The Californian roadtrip comes to its conclusion in the wonderful city of San Francisco…
The first week was spent in Vegas and Palm Springs, the second week travelling up the coast. week 3 concludes the roadtrip – travelling further up the Pacific Coast highway via some big Redwoods and Hearst Castle.
Monteray Bay – 2 nights
We ummed and arred about where to go next – there’s lots of potential places – Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Carmel etc. in the end, we decided to spend a couple of nights in Monetray andvisit some places along the way. As it turns out, the annual Jazz Festival was on so we had trouble finding a place to stay – but eventually found a decent motel and got to listen to some Jazz as an added bonus…nice. Here’s some good things to do:
- Hearst Castle – Not actually a castle at all but rather a bonkers mansion build on top of a hill by the eccentric George Hearst. We went for a trip around the upstairs rooms, which are pretty opulent -but the grounds themselves are worth visiting on their own. The pools in particular are awesome.
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – there’s lots of parks around this area but we chose to visit the McWay falls. This spectacular waterfall provides the classic Big Sur postcard photos. It’s quite rare in that a landslide caused a beach to form and now the waterfall goes directly into the ocean.
- Elephant Nose Seals – At one of the scenic points along the drive (at Piedras Blancas), there’s an elephant nose seal rookery(?) that’s literally full of thousands of seals all shouting at each other and throwing sand around…keep your eyes (or maybe ears…) peeled
- Monteray Bay Aquarium – One of the best aquariums in America. The deep sea tank in itself is worth the entrance fee with its 90 foot viewing window, sharks and shoals.
San Fransico – 4 nights
What a city and what a place to end the road trip. A relaxed hippy vibe permeates the place…well that, and fog…lots of fog. There’s lots to do here, not to mention that the drive into town takes you past Google, Facebook and Apple…
- Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – On the way to San Francisco, we stopped off here to see some trees. Needless to say, they’re big…really big…too big to fit in photos – you have to visit to appreciate the true size…
- Golden Gate Bridge – It’s a big red suspension bridge, you might have heard of it.
- Alcatraz – The notorious prison, we did the night time tour which makes it extra spooky, especially with fog limiting vision.
- Haight Street – Cool street with chilled out vibe, grateful dead house nearby, the bong hit clock and great bars. Why not get a tattoo at Cold Steel Piercing while you’re there…
- Beatnik Museum – With “On the Road” out in cinemas soon, I thought I better find out what a beatnik actually was…There’s a great bar nearby called Vesuvio where Jack Kerouac used to get wasted.
- Ferry Building – Plenty of really foody food places. Go and get fat in style…
- Cable Cars – Antique cable cars criss-cross the city. We got a 3 day pass so could hop on and off at will. If you want to avoid tourist queues, get on after one stop up from the endpoints…
- China Town – Lots of funky stuff here and some great authentic places to eat. The first floor temples are pretty cool too.
- Coigt Tower – A big tower with some great views of the city – worth the climb!
- BBQ Pits – There’s lots of great places to eat, but one of my favourites was the Asqew grill. I was desperate to have some Man versus Food style BBQ fodder and this was the place we chose.
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