DSC_2119

A Week-Long Vacation that is Perfect for Everyone

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Southern California is probably one of my favorite areas in the United States. Between stunning beaches, gorgeous mountains, amazing food and beautiful desert, the beauty in SoCal is out of this world.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During fall 2015, my mom and I went out to Orange County for a few days. During that time period, it had been my first time in California and I fell in love with everything about it. For our family vacation the following summer 2016, my family decided to go back and bring my dad and brothers.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Below is my ultimate Southern California vacation itinerary. Discover how you could implement all of the amazing things I did into your own getaway.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Transportation in and around Southern California:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Traveling to Southern California from anywhere could be done so reasonably with time and research. When you book ahead through Skyscanner, you could find amazing flights to and from SoCal. When you are already in Southern California, you could rent a car, take the train or fly to other areas in the state.

Looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve here!

Where to Stay in Southern California:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During our Southern California adventure, we stayed in Irvine, California, which is in Orange County. (We enjoy staying at Hotel Irvine.) I definitely think Orange County is a great base for your SoCal getaway because it is in between both Los Angeles and San Diego, two major cities that are great to hit up during your adventure. You could also find great accommodations in San Diego and Los Angeles, but they are pretty busy cities and also a few hours away from each other. (Orange County could range anywhere from a 1.5-hour to a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego. It could be 45 minutes to 2 hours from the Los Angeles area, depending on traffic.)

You could find amazing hotels through Expedia and there are a plethora of Airbnb options in Southern California as well.

Day 1: Beach Day at Crystal Cove State Park and Sunset Dinner in Laguna Beach

Adventure in Crystal Cove State Park:

The first time I visited Southern California, I was on my own (because my mom had to work). I was on a quest to find a beach that wasn’t going to be a tourist trap. I looked on sites like TripAdvisor to find must-see beautiful beaches in Orange County and came across Crystal Cove State Park. This beautiful beach is situated right off of the famous Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1), between Corona del Mar, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Crystal Cove is one of Orange County’s largest remaining open space and natural seashore. It features 3.2 miles of gorgeous cliffside beach, 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness and an offshore underwater area. When I first visited this gorgeous place, I immediately connected with the coastal nature and had never felt more at peace.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

When you first enter the park and walk towards the ocean, it is everything you picture a Southern California beach to look like: breathtaking cliffs overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean, accessible ramps that take you down to the beach with wonderful views, beautiful seagulls and sandpipers flying out to the horizon and adorable rustic coastal cottages that were originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s and 40’s. It is a great place to take a nice walk and savor the natural beauty.

During our family vacation in 2016, we visited Crystal Cove in August, so it was perfect swimming weather! My family and I had a great time riding the waves in the Pacific Ocean. One thing to note about the Pacific Ocean is that because it is much larger than any other ocean in the world, it is definitely colder than you think. The only time to really enjoy the water is during the summertime in Southern California.

Lunch in Crystal Cove State Park:

Located on Crystal Cove is a cute beachside restaurant and store called The Beachcomber. It is the perfect spot and offers delicious frozen drinks and healthy Hawaiian-inspired food. I highly recommend eating at this wonderful spot.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Dinner in Laguna Beach:

The first time my mom and I visited SoCal, we were recommended a delicious Mexican seafood restaurant on the cliffs of Laguna Beach called Las Brisas. When you go to Las Brisas for dinner, it is a MUST to catch the sunset. (You can always find out what time the sun is setting on your mobile weather apps.)

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Las Brisas features a warm, west coast ambiance with beautiful palm trees, calming music that makes you feel like you are on vacation and fresh local ingredients that will make you feel like you are living a dream. Having a sunset dinner here is the best way to end your first day as you watch the beautiful sky turn to a dark pink and the palm trees sway in the wind.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Dessert in Laguna Beach:

After a lovely dinner in Laguna Beach, definitely head into the downtown area for a drink or dessert. One of my favorite gelato spots in California is Gelato Paradiso, located in a beautiful courtyard off of the Pacific Coast Highway. It is so yummy!

Click here to discover more to do in Laguna Beach.

Day 2: A Day in San Diego

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

The city of San Diego is best known for it’s breathtaking beaches, parks, zoo, art galleries, breweries, food and sunny climate. In addition, San Diego’s harbor is home to a large naval fleet with the USS Midway.

Click here to read my blog post on San Diego.

Balboa Park:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Our first stop in San Diego was to the famous Balboa Park located a little north of the downtown area. The park is known to be a place where culture, science and nature collide. It features various art venues, beautiful gardens that you won’t see anywhere else, hiking and bike trails and many other extraordinary attractions that will make you feel like you’re in another world! Even though we didn’t get a chance to go, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is also located in the park.

Brewery:

When you are in San Diego, it is a MUST to go to a brewery. If you know me well, then you can definitely say I love enjoying a refreshing craft beer! After wandering through Balboa Park, we made our way over to Mission Beach where we enjoyed a few beers and a light lunch at Barrel Republic. This awesome brewery offers over 40 different beers!

Mission Beach:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Mission Beach is a lively beach town that features a great amusement park, Belmont Park, awesome bars and restaurants along with great shops. One of my favorite areas in Mission Beach is the Harbor Channel where you can watch boats and jet skies take off on beautiful aqua water.

Ice Cream:

Whenever I go to the beach, I always crave a cold scoop of ice cream. We headed over to the Point Loma area (outside of Mission Beach) where we indulged in delicious scoops of Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream! (I love Hammonds!) This wonderful ice cream shop is known for the original ice cream flights and features over 300 flavors imported from Hawaii. It is so good!

Click here to discover more ice cream shops in San Diego.

Gaslamp Quarter:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our fun time exploring Balboa Park and relaxing at Mission Beach, we headed into downtown San Diego to explore the Gaslamp Quarter. Since I was with my family, I unfortunately couldn’t fully experience the Gaslamp Quarter scene, but it is definitely recommended if you are looking to have a good night out with friends. Luckily, when I visited San Diego with my mom the previous year, I was able to meet up with college friends and grab drinks at a local sports bar called Knotty Barrel.

In addition to the night scene, the Gaslamp Quarter is known for its rich Victorian architecture and history, world-renowned restaurants, shops, museums and more!

Little Italy:

Located in the Little Italy section of San Diego is a great five-star Italian restaurant called RoVino. The owner of this wonderful restaurant is originally from Italy and wanted to bring homemade Northern Italian and Sicilian cuisines to the San Diego area. That night, I had a delicious pasta meal that hit the spot after a long day exploring.

Other Things to do in San Diego:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

In San Diego, there is something for everyone: if you are a sports lover, catch a game at the famous Petco Park stadium; for all of my fellow fashion lovers, head over to Seaport Village, play with the seals in La Jolla, hike Torrey Pines State Park and visit the beautiful Coronado Beach (I talk more about this area below).

Click here to discover more to do in San Diego.

Day 3: Hollywood, Malibu and Santa Monica

Hollywood Sign:

When we first arrived in Los Angeles, the first thing I wanted to do was go see the Hollywood Sign! We headed over to Runyon Canyon and did a small hike up to where you can catch the best view of the Hollywood Sign.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

*Please keep in mind that the hike up to the Hollywood Sign is like walking in a dessert. The air is very dry and since we went at the end of August, the weather was boiling hot, so always make sure to bring large bottles of water to keep you hydrated during the hike. It is a lot of fun and you want to make sure you enjoy the beautiful views of LA.

If I were to go back to the Hollywood Sign, I’d like to enjoy a horseback riding tour. (Unfortunately, my brothers didn’t want to do it when we went.) Sunset Ranch offers several great daytime and evening packages.

Lunch in Malibu:

After our fun hike up to the Hollywood Sign, we were ready to explore beautiful Malibu. Our drive to Malibu was breathtaking as we drove through beautiful mountains and canyons. When we arrived near the coast, the beach was absolutely stunning and full of the best views!

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Across from the beach in Malibu is Malibu Seafood – a fresh fish market and patio café located right off of the Pacific Coast Highway. We were all starving from our hike, so a fresh seafood meal was definitely the bomb! At Malibu Seafood, you can sit outside on their patio and enjoy gorgeous views of the oceanside along with the mountainside. We all thoroughly enjoyed our seafood lunches and definitely recommend going there if you are in Malibu. Another great restaurant that has been recommended by many is Malibu Farm!

Wine in Malibu:

Located 15 minutes up the mountains is beautiful Malibu Wine Country! A great place that was recommended to me was Malibu Wine Safari. At this fun winery, you can “Get Your Wine On. In the Wild”. A guide will lead your adventure on open-air safari vehicles. You will make stops to take in the beautiful vineyard scenery and taste delicious local wines. In addition, the safari vehicle will get close to the animals. They have zebras, camels, alpacas, bison and even a giraffe! Malibu Wine Safari is known to attract celebrities such as the Kardashians.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

While we were at the winery, we were recommended to also check out Malibu Café at Calamigos Ranch. Malibu Café is a beautiful family-friendly place that offers something for everyone. The café has a full bar and offers a delicious BBQ cuisine. Since we had already eaten, we enjoyed the drinks and the atmosphere. If I lived in Malibu, I would definitely come to Malibu Café fairly often, as it offers nothing but a happy ambiance. There are chandeliers hanging from the trees, beautiful wooden bridges that overlook a stream leading to a waterfall, various pool tables and cornhole boards. It is also a great place to watch a game with friends and they also play country music throughout the entire café area.

Evening and Dinner in Santa Monica:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After spending a beautiful day in Malibu, we headed south to Santa Monica to meet up with my cousin Alexie. Our first stop was to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, which was awesome to see in person! We also got to see the “end” of the famous Route 66 that starts in Washington D.C. and ends in Los Angeles.

For dinner that evening, we went to Milo and Olive, a delicious homemade pizza place situated on the iconic Wilshire Boulevard. We had a great time laughing and sharing some great family stories.

Day 4: Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Sunset Dinner at Crystal Cove

Morning in Huntington Beach:

The next day on our trip, we wanted to stay local to our hotel and relax at some of the nearby beaches – Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

Our first stop was at Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA. When visiting this great beach, you can watch surfers ride the waves and maybe even catch a show while you are there! The beach attracts a 20-something crowd, so you will never be bored.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During your time in Huntington Beach, you could walk along the pier and stop at the local beach shops or even grab a bite to eat the 50’s diner located at the edge of the pier that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Click here to discover more to do in Huntington Beach.

Lunch in Costa Mesa:

After spending a few hours at Huntington Beach, we headed over to Costa Mesa to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese lunch at Anqi by House of An. This posh restaurant features a healthy and modern gourmet bistro and noodle bar concept. When you are in Orange County, make sure to visit Anqi on a Tuesday and get their famous Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab dish! Make sure you get there early though because they sell out of this meal fairly quick.

Afternoon in Newport Beach:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

In the afternoon, my family and I headed over to Balboa Island in Newport Beach. I love this beach because it is very charming, peaceful and more family-oriented. The promenade, located across from the beach, has unique nautical shops that offer great fashion, art and jewelry. It also features many great beach cafés and nice restaurants. If you decide to go to Newport Beach, it is recommended to get the island’s famous dessert – the Frozen Banana! It is definitely a refreshing treat to enjoy while you relax on the beach or walk along Newport Pier and enjoy the beautiful views.

Click here to discover more to do in Newport Beach.

Dinner at Crystal Cove:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our relaxing beach day, we went back to our hotel and got ready for our wonderful Mexican dinner and sunset at Crystal Cove State Park. Across from the park is a beautiful and elegant Mexican restaurant called Javier’s where you can enjoy crafted, hand-shaken margaritas made with rare tequilas. In addition, their authentic Mexican food is made with high-quality ingredients, offering the best tasting cuisine. Inside of Javier’s features a beautiful southwestern and romantic ambiance.

Day 5: Day at Catalina Island

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Before visiting Southern California, I was recommended by my friends to visit Catalina Island. We hopped on the Catalina Express ferry from San Pedro, right outside of Los Angeles, and within an hour, we were sailing up to the beautiful European-looking island. (You could also catch the ferry in Long Beach and Dana Point.)

The day we visited Catalina Island was definitely one to remember! As the ferry docked at the port of Avalon Harbor, we hopped off and couldn’t wait to take pictures and just explore everything that was surrounding us. The water was a beautiful blue color, the city is rustic and old-world and the atmosphere definitely made me feel like I was on island time!

Touring Avalon Harbor:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

There are a ton of adventure activities such as zip lining, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, biking, hiking and more! Since I was with my family, we wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy and did the Avalon Scenic Tour.

During the tour, you take a journey throughout beautiful Avalon and learn about the island’s history. The island is pretty big, however, Avalon is the only habited part of Catalina Island. It is so nice because there is barely any traffic on the island. The locals have to be put on a waiting list to get their car there. (It can take up to 30 years!) They also have to rely on a hospital that only has 12 rooms; one school system and other limited services. Another cool fact I learned through the tour is that Catalina Island has wildlife like bison that were taken from the Rocky Mountains and placed on the island years ago for a movie shoot and were never taken off as an experiment to see if they would survive. The movie producers came back a year later and saw that they did! The bison were then kept there and the population of them has been expanding since.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

William Wrigley Jr., founder of the chewing gum, invested millions of dollars into the island, building infrastructure and attractions. He then attracted tourists and even made the island the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs. Other celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a little while as well.

Evening and Dinner on Catalina Island:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our tour riding along the beautiful cliffs of Catalina Island, we sat on the beach at beautiful Lovers Cove. We then grabbed dinner at one of the best Italian restaurants I ever ate at called Ristorante Villa Portofino. It was the perfect restaurant to enjoy an authentic Italian seafood dinner as it complemented the surrounding atmosphere. We then ended our day enjoying gelato and shopping in Avalon’s boutiques.

Click here to discover more to do in Avalon Harbor.

Day 6: Playing with the Seals in La Jolla and Relaxing in Coronado

Morning and Early Afternoon in La Jolla:

On our second day in San Diego, we first stopped at La Jolla, a beautiful beach town surrounded by crystal-clear blue water, cute seals and great restaurants.

We first stopped to get breakfast at Brockton Villa Restaurant overlooking the cove. After we got ourselves fueled up, we walked around the beach area that offers breathtaking seaside cliffs and then went down to the harbor to go play with the seals.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

For lunch, we went to a great brick-oven pizza place called Catania, located in the heart of downtown La Jolla. It was delicious!

Click here to discover more to do in La Jolla.

Later Afternoon and Early Evening in Coronado:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our wonderful morning in La Jolla, we headed 20 minutes south to Coronado and ended the day grabbing a drink at the world-famous Hotel del Coronado, sat on the beach and watched a majestic San Diego sunset and then went to dinner at my favorite Asian fusion restaurant, Bistro D’Asia.

Discover more to do in Coronado with TripAdvisor.


The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in one of my favorite places in the United States, Southern California. If you have any questions about my time in SoCal, please feel free to email me at [email protected], contact me via social media or leave a comment below.

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

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DSC_2119

A Week-Long Vacation that is Perfect for Everyone

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Southern California is probably one of my favorite areas in the United States. Between stunning beaches, gorgeous mountains, amazing food and beautiful desert, the beauty in SoCal is out of this world.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During fall 2015, my mom and I went out to Orange County for a few days. During that time period, it had been my first time in California and I fell in love with everything about it. For our family vacation the following summer 2016, my family decided to go back and bring my dad and brothers.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Below is my ultimate Southern California vacation itinerary. Discover how you could implement all of the amazing things I did into your own getaway.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Transportation in and around Southern California:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Traveling to Southern California from anywhere could be done so reasonably with time and research. When you book ahead through Skyscanner, you could find amazing flights to and from SoCal. When you are already in Southern California, you could rent a car, take the train or fly to other areas in the state.

Looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve here!

Where to Stay in Southern California:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During our Southern California adventure, we stayed in Irvine, California, which is in Orange County. (We enjoy staying at Hotel Irvine.) I definitely think Orange County is a great base for your SoCal getaway because it is in between both Los Angeles and San Diego, two major cities that are great to hit up during your adventure. You could also find great accommodations in San Diego and Los Angeles, but they are pretty busy cities and also a few hours away from each other. (Orange County could range anywhere from a 1.5-hour to a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego. It could be 45 minutes to 2 hours from the Los Angeles area, depending on traffic.)

You could find amazing hotels through Expedia and there are a plethora of Airbnb options in Southern California as well.

Day 1: Beach Day at Crystal Cove State Park and Sunset Dinner in Laguna Beach

Adventure in Crystal Cove State Park:

The first time I visited Southern California, I was on my own (because my mom had to work). I was on a quest to find a beach that wasn’t going to be a tourist trap. I looked on sites like TripAdvisor to find must-see beautiful beaches in Orange County and came across Crystal Cove State Park. This beautiful beach is situated right off of the famous Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1), between Corona del Mar, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Crystal Cove is one of Orange County’s largest remaining open space and natural seashore. It features 3.2 miles of gorgeous cliffside beach, 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness and an offshore underwater area. When I first visited this gorgeous place, I immediately connected with the coastal nature and had never felt more at peace.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

When you first enter the park and walk towards the ocean, it is everything you picture a Southern California beach to look like: breathtaking cliffs overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean, accessible ramps that take you down to the beach with wonderful views, beautiful seagulls and sandpipers flying out to the horizon and adorable rustic coastal cottages that were originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s and 40’s. It is a great place to take a nice walk and savor the natural beauty.

During our family vacation in 2016, we visited Crystal Cove in August, so it was perfect swimming weather! My family and I had a great time riding the waves in the Pacific Ocean. One thing to note about the Pacific Ocean is that because it is much larger than any other ocean in the world, it is definitely colder than you think. The only time to really enjoy the water is during the summertime in Southern California.

Lunch in Crystal Cove State Park:

Located on Crystal Cove is a cute beachside restaurant and store called The Beachcomber. It is the perfect spot and offers delicious frozen drinks and healthy Hawaiian-inspired food. I highly recommend eating at this wonderful spot.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Dinner in Laguna Beach:

The first time my mom and I visited SoCal, we were recommended a delicious Mexican seafood restaurant on the cliffs of Laguna Beach called Las Brisas. When you go to Las Brisas for dinner, it is a MUST to catch the sunset. (You can always find out what time the sun is setting on your mobile weather apps.)

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Las Brisas features a warm, west coast ambiance with beautiful palm trees, calming music that makes you feel like you are on vacation and fresh local ingredients that will make you feel like you are living a dream. Having a sunset dinner here is the best way to end your first day as you watch the beautiful sky turn to a dark pink and the palm trees sway in the wind.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Dessert in Laguna Beach:

After a lovely dinner in Laguna Beach, definitely head into the downtown area for a drink or dessert. One of my favorite gelato spots in California is Gelato Paradiso, located in a beautiful courtyard off of the Pacific Coast Highway. It is so yummy!

Click here to discover more to do in Laguna Beach.

Day 2: A Day in San Diego

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

The city of San Diego is best known for it’s breathtaking beaches, parks, zoo, art galleries, breweries, food and sunny climate. In addition, San Diego’s harbor is home to a large naval fleet with the USS Midway.

Click here to read my blog post on San Diego.

Balboa Park:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Our first stop in San Diego was to the famous Balboa Park located a little north of the downtown area. The park is known to be a place where culture, science and nature collide. It features various art venues, beautiful gardens that you won’t see anywhere else, hiking and bike trails and many other extraordinary attractions that will make you feel like you’re in another world! Even though we didn’t get a chance to go, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is also located in the park.

Brewery:

When you are in San Diego, it is a MUST to go to a brewery. If you know me well, then you can definitely say I love enjoying a refreshing craft beer! After wandering through Balboa Park, we made our way over to Mission Beach where we enjoyed a few beers and a light lunch at Barrel Republic. This awesome brewery offers over 40 different beers!

Mission Beach:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Mission Beach is a lively beach town that features a great amusement park, Belmont Park, awesome bars and restaurants along with great shops. One of my favorite areas in Mission Beach is the Harbor Channel where you can watch boats and jet skies take off on beautiful aqua water.

Ice Cream:

Whenever I go to the beach, I always crave a cold scoop of ice cream. We headed over to the Point Loma area (outside of Mission Beach) where we indulged in delicious scoops of Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream! (I love Hammonds!) This wonderful ice cream shop is known for the original ice cream flights and features over 300 flavors imported from Hawaii. It is so good!

Click here to discover more ice cream shops in San Diego.

Gaslamp Quarter:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our fun time exploring Balboa Park and relaxing at Mission Beach, we headed into downtown San Diego to explore the Gaslamp Quarter. Since I was with my family, I unfortunately couldn’t fully experience the Gaslamp Quarter scene, but it is definitely recommended if you are looking to have a good night out with friends. Luckily, when I visited San Diego with my mom the previous year, I was able to meet up with college friends and grab drinks at a local sports bar called Knotty Barrel.

In addition to the night scene, the Gaslamp Quarter is known for its rich Victorian architecture and history, world-renowned restaurants, shops, museums and more!

Little Italy:

Located in the Little Italy section of San Diego is a great five-star Italian restaurant called RoVino. The owner of this wonderful restaurant is originally from Italy and wanted to bring homemade Northern Italian and Sicilian cuisines to the San Diego area. That night, I had a delicious pasta meal that hit the spot after a long day exploring.

Other Things to do in San Diego:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

In San Diego, there is something for everyone: if you are a sports lover, catch a game at the famous Petco Park stadium; for all of my fellow fashion lovers, head over to Seaport Village, play with the seals in La Jolla, hike Torrey Pines State Park and visit the beautiful Coronado Beach (I talk more about this area below).

Click here to discover more to do in San Diego.

Day 3: Hollywood, Malibu and Santa Monica

Hollywood Sign:

When we first arrived in Los Angeles, the first thing I wanted to do was go see the Hollywood Sign! We headed over to Runyon Canyon and did a small hike up to where you can catch the best view of the Hollywood Sign.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

*Please keep in mind that the hike up to the Hollywood Sign is like walking in a dessert. The air is very dry and since we went at the end of August, the weather was boiling hot, so always make sure to bring large bottles of water to keep you hydrated during the hike. It is a lot of fun and you want to make sure you enjoy the beautiful views of LA.

If I were to go back to the Hollywood Sign, I’d like to enjoy a horseback riding tour. (Unfortunately, my brothers didn’t want to do it when we went.) Sunset Ranch offers several great daytime and evening packages.

Lunch in Malibu:

After our fun hike up to the Hollywood Sign, we were ready to explore beautiful Malibu. Our drive to Malibu was breathtaking as we drove through beautiful mountains and canyons. When we arrived near the coast, the beach was absolutely stunning and full of the best views!

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Across from the beach in Malibu is Malibu Seafood – a fresh fish market and patio café located right off of the Pacific Coast Highway. We were all starving from our hike, so a fresh seafood meal was definitely the bomb! At Malibu Seafood, you can sit outside on their patio and enjoy gorgeous views of the oceanside along with the mountainside. We all thoroughly enjoyed our seafood lunches and definitely recommend going there if you are in Malibu. Another great restaurant that has been recommended by many is Malibu Farm!

Wine in Malibu:

Located 15 minutes up the mountains is beautiful Malibu Wine Country! A great place that was recommended to me was Malibu Wine Safari. At this fun winery, you can “Get Your Wine On. In the Wild”. A guide will lead your adventure on open-air safari vehicles. You will make stops to take in the beautiful vineyard scenery and taste delicious local wines. In addition, the safari vehicle will get close to the animals. They have zebras, camels, alpacas, bison and even a giraffe! Malibu Wine Safari is known to attract celebrities such as the Kardashians.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

While we were at the winery, we were recommended to also check out Malibu Café at Calamigos Ranch. Malibu Café is a beautiful family-friendly place that offers something for everyone. The café has a full bar and offers a delicious BBQ cuisine. Since we had already eaten, we enjoyed the drinks and the atmosphere. If I lived in Malibu, I would definitely come to Malibu Café fairly often, as it offers nothing but a happy ambiance. There are chandeliers hanging from the trees, beautiful wooden bridges that overlook a stream leading to a waterfall, various pool tables and cornhole boards. It is also a great place to watch a game with friends and they also play country music throughout the entire café area.

Evening and Dinner in Santa Monica:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After spending a beautiful day in Malibu, we headed south to Santa Monica to meet up with my cousin Alexie. Our first stop was to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, which was awesome to see in person! We also got to see the “end” of the famous Route 66 that starts in Washington D.C. and ends in Los Angeles.

For dinner that evening, we went to Milo and Olive, a delicious homemade pizza place situated on the iconic Wilshire Boulevard. We had a great time laughing and sharing some great family stories.

Day 4: Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Sunset Dinner at Crystal Cove

Morning in Huntington Beach:

The next day on our trip, we wanted to stay local to our hotel and relax at some of the nearby beaches – Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

Our first stop was at Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA. When visiting this great beach, you can watch surfers ride the waves and maybe even catch a show while you are there! The beach attracts a 20-something crowd, so you will never be bored.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

During your time in Huntington Beach, you could walk along the pier and stop at the local beach shops or even grab a bite to eat the 50’s diner located at the edge of the pier that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Click here to discover more to do in Huntington Beach.

Lunch in Costa Mesa:

After spending a few hours at Huntington Beach, we headed over to Costa Mesa to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese lunch at Anqi by House of An. This posh restaurant features a healthy and modern gourmet bistro and noodle bar concept. When you are in Orange County, make sure to visit Anqi on a Tuesday and get their famous Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab dish! Make sure you get there early though because they sell out of this meal fairly quick.

Afternoon in Newport Beach:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

In the afternoon, my family and I headed over to Balboa Island in Newport Beach. I love this beach because it is very charming, peaceful and more family-oriented. The promenade, located across from the beach, has unique nautical shops that offer great fashion, art and jewelry. It also features many great beach cafés and nice restaurants. If you decide to go to Newport Beach, it is recommended to get the island’s famous dessert – the Frozen Banana! It is definitely a refreshing treat to enjoy while you relax on the beach or walk along Newport Pier and enjoy the beautiful views.

Click here to discover more to do in Newport Beach.

Dinner at Crystal Cove:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our relaxing beach day, we went back to our hotel and got ready for our wonderful Mexican dinner and sunset at Crystal Cove State Park. Across from the park is a beautiful and elegant Mexican restaurant called Javier’s where you can enjoy crafted, hand-shaken margaritas made with rare tequilas. In addition, their authentic Mexican food is made with high-quality ingredients, offering the best tasting cuisine. Inside of Javier’s features a beautiful southwestern and romantic ambiance.

Day 5: Day at Catalina Island

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

Before visiting Southern California, I was recommended by my friends to visit Catalina Island. We hopped on the Catalina Express ferry from San Pedro, right outside of Los Angeles, and within an hour, we were sailing up to the beautiful European-looking island. (You could also catch the ferry in Long Beach and Dana Point.)

The day we visited Catalina Island was definitely one to remember! As the ferry docked at the port of Avalon Harbor, we hopped off and couldn’t wait to take pictures and just explore everything that was surrounding us. The water was a beautiful blue color, the city is rustic and old-world and the atmosphere definitely made me feel like I was on island time!

Touring Avalon Harbor:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

There are a ton of adventure activities such as zip lining, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, biking, hiking and more! Since I was with my family, we wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy and did the Avalon Scenic Tour.

During the tour, you take a journey throughout beautiful Avalon and learn about the island’s history. The island is pretty big, however, Avalon is the only habited part of Catalina Island. It is so nice because there is barely any traffic on the island. The locals have to be put on a waiting list to get their car there. (It can take up to 30 years!) They also have to rely on a hospital that only has 12 rooms; one school system and other limited services. Another cool fact I learned through the tour is that Catalina Island has wildlife like bison that were taken from the Rocky Mountains and placed on the island years ago for a movie shoot and were never taken off as an experiment to see if they would survive. The movie producers came back a year later and saw that they did! The bison were then kept there and the population of them has been expanding since.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

William Wrigley Jr., founder of the chewing gum, invested millions of dollars into the island, building infrastructure and attractions. He then attracted tourists and even made the island the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs. Other celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a little while as well.

Evening and Dinner on Catalina Island:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our tour riding along the beautiful cliffs of Catalina Island, we sat on the beach at beautiful Lovers Cove. We then grabbed dinner at one of the best Italian restaurants I ever ate at called Ristorante Villa Portofino. It was the perfect restaurant to enjoy an authentic Italian seafood dinner as it complemented the surrounding atmosphere. We then ended our day enjoying gelato and shopping in Avalon’s boutiques.

Click here to discover more to do in Avalon Harbor.

Day 6: Playing with the Seals in La Jolla and Relaxing in Coronado

Morning and Early Afternoon in La Jolla:

On our second day in San Diego, we first stopped at La Jolla, a beautiful beach town surrounded by crystal-clear blue water, cute seals and great restaurants.

We first stopped to get breakfast at Brockton Villa Restaurant overlooking the cove. After we got ourselves fueled up, we walked around the beach area that offers breathtaking seaside cliffs and then went down to the harbor to go play with the seals.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

For lunch, we went to a great brick-oven pizza place called Catania, located in the heart of downtown La Jolla. It was delicious!

Click here to discover more to do in La Jolla.

Later Afternoon and Early Evening in Coronado:

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

After our wonderful morning in La Jolla, we headed 20 minutes south to Coronado and ended the day grabbing a drink at the world-famous Hotel del Coronado, sat on the beach and watched a majestic San Diego sunset and then went to dinner at my favorite Asian fusion restaurant, Bistro D’Asia.

Discover more to do in Coronado with TripAdvisor.


The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in one of my favorite places in the United States, Southern California. If you have any questions about my time in SoCal, please feel free to email me at [email protected], contact me via social media or leave a comment below.

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

The Ultimate Southern California Coastal Adventure

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