California dreaming. San Clemente State Beach, CA
As we woke up in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest we realized what a crazy milestone we were at in our road trip. We did it! We made it all the way from Vermont, crisscrossing the United States to nearly the most southwest corner of the country. Traveling through California was about to be a major highlight of our journey. With the mission of finding a place to settle down, we made sure to explore as much as we could while still trekking north. This also is a big deal because after being so free on the road for the past two months, we wanted to be sure we picked the perfect place to call home base. We gave ourselves a month to soak it all in before finding the location of our dreams.
California is a uniquely grand state. As we wandered up the coast the shifting climate gave the illusion of entering a different country. From semi-arid desert, Mediterranean, to snowy mountains, this state has it all covered! Embarking from sunny palms and moving into Sasquatch thick forests, we drove all the way north, nearing the Washington state and Canadian border. Oregon and Washington stunned us with their greenery and dramatic coastlines.
SoCal warmed my heart. With just the right amount of sunshine and beautiful sandy beaches, Southern California met the stereotypical image of California that I had created in my mind. With very little interest in the congested cities of San Diego and Los Angeles, we discovered the beach community of San Clemente, a Spanish village by the sea. We pitched our tent right behind the lifeguard headquarters at San Clemente State Beach. We were in paradise.
The views along California Route 1 are insane!
NorCal was phenomenally cool as well. Big Sur is a show stopper! Jagged coastal cliffs and scenes of marvelously blue ocean made for a wild and windy ride on California’s historic Pacific Coast Route 1. At Portola Redwoods State Park, we camped amongst the breathtaking redwood trees, standing tall like giants from a previous time. Not to mention, the pee-in-your-pants-exciting multiple whale sightings we saw while camping at MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg.
Just when I thought running could not get any better, I had my first ever whale sighting! Fort Bragg, CA
We landed smack dab in the middle! Ventura County, technically in the southern part of the state, but considered to be a part of the Central Coast had everything we were looking for. With easy access to beaches, water with a swimmable temperature, an artsy and lively downtown, culture, a positive community vibe, and ultimately not far from skiing, or the bigger cities surrounding us, we found home
Sand Camp in Northern California’s Six Rivers National Forest is a secluded place to retreat into your natural self!
There were four main factors we took into consideration while making this decision:
1. Lifestyle: We were in search of a place that has the modern conveniences of a city, but the ability to have privacy and space in the great outdoors.
2. Activities: As ocean lovers, we were craving the salt air. This was a major driving force of our California dreaming. With the Los Padres National Forest perched behind us, and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, there are endless trails and peaks to climb!
3. Economy: Could we find jobs here?
4. Population: Coming from Vermont we did not want to be suffocated by an overcrowded city.
Faria Beach Park in Ventura, CA is a fairytale come true for beach-loving campers!
It is dually thrilling and anxiety provoking to completely uproot yourself from a familiar environment and dive into an unknown territory. In order to accomplish this successfully one must do it mindfully. We had hours in the car to hash out our desires and were able to approach the mission with a sense of adventure. Regardless of whether you are looking to relocate or vacation, the California Coastline has something for everyone. We met travelers from as far as Spain, British Columbia, and local Californians, that equally enjoyed the getaway of driving up and down the coast. Consuming roughly a third of our Americana adventure, cruisin’ the California Coast will satisfy all the senses of any and all unleashed travelers!
The Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, CA was sweeter than a fried Twinkie!
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @fresh_world_press