California Dreamin’

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen some of the photos of our trip to California. They are filled with sunshine, gorgeous views and mostly smiling faces. I didn’t capture any of the sibling squabbles in the car, the tears because someone was missing her stuffed bunny, the wrong turns or the frustration we encountered at the Avis counter. But all in all, it was a week filled with happiness, laughter and family bonding. I’m certain some of our adventures will be etched in our minds for our lifetime.

We hit every single beach town and had a blast comparing their personalities. We went to the popular San Diego Zoo, whale watched, toured Beverly Hills and found time to sit in the hot tub. I made a quick little list of our favorite stops between LA and San Diego.

Favorite HikeTorrey Pines State Park
We drove to the top of the hill and parked near the lodge. If you have kids, DO NOT PARK AT THE BOTTOM! There is no way to complete all the trails after walking up the gigantic hill…and the trails are worth it. We all agreed this was one of the highlights of our whole trip. We hiked about five miles(I think) and saw cliffs, beaches, and ocean views that left us in complete awe of Southern California and the sheer beauty of Mother Nature.

Favorite Taco PlaceDon Bravo in La Jolla
Someone recommended Don Bravo as the best place to get tacos in the area. We checked it out for Easter lunch and weren’t disappointed. We even went back for our “last meal” before we went home. We had five different taco meals while we were on vacation(I know! That’s a lot!) and this was by far the best.

Best Surf ShopSurf Diva in La Jolla Shores
Turns out I have a thing for surf shops much to the dismay of my teenager. I love their boho styled jewelry and clothing so we visited quite a few. Surf Diva is located in La Jolla Shores, a cute little town just north of the main La Jolla drag. It only has about a dozen shops but it’s worth the visit. Surf Diva has its own line of jewelry and great t-shirts. My girls and I were obsessed. We also like to support independent businesses run by women.

Favorite Adventure – Kayaking the La Jolla Caves with Bike and Kayak Tours
I really don’t know where to begin about this excursion. Justin and I had been debating whether or not a kayak tour was worth the money because it was a bit pricey. We finally decided it was and made an online reservation with this very organized group. You’ll find lockers, dressing rooms, showers, a foot wash, and bathrooms in the check-in facility and you’ll want to use them all. They also sell sunscreen lotion, waterproof phone cases and everything else you can imagine needing while you’re out on the water. We rented a Go Pro and Ethan bought a disposable underwater camera for himself with his own money. We walked down to the beach with our life jackets and helmets on, deposited our shoes on the beach and received a quick lesson about operating our kayak. We took three double kayaks and were guided through the waves. It was breathtaking, exhilarating, educational, hardwork…and worth every single penny. Even the ones we will have to spend to replace my good sunglasses that I lost when the kayak flipped as Gigs and I came in to shore. Oh and we got to see Dr. Seuss’ house and some of the fish that were his inspiration for his books!

A special shout out to the people at Virgin America who overwhelmed us with their impeccable service. They worked their magic and had us all sitting together on the ride home. Welk Resort in Escondido was amazing. Stone Brewery had incredible food and yummy chai beer with a beer garden to rival no other. In and Out Burger became a fast favorite even with the family members who pretend not to eat meat. And it was fabulous to finally meet my book manager in person during a dinner where she was able to experience the Farleys up close and didn’t even try to leave when Ethan’s tongue started gushing blood.

Now we’re back to reality and I’m sure the alarm will throttle us even further into the real world tomorrow but we still have memories overflowing from our hearts…

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