Eeeep, every day I get a little more excited about our trip to California, and now it’s just a mere two weeks’ away! We’re off for two months, driving down the California coast with two side trips to Portland and New York. It’s taken a mammoth amount of planning, which hasn’t been easy while looking after Otis, but the fruits are sure to be worth it because this trip is looking mega! It’s the ultimate California road trip itinerary.
We’re starting in San Francisco and going down as far as San Diego, stopping off at all sorts of beautiful places along the way. As always, our focus is on finding special places to stay and things to do. And although we have Otis with us, it isn’t strictly a family trip as he’s too young to need special kids activities – in fact, you could easily do the trip we have planned as a honeymoon! That said, it’s also obviously something you can do with a baby and we’ll be sharing lots of tips on the adjustments we made to suit him.
I’ve certainly had moments where I’ve wondered about the sanity of doing such a big trip with a baby, but I’ve seen plenty of people do things far more adventurous, so I think we can but try. We’ve also chosen a really easy country and have planned a trip that takes things slow. Plus there will be two of us the whole time, which will make things easier than daily life at home. There are bound to be ups and downs and lessons to be learned along the way, but I’m more than up for the adventure.
Both of us have been to California before, but I was 7, 11 and 18, so it was quite some time ago, and Steve was there about six years ago, making Planetary, which meant he was super busy and didn’t get to explore as much as he’d have liked. So for both of us, this is a dream trip. We’ve been talking about it since we first met!
So what do we have planned? I’ll share more details along the way, but some of the things I’m most excited about are: visiting Sonoma wine country; finally getting to see Portland, a city that so many people have told us we’ll love; driving the Pacific Coast Highway; all the food everywhere; and spending plenty of time among the redwoods. We’re also going to be there for Halloween, which I think calls for some creative costumes – let me know if you have ideas!
We have some incredible places to stay lined up, including a cabin of dreams in Joshua Tree, a quirky little guesthouse in Portland, and a very hipster-looking place in Santa Barbara. We’ve been working with Visit California who have helped us to find some of the best places, plus I’ve been in overdrive with all my research. The choice is quite overwhelming, so I’m going to be sure to share my shortlists with you as well as the places we actually stay – I discovered too many good places not to! I’m excited about every night!
And don’t get me started on the food. My list for Portland is so long, we’d need to be there for about a month to try it all, so I have no idea how we’ll narrow it down. And the same goes for San Francisco. That said, I’m still open to recommendations, so do share any you have. I’m excited about all the coffee shops in San Francisco!
Our first stop is San Francisco where we’re doing a home exchange for 10 days. I haven’t written much about our experience with home exchanges, but they have become one of my favourite ways to travel and this one looks amazing. It’s in Noe Valley and there’s even a hot tub, so it’s going to be pretty special getting a taste of (fancy) local life. I plan to write more about this way of travelling once we get back.
So yes, we’re off in two weeks time. I haven’t quite finished planning – to be honest, I’m hoping that might be the hardest part of this trip as it’s been quite a challenge – but I’m definitely almost there. Just eight more nights to book, packing to sort (we’re covering quite a range of climates!); and final details to lock down. Where I’d usually be quite relaxed about sorting details once there, with Otis I’m keen to have as much laid out as possible, so we can just enjoy it all while there.
I’ll be sharing stories and photos on Instagram and Facebook along the way, so please be sure to follow along. And once I get back, I’ll have lots of posts to share, including a big detailed itinerary (as always), plus the tips we’ve hopefully gained for road tripping with a baby, and so many recommendations for special places to stay.
In the meantime, do let me know if you have any tips for the California coast, Portland or New York. We’ll be there from late September to mid-November, so bear the season in mind.
Ahhhh, I can’t wait!
Posts I’m enjoying for California inspiration: