Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Descanso Gardens

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Tucked away in Los Angeles is the dreamy 150-acre public botanical garden known as Descanso Gardens. Their famed Camellia collection is the largest in North America and the gardens are also home to the remainder of a magical oak tree forest that once consumed the entire region. This spring their Japanese Garden offered cherry trees in full bloom and a sprawling lilac garden with amazingly fragrant blooms. I thought you'd enjoy Read More

fresh berry farm on the California coast

Fresh Berry Farm on a West Coast Road Trip

fresh berry farm on the California coast

One of the great treats of a west coast road trip is the fantastic fruit stands. This one is my favorite and I can't wait to go back—that probably sounds crazy, but so be it. Their berries have such intense flavor and their shop is a welcoming break from the long drive. Located twenty miles south of Santa Cruz on the California coastal Highway 1 is the fully organic Swanton Berry Farm. They also have a second location just ten Read More

California sea otter moss landing glimpse

Where to See Wild California Sea Otters

California sea otter moss landing glimpse

I recently did a road trip along the California coast and I thought others might benefit from my legwork to find the best places to spot wild sea otters. California sea otters nearly went extinct in the early 1900's due to hunters wanting their soft fur, and later the animal officially became an endangered species.  Their numbers are very slowly improving now with about 2,700 known to exist in California. These are the Read More

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Crystal Cove, Newport Coast California

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The coastal California getaway known as Crystal Cove is about as hidden as it gets; driving along the Pacific Coast Highway you would never know what awaits below unless you've been there. Each year, over 25,000 visitors stay here in California's last surviving historic beach community which flourished from 1935 to 1955. It is an excellent spot for families exploring the tide pools, cocktails with friends, passing through on a Read More

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Tiptoe Through the Tulips

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This spring I made it to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state, a must-see experience for anyone who loves nature. If you are doing a road trip in April, make sure this is on your list! Important note to Vancouver residents: it's only a 2 hour drive from Vancouver and is well worth the trip. Keep reading, because this isn't just a springtime getaway. I arrived there on a Friday afternoon in mid April (zero Read More

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Favorite Gems in Laguna Beach

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As a California native I have always been drawn to the coast. When I first started driving in Los Angeles, I was constantly getting lost and always ending up at the beach. Between Los Angeles and San Diego we have some epic coastal scenery; it's easy to stay on the freeway and miss some of the best places! Next time you're passing through or even doing a west coast road trip, check out these coastal gems. I promise you won't Read More

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Get This Mobile App Before Your Next Road Trip

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Road trips don't need to be stressful if you plan ahead for the most part, and it helps to be open to new experiences. A lovely friend and traveler Rachel Winter just completed a west coast road trip using the mobile app RoadTrippers and she's reviewed it for us here.Rachel is a 26 year old travel enthusiast from Illinois and took this ten-day trip solo. She doesn't like to over-plan and she loves taking photographs with Read More

DC3 commercial aircraft

Road Trip Visit to the Spruce Goose

DC3 commercial aircraft

I planned an unusual stop on our west coast road trip... As we headed north on the I5 in Oregon state, just about an hour south of Portland we stopped to explore The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  Evergreen's mission is, "To inspire, promote and preserve aviation and space history, and honor the patriotic service of our veterans." The property covers multiple buildings filled with aircraft, exhibits and artifacts Read More

San Fran Sutro Baths Road Trip West Coast Shore Flowers  Artistic

Ruins at the Ocean Shore in San Francisco

San Fran Sutro Baths Road Trip West Coast Shore Flowers  Artistic

On my west coast road trip I came across Sutro Baths, definitely something I wasn't expecting. Looking over the ruins was fascinating to me, and a bit eerie at the same time. The baths opened in 1896 as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment. Through an elaborate system of pools, tunnels and pumps, swimming pools were filled by ocean tides! Two acres of glass arched over steam-heated pools, restaurants, a Read More

Los Olivos Carhartt Tasting Room Exterior Wine Country Getaway Discounts

Los Olivos Wine Tasting Getaway

Los Olivos Carhartt Tasting Room Exterior Wine Country Getaway Discounts

I just got home from visiting Los Olivos, a town in the Santa Ynez Valley just 2 hours north of Los Angeles.  I love the quiet there; the great food and wine keep me coming back. I had some great 'firsts' on this visit and I wanted to share them with you. I think these gems are definitely worth checking out. I finally got to check out the Carhartt Wine Tasting Room in Los Olivos. This is a popular one with the Read More

Netarts Oregon Coast Road Trip Sunset Silhouette

Coastal Oregon – The Road Less Traveled

Netarts Oregon Coast Road Trip Sunset Silhouette

West Coast Road Trip (continued)  We had reached the destination of our road trip (Portland, Oregon) and the journey home was imminent. Normally when heading home from anywhere I start thinking about all the things I need to get done back home... but not this time. Though we would be home in mere days I knew there were still exciting adventures ahead in coastal Oregon. The truth is, at every stop on this road trip I saw Read More

Lower Waterfall Multnomah Falls Bridge Portland Road Trip

Multnomah Falls – A Natural Wonder

Lower Waterfall Multnomah Falls Bridge Portland Road Trip

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Just 35 minutes to the east from Portland, you don't want to miss Multnomah Falls. It's a breathtaking, dramatic waterfall on the Columbia River Gorge. It is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States, at a total height of 620 ft (or 189 meters). The source of the water is underground springs from Larch Mountain, augmented by melting snow and rainwater throughout the Read More

Camas Hotel Exterior

Where to Stay when Visiting Portland

Camas Hotel Exterior

West Coast Road Trip (continued) This one I had not planned. We finally arrived in Portland after over a week of road tripping from Los Angeles, and I hadn't booked a hotel assuming there would be tons of options in downtown Portland. As it happens, weekends get booked up quick leaving you stuck with only high priced rooms. Searching for other options, I came across the Camas Hotel. The description said "Romantic Read More

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Experimental Beauty – Rose Test Garden, Portland

Portland Test Rose Garden Striped Rose 2

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Portland's International Rose Test garden isn't like anything I've ever seen before. It's primary purpose is as a testing ground for new rose varieties and it is the oldest rose testing program of it's kind in the United States. They care for over 10,000 plants of 500 varieties. For almost one hundred years, the city of Portland, Oregon is the only North American city to give an award for Read More

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Want to Meet a Baby Cheetah?

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West Coast Road Trip (continued) In the heart of the vast Oregon wilderness, over 600 exotic and native animals live a fully protected and free-roaming lifestyle. 'Wildlife Safari' in Winston, Oregon, with a full 600 acres of land, has dedicated themselves to the conservation, education and research of wildlife. I was very happy to get a chance on my road trip to see these animals in dedicated habitats in the beautiful Read More

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The Home Frank Lloyd Wright Designed for Middle Class America

Gordon House Frank Lloyd Wright_Holga

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Our road trip from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon continues, and I planned a visit to a home that Frank Lloyd Wright designed: The Gordon House, just one hour south of Portland. Turns out, this home was built near Wilsonville Oregon, but in 2001 some well-off folks bought the property and intended to tear it down and build their dream home. The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy got a Read More

Crater Lake Oregon_Road trip snow caps

The Jewel of Central Oregon – Crater Lake

Crater Lake Oregon_Road trip snow caps

West Coast Road Trip (continued)   On my road trip from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon, Crater Lake wasn't exactly on the way but I heard it was not to be missed. Never were truer words stated. Knowing nothing about Crater Lake before I got there, I truly didn't know what to expect. Traveling up 2000 feet on snowy mountains in the middle of July is the last thing I expected. I was like a giddy 6 year old seeing the Read More

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Oregon Cows are Happy Cows – West Coast Road Trip

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West Coast Road Trip (continued) Continuing in this series of a west coast road trip, we headed north and crossed the California / Oregon border, two things were completely evident:  Oregon cows are very happy cows, and  the sky is definitely different in Oregon. No question about it.  Check out the view these cows have, not to mention all the open space. So spoiled! The white of the clouds and the blue of the sky Read More

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California.

West Coast Road Trip Begins: Napa Valley

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California.

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California. Recently we went on a road trip from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon and I wanted to share some of the awesome and unexpected gems along the way. The agenda was to stick to the Highway 5 North until Portland, with a detour to Crater Lake, and come back down to LA along the Pacific Coast.  First Stop: Napa, California! For Read More