Now that we are about 3 months into lockdown, I am sure most of you like me have the burning itch to get out and explore. Im keeping my fingers crossed that we get to travel sooner than later! That being said when lockdowns are lifted most people are bound to travel locally and plan roadtrips first before air travel. Honestly there is SO much to explore in our own backyard of the Golden State and within just a roadtrip you can get to diverse landscapes from cities to beaches to redwoods to snow to mountains to deserts and so so much more – Cali has it all! Call me biased but in my opinion California is definitely the most beautiful state and I am beyond grateful to call her home! So without further adieu here are some of my 12 Must do Roadtrips in California :
1 ) SAN FRANCISCO & THE BAY AREA – my home!
I feel lucky to call the San Francisco Bay Area home for the past 6 years, its definitely one of my favorite places in all of California for multiple reasons. Check out my blog post here for the best beaches in the SF Bay Area.
2 ) NAPA VALLEY
Napa and Sonoma Valley in California Wine Country are one of the world’s famous wine regions for wine tasting, wine tours, Michelin star restaurants, incredible resorts and so much more. Whether you choose to go for a day trip or an overnight stay you are guaranteed to fall in love with the gorgeous California wine countryside. Some of my fave hotels here are Farmhouse Inn and Auberge Du Soleil. Check out my full travel guide to Napa Valley here.
3 ) BIG SUR
Handsdown my absolute fave drive in the US, if not in the world is CA highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur; it is nothing short of magical. Its great for a day trip from SF or for a weekend stay as well. For an intimate stay check out La Playa Carmel or Hotel Carmel in the charming town of Carmel. Check out my full travel guide in this blog post.
4 ) TAHOE
Tahoe is an easy 3 hour drive from the Bay Area and its such a great destination both in the summer time as well as in the winter! Either time there is plenty of stuff to do whether you choose to stay lakeside or up in the mountains surrounding the lake. If you go, my absolute fave place to stay is the Ritz Carlton at Lake Tahoe, featured in my blog post here.
5 ) YOSEMITE
Yosemite is one of our favorite national parks in all of the US! It is simply breathtaking and majestic in every way. Its an easy roadtrip if you are starting off from the SF Bay Area.
6 ) MENDOCINO
A trip to the rugged Northern coastal California is a must ! One of my fave towns here is Mendocino – with stunning coastlines, wineries, charming little town and redwoods this is an amazing weekend getaway from the Bay Area.
7 ) LOS ANGELES
Whats not to love about LA?!! Its EVERYTHING quintessential California – from the incredible weather, palm trees, iconic scenes from Venice Beach to Santa Monica to Hollywood, beautiful drives around the OC or Malibu – I absolutely love Sunny SoCal.
8 ) DEATH VALLEY
After beaches I am a major sucker for deserts and California has some epic desert landscapes! Death Valley National Park is one of the unique deserts I have ever been to and is a must visit for anyone in California (or visiting too!). I have tons of details in my full travel guide to Death Valley.
9 ) PALM SPRINGS
Palm Springs is a popular getaway from LA! It has a ton of fantastic resorts that are ideal to spend a long weekend at. My faves are Korakia Pensione for an intimate escape and Parker palm Springs for an iconic Palm Springs experience.
10 ) JOSHUA TREE
Another favorite desert in California is Joshua Tree. It is personally one of mine and Anush’s favorite places in California and one you have to personally experience to feel its incredible magic! We have roadtripped it several times from the Bay, but it would be much closer from LA. I have tons of details in my full travel guide to Joshua tree.
11 ) SANTA BARBARA
I love the Central coast of California and Santa Barbara is my fave town here! If you head up here, also check out the Danish town of Slovang on the way.
12 ) SAN DIEGO
I have only been to San Diego years ago and absolutely loved it! Its a lonnng drive from the Bay, but Im hoping we get to revisit soon enough.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope this helps you spark your roadtrip wanderlust. xoxo
** Please check COVID-19 updates on local county websites before planning your trip.