinosaurs), Cabazon – If you happen to drive between LA and Palm Springs, on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere you may notice some giant dinosaurs. Go with your gut and pull over. It is the strangest “museum” I’ve ever seen that is filled with some incredibly lame robotic dinosaurs, but the fascinating part is that it also happens to be a creationist museum. The creationist mantra is not too in your face, but when you see the slogan “By Design, Not By Chance!” plastered on a sign next to a dinosaur and lion hanging out, it starts getting really trippy.

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3. Heath Ceramics, San Francisco Alright this stop might not be for everyone, but if you love beautiful design, masterfully crafted pieces, OR seeing famous people … head to Heath Ceramics. It is a San Francisco institution of timeless pottery that will just make you want to redesign the shit out of your kitchen and tableware. Their new space in the Mission also has a coffee shop with Blue Bottle coffee, AND on the day that we were there cashing in some christmas gift certificates, Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie (and formerly married to Zooey Deschanel) walked in to do some shopping. I was seriously freaking out inside, AND we picked up 4 bowls and 2 mugs. BEST MORNING EVER.

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4. Fort Funston, San Francisco – California is obviously known for it’s beaches, but San Francisco – not so much. But if you head a few minutes south of the convenient, but not-so-stellar Ocean Beach, you will be treated to the magical utopia of Fort Funston. With endless beach, sand dunes for little boys to get extremely dirty in, cliffs for hang-gliders to jump up off, and one of the last off-leash dog beaches in the city, Fort Funston is one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets. (Sidenote: We even saw DOLPHINS at sunset. Pure magic.)

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5. SCRIBE Winery, Sonoma – I’m going to call it, SCRIBE Winery is the best winery in all of Napa and Sonoma. I know that is a bold statement, but I’m telling you, IT IS. Just trust me on this one. I actually plan to write a full blog post dedicated to SCRIBE and how it encompasses everything I want in a winery, but for now, I’ll just say if you are heading to the wine country of Northern California, do not miss SCRIBE (and make sure to call ahead and make a reservation!).

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Thank you California for your blue skies! It was the perfect way to start off 2014!

8 thoughts on “California Roadtrippin’: Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sonoma

    • Thanks Danielle! And yes! GO TO CALIFORNIA RIGHT NOW! I’ve got loads more of recommendations for San Francisco if you ever need them. Don’t hesitate to drop me a note!

    • THEY DID! Good call Colin! They’ve filmed quite a few things there actually, including a scene from the 1989 Fred Savage film The Wizard.

      • The Wizard! Classic. I believe Nintendo introduced “The Glove” in that movie. I also remember it being one of my first experiences of being unable to suspend my disbelief in a movie…I don’t care who you are, nobody is finding all those secret shortcuts the very first time they play Super Mario 3. C’mon

      • Colin you have an amazing memory! I barely remember The Wizard at all! The story about a young boy and video games must have really spoken to you. I wonder if it’s on Netflix, because I think I may need to revisit it.

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