Northern California Girls Trip

Back in May I did an 8 day trip around the San Francisco area with my friend Angela. We started in San Francisco, then looped up north to see some redwoods and visit wine country, then headed down south into Monterey, Carmel-By-The-Sea, and Big Sur. It was a trip I’d been wanting to take for probably 10+ years now, but I was waiting for the right time and the right company. When Angela approached me about taking a trip together I immediately jumped on the opportunity to throw out Northern California as an option. From seeing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to driving along the Pacific Coast Highway there were so many things on my bucket list in the area. So here’s the highlights of what we saw each day of the trip…

Day 1: San Francisco

We started our day by taking a cable car from downtown to the Fisherman’s Wharf. From there we walked around the wharf and stopped at Pier 39 to visit the seals.
As you’re walking along the wharf you can also see Alcatraz in the distance.
From the wharf we hiked up to the the top of Lombard Street. It’s not an easy walk, but definitely worth it for the view.
This is the view from the bottom of curvy Lombard Street.
We then took an evening stroll around Chinatown.

Day 2: Golden Gate Bridge

We started day 2 early by getting an Uber to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center.
The view from the welcome center was pretty spectacular in itself.
We then walked across the bridge to get a different perspective from the other side.
Had to stop and take some selfies at View Vista Point 🙂
From there we hiked up to Battery Spencer to take it all in.

Day 3: Muir Woods and Point Reyes National Seashore

On day 3 we said goodbye to San Francisco and drove 45 minutes north to Muir Woods National Monument to see some redwoods.
We hiked the Bootjack Trail which you can find from the visitor center.
Once you get a mile or so out from the visitor center it’s very quiet and serene.
The scenery was just awesome. This was one of my favorite things that we did.
From Muir Woods we drove 2 hours north to Point Reyes National Seashore. This is kind of out of the way, but totally worth it. There was no one around and we got to see elephant seals.
Here’s a close up of the elephant seals from the photo above! From here we drove 1.5 hours to our hotel in Sonoma.

Day 4: Sonoma – Wine Country

On day 4 we did a half day trolley tour in Sonoma that took us to 4 different wineries.
Our first stop was Ravens Wood winery.
The vines at Ravens Wood.
View from the trolley.
We thought it would be funny to document before and after pics. So here’s before the tour…
…and here’s after. Everyone had a great time in case you couldn’t tell 🙂 we even made some new friends.

Day 5: Monterey – 17 mile drive

On day 5 we drove 3.5 hours from Sonoma to Monterey. We took it slow and did the 17 mile drive along the coast near Pebble Beach.
Lone Cypress from a distance.
I really loved all the coastal wild flowers.
More wild flowers.

Day 6: Big Sur – Pacific Coast Highway

We were staying at a hotel in Carmel right off Highway 1, so on day 6 we hopped on the road and drove south into Big Sur. This is the iconic Bixby Bridge.
Such awesome views from this overlook.
The stunning McWay Falls.
Me asking myself, “Do I have to go home?”
Just unreal views.
We also made a stop along Highway 1 at Pfeiffer Beach to see the keyhole arch.
The sand at Pfeiffer Beach is purple!
I can’t take credit for this, it was already there when we arrived, but whoever built this did a great job.

Day 7: Monterey Bay Whale Watching Tour

On day 7 I ventured off on my own to join a whale watching tour in Monterey Bay. This tour allowed me to see some awesome wildlife. From seals…
…to dolphins…
…to humpback whales!

Day 8: Alamo Square and Golden Gate Park

On day 8 we drove 2 hours back to San Francisco to spend the day before flying home. We made a stop at Alamo Square to see the famous Painted Ladies.
We then drove to Golden Gate Park to see the Japanese Tea Garden.

This was such a great trip. I loved the company (shout out to Angela), and I got to check so many things off my bucket list…

  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Redwood forest
  • California wine country
  • Big Sur
  • Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
  • Go whale watching

I can’t wait for my next adventure. I’ll be heading to Arizona, Utah, and Canada next month for a 10 day trip to see some more bucket list items and go to a wedding. Stay tuned!

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