California Dreamin’

Jon and I did this “bucket list” thing summer of 2017. We drove up the coast of California in a racecar. We went on a nine day road trip starting in Austin, driving to San Diego, up the infamous Big Sur to Morro Bay, Monterey and Carmel, continuing on to Las Vegas, Arizona, New Mexico and back to Texas round trip. Aren’t you exhausted just reading that?!

We drove the nineteen hours to San Diego from Austin overnight, immediately leaving work on Friday afternoon. Many of you may not know that my boyfriend is a RACECAR FANATIC. We, yes we, drove his M3 round trip and used Hotwire to book the most awesome hotels . Seriously, Hotwire did not disappoint. Some of the hotels we stayed in were absolutely perfect and made our trip even more amazing.

This travel guide is going to be LONG. This was our “Bible” for nine days. It provided us with every opportunity for attractions, maybe a little vino, most definitely some of the best meals we’ve ever had and for sure anything time would allow us to see- how often do you take a “once in a lifetime” trip up the coast of California?! Of course we made it everything we could have dreamed of!


San Diego, CA

We stayed at the Horton Grand Hotel and Suites (10/10 recommend)

Things to do:

Balboa Park- trails, garden, museums, history
*Gaslamp Quarter- food, bars, clubs, lounges, shops
La Jolla Cove- kayaks and caves
San Diego Zoo
Star of India
Seaport Village- shopping, dining, entertainment
Mission Bay- paddle boarding, Sea World fireworks
USS Midway
Hiking- Potato Chip Rock, Torrey Pines, Ho- Chi Minh, Los Penasquitos, Cowles Mtn.
Oceanside Pier

Food & Drink:

Rooftop 600 at Andaz
Mister A’s- Best view
HWY 78- “Hops HWY” Craft Beer Crawl
Davanti Enoteca- Sunday Brunch
The Cottage
Lucha Libre
Hyatt Rooftop Bar
*Georges at the Cove- we celebrated our anniversary here!
*Ghiradelli- I want to go back just for this!!
Eddy V’s
P.s. we stopped at DISNEYLAND on the way from San Diego to Morro Bay!!!
*The Hopping Pig Gastropub

Morro Bay, CA

We stayed at the Inn at Morro Bay (10/10 recommend, it was a beautiful, calm and relaxing night in the hot tub)

Things to do:

Morro Rock
Morro Strand Beach
Morrow Bay State Park- lagoon, saltwater marsh
Anchor Memorial Park
*Hearst Castle
Embarcadero- shops, food, sports rentals, entertainment
Harbor Boardwalk
Town of Cayucos
Town of Cambria

Food & Drink:

*The Libertine Pub- seriously, my favorite
Bayside Cafe
House of JuJu y the Bay
Frankie & Lola’s Street Cafe
Brickhouse BBQ
Stax Wine Bar
Top Dog Coffee
Morro Bay Coffee Co
Grasy Bar Oyster Co
Rocca’s Surf Snack
Lil Hut

Pacific Grove, CA

We stayed in Monterey & Carmel for two days and travelled back and forth from Pacific Grove

Things to do:

*17 Mile Drive to Pebble Beach
Lover’s Point
Asilomar State Beach
Kissing Rock
Lazy Tree
Rip Van Winklle Park

Food & Drink:

Passion Fish
Red House Cafe
Pavels Backerei
First Awakenings
Roy’s at Pebble Beach

Monterey and Carmel, CA

We stayed in a suite at The Monterey Hotel (10/10 recommend)

Things to do:

Whale watching with Fast Raft
Carmel Wine Walk
Cannery Row- shops and beach
Walk Carmel by the Sea- shops and beach (Ocean Ave.)
Carmel Sunset Beach
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Food & Drink:

Baja Cantina and Grill
Carmel Belle
*The Crown & Anchor
Flaherty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
Lou Lou’s Griddle in the Middle
*Taste of Monterey Wine Bar- 180 view of the bay
Brophy’s Tavern
Gianni’s Pizza
*Fisherman’s Wharf- this is where we celebrated my birthday!
*Alvarado Street Brewery
*Cooper’s Pub

Las Vegas, NV

We stayed at the Excalibur, your typical Vegas hotel. This was actually our least favorite part of the trip.

Things to do:

“Fabulous” Welcome sign
Foreign Cities
Fremont Street- old Vegas experience
Bellagio Fountain and Gardens
Adventure ride at the Venetian
High Roller- world’s biggest observation wheel
Hoover Dam
Mob Museum
Red Rock Canyon
MGM Grand
Swim with sharks water slide at Golden Nugget
Climb the Eiffel Tower
Slotzilla Zip Line
Vegas Strip

Food & Drink:

Mandarin Bar- 180 view of the strip
Skyfall Lounge- overlooks entire strip from the south
Omnia- night life
Novie Italiano Restaurant
Foundation Room- amazing view
Cabo Wabo- casual
Beer Park- beer garden
Chateau- night life
Ghost Bar
Diablo’s Cantina
Hyde Bellagio- nightlife
Voodoo Lounge
*The Laundry Room- speakeasy
Banger Brewery
Blvd Creamery- alcoholic ice cream
PBR Rock Bar and Grill
Carson Kitchen
Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars- or any buffet!!
Wicked Spoon Buffet at Cosmopolitan
Downtown Pub Crawl- start west end Freemont and head east

Sedona, AZ

We stayed at Arabella, decent hotel but the views were amazing (I’d love to come back and go camping)

Things to do:

Slot Canyons
*Lower Antelope Canyons
Drive Desert View Drive
Rafting on the CO River
Helicopter Tour
Cape Royal Trail
*Horseshoe Bend
Havasui Falls
Toroweap Overlook
Skywalk- you need to look this one up and see the magic for yourself!
8GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK- you can’t drive all this way and not go see the Grand Canyon!!

Food & Drink:

Vino Di Sedona

Santa Fe, NM

We stayed at a really cheap motel our last evening, it was all about resting up for the long drive home the next day

Things to do:

*Meteor Crater
*Petrfied Forest National Park

Food & Drink:

*Santa Fe Brewing Co.
*Second Street Brewing



This was truly the trip of a lifetime… and we didn’t want to kill one another after nine days in the car either 🙂



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