8 day California road trip


Hey all! I've been getting a lot of questions on our California road trip, so I put together our itinerary. By no means are these the "best" things to do and see...just what we chose. 

This was definitely one of the best trips we've ever taken. I'd say it was a close second to the 2 weeks we spent in Greece last year. We were so lucky with the perfect weather and got upgraded at our hotel in LA. Somehow we finagled a better price for our rental car and we didn't run into crazy traffic or crowds. I've never taken a road trip before, but after this one I'm itching to do it again. I came back with a heart full of new memories (and my stomach full of In-N-Out and tacos), tanned skinned and a new appreciation for the state I grew up in.



Day 1

  • Flew direct from Boston (BOS) to San Francisco (SFO)

  • Landed late in the morning

  • Drove 1 hour Santa Cruz. Saw SC Boardwalk and Seabright State Beach. Walked around the Seabright neighborhood. Popped into the Verve Coffee Brewery

  • Drove 1 hour to Monterey/Carmel. Stayed 1 night at The Colonial Terrace hotel. It's 1 block from beach and you can see the Pebble Beach Golf Course in the distance. We loved this little place; it was so freaking cute! Had dinner at a quaint Mediterranean restaurant in the city center (15-20 min walk from our hotel)

Day 2 

  • Note: This was the longest driving day by far

  • Drove 1 hour to Big Sur. Stopped at Big Sur Bakery. Saw Mcway Falls in Julia Pfeiffer State Park

  • Drove 2 hours to San Luis Obispo. Found amazing street Mexican food. Hung out at Pismo Beach (you actually drive onto this beach and park)

  • Drove 2 hours to Santa Barbara. Stayed at The Santa Barbara House hotel. This was the only hotel we wouldn't recommend. Quickly saw downtown and walked along the beach during sunset

Day 3 

  • Had breakfast in Santa Barbara

  • Drove 1 hour to Malibu. Grabbed lunch at Malibu Farm and hung out at the beach

  • Drove 1 hour to Los Angeles. Stayed 2 nights at the Andaz West Hollywood hotel. Super yummy breakfast. AMAZING views and rooftop pool. We loved this hotel! The wait staff was so friendly and they upgraded our room for free. Went to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) during sunset so we could see it in lights. Had dinner at Tatsu Ramen, which is my favorite Ramen place to date. Jon's is still Ipuddo.

Day 4

  • Went to the Griffith Observatory at opening (10am). You can see the Hollywood sign from here

  • We wanted to see The Broad Museum and The Stahl House but they were both sold out

  • Hung out at the rooftop pool the rest of the day before having dinner (obviously Mexican) in West Hollywood

Day 5

  • Left LA and drove 1 hour to Venice. Had breakfast at Egg Slut + Great White. Hung out at Venice Beach. Walked around Venice Canals

  • Drove 2 hours to Palm Springs. Checked into the Parker Palm Springs hotel. This was one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever stayed at. The decor is just stunning and it has everything you could imagine including late night s'more fire pit service, (which we obviously opted for).

Day 6

  • Checked out of the Parker Palm Springs hotel

  • Had breakfast at the King's Highway at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs

  • Did a short driving tour to see a few famous houses: The house with the Pink Door, the house with the Lion's heads, and Kaufmann Dessert House

  • Checked into the Saguaro Palm Springs hotel. Stayed for 2 nights. This was one of the coolest hotels we've ever stayed at and the food is delicious!

Day 7

  • Spent the afternoon at Joshua Tree National Park (1-2 hour drive). We mostly explored the Cholla Cactus Gardens, but there is so much more to see.

  • Spent the rest of the day relaxing and ordered dinner poolside from The Saguaro's restaurant called El Jefe.

Day 8

  • Had breakfast at Rocco’s Electric

  • Checked out of the Saguaro Palm Springs hotel

  • Saw the Palm Springs Art Museum. There happen to be an amazing Andy Warhol exhibit going on

  • Went to the Moorten Cactus Botanical Garden. Apparently they have the world's first "cactarium"

  • Took a red eye from Palm Springs (PSP) to New York (JFK) to Boston (BOS)

travelHannah Cochran