December is the most expensive month in terms of travel. I personally think it isn’t worth paying double/triple airfare to visit a place during the Holiday season unless it has something extra-ordinary to offer. So last year, when I was thinking of a place to go to, I realized that I hadn’t explored NorCal as much. I went to school in Santa Barbara (which is the reason for my strong rooted love for sunsets and the beach) and so I have been to most of the SoCal beach towns multiple times. I always tend to gravitate towards warmer places, but this time, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and planned out an itinerary to visit a bunch of beaches in Winter! Well honestly it wasn’t that cold and it turned out to be one of the best road trips that I have done till date!
California has been my home since the time I moved to the U.S and I can’t express my love for this place in words! I literally get super defensive when someone tries to put down California 😀 I mean, there’s everything you could ask for and more! I’ve been to almost all the famous National Parks in the US and all the ones in California and it’s safe to say that this state has almost everything that you can ever see in terms of landscapes! There are hot springs, mud volcanoes, caverns, snow-capped mountains, deserts, sand dunes, granite rocks, Redwoods and Sequoia trees, plenty of beaches and waterfalls and the list goes on and on. Would you believe me if I said that back in India I used to HATE walking? Fast-forward a few years and here I am happily going on 10 mile hikes, just to get a glimpse of a snow-capped mountain or a frozen lake! That’s how much of a Nature addict this place has transformed me into! I should seriously be the brand ambassador of “California Tourism” 😀 I guess all of you who live here would agree with me 🙂
So here’s the link to the map which lists all the places that we covered during the road trip – Roadtrip map
Day 1 – Mendocino, CA
Day 2 – Eureka, CA
Day 3 – Burney, CA
Day 4 – South Lake Tahoe, CA
This is a costal town that’s about a 3 hour drive from the Bay Area. The drive to this place is along the coast and has some gorgeous view points! We encountered a lot of fog which is expected during Winter. The town itself has a very pretty layout with colorful victorian houses and has a bunch of Boutiques and cute restaurants. On a bright sunny day, you can rent an outrigger canoe and go canoeing on the Big River. We spent our day walking along the cliffs, spotting jelly fish in the ocean, watching the sun play hide and seek and stuffing our faces with delicious food. And if you are a vegetarian, definitely check out the Raven’s restaurant for some innovative and mouth watering Vegan food. The Little River Inn is a great place to stay if you’re looking for killer views when you wake up in the morning and their diner is great for brunch. If you are looking for cheaper options, check out Airbnb for good deals.
This is the largest coastal town between San Francisco and Portland and is known for it’s Victorian houses. This town is a photographer’s delight with beautiful streets filled with Graffiti and amazing beaches. If you are around this area, I definitely recommend going to Taste of Bim for some delicious Caribbean food. We took a local’s recommendation and went to Samoa beach to catch sunset and man it was so so gorgeous and serene! For some reason, it reminded me of the beaches back in India, with muddy waters and a foggy coastline. There were hardly any people on the beach and when it was finally dark and we had to leave, I left a piece of my heart there ❤ It was one of the best sunsets I have witnessed and I can’t wait to go back 🙂
We decided to drive to Trinidad which is a short drive up north from Eureka, CA before heading to Burney. The drive was beautiful through the Redwoods and we stopped by this beach called College Cove. The hike to get to the beach was filled with lush green ferns and it was like we were transported to a rainforest all of a sudden. This beach is known for its Tide pools and a must-visit during the warmer months! The next stop was Burney falls, which is one of my favorite falls in California. It was my third time going there and every time it manages to take my breath away! It is beautiful in every season and I highly recommend visiting it if you live in the Bay Area.
We stayed in Burney for the night and headed to Tahoe in the morning. The drive to Tahoe was through Shasta National Forest and Lassen National Park. They both have such a unique landscape and some amazing hikes and view points that will not disappoint the explorer in you. The drive was filled with frozen lakes and snow capped mountains and for once I didn’t want to reach the destination because the journey was so beautiful! We reached tahoe and grabbed a quick dinner before heading to Heavenly village for their New Year’s Eve celebration. If you are in the South Lake Tahoe area, do visit Azul Kitchen and try their sweet potato bowl – soo worth the hype! They had set up a stage in the Heavenly village and had some really good music and fireworks at Midnight. The next morning, we took the Heavenly Gondola and got the most amazing views of Lake Tahoe from up above and boy it was breath-taking! There was no place I’d rather be on the first day of the year ❤
Thanks for stopping by! ❤
Until next time,
One thought on “Exploring NorCal, one beach at a time”
Gorgeous pics girl!!