Journeys Around the U.S.

Southern California

In our goal to hit all of the National Parks in our lifetime, we started with planning our trip around Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. We hit San Diego, Joshua Tree, Temecula, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna and Long Beaches, and Catalina Island (no, not the wine mixer πŸ˜‰ )

San Diego

Based off of recommendations from friends, we picked these three areas of town to visit: Torrey Pines State Park, La Jolla, and Little Italy.

Torrey Pines

A moderately easy hike starting from the top of the hills, it took us to these stunning cliffs which took our breath away. It cost $20 to park and was very much worth the price for these great views that make us feel oh so small.

La Jolla

My friend Kelly explained to us that there were sea lions and seals hanging out on different parts of the beach in La Jolla. It was incredible to see these animals living in their natural habitat; we even saw a baby sea lion that was just born a few minutes before we got there. The momma was very protective.

The downtown area of La Jolla had beautiful flowers along the way to Sugar & Scribe restaurant. My friend Sarah recommended we go here for brunch. YUM.

Little Italy

Unfortunately we were not hungry for lunch but we enjoyed the atmosphere and delicious pasta and tomato scents of Little Italy.

Joshua Tree National Park

I did not understand how a tree can be the basis for a national park until we explored… We enjoyed these four trails in Joshua Tree: Arch Rock, Skull Rock, Keys View, and Hidden Valley.

Arch Rock Trail

Sorry Emma, I had to post these beauts…. X-D

Skull Rock Trail

I made the girls wake up at 4am for sunrise. As much as they hated me at 4am, their mouths were wide open come the sun… Then we continued the trail to the Faces Trail.

Keys View Trail

The hike was short but the drive was long and very much welcomed with all its beautiful Joshua Trees. This would’ve been a great location for a sunset.

Hidden Valley Trail

Another one of my friends recommended we visit Hidden Valley Trail. It had a really cool history attached to it. Each of these trails had such different perspectives and we are glad we did each of them!


After Joshua Tree, we made a quick pit stop at some wineries in Temecula. Their downtown area was small but cute! It had a really good new Italian restaurant.

Doffo Winery

This was the first winery we stumbled upon from Joshua Tree and we were glad we stopped here.

Europa Village

Europa Village took us to Tuscany, and their wines were also from Europe!

San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

This historic town is known for the Mission, or Church, that was built in 1776 to convert Native Americans to the Christian faith. Saint Serra was known to have served at this church. This is the last remaining church of which he celebrated Mass. This church is also known for being destroyed during an earthquake when mass was being held, along with 40 members of the church.

Los Rios Historic District

The Los Rios Historic District is the oldest neighborhood in California as it housed the builders of the Mission in the late 1700s. Today, there are some businesses but mostly private residences that showcase the enchanted feeling this town showcases.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is one of the cutest seaside towns on the California coast, filled with plenty of shops, places to drink along the water, and surfers. We loved Wahoo’s Fish Tacos for lunch, and The Deck for drinks.

Long Beach

We used Long Beach as our overnight gig on our journey to Catalina Island, but enjoyed their large downtown area. Long Beach is a huge city, we were not expecting that!

Catalina Island

Hermit Gulch Trail to the Lone Tree Trail

We were pleasantly surprised by the hike on Catalina Island. It was about 9 miles in total and took us about 4 hours. Hermit Gulch trail starts at the back right corner of the campground, and continues to zigzag straight up. You need to be wearing appropriate hiking clothes for this adventure. If you continue a little further than the top point of the Hermit trail, it will take you to the start of the Lone Tree Trail. This trail is very difficult and it follows along a path that is straight up and straight down, making it difficult to hike in both directions. The end result was a picnic table on the edge of the Earth. When you come back the other side of Hermit Gulch you will land at a gardens, mostly filled with cacti; it was really cool!

Downtown Catalina

The downtown area was very touristy but it was nice to come back from the hike for ice cream and wine, oh and “Freaking Catalina Wine Mixer” hats! Everyone owned a golf cart here…

That’s all folks! Shoot me an email/message if you have any questions.

2 thoughts on “Journeys Around the U.S.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s