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          California Dreaming

          Posted in Travel Writing by Laura Percival on 22nd Jul 2022

          This was my first trip to California, and it began in style with a fabulous breakfast at the Fairmont San Francisco. This hotel is in a great location at the top of Nob Hill with the best panoramic views in the city.

          After breakfast we were taken on an exclusive private Jeep Tour of San Francisco, driving over the Golden Gate Bridge and down Lombard Street. This is a fun way of seeing everything that San Francisco has to offer.

          After the jeep experience, we took a walk around Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 watching the sea lions bask in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere. We enjoyed a lunch of fresh sourdough and seafood at Fog Harbour Fish House with views looking out to San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

          After a night at Club Fugazi where we enjoyed a fabulous show, we were up bright and breezy for some more sight-seeing, this time it was to Golden Gate Park with its Japanese Tea Garden, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences. I particularly enjoyed the California Academy of Sciences with the Living Roof, Osher Rainforest, and the Shake House Earthquake Simulator. The fun continued with some kayaking around San Francisco Bay before taking to the road for a 2-hour drive to Monterey where we enjoyed some superb food at the city’s first firehouse before settling down for the night. Whilst in Monterey I would highly recommend catching a boat for a spot of whale watching. One of my favourite experiences was taking part in a vintage car rally. I was lucky enough to get to drive a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible through Pacific Grove and over to Carmel Valley Ranch, and it’s something I will never forget! Wine tasting at Folktale Winery & Vineyard then followed before jetting off to Los Angeles.

          My first morning in L.A. was spent on a bicycle exploring Santa Monica beach. This is a great option for families and so easy to get around. You can also hire electric bikes and even roller skates (for the brave). Anyone who likes to shop will love Santa Monica Place which sells anything from fresh farm produce to designer fashion. The promenade is buzzing with numerous restaurants and bars and it’s a real fun place to be.

          The final morning of my California adventure was spent taking part in Beach Yoga, this popular and relaxing experience takes in beautiful views against the soothing sound of the waves.

          I enjoyed breakfast at the iconic Shutters on the Beach hotel, only steps away from the pier, a must-see if staying in Santa Monica. It’s the place to see, be seen, and so close to everything in LA. Santa Monica is the perfect location to explore all that LA has to offer just a short drive from Downtown LA, Disneyland, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.
          I cannot wait to return one day with my family as this California trip was a jam-packed, unforgettable trip of a lifetime.



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