Last year, my sister and our friend booked a 9-day trip to California during the month of February since we figured we'd need a break from Michigan winters (we were right) where we traveled down the California coast - starting in San Francisco and ending the journey in Sunny San Diego. Exactly one year later and I still dream about this trip every day.
After sharing photos of the trip on my Instagram account (@meagancreutz for those interested!) and through other social media accounts with family and friends, I received a lot of questions about our itinerary and how we were able to do so much in a little over one week's time.
I have been pretty absent from the blogging world the last year, but have been wanting to post about our trip for a while here to help others who are considering a trip like ours. So here is part one in all its glory! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below of things I didn't cover or you want to hear more about!
Days 1-3: San Francisco and Muir Woods
The first day of the trip was mostly used for travel. My sister and our friend actually flew in on an earlier flight than me since I couldn't get Friday off, and they spent the day walking and exploring the city (mostly because our hotel room wasn't yet ready haha). They picked me up late that night and we went straight to bed, since the next morning we got up early and drove out to Mill Valley to hike around Muir Woods.
The key to Muir Woods is GET THERE AS EARLY AS YOU CAN. The parking lot is very small, with lots of tour group vans taking up parking. We got to the park around 9:30 on a Saturday morning, had to park on the side of the road and walk nearly 2 miles to get to the park entrance. Muir Woods was unbelievably gorgeous! We hiked for hours and did not grow tired of the breathtaking sights we took in.
We ran into another group of hikers at one point deep in the woods who recommended a restaurant to us about halfway on the trail called Mountain Home Inn. Normally you need a reservation, but we got extremely lucky and managed to snag a table. I highly recommend reserving a table and making a stop here; the views alone of the bay with the wooded mountains all around are spectacular and the food and wine only enhanced the experience!
On our way back to San Francisco we stopped at Stinson Beach and later Golden Gate National Recreation to watch the sunset over the city. It was undeniably beautiful but also very crowded by the time we got there. If you want to get a great spot to take it in, you may want to try getting there early. Be prepared for the traffic leaving as well!
Because we wanted to avoid some of the traffic going back into San Francisco, we stopped in Sausalito and grabbed some Italian food for dinner. I wish we would have had more time to explore, it was such a charming town nestled on the hillside and bay!
The next day we started with no real agenda and walked through different neighborhoods in San Francisco admiring the homes. Remember the people we ran into in the woods? They turned out to be locals who love showing off San Francisco to people. We exchanged numbers and our last day in San Francisco was spent being shown different parts of the city we may have never seen. It was great getting a local's perspective on places to go! One of them actually owned a couple restaurants in the city - Palm House and The Dorian - that were great places to take a break from sightseeing. Both had such delicious food and amazing cocktails, it made getting kind of lost in the woods the day prior worth it!
If you're a city person or your first time to San Francisco, this might not be enough time for you to take in and enjoy all the city has to offer. I had previously been to San Francisco and had seen Fisherman's Wharf and other known places, so we were able to skip some of these things so to speak. Our big priority was Muir Woods and the Golden Gate Recreation Area, so this kind of itinerary worked well for what we wanted.
Napa Valley and Highway One!
(Here's a little sneak preview)