California Road Trip | Big Sur 

When my boyfriend and I saw pictures of Big Sur, we knew we had to go. We researched more about it and discovered it’s one of the most famous road trips in the US! We knew right away that a California road trip would be our next adventure.

We are probably the only two people on Earth who still occasionally check Groupon but thank God we are grandparents at heart because that’s how we discovered Escape campervans and decided to go with a campervan instead of a rental car. I am very proud of us for making this great decision.

So Big Sur refers to the California coast between Carmel and San Simeon. The road is Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway. This place is clearly so epic it has to have three names.

If you’re planning to go anywhere in Big Sur, make sure you do your research beforehand because there is no cell phone service. I actually liked that this forces you to stay off your phone and enjoy your surroundings, but just make sure you know the name of the place you’re going! If you really get lost, remember it’s just one road so you’re probably going to come across your destination at some point 😉

Since we only had one day to explore Big Sur, we wanted to visit the most talked about places, but you could honestly spend a week alone in Big Sur. I used this helpful map to plan our hikes.

If you plan on camping in Big Sur like we did, I would suggest making a reservation early. The sites fill up very fast. We were lucky to score a spot at Plaskett Creek Campground which ended up being our favorite campground of our whole trip! This might be weird but the thing I remember most is how good this campground smelled. I’m not sure what kind of trees they were but the smell of the trees, fresh air, and campfires was heavenly.

We started off our day in Big Sur by stopping at the most famous landmark, Bixby Bridge. The pictures don’t do it justice! You need to see it for yourself.

Big Sur road trip bixby bridge
Bixby bridge

After stopping at the bridge, we headed to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This park is home to the famous McWay Falls which is a small waterfall that flows onto the beach and then into the bright blue water.

Mcway falls California road tripMcway falls California road trip
Don’t stop once you hit the viewing bridge though because if you keep walking, you see this!

The McWay Falls trail is more of a walk and is perfect for anyone. It involves going through a tunnel which made me happy because I have a strange love of tunnels. We wanted a more challenging hike so next we embarked on the Ewoldsen Trail. This trailhead is also in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park so it was perfect.

The Ewoldsen Trail is a 4.5 mile moderate hike that gives you the perfect sampling of what Big Sur is all about. First you walk through a redwood filled forest where I’m convinced fairies and elves live.

After walking through the forest, you’ll start to consistently gain elevation with a series of switchbacks and the rest of the hike is pretty much up, up, up. It definitely was a good work out! The best part is when you get to the top, there’s little paths off the main path that have the most amazing view of the ocean! I wasn’t expecting the view when I ventured off the main path and so I literally gasped when I saw it. It’s the perfect reward for all of your hard work.

After enjoying that view for a while, we continued on. The rest of the hike is relatively downhill until you get back to your starting point. In total, it took us about 3 hours.

After the hike we headed to Plaskett Creek Campground. The best part about this campground (besides the smell) is right across the street is Sand Dollar Beach. All you have to do is walk across the street. Since we arrived late in the day, we made it to Sand Dollar Beach just in time for sunset. It was one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen. Although you can walk down onto the actual beach if you want, we chose to watch from a higher viewpoint above the beach. We also saw an owl in a tree and since I’ve loved owls since I was little, it was pretty much the best day ever.


California Coast Road Trip |Monterey and Carmel 

Monterey is the classic charming seaside town. It’s the kind of place you see in movies. I imagine if you lived in this town, you would permanently feel like you were on vacation. Or you would have a deep dark dramatic secret because I could totally see this town as being one of those picture perfect towns with lots of hidden scandals. But that’s just me watching too many crime documentaries. It probably is just that perfect in real life.

We stayed at at a really nice RV park in Carmel, which is the neighboring town to Monterey, called Carmel by the Sea RV Park. The bathrooms were the 2nd nicest bathrooms we had the pleasure of enjoying on our whole California road trip, only topped by the Flying Flags RV Resort in Solvang. These were great too and we were all very thankful for nice bathrooms and showers since we were not granted this luxury most of our trip. Each RV spot had a different frog personality and each had a different town name and we were lucky enough to get the town we were actually staying in, along with this cute little guy exercising his 2nd amendment rights.

To start our day, we headed to Point Lobos State Park which was only about 9 minutes south of our RV park.

The best way to describe Point Lobos State Park is magical. We talked to some of the rangers who worked there who were just so sweet and knowledge and you could tell they loved working in this beautiful place. We traded in our car keys for binocular and I absolutely suggest this! Point Lobos is an amazing place to see whales, sea lions, and otters.

We saw tons of sea lions and it became a game to find the whales because they would blow air out of the water before they surfaced. It was so fun to see all of the wildlife we aren’t used to in Florida.

Monterey is known to be a great place for whale watching and although we didn’t have time to do one of the many whale watching tours they offer, I’m really glad we saw some on our own.

We then decided to do the Cypress Grove Trail. The Cypress Grove Trail is actually one of the only two natural Monterey tree forests left in the world! This short easy trail is perfect for everyone and the views are absolutely amazing. We all agreed it was the prettiest water we’ve ever seen.

Next up was the Bird Island trail which is home to the beautiful crystal clear China Cove. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

We finally decided to head back to the RV park and shower so we could head into town. The only problem was we didn’t buy towels at our original grocery store run when we first got the campervan. We were all like “Oh, it’s fine, we’ll just pick some up at the grocery store.” NO. WRONG. WE WERE SO WRONG. Apparently NOWHERE in Carmel or Monterey likes to sell towels. Not CVS. Not the grocery stores. Not even Home Depot (yes, we checked.) So if you are planning on living in a van for a week like us, please don’t make the same mistake we did and buy towels at the start of your trip! We ended up buying microfiber cleaning cloths from CVS which were exactly what they sounded like. Dish cleaning cloths the size of a small square. We ended up using these to shower and it wasn’t the greatest experience of my life but we hadn’t showed since the start of our campervan adventure so regardless of the towel situation, I felt like a new human being after that shower.

Once we all smelled good again, we headed to downtown Monterey to check it out.

Downtown Monterey is adorable with tons of bars, wineries, and little shops to explore. Our first stop was the Bargetti winery which we all loved! We loved talking to a local about the town and trying the amazing wines. The fact that their most famous wine had a cat on it made us all really happy because we are all kind of obsessed with cats.

Next, we caught the end of the sunset before deciding to find some food and bar hop!

When I took this picture, it just hit me how lucky I was to be here as I listened to the sounds of the birds and watched the sun set over the mountains. Sunsets always make me appreciate life and I just love them so much.

After that we went in search of food and more drinks! I honestly can’t remember the names of all the bars we went to, so let’s just say we had a good time 😉 What a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Blue Ridge Georgia Cabin Trip

A couple weekends ago myself and 12 of my closest friends from college rented a beautiful cabin in the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.

The cabin was located on a street named “Dreamcatcher” and it was honestly a dream from the moment we walked in.

I arrived just as the sun was setting with my boyfriend Myles and our friend Mike who picked us up at the Nashville airport. The boys must have been tired from the 3.5 hour drive because somehow I was the only one screaming with excitement when we got there.

We all knew the cabin was going to be incredible but I’m pretty sure it surpassed all expectations. It had three balconies with mountain views, a hot tub, pool table, and a fire pit. It was stunning and best of all, super inexpensive! We each paid $70 total for three nights. Cabins in this area are very inexpensive on Air Bnb, especially if you have a large group. If you live within driving distance, this definitely counts as a budget trip!

Myles and I left for the airport as soon as I took my Opthalmic Optics final on Friday, April 7th. Our flight was delayed but not by much. We took JetBlue and it solidified its place as my favorite airline ever. You can’t beat free wifi, snacks, and lots of leg room. 

Night one was a blur of beer pong, catching up, enjoying the hot tub, and singing around the fire and we all ended up staying up until 4 am. 

The next morning I woke up early enough to see the sunrise. I was the first one up so I just watched the sun rise over the mountains while I got ready, listened to music, and ate breakfast on the balcony attached to our room. Someday this will be my everyday life 😉 

Everyone else got up shortly after and we decided to check out downtown Blue Ridge for the day. 

Hana, Jenna, and I decided to do a wine tasting at the Blue Ridge Winery which has a nice outdoor seating area. The tasting was $20 and you got to keep the glass. They also serve a lot of local beers. Our favorite wine was a sweet wine that was made from Georgia peaches. 

After exploring downtown Blue Ridge, we headed back to the cabin for the rest of the day. We played games, forced the guys to take a group picture with us, played pool, cuddled under blankets, and enjoyed the hot tub as the sun set!

Hana and I also got matching shirts from the kids section at Walmart to add to our collection which has become a tradition whenever we travel together. Hopefully when we are old we’ll have 800 matching shirts from all the places we’ve been together 😉 

To add to our weekend of relaxation, some of us did yoga in the basement and it was the best idea ever. Russell drank a beer while he critiqued and video taped us but I strangely enjoyed his presence. 

At night we sat around the fire and sang songs while Mike played guitar.
Sunday was another beautiful day and some of the group relaxed at home while the rest of us started it off with a hike up Blood Mountain! Blood Mountain is part of the Appalachian Trail and it’s a great little hike. Myles and I had actually done this hike two years ago but it was so foggy we couldn’t see anything. We remembered it was a super fun one though and it wasn’t too far from our cabin so some of us decided to do it. I’ll do a separate post on the specifics of the Blood Mountain hike since I’ve done it twice now!

It was a beautiful clear day and the weather, views, and hiking with my best friends made me so happy! It was cool to see the views we missed out on two years ago.

After the hike we headed back to the cabin for more relaxation. Erica and I spent a lot of time in her hammock and it made me reconsider my whole life because I really don’t spend enough time in hammocks. I feel like there’s a special form of happiness you can only obtain from laying in a hammock. Oh and it also helped that we had mimosas.

Monday came and the weekend was over just like that. Every single one of us was struggling hard on Monday but we all had such an amazing weekend together! I feel so lucky to have forever friends like these 🙂