The Eastern Sierra Mountains is California's backbone, and U.S. highway 395 which runs east of the Sierra Nevada range would have to be one of California's most spectacular drive's. The highlights of this driving itinerary include majestic mountain peaks, endless outdoor opportunities and unusual natural and man-made locations such as Mono Lake and the ghost town of Bodie. Try to spend atleast a week exploring the area.
Everyone knows the beaches in Los Angeles county can get really crowded, but did you know it is possible to find more secluded beaches just north of Santa Monica? Okay, so you might not have the beach all to yourself on a hot weekend in the middle of summer but there is a strong possibility during a weekday. Here are our top picks for best beaches between Santa Monica and Ventura. They make great day trips or even a fun weekend away.
Discover the Oldest Living Things on Earth! Your Guide to Visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
THE ANCIENT BRISTLECONE PINE FOREST
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to the world's oldest living tree's. Some of these gnarled and twisted tree's are over 4,700 years old making them the OLDEST LIVING THINGS on the planet! To put that in perspective, these tree's started their life out back when stone axes were still being used in Europe.
The Bristlecone Pine Forest is situated in the White Mountains of the Eastern Sierra's and the tree's grow at an altitude between 9,800 and 11,00 feet. The White Mountains themselves are pretty spectacular as they are over 14,000 feet in elevation but are not as well-known as other mountain ranges of the same height in America. There is a visitor's center at Schulman Grove which is open generally from May through to October depending on snow conditions.
If you can plan your visit in the warmer months and not in late November like us, you will have a much more pleasant experience. It can get freezing up there because of the elevation.
Welcome to the Golden State. Whether you are a sun worshipper, an outdoor enthusiast, into exhilerating sports, a foodie or love road tripping to see quirky attractions, California has it all! From towering mountains to idyllic palm tree beaches to deserts that are perfect for finding solitude. Here is the Ultimate California Bucket List.
A couple of weeks ago we climbed Mt Whitney. At 14,508ft, Mt Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. I had wanted to climb Whitney ever since I was seventeen when I had stumbled across Galen Rowell's 'The Art of Adventure' at a second hand bookstore all the way back in Australia, where nobody even knows what the Eastern Sierra's are. The trail itself is 21 miles (33km) with 6000ft elevation gain and is not to be taken lightly.
The Northern California coast is beautiful, breathtaking and rugged. Our first stop after crossing the Oregon border was Crescent City. Even though Lonely Planet says this coastal town is not worth stopping at, we ended up staying for a couple of days because it had a nice mellow vibe and felt like a safe place to stay in the van. It has all the large chain stores so we stocked up on cooking supplies and found some wifi to check emails. There is a large park by the Visitors Center that is great for picnicking or stretching your legs, which is what we did.
I was determined to find some waves but there wasn’t much swell. We found a safe place to park overnight right by the water where we could check the surf right from our bed and cook while watching the waves roll in. It was epic to say the least!
We were slowly making our way down the PCH just south of Mendocino when we made a last minute decision to hightail it down to San Francisco because we had found out that a band we really liked was playing that night. We left the sleepy coastal towns behind and headed out to US101 making it just outside the city in around four hours. We stopped at McDonalds to use the free wifi and double-check the venue address but to our dismay I had mixed up the location and the gig was actually in Oakland. We don't know a lot about Oakland but had heard from many people it was a place best to avoid. We thought about risking it but we were most worried about the van as it is our home and our whole life in it. Devastated we found ourselves at an In 'N Out ordering ourselves a couple of double doubles. We easily could have spent another week cruising, camping and surfing down the northern California coast!
Hollywood Walk Of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is not as great as you would imagine and some may say a little over-rated. However, it is still always at the top of everyone else's to do list so you may as well cross it off the list too. Get to Hollywood Boulevard first thing in the morning so you can find a park easier and beat the crowds. You will probably only need to spend an hour or two here. You can check out a few of the celebrity stars and quickly get a few photos in front of the Chinese Graumans' Theatre. Madam Tussauds world famous wax museum is also a must see for fans of celebrity culture. Other than that there is nothing else here besides shopping and touristy knick-knacks. If you have kids they will love the costumed characters that they are able to get their photo's taken with. Just remember it is customary to tip them afterwards.
Death Valley is one of my favorite places in California and is definitely in my top three National Parks to visit. Here is a list of ten attractions in Death Valley which could be seen in two days (possibly one if you get an early start to the day) but if you have the time you should spend a couple of extra days to fully explore the area. There are many amazing hikes and camping here is magical because the night sky has very low levels of light pollution.
Two Aussies road-tripping across the USA. Our goal is to discover America's wild places and vibrant cities... and make the most of every moment. Read more