California Road Trip: Yosemite, Monterey & Big Sur

After Lake Tahoe it was time for a lengthy drive down to Yosemite. We left the snow-capped mountains behind and headed south, stopping off in one of those classic, all-American towns for a quick bite to eat.  

Yosemite is a national park and world heritage site reaching across parts of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It consists of many waterfalls, cliffs, streams, lakes, mountains and glaciers. 

Wherever you stand, walk or hike there is a view to be had. We did the 2 waterfalls tour (about a 4-5 hour hike overall). It was exhausting but completely worth it. 

The higher you go, the better it gets. Be prepared to get a little wet. Pack plenty of water and wear sensible shoes (I sound like my mother but it's good advice)! 

You only need one or two nights in Yosemite. The hotels aren't that amazing or unique because they have such a high turn over of visitors to the area. My recommendation would be to arrive in the evening, have a full day at Yosemite and then leave the next morning. We did just that and then headed over to Monterey Bay for our next stop.

If you've seen Big Little Lies on Sky Atlantic, you'll know the kind of place Monterey is; panoramic coastal drives, pristine beaches, huge houses and perfect sunsets. The town is famous for its aquarium so we paid it a visit.

We stayed in Carmel, apparently one of the most expensive places to buy property in America. We were in a lovely local inn for just one night. I almost wish we had done two. The Carmel area is a mix of smart and unique boutique stores that lead down to a beach.

We had booked a whale watching tour in advance for the following day. You're taken out on a boat with quite a large group of people but it's not long before you get your first glimpse of a fin...

...and then they are all around you.

On the way back into the harbour we were met by some very friendly but rather smelly locals...

Our next stop was the Big Sur. It would have been a very easy drive down but large parts of Highway 1 were closed due to landslides and bad weather. Luckily, the place we were due to stay at was still accessible but it meant a 3 hour detour over some very bendy, windy hills and cliffs to get to a very small section of the Highway that was still open. The views were worth it though. 

We were staying at TreeBones, a stunning Yurt village overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

We arrived just in time for a 'sundowner' looking out to sea...

Before retiring to our lodgings for the next two nights...Glamping at its best. 

Walking around the Big Sur area is like something out of a book. Rolling hills, steep cliffs, crashing waves and barely another person in site (due primarily to the road closures). We took full advantage of the photo opportunities. 

Ready for our final leg of the journey. 

Isabel BirrellComment