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Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

One experience that I’ve always wanted to do is a USA road trip, so I’m not at all envious over Naomi from Tattooed Mummy‘s amazing adventure driving along the Pacific Coast in a convertible Mustang no less. A Mustang! Not only was it a girls only holiday but Naomi and her daughter got to see so much. Thelma and Louise eat your hearts out…

Over you, Naomi…

Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

What do you look for in a holiday?

I love to really feel I’ve been somewhere new, so I guess it’s the full package: the culture, the food, the differences that make another country not like our own. I wouldn’t say I’ve never eaten a full English breakfast in a foreign country, but I’m much more likely to be trying something of the local cuisine. I usually travel alone or with my daughter as my husband isn’t a keen traveller – so my daughter is forced to experience everything, too!

Where did you go?

I took my teen daughter on a drive along the Pacific Coast highway in California. We had an open-topped Mustang, of course! It was a real ‘bucket list’ holiday and being just the girls together was great fun. We spent a week in Ventura county after the drive, as well.

Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

Why did you choose California?

We have visited California before as I made an internet friend way back when DD was a toddler. We chatted so much it seemed like the next step was to meet up, and it would be more fun to do that in sunny California than in misty England! Luckily, neither of us are axe murderers and we had a great time. This time I felt that my daughter and I needed more time alone, and we both fancied driving along the coast in a convertible, just like the movies!

Where did you stay?

I’m a cheap and cheerful sort of person. We stayed mostly at cheap motels along the way, I booked in advance so it was all sorted, although it meant our schedule wasn’t very flexible, which was a shame. I think we need to go back to spend more time in San Francisco.

I used online booking sites like Travel Republic and Expedia, I didn’t use a travel agent and booked the entire holiday, flights, car and accommodation myself online before we went. As we stayed in motels we ate out all the time.

Were there plenty of things to do?

We visited Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park and also went to Disneyland again. we were spoilt for things to do in  California! We still haven’t been on the Santa Monica Pier, but we did visit the Freak Show on Venice Beach.

Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?

Early morning starts, after waking at a terrible motel (we had bedbugs –  but let’s gloss over that) and driving along the coast a way until we came to a parking spot near a beach full of elephant seals. DD and I stood in the cool morning mists alone with the seals just watching them flop about the beach being seals, it sounds slightly boring, but it was truly amazing.

The other fun bit for me was whale watching, we didn’t actually see any whales but we had great fun on the boat and saw lots of other wildlife including dolphins.

Any sights, activities you want to shout about?

Disneyland is a firm favourite with DD – it’s the original park built in the 1950s and really is the happiest place on earth. The staff could not be more helpful and there is always something to see. We loved the rides, especially Space Mountain and the Matterhorn.

Was it good value for money?

Excellent, we packed loads in and I’d love to do it again!

Your top tip/s for the area?

Research opening times before you go. Some museums, shows, etc have odd closing days and if you are travelling through you may miss your chance. For example the Freak Show is only open at weekends… and no one wants to miss a five-legged dog or Larry the Wolf Boy!

Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

Which photo is your favourite and why?

It’s a silly snap that I’m not even in! My friend snapped a selfie as we were driving to Venice Beach – it makes me laugh and captures the feel of the drive.

Would you recommend to a friend? Would you go back again?

The driving part would be great for couples or those, like me, with an older child. I think for younger kids it would be boring. But the area as a whole is fabulous, the weather is amazing, and there is loads to do. Eating out was cheap and loads of great choice, especially seafood. The wildlife is interesting, too. I’m keen to go back and I know DD is – we both miss the lovely car and the sun. As well as the shopping!

Holiday Snapshots #53 California, USA

What five holiday essentials could you not live without?

My phone… Other than that I could go anywhere and do anything, I’m really not high maintenance. My daughter would say a TV in the bedroom and a swimming pool and free wi-fi!

What is your most favourite place in the whole world and why?

It used to be Egypt – the people were so friendly and the weather was amazing  – I just love the sun! The food was excellent and the history fascinating. I went with a friend, and we did a Nile cruise, visited the Pyramids, Cairo and Luxor. But after a couple of visits to California, it’s now starting to steal a place in my heart!

Holiday Snapshots #41 Santa Monica, CaliforniaIf you would like to be featured on Holiday Snapshots, please email me at [email protected] and I look forward to including your travel stories.