Big Sur to Santa Cruz

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Oct 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
Anton Inn Pacific Grove
Read my review - 2/5 stars
251 30th avenue, santa cruz
What I did
Carmel Village
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, August 25, 2012

Last Sunday we left San Francisco and made our way a few hundred miles south to Monterey which is a small sleepy coastal town. We stayed in neighbouring Pacific Grove which is even smaller and sleepier. Both Monterey and Pacific Grove sit on a beautiful rocky coast and much of the sea there is a protected nature reserve filled with sea otters, sea lions and seals. On our morning runs / scooter rides along the beachfront, the kids spotted dozens of seals.

The famous Pebble beach golf course is here but aside from golf, most holiday makers come to Monterey to cool off as it is perpetually covered in fog. Having just spent a week in foggy San Fran, we quickly tired of that and headed south to explore Carmel and drive the Big Sur.

In Carmel we didn't see former mayor and still resident Clint Eastwood, but at a wine tasting we did meet a guy who is in business with another guy (south african musician) who was "discovered" by Mr Eastwood and now stars in a reality programme with eastwoods's wife and daughters. Go figure - only in California. And we felt like idiots for being the only people at the wine shop who hadn't heard of the SA musician's apparently fabulous band the Overtones.

The Big Sur has a BIG reputation and we wondered whether the scenery would live up to our expectations. It was beautiful - over a hundred miles of chapmans peak type views - cobalt sea, dramatic cliffs, white sugar beaches - you get the picture. With some difficulty we managed to find a beach spoken of in the guidebooks (unmarked road, no signs) and the effort was definitely worth it - it was pristine and gorgeous as you can see in the photos. We felt hundreds of miles from anywhere but of course hollywood is just round the corner and it wasn't long before a film crew arrived to shoot a "meet cute" on the beach. The poor actors, she bikini clad, were clearly freezing as by that time the wind was quite chilly. But they persevered with a couple dozen takes which we watched eagerly.

A few days later we decided to decamp to Pleasure Point, a trendy surfer neighbourhood of trendy Santa Cruz. We stayed in a tiny (think slightly bigger than a single garage) beach cottage and enjoyed a few days soaking up some sun and the boho atmosphere. Watching bleached blonde surfer dudes and skater boys was our entertainment and the kids managed a few swims in the chilly Pacific. (We realized later that we could have rented them wetsuits).

Santa Cruz, aside from being the name of a very desirable mountain biking brand (which c can talk LOTS about) also has a famous boardwalk with an amusement park right on the beachfront. We spent a day there and both kids went on a scary ride with Dad (too scary for mom to even try) and they loved it. Later, a travelling Chinese circus gave a free performance on the beach which was good fun.

All in all a very fun week and now onward to Lake Tahoe where we are hoping for more sun and warmer water!
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My Reviews Of The Places I Stayed

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Marcelo on

Awesome trip guys ... enjoy every minute of it. Good to hear that even the Americans leave signs off from time to time.

Evelyn on

Wow - what an experience you guys are having!

Chris Meklis on

Hey you all!
Looking at your blog and pics with the folks. Missed you at yor mom's b/day last week...
my mom and dad and I send lotsa love.

C xxx

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