travel

TOP 3 CALIFORNIA STOPS

Hello my dear readers!

Today we’re going to mix it up a little bit and hit the road. What is the destination of choice, you may ask? We’re going to California.

Some of you may have been to California, and others have no idea where it is, except that it’s a big poppa state in the U.S. California has many things associated with it: Exorbitant prices, Hollywood, hippies, the Pacific Coast, an influx of cultures, redwood trees, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. While these associations are very much in accordance with the state, I want to highlight my three favorite places within California’s borders so that we can both go on a little road trip of sorts.

Without further ado, let’s get going.


3. MALIBU

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Malibu, CA (August 2015)

What a beautiful seaside hamlet stuffed with Hollywood stars, college students, and surfers. Malibu is a town that I both love and dislike, but it had to make the Top 5 list because it is an incredibly beautiful town nestled between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Malibu is a twenty-seven mile long town of about 15,000 people. It’s a beach town pretty much year-round, with spectacular surfers’ coves, hidden canyons, and hikes for all people. It isn’t too far from the wild metropolis of Los Angeles (depending on traffic, that is).

Malibu has withstood countless wildfires, including the Woolsey Fire of 2018, and its community has only grown stronger as a result.

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Malibu, CA (January 2017)

2. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Environmentalists, where you at?

With ties to President Theodore Roosevelt and Scottish-American environmentalist John Muir, Yosemite is a testament to the National Parks Service here in the United States. It is the largest park and is known for its incredible beauty within the Sierra Nevadas of Central California.

Last October I had the incredible opportunity to visit Yosemite, though it was only for twelve hours or so. That being said, I fell in love with this place. While I have already written a blog post on this, that you can check out here, I do believe that a place like Yosemite is a God-given place designed as a living, breathing testament of the beauty of our world.

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Yosemite National Park (October 2018)

1. DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

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Death Valley National Park (August 2016)

Death Valley is one of my favorite places in the world. Though I’d grown up hearing of it as being the hottest, driest, and lowest point in the continental United States, I wasn’t super excited to trek on over to this particular spot.

My dad and I were driving to California from Tennessee, and this was one of the last stops on our tour of the Southwest. We’d seen so many incredible places, such as Zion, the Grand Canyon, and more, and we were ready to be in civilization again. We’d spent the morning bustling out of Las Vegas and whizzing past Area 51, because we wanted to see Death Valley and then get on down the road to Los Angeles.

(A quick little tangent. I think this exemplifies the problem with our society today. When we rush to things, we miss out on the most incredible aspects of the planet around us.)

When we got to Death Valley, it was late morning, and temperatures were already reaching 115° F (about 46° C). Though we’d come in late August, which is probably not the best time to go to the hottest place in my country, I was still impressed by the heat. We drove on through the back gate, passed some test cars using the national park as their playground, and felt like we’d landed in Mars.

When I say that Death Valley is an extraterrestrial place, it really is. There is something about standing on a green, lush mountaintop that reminds a person of fertility and life in general; Death Valley is unlike this image. In the daytime it feels as if life isn’t possible at all in the rugged landscape. There are incredible sand dunes and salt flats with mysterious moving rocks (I’m not sure if scientists ever figured out how these rocks move, but it’s a cool science fun fact). The mountains are harsh and rocky, and you can drive hours through the park and still not reach the other side.

But when night comes alive, biodiversity is proven to exist in a Mars-like expanse like Death Valley National Park. While my dad and I did not stay for nighttime, we were impressed by how a place can seem so deadly yet still so fragile and protective of its nocturnal inhabitants.

Maybe the reason I fell in love with this national park is because it is so incredibly unique. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a Southerner who’s used to seeing green all around me, and the desert is so unlike my normal vista. Maybe it’s because I know that God has a purpose for every biome out there. I think it’s all of these, and many more. But Death Valley is a place that has inspired me to talk about nature. It’s a place that makes me want to scream to everyone, “Get over there! If you’re from California, how have you not been to Death Valley yet?”

Therefore, I urge you, wherever you are in the world, to experience this California wonder at some point in your life. It should definitely be on your bucket list, because this is a place that will challenge your perception of the world you think you know.

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Death Valley National Park (August 2016)

THERE YOU GO.

Though these are my top three California destinations, there are so many more to check out. That is the beauty of this state, despite its faults. So, if you can, definitely make a stop in California. 🙂

In the next week or so I will update you guys on some awesome news. Be looking out for that blog post soon.

Until next time

-K.

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California/Nevada Border (August 2016)
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22 thoughts on “TOP 3 CALIFORNIA STOPS”

  1. I’m a California Boy living in Texas! I’m afraid I’d sub out Malibu and Death Valley for Lake Tahoe, La Jolla shores/Torrey Pines and San Francisco, but that’s just me. The thing I miss most about California are my day trips. Getting up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning and being able to leave Sacramento and travel 2 hours in any direction and be a Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Napa Valley or Reno and be back home by 5 p.m. I need to stop – I’m misting up! LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. La Jolla is such a beautiful place. I have a friend who is from there—so lucky! I will definitely need to check out Lake Tahoe. I really haven’t seen much of Northern California, so I am hoping to do that soon. San Francisco is awesome as well, and I really like the Monterey/Carmel area too. California has too many places to choose from 😂. And awww…. You will have to visit again soon. 🙂

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  2. At one time I strongly considered moving my family to California. Namely the Folsom area. Family near by.
    The drive from Folsom up route 50 to Lake Tahoe was breathtaking. 50 into San Franciso also a treat. This was nearly 40 years ago
    Your father was young and enjoyed our time there.
    Our dear relatives took us all over northern California. A trip we will never forget.
    Thanks for your descriptive experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Northern California seems absolutely amazing. I have heard Dad talk about your trips out there in the past, and I know he really loved them! We will all have to take a Northern California trip soon 🙂

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      1. That would be a total delight!! I will plant a giant seed in his memory bank.
        Many visions of those days are flashing across my mind. So wonderful..

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  3. Funny, you know, I grew up in Southern California and lived there most of my life (I live in Ohio now), and never visited Death Valley. I had always had the impression there was nothing much there but sand and gravel. Someday, maybe. Now, Malibu and Yosemite are both on my fave lists, as well.

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  4. Nice post – as usual. I’m heading to California in a couple of weeks time to visit my son and daughter-in-law. Basing myself in San Francisco so I’ll be visiting all the indie book stores, checking out the old haunts of the Beat generation, looking at the many murals in the Mission district – doing many of the typical tourist things (Golden Gate Bridge etc) and a few off the beaten track items too. Also having a side trip to the Monterey peninsula for a couple of days AND a long weekend visit to Portland, Oregon…..I’ve just got to visit Powell’s Bookstore there (the world’s largest independent bookshop), which covers an entire block. So many books….so little time! AND yes there will be lots for me to blog about.

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    1. Oh my goodness, I cannot wait to hear about your trip. That sounds amazing!! You’ll have to update me on how it goes. Monterey is an incredible place. You should check out Carmel-by-the-Sea as well. Such a gem, and pretty close to Monterey. As for the bookstores… Those sound like heaven on Earth. 😍

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