The United States is honeymoon country number six, on our endless honeymoon to all 7 continents around the globe. California has been on our honeymoon hotspot list since we got engaged back in 2014. We fell in love with the states after spending three months here in 2013 on a road trip through Florida, Tennessee and California.
We hit all the famous American landmarks like; Miami Beach, the Everglades, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Nashville, the Kodachrome Basin State Park, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Yosemite and San Francisco. The one thing we learnt from our last road trip is that America is hard and expensive to travel without having your own car. This road trip we bought a car to travel up the West Coast of America to Canada.
We had this image pictured in our heads, driving down highway 1 surrounded by nothing but beautiful beaches, rugged undeveloped coastline and pure nature. We’ve seen this road a million times in the movies, but nothing compares to real life on our road trip. The sun was shining, our windows were rolled down and the stereo was pumping our favourite road trip tunes!
USA Road Trip: Big Sur
The landscape of highway 1 and Big Sur was just incredible; it stretched for miles with no end in sight! The drive was exhilarating; we could smell the salt water in the air, the wind was in our hair and we were completely surrounded by nature. Big Sur truly is a romantic California honeymoon hotspot.
The narrow windy road just kept going, over bridges and around sharp corners with just a tiny barrier between us and the sheer drop off the cliff into the depths below. Our Big Sur road trip was even better than we could have ever imagined. Make sure you add this US destination to your California bucket list!
The Pacific Ocean was crashing at our feet as we gazed out at sea…
As we veered away from the coast and into Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, we could smell the pine trees in the air. Redwoods towered over us, as we cruised through the forest, mesmerized by Mother Nature’s beauty on our USA road trip.
USA Road Trip: Monterey Bay & Santa Cruz
We decided to face our fear of heights in Monterey, by skydiving 18,000 ft (the highest tandem skydive in the world) over the spectacular Monterey Bay. We free fell for 90 seconds, with the most incredible views of the mountains, farmland and bay. Yet another first we were able to experience together, ticking another milestone off our California road trip bucket list!
Santa Cruz has some wicked surf spots like Steamers Lane, Pleasure Point, Four Mile and more. We decided against torturing ourselves in the ice-cold water, opting to watch our hardcore and much more talented surfer mates carve it up, while we sat on the shore rugged up with a beer in hand.
Highway 1 continued to amaze us, as we cruised through Half Moon Bay. Stopping in Davenport for some fresh oysters and abalone, then at Bonny Doon nude beach for a cheeky skinny dip and sunbake. We stopped into famous surf spot Mavericks on our road trip to San Fran, but the surf wasn’t pumping so no one was out. It was amazing to see farms overlooking the ocean, with local shops selling organic fruit, veggies and fresh goats cheese.
USA Road Trip: San Francisco
It wasn’t long until we hit San Francisco on our road trip, cruising over the Golden Gate Bridge to catch the sunset at Ocean Beach. San Fransico is a rad place and also family friendly US city too! That weekend we met up with our friends at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. We boogied in the silent disco, ‘slapped the bag’ while listening to live music and played Frisbee in the park.
A trip to San Francisco isn’t complete without going to Fisherman’s Wharf and eating a clam chowder bread bowl. It’s such a great outing, not only for couples but also if you’re visiting San Francisco with kids. We missed out on visiting Alcatraz but made up for it thanks to tour guide Dyl. He quoted Alcatraz facts straight from Google, who needs to spend $150 on a tour anyway? If Alcatraz is part of your San Francisco itinerary, make sure you book ahead!
We found the famous Sea Lions at Pier 39 and laughed at the fact that last time we visited San Francisco we got the bay bridge mixed up with the Golden Gate Bridge, it happens right? Dolores Park was out of this world! People selling rum coconuts, mushroom truffles, edibles, joints, beers, you name it. It’s the ultimate Sunday sesh with music pumping on boom boxes, people playing beer pong & the smell of herb lingering in the air.
USA Road Trip: Sonoma & Humbolt County
Continuing up the coast on our road trip, we cruised a little more inland through Sonoma County, towards Mendocino appellation on highway 101. Passing organic vineyards in the Redwood, Potter and McDowell Valleys, while stopping for wine tastings along the way. If you’re travelling with your pooch, check out the best dog-friendly wineries in Sonoma while you’re passing through.
Our journey continued, leading us toward Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home of the ancient/oldest virgin redwood trees in the world! We moseyed on down to the Avenue of the Giants, where we drove through the natural opening of a living tree on our road trip. The energy here was something else, we felt at one with nature as we walked around barefoot, exploring the forest and hugging 2,000-year-old trees.
USA Road Trip: Portland Oregon
Oregon’s natural beauty definitely didn’t disappoint, as we climbed the Siskiyou Mountains some 4,500 ft above sea level on our USA road trip. There are just so many incredible places to visit in Oregon on a road trip! We descended into Oregon, passing through the Rogue Valley before continuing north to Portland. We’re not city slickers in any way, shape or form, but somehow managed to fall in love with the city Portland. The whole vibe is so different from anywhere in California, it’s the most eco-friendly city we’ve ever seen. Roads designated for bike riders, beautiful parks and SO many bridges that we lost count.
There is so much charm to the city, with microbreweries, coffeehouses, strip clubs, dispensaries and music, keeping everyone entertained. We boogied at The Goodfoot to funk music played on vinyl records, stuffed ourselves silly with artisan treats at Blue Star Donuts and drank cheap beer at strip clubs for happy hour. There are many epic places to stop on your Oregon road trip! If you’re headed to Portland, make sure you check out some of the epic Portland cider companies too.
Not too far from Portland is Sauvie Island, where we went fruit picking and frolicking amongst the sunflowers. At the nude beach, we made the mistake of spilling our sugary strawberry daiquiri on our towel. Next minute we’re outnumbered by bee’s who’ve surrounded us and attack with full force. We looked like crazy people running around swatting the air but naked and jumping into the water. Dylan was unlucky and got stung centimetres from an area that would have really hurt a lot…. Being the supportive wife that I am, I tried to shoo away the bee, only to whack him right in the balls. Sorry, babe!
Recommended Article: Central Oregon Waterfalls
USA Road Trip: Mount Hood National Park
We had much better luck with the wildlife at Mt hood national park on our west coast road trip. Thankfully we were there before the fires rolled through and were able to see the Colombia River Gorge in its full beauty. It was so much fun venturing off the beaten path, strolling along creeks, climbing boulders, finding hidden waterfalls and epic viewpoints.
We celebrated the Labor-day long weekend, camping and hiking around Clear Lake in Mt Hood National Park. We navigated the lake on our blow up raft, roasted marshmallows on the fire, drank delicious organic red wine from Cabot Vineyards and star gazed at night. The following day we went exploring and found some epic viewpoints of the snow-capped Mt hood peak! Then the fires came rolling through…. Thick smog filled the air and you couldn’t see more than 20 meters in front of you, we’re so glad we left to continue our road trip when we did.
USA Road Trip: Saddle Mountian & Oregon Coast
On our way to the Oregon Coast, we stopped in Clatsop County to conquer the Saddle mountain summit. The view at 3283ft above sea level was just phenomenal, we could see the ocean from the mountain peak! It was a fairly decent hike with a continuous gain in elevation, strong winds and loose footing. Dylan being the daredevil that he his, just had to climb this big boulder that had a sheer death-defying drop below. While I stood back taking photos and trying not to have a panic attack.
The cute little coastal town of Cannon Beach is something that you’d see on a postcard. Expect miles of pristine coast, rustic cedar beach houses, art galleries and awesome pubs with delicious food like the Cannon Beach Brew & Screw (Pub and Hardware Store). Stroll along the beach, you won’t miss the iconic Haystack Rock towering 72m high and depending on the time of the year, you may spot a puffin bird.
You might recognize the beach from the iconic film ‘The Goonies’ which was filmed right here in Cannon Beach! There are many cool and unusual places to stay in Oregon here at cannon beach too. Check them out while you’re passing through on your USA road trip.
USA Road Trip: Seattle, Washington
Last stop on our west coast road trip to Canada was Seattle Washington, home of the original Starbucks. We wandered around Pike Place Market, sampling the array of locally produced food, listening to street performers, watching the famous fish tossing tradition and even found the iconic ‘Gum Wall’ which was kind of cool and gross at the same time. Here you can find the best food in Seattle inspired by cuisines from around the world.
We fell more and more in love with the West Coast of America each day into our road trip. There is so much to see and we didn’t even scratch the surface. One day we will return to see Crater Lake, Sequoia National Park, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. Thanks for the good times, the crazy times, the adventurous times and everything in-between, it’s been real. We will be back for another American road trip sometime in the near future, it’s not goodbye, but see you later America!
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