If you’re lucky enough to call California home, then you’re lucky enough. 900 miles of coastal delight hugging the pacific ocean this land affords some of the most picturesque and scenic surroundings you could ever dream of. Cliff-lined beaches, Sierra Nevada Mountains, Redwood forest, Central valley farmland and yes, even desert, every part is unique and packed with magical moments that need to be experienced and captured. It almost makes you want to go on a road trip… and so, that’s exactly what we did. We made a point to document our journey and thanks to our picture taking guide our photo albums were all prepped so we were ready to get snap happy with our cameras. We’re so excited to share our adventure and, “must see” stop off points. Whether you’re visiting California or a native, we hope this inspires you to visit some of these destinations, capture beautiful moments through your lens and relive by turning your photos into works of art with PrintMates premium photo good collection.
San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Known for its year-round fog, cable cars and colorful victorian houses and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge it’s the perfect place to start a road trip.
The First stop off point in San Francisco is Battery Spencer overlook on the North side of the bridge. With the Golden Gate Bridge in the foreground and San Francisco in the background, this viewpoint provides a jaw dropping vista of the famous bridge.
A road trip through San Fran wouldn’t be a complete without the capture of the infamous the Painted Ladies’. A collection of colorful Victorian and Edwardian style houses and buildings around the city, they are a wonderful expression of the fashion and history of the City By the Bay. The Beautiful hues are also a relic of the colorist movement in the ’60s. During WWII, houses were painted gray with cheap war paint, which made the city look decidedly drab. So local artist Butch Kardum started a movement by painting his Victorian home in vivid greens and blues, which led neighbors to doing the same. By the ’70s, houses across San Francisco were showing off beautiful colors again. Not too far from pink ladies is the winding lombard street famous for it’s steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns.
One of our favorite San Francisco road trip moments was a picnic on the beach. It allowed us to take in the sights completely unencumbered.
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a small city on the California coast, south of San Francisco. A string of beaches along the bay includes Half Moon Bay State Beach. The Coastside Trail leads north to Pillar Point, near the huge waves of the Mavericks surf spot. Nearby, Montara Mountain rises in the protected Rancho Corral de Tierra area. The coastal cliffs are stunning – a perfect stopping off point for sunset shots.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain is famed for giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. A majestic destination for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors and postcard backdrop for all you amazing photographers!
Monterey is a city on California’s rugged central coast. Its Cannery Row, one-time center of the sardine-packing industry, was immortalized by novelist John Steinbeck. Today, it’s a popular strip of gift shops, seafood restaurants and bars in converted factories. Also famous is Monterey Bay Aquarium, with thousands of marine animals and plants on display in underwater and interactive exhibits.
Carmel By The Sea
Perched above white-sand beaches along the deep blue Pacific, this sophisticated enclave has always had a quiet calm about it. With spectacular scenery that has drawn artists, writers, and romantics for generations, Carmel By the Sea is a world-renowned, village-like city of 3,842 on the Monterey Peninsula is marked by unforgettable architecture, and rich food and drink scene, and excellent shopping and of course, excellent photo opportunities.
Big Sur is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. Bordered to the east by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the west by the Pacific Ocean, it’s traversed by narrow, 2-lane State Route 1, known for winding turns, seaside cliffs and views of the often-misty coastline. The sparsely populated region has numerous state parks for hiking, camping and beachcombing.
Morro Bay is a coastal city in California. It’s known for Morro Rock, an ancient volcanic mound at the end of Morro Rock Beach. The rock sits within Morro Bay State Park, home to lagoons, trails and a bird-rich saltwater marsh. Morro Bay State Park’s Museum of Natural History features exhibits on ecology and local Native American culture. Trails lead up Black Hill for views over the city and Morro Bay.
San Luis Obispo Serenity Swing
If you are looking for a challenging hike, make your way up to the Serenity Swing, a 3.8-mile route that will kick you into shape. Located on the north side of campus behind Poly Canyon, this hike frames one of the best views of Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo. Although beautiful year-round, go when the grass is green for a view that looks like rolling hills straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Pismo Beach is a city on California’s Central Coast. It’s known for its wineries and many beaches. The Monarch Butterfly Grove shelters monarch butterflies that migrate to Pismo State Beach in the cooler months. Atop a rugged bluff, Dinosaur Caves Park has trails with ocean views and a playground. Other green spaces include Chumash Park, with its wetlands, and Margo Dodd Park, on a bluff.
Solvang is a city in southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley. It’s known for its Danish-style architecture and many wineries. The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art explores the city’s Danish heritage through personal stories and photographs. The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum exhibits dozens of classic American, Japanese and European motorbikes.
Santa Ynez Valley
The Santa Ynez Valley is located in Santa Barbara County, California, between the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south and the San Rafael Mountains to the north. The Santa Ynez River flows through the valley from east to wes
Santa Barbara is a city on the central California coast, with the Santa Ynez Mountains as dramatic backdrop. Downtown, Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs reflect the city’s Spanish colonial heritage. Upscale boutiques and restaurants offering local wines and seasonal fare line State Street.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Malibu, with sea caves and large rocks on the beach, El Matador State Beach attracts many beach goers on hot weekend days. A steep dirt trail goes down to some stairs, which makes this location inaccessible for the handicapped. The views from the upper cliffs are incredible, looking down on large boulders and deep blue water filled with kelp forests.
Although Hollywood is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, for some it’s more a state-of-mind. “I’m going to Hollywood,” say young hopefuls who dream of acting in movies or on television.
Indeed, they’re going to Los Angeles but probably not to Hollywood itself. Though Hollywood has long represented the glitz and glamour of the film, television, and music industries, most studios have moved away from this quirky district in favor of other L.A. neighborhoods, like Burbank.
Nevertheless, Hollywood still attracts millions of visitors each year who travel there to pay homage to their favorite stars and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a few famous personalities. Sometimes they’re lucky! And while, for years, Hollywood had a rather seedy reputation, the town has endeavored to make recent improvements in the areas most visited by tourists, adding a new kind of charm to this interesting neighborhood.
Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert bordering the Great Basin Desert. It is one of the hottest places in the world at the height of summertime along with deserts in the Middle East. Go there then head down to the beautiful beaches in San Diego!
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, is a 1,750 acre reserve dedicated to preserving its namesake, the Torrey Pine tree and other indigenous wildlife in its native environment. A coastal wilderness of pine forests and sandstone canyons, the park has a series of well-kept trails that wind along the cliffs offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. With both easy, family-friendly paths and more advanced trails, the park provides a great hiking experience for all levels.
With a dramatic coastline boasting incredible views, it’s no surprise that La Jolla is one of the most popular beach destinations in California. Surrounded on three sides by the sea and backed by the steep slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla’s natural beauty, abundance of activities and upscale village lifestyle ensure that it lives up to its nickname as “the jewel” of San Diego.
Coronado is a California resort city on a peninsula in San Diego Bay. It’s known for the grand Victorian Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888. Across from the hotel, the wide, flat Coronado Beach draws surfers and sunbathers. Its western stretch includes the leash-free Coronado Dog Beach. The Coronado Ferry Landing has shops, restaurants and a small beach. Nearby, Centennial Park offers San Diego skyline views.