Plan the perfect American Road Trip

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“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…”

I embarked on an epic holiday earlier this year which took me from San Francisco to LA to Yosemite National Park. From wild swimming with dolphins (yes, really) to gawping at the Grand Canyon, my road trip ticked an awful lot of things off my bucket list. Things, which if you’re heading state side, you simply cannot miss…

SAN FRANCISCO 

Why? To pretend you’re in Charmed, lust after the city’s pretty pastel houses and get a serious calf work-out on those hills. Don’t miss Lombard Street, the city’s countless green spaces, meadows and pretty parks and The Mission’s incredible street art. You’ll probably want to wander around Alcatraz’s haunted halls and visit Pier 37’s stinky sealions too. Oh, and the Golden Gate Bridge. You’re not going to want to miss that. 

Where?
Drink cold brew at itsjane.squarespace.com
Eat banana and chocolate scones at themillsf.com
Have drinks and dinner at nopasf.com
Eat your weight in sourdough at tartinebread.com

BIG SUR

Why? Buy arm-fulls of fresh fruit and vegetables at roadside stalls, channel your inner poet and get sandy feet at Carmel Beach and ride the rollercoasters in Santa Cruz. Hit Highway 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway, for twisting, turning roads, endless seascapes, rugged cliffs and views that’ll make your jaw drop. Pose at Bixby Bridge, discover McWay Falls and get up with a sun for an early morning hike. Spy seals, tiny rabbits and gofers. Just be careful if you’re camping. Those little animals will steal your breakfast if you let ’em…

Where? 
Enjoy drinks with a view at nepenthebigsur.com
Sleep under the stars at Kirk Creek Campground

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MORRO BAY 

Why? For an entirely different Californian experience. To feast on fresh fish, wonder at the bay’s insanely clear water and gaze at the rock which looms over the fishing village. 

Where? Eat scallops as big as your fist at morrobaydockside.com

SANTA BARBARA

Why? To marvel at the sunsets, drink cold beers on the beach, swim in the Pacific Ocean and come insanely close to wild dolphins (if you’re lucky.) Eat ice-cream, sit in the shade of palm trees, surf, sunbathe, sport salty beach hair and pretend you’re a California Gurl.

Where? Sleep, eat, swim and channel your inner surfer at oceanmesa.com

LOS ANGELES

Why? To find fame, spot celebrities and wander along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Take in the view at Griffith Observatory and spy the Hollywood Sign. Sip cocktails on roof bars as the sun goes down and generally be incredibly glamorous.

Where? 
Lounge by the pool in this awesome, great value Air bnb
Drink cocktails as the sun goes down at Ace Hotel‘s Poolside rooftop bar
Eat dinner at LA Chapter 

ROUTE 66

Why? Slather yourself in suncream and drive through the desert. Pose under Joshua trees, marvel at insane landscapes and listen to rock ‘n’ roll really loudly.

Where?
Stuff your face with HUGE milkshakes and giant burgers at mrdzrt66diner.com

GRAND CANYON

Why? Because it’s the Grand Canyon. It’s so incredibly beautiful your eyes won’t believe it. They’ll want to weep. You’ll want to gaze in amazement and gawp in astonishment. Wander, walk, hike. Stop, look, listen. And pose for some obligatory Grand Canyon snaps.

Where? Camp with the elks, the stars and the pine cones at Trailer Village RV Park 

DEATH VALLEY

Why? Because it’s insane. The endless roads, the strange, surreal, space-like landscape. The horizon that stretches forever. The heat. Visit in the early morning to avoid that painful midday sun or the evening watch the sky turn a thousand shades of pink and purple.

Where? Sleep (with the air-con on its highest setting) and sunbathe at Furnace Creek
Eat giant steaks and date cake at The Wrangler Steak House

JUNE LAKE LOOP

Why? To breathe in clean mountain air, kayak on giant blue lakes and take in the epic scenery.

Where? Sleep at Silver Lake Resort
Eat enormous omelettes and drink buckets of coffee at Silver Lake Cafe

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Why? To wander through meadows full of flowers, dip your toes in the icy rivers running off the mountains and pad through quiet pine forests. To climb up domes smoothed by glaciers, hike mountains and get soaked by waterfall mist. To see your reflection in Mirror Lake, see lush wildlife, friendly squirrels and deer. And to keep your eyes peeled for bears…

Where? Sleep and bear watch at Upper Pines campground
Feast on food and buy silly souvenirs at Yosemite Valley Village Store

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