Many of you all may already know that I went on vacation recently. My dear friend Cam and I went to California for 10 days and it was the best vacation we could have ever asked for and more!

We went into this vacation with the mindset that we weren’t going to plan that much, if at all. Before going out west, the only thing we had planned was where we were staying the bulk of the trip. We booked our flights a week before we were to fly out and booked the hotel we were staying at for the night in Los Angeles the night before our stay.

California Vacation Day One – May 11:

6:15 p.m. ET – Flight from ATL to LAX

8:20 p.m. PT – Land in LA

Look at those mountains!

Upon landing in Los Angeles, we got our baggage and looked for the shuttle to our hotel for the evening. That first night we stayed at the H Hotel Los Angeles. This hotel was super nice. The hotel is a very modern and sleek designed hotel part of the Curio Collection of Hilton hotels. Our room was on the top floor and overlooked the front of LAX. If you’re looking for great views of LAX and the Pacific Ocean, this is the hotel for you!

In-N-Out Burger

View from our room

After checking in, we took a short Uber ride to the nearest In-N-Out Burger. This was my first time eating here and it will definitely not be my last. It was delicious for fast food service. I got the double double animal style with animal style fries. For those of you that do not know what animal style is, an animal style burger includes extra Thousand Island spread, mustard grilled patties, and extra pickles. Animal style fries are topped with cheese, spread, and grilled onions.

Double Double animal style and animal style fries on left. Single and regular fries on right

After eating, we decided to walk around the area for a little bit hoping to find a bar nearby. We were not successful in finding a bar, but we found a grocery store and stocked up for the night and had a party back at our hotel room. Just the two of us.

California Vacation Day Two – May 12:

We stayed up most of the night before and around 6:00 a.m. we decided to order room service for breakfast. I honestly don’t remember what we ordered, but I do remember the eggs and breakfast potatoes. I took a few bites and passed out for a few hours.

Downtown LA in the distance

When we finally woke up, we packed up our stuff and decided to check out the views from the rooftop deck and share them with our mom’s via video messenger since we couldn’t be with them for Mother’s Day. They definitely did not disappoint! We could see everything! The planes taking off and landing at LAX, Downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and all of the gorgeous California hills near and far.

LAX Runway

We checked out and headed to pick up or rental car. The car rental place was nearby so we just walked from our hotel.

Let’s get exploring

New home of the LA Rams

Once we got wheels, it was game over. Let the exploring begin! Right away we drove through Inglewood and got to see the new home of the LA Rams. That place is massive and I’m so excited to see what the finished product will look like. We eventually made our way to our home for the week at the Carlsbad Seapointe Resort in Carlsbad, California.

San Clemente, California

On our way to Carlsbad from Los Angeles, we got lots of awesome scenic views. We experienced hills, traffic, beaches, traffic, cities, and did I mention traffic?

Carlsbad, California

Our resort was just a short walk across the road to the ocean. It was a perfect little one bedroom vacation condo. We once again made our way to a grocery store to grab food for the evening and got ready for the adventures we were going to take that week.

California Vacation Day 3 – May 13

Encinitas, California

As I previously stated, we didn’t make any plans for this trip. We were just going to take it day by day. When we woke up, we decided to take a drive down to San Diego. Carlsbad is about 35 miles north of San Diego. We decided to take the scenic route along the beaches to get to San Diego. We passed through Encinitas, Torrey Pines, and La Jolla.

San Diego

Sassafras Street, San Diego, California

Once we got into the San Diego area, we decided to take the Sassafras Street exit just because the name sounded awesome. Turns out it was right by the San Diego Airport! We drove around the Gaslamp Quarter and found Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. We decided to get out of the car and walk around for a little while. This ballpark is beautiful! They had a ton of baseball memorabilia and good reads about the team.

El Cortez

We continued driving around and found the historic El Cortez. If you don’t know, El Cortez is a landmark hotel in San Diego. When it was first constructed in 1927 it was the tallest building in San Diego. It was officially designated a historic site in 1990 when it was threatened with demolition. It has since been revamped, but still has many original elements.

USS Midway

We finally made our way to the San Diego Bay and encountered the massive USS Midway. The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier, formerly of the United States Navy. It was commissioned a week after the end of World War II. It was the largest ship in the world until 1955, as well as the first U.S. aircraft carrier too big to transit the Panama Canal. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship.

We didn’t actually take the tour of the Midway, but we got to awe in it’s beauty. We supported some local artists by buying some jewelry and continued on our way to the next destination.

Mexican Border

Mexico border – view from the park

We made our way as far south as we could without actually crossing the border into Mexico, because we didn’t bring out passports with us. We followed a dirt road until we got to a trail that could have taken us into Mexico. It was kind of eerie when we got out as there were helicopters flying around the area patrolling, but it was also super surreal that we could literally see Mexico right across the way.

After leaving the park, we made our way back north, but we took the route that let us see more of Mexico’s beautiful landscape.

Beautiful Mexico and Cam

This recaps our first three days of our California vacation. Check back in next week for more activities. If you have any questions about the places we visited during our first three days, please comment below or send me a message. I will be more than glad that answer them!

36 thoughts on “Vacation Recap – California pt. 1

  1. What an awesome way to explore. Buy a ticket and go, no plans, just a bed to sleep (in a good location) and explore the rest of the time. Ready to see what else you got in to!

    1. Thank you! I actually love the Atlanta airport! It’s big, but I feel like it’s easy to maneuver as long as you know where you’re going. You definitely want to arrive early though because it is so big. They have three security checkpoints that always run really smoothly and the train to take you from terminal to terminal is quick

  2. Sounds like a great trip I never been here before. I’m supposed to go to San Diego soon though so thank you for the insight. I don’t think we had an agenda of renting a car but it seems worth it the pictures are very nice ! I can’t wait thank you 😊

  3. We’ve been to the Gaslamp District and the Midway twice. Both are our favorite things to do in San Diego. Absolutely love the Kissing Statue next to the Midway. Thank you for sharing an awesome shot of it. Raheela

  4. Looks like a great adventure! I hope to be able to spend more time in SoCal in the future, so your post was great to read, especially the San Diego details. Thanks!

  5. I wish I could just buy a ticket and have next to nothing planned, but I need my whole life planned 24/7!
    Looks and sounds like you had an awesome time, and you images are beautiful.
    – Nyxie

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! Not having plans definitely threw me for a loop as I’m an avid planner, but it was so worth it. I felt like I was able to truly relax.

    1. Southern California is definitely something different and the weather was absolutely perfect! Hopefully you’ll be able to visit soon! Thanks for reading and commenting! 💕

  6. This sounds like such a fun trip, and the views look gorgeous in your pictures! I have never been to California, but it’s one trip that has been on our bucket list for a while now.

    1. I had never been to California before this trip and the views are out of this world! It was so hard to capture the perfect picture with a camera. I took lots of mental pictures! Thanks for reading and commenting! 💜

  7. Sounds like a great trip. Reminds me of when I went to California on a road trip with my friend for 3 weeks. It was glorious. We went to L.A., Palm Springs, San Diego and Vegas or and a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico. So fun. I really wanna go back.

  8. I love the go without a plan/ itinerary! That is some awesome way to take in the view without having any expectations. I grew up in San Diego so love looking at all your photos. I miss IN and OUT 🙁

  9. Love it! I have only every been to California once, but it was to Napa and I loved it. I’ll have to head back to LA and San Diego one day, this looked like so much fun =]

  10. Often one of my favourite parts of any vacation is simply driving around taking in the scenery. There is so much out there in the world to take in and enjoy if you take the time!

  11. Personally I love not committing to a strict schedule on a trip. I’ll have some ideas for things to do or places to see, but leaving it open allows for exploring and I’ve found awesome hidden gems this way! ❤🙌

    1. That’s exactly what we did and it was the best trip ever! I think I only wanted to do 3 things and we did those three things and so much more! Thanks for reading and commenting 💜

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