California Dreamin’

2016 was the year of trips for me.  I lucked out like whoa.  I put my feet in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf.  And for someone who is a bit obsessed with the ocean – that was pretty freaking awesome.

My first trip was to California.  I have only been there once before….when I was just a kid with my grandparents and cousins to check on the San Diego zoo but that was a WHOLE different kind of adventure with that group.  This was my first time as an adult.   I was sent for a work conference and decided to make the most of it.  I was staying in Anaheim sooooo of course that means I’m going to Disneyland!!  My husband and parents were going to meet me out but I had a day to myself between work and their arrival.  I rented a car and checked out as much in one day as humanly possible.

I checked out 3 very different but beautiful piers.

  • Santa Monica Pier – this was a must because well it’s the Santa Monica Pier. It was a bit crazy to me how much carnival activity they could fit on one pier!  I checked it out and walked the beach, and while I was glad for the experience – it wasn’t my favorite stop.  I like things a little quieter
  • Manhattan Pier – this was more up my alley. There were people around but it wasn’t overly crowded.  There was also a cute little aquarium at the end which is worth peeking at!
  • Hermosa Pier – a bit quieter but had the cutest downtown area. I met a friend and we rode bikes along the beach.  It was perfection.

 

I also made time to hike Runyon Cannon and check out the Chinese Theatre and the walk of fame.  Cities in general aren’t my favorite place to visit but I’m really glad I made a point to stop by and see something so iconic.   Hiking Runyon was more up my alley.  It so different then anywhere in Cleveland I’ve hiked and pretty in its own way.  I also had a good view of the Hollywood sign but wish I had more time to figure out a way to get closer.

 

When my family arrived we hit up Disneyland!  As you’ll learn – I’m a HUGE Disney fan. We usually go to Disney World (the one in Florida) at least once a year but I’ve never been to Disneyland.  So visiting the place where it all began was a must.  I received a lot of warnings before I went.  That I wouldn’t compare to Disney World.  That it was small.  That I might be disappointed.  These all couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I LOVED it.  Yes, it was absolutely smaller but it was charming. Disney World is so massive it’s easy to feel a bit lost and overwhelmed with it.   Disneyland had a cozier feel and standing where Walt Disney himself stood was a bit exciting too.   We spent one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure.  Both had different amazing qualities.  I thought that I wouldn’t care to ride some of the same rides at Disneyland that are in Disney World but turns out it was one of my favorite things to do! It was cool to see the difference and how they compare.  I also LOVED the New Orleans area. I had the mint julep and beignets I heard a lot about and I was not disappointed! (Even without the booze in the mint julep!) If you’re a Disney fan – I would recommend checking this out.  I thought it would be a one and done trip – but I definitely hope to make it back sometime.

The 3rd day of our trip we drove the Pacific Highway.  As I said, I’m a bit obsessed with the ocean so these views were breathtaking for me.  It was such a great day driving with no agenda – stopping wherever we wanted and see all of the sights.   My only regret is I wish we had more time.  I wish we could’ve driven up further and checked out more but that’s my general feeling no matter where I’m exploring.

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