My family takes road trips seriously and this summer was one for the books. At the end of June Noah and I drove to Cali with my family and stopped several amazing places along the way.

ARIZONA

Grand Canyon

This was my 4th time to visit the Grand Canyon and it never disappoints. I think that everyone should visit sometime in their life because it is a truly beautiful and humbling experience.
  

Horseshoe Bend

This one’s been on my bucket list for awhile! While it should have been a reasonably easy hike (less than a 2 mile round trip), I just about died because it was 105 and the majority of the hike is in sand. Learn from my mistakes and do this hike in the morning!

Lake Powell

Wow wow wow. Lake Powell is the most beautiful and unique lake I’ve ever seen! Not only is it HUGE, the views surrounding it are simply stunning. It’s the perfect spot for a swim after the Horseshoe Bend hike!

PALM SPRINGS

Joshua Tree

If you’re staying in Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is a great day trip. We mostly just drove through the park on our way west, but I’d love to go back and spend more time there. The campground are surrounded by jumbo rocks (and yes, they are actually called jumbo rocks) which is the dream for the kid inside all of us.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

I don’t think it’s possible to visit Palm Springs without also going to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Located just outside of Palm Springs (in Cabazon), the dinosaurs are the dream for fellow cheesy tourist spot lovers like me. While there is a paid exhibit, the two large dinosaurs are free to walk around and take pictures with.

The Saguaro

The Saguaro was everything I hoped and dreamed it’d be, and more. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Palm Springs, The Saguaro is an absolute paradise (though you might not want to ever leave and do more sightseeing).

Frankinbun Gourmet Sausages

Two words: chicken & waffle.  Frankinbun Gourmet Sausages is known for their chicken sausage and waffle corndog which featured on Diners, Drive-ins, Dives!

Moorten Botanical Garden

The Moorten Botanical Garden left me so inspired. This garden packed full of unique cacti and the famous cacti greenhouse is one of my favorite things about Palm Springs. There are also tortoises scattered throughout the garden, see how many you can spot!  Entrance is only $5 for adults, just be sure to check their seasonal times before you go.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

If you need a break from the high temperatures in Palm Springs and enjoy long scenic drives, you’ve got to add the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway to your agenda. There are some adorable little towns up in the mountain, we stopped in several resale shops while we were up there.

Ernest Coffee

While I didn’t plan it ahead of time, this coffee shop was walking distance from our hotel. Their coffee was delicious and they also have a great selection of baked goods to start your day on the right note.

SAN DIEGO

Communal Coffee

This place is packed full of so many things I love, coffee, fresh flowers, and the prettiest little gift shop. I’m honestly a little bitter there isn’t one closer to me so I can visit regularly. (Psst, Communal Coffee… Come to Texas. Thanks.)

Balboa Park

What an AMAZING city park! Well done, San Diego. While you could easily spend days in this park (if you go to museums and the zoo), we were only able to make a brief stop. We spent some time in the Spanish Village Art Center where the entire courtyard is covered with vibrant cobblestones leading you to shops for local artists.

Hammond’s Ice Cream

Since I’m such an ice cream fan, I always like to visit local ice cream shops whenever I visit new cities. We stopped in Hammond’s Ice Cream, which is in North Park San Diego. One of my favorite things about this shop is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one flavor because they offer mini-cone flights.

North Park

North Park was our favorite area in San Deigo. It’s packed full of beautiful colorful murals (my favorite).

SOUTH CALI

Carlsbad

Carlsbad is packed full of great shopping but the Succulent Cafe is what won my heart. This beautiful coffee shop doubles as a plant shop and is PACKED FULL of succulents. It’s a must visit for any plant lover like myself.

Oceanside Pier

Fun fact of the day, the Oceanside pier is the longest wooden pier on the California coastline. We had a blast walking along the pier and beach in Oceanside. 

La Jolla Beach

La Jolla beach is beautiful and the perfect spot to watch sea lions and seals (though don’t get too close, they’re MEAN). La Jolla is full of coves and rocks to climb around, which makes for a great time! The surrounding area is also full of lots of great restaurants and shops.

Moonlight Beach (Encinitas)

One of the reasons by family went on this cross country road trip was to attend the Switchfoot Bro-am, which was a free concert and fundraiser right on the beach. Moonlight beach was hands down my favorite beach of our trip, absolutely stunning (and the live music wasn’t too shabby either).

Disneyland

While I’ve been to Disneyworld many manyyyy times, this was my first time to Disneyland and a dream come true! A lot of people have told me that Disneyland is a letdown if you’ve been to Disneyworld but it absolutely didn’t disappoint. I loved the charm of Disneyland and it was so exciting to see original creation of Walt Disney!

What is a trip to Disneyland without a classic Dole Whip Float and photo at the Small World Wall?!

WHEW, that was a lot! What fun summer trips did you go on?