Cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, pristine beaches where you can sea the seals, natural hot springs and Spanish missions that seem to come from a Zorro movie. All this along the 600 km that separate San Francisco to Los Angeles. Take time to explore one of the most beautiful stretches of California, the same one you’ve seen a thousand times in the movies!

California Dreaming, traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles

San Francisco: see the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. One of the symbols of California

Our travel in California could only start here. San Francisco is a magical, lively, eccentric and colorful city, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. There is so much to see and experience, but you can not miss the famous red bridge with lights on at sunset. Admire the beautiful bay, while sailboats ply the waves, around the Golden Gate Bridge.

Green Tips: in the heart of San Francisco the eco-friendly Orchard Garden Hotel awaits you.

Santa Cruz: admire the surfers on the Steamer Lane

Santa Cruz, California
Photo by anthony_goto via Flickr

At about 130 kilometers south of San Francisco, there is Santa Cruz, a city which lies along a wide beach, characterized by a relaxed atmosphere. What makes famous Santa Cruz in the world is surfing. Legend has it that the sport was brought here in 1885 by three Hawaiian princes and later by legendary surfers such as Duke Kahanamoku. Now Santa Cruz is a must for the best surfers and we can admire them ride the big waves of the coast of Steamer Lane or, why not, take some lessons in one of the many schools of the city.

Green Tips: in the center of Santa Cruz, you can find a beautiful shop for your green purchasing. From clothes to toys for children, with Eco Goods you can save the environment!

Carmel: admire the “Lone Cypress”, the tree icon which stands on a promontory at Pebble Beach

"Lone Cypress", the tree icon of California
Photo by Jonathan Tardif via Flickr

Along the 17-Mile Drive, a scenic road from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, there is perhaps the most photographed tree in North America. From the picturesque Carmel town, a place that seems straight out of a fairy tale, you can follow this scenic route until you get to the cliff where the Lone Cypress grows.

Green Tips: Carmel is the place for a bike ride. There are many shops and bars that offer you a parking for your bike and exclusive discounts.

Monterey: the most beautiful aquarium of the world

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

We continue our journey to the South, and we stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a beautiful aquarium that is home to about 550 different species in huge transparent tanks. You can admire the jellyfish, giant octopus, hammerhead sharks, touch the races and watch the nice sea otters.

Big Sur: a dip in the thermal baths of Esalen, overlooking the coast

Big Sur, California

It’s hard not to know Big Sur, not seen even a photo and not have dreamed of being there, between the sky and the cliffs. It is definitely one of the most charming strips of coastline in the world, between Carmel and Hearst Castle. 144 km of pure magic and pristine nature. Here you will find the Esalen Institute, where you can participate in many special workshops, or simply relax in one of the pool suspended on cliffs, fed by hot springs.

Green Tips: along Big Sur, a short walk from Pfeiffer Beach, you’ll find Big Sur Lodge, a beautiful residence in the middle of nature.

San Luis Obispo: taste local food and fine wines

San Luis Obispo, California
Photo by Loco Steve via Flickr

We are half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, in a fertile land, where the products of the earth grow thanks to the sun all year round and the sea breeze. Everywhere you turn you can find farms, ranches, but also renowned restaurants, which invite you to sample local dishes and fine wines. But it is also the perfect spot to venture into nature, between climbing in the mountains and walks in the lavender fields. Do not miss the wonderful Spanish mission; and eyes always pointed toward the restless ocean, because here it is not uncommon to spot whales.

Santa Barbara: the American Riviera

Santa Barbara, California
Photo by traveljunction via Flickr

The Mediterranean charm arrived here, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara is a small town with a seductive charm, to visit slowly, between its green streets lined with boutiques and organic restaurants, walking along the pier. It will be immediately clear why the Hollywood stars took refuge here.

Green Tips: a short walk from Santa Barbara downtown, Cheshire Cat Inn is the perfect place for your eco-friendly stay.

Ojai: walk among farmer’s market, art galleries and craft shops

Ojai, California
Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr

We are just over an hour from Los Angeles, but it seems to be in another world. Ojai is a small town that smells of orange, everyone knows everyone and the big chain stores do not seem to exist. There are outdoor libraries, artists ‘workshops, a number of farmers’ markets, yoga centers, nature trails: a paradise for us eco-travelers.

Los Angeles: among seals, movie stars and skyscrapers

Los Angeles, California
Photo by Paolo Gamba via Flickr

Here we are, the last destination of our trip to California. Los Angeles will enchant you with its many facets. Stroll on the pristine beach of the natural reserve of Leo Carrillo, encountering seals in the waves and starfish attached to the rock giants. Make bio shop at farmer’s market in Santa Monica, and then then the bike path on the beach up to Venice Beach, visiting the houses on the canals of Venice, California. In the evening he admires the live performances of the emerging artists in one of the many near Hollywood.

Green Tips: discover all the eco-friendly accommodations in Los Angeles. You can choose from luxury hotels in Beverly Hills or colorful cottage in Venice Beach.

California, here we come!

 

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Author: Chiara Marras

Sono Chiara, 25 anni, una laurea in tasca e tanti progetti in mente. Credo fortemente nel web come punto di scambio e divulgazione e penso che uno dei temi più urgenti in questo momento sia l'eco-sostenibilità. Perché allora non riscoprire il viaggio come unione con la natura e con la cultura locale?
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