Our California top 30 | a fall road trip

Last October we went to California for a two week road trip, and we really would love to share some of our favourite addresses and places! It's always good to share good things, right? We visited places like Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, Mojave Desert, The National Parks of Sequoia and Yosemite, Carmel Valley, Big Sur, Los Alamos, Santa Barbara, Ojai and we ended our trip in Los Angeles for a few days.

Our favourites are:

Palm Springs & desert area

  • The amazing mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs
  • King's Highway, the diner at Ace Hotel Palm Springs (try their Hairbender Stumptown coffee and one of the delicious breakfast options!)
  • Moorten Botanical Garden (their Cactarium is heaven!)
  • Joshua Tree National Park

The Sierras

  • Our favourite park is Sequoia because it's less crowded than Yosemite, the facilities looked more 'charming' to us, hello '50s camp vibes! We LOVED the little museum in the middle of the park!
  • If you pass the little town of Three Rivers; check out the tiny supermarket! Time capsule to the '80s, think Twin Peaks...

Big Sur

  • We visited the State Parks Point Lobos and Julia Pfeiffer Burns, the first one is the least crowded. Make sure to go there early and take your time to hike one of the trails, it's amazing!
  • Big Sur Bakery. It's a MUST GO because of their gorgeous cactus garden with Hummingbirds. Oh, and the Cinnamon Flower to enjoy with your coffee or tea.

Los Alamos

  • It seems there is a bakery you can't miss, Bob's Well Bread Bakery, but it was closed when we were there. Most places are only open Thursday to Sunday, other days are
  • Insiders tip: Did you know the local wine bar is co-owned by Emilio Estevez?
  • Another fun fact: The Union Hotel was used as a location for Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's video Say Say Say in the '80s.
  • Close to Los Alamos you'll find the charming little wine village Los Olivos, with cute restaurants and wine bars.

Santa Barbara & Ojai

  • Go to Handlebar Coffee Roasters in SB for the most delicious coffee and almond croissants.
  • Summer Camp in Ojai is a picture perfect shop in an old mid-century gas station where they sell beautiful home decorations, cacti and awesome vintage Wes Anderson camp style, so boys will LOVE this shop too!
  • Knead Bakery is a fantastic place for coffee, tea and yummy bread or pastries. We still dream of their brioche bun..
  • On the way to LA; don't forget to make a stop at El Matador Beach!

Los Angeles

  • The Butcher's Daughter on Abbot Kinney for amazing fresh vegetarian food, fabulous juices and their equally yummy bohemian style interior.
  • Intelligentsia Coffee has the best coffee and the architecture of the Venice shop is wonderful!
  • Go to Blue Star Donuts, originally from Portland and now located in Venice too, to make your sweet tooth happy.
  • General Store is a must-visit for gorgeous home decor, books, fashion and art.
  • Mystic Journey Bookstore is a beautiful new age shop filled to the brim with beautiful crystals, spiritual books, essential oils, yoga & meditation related items, candles, chimes and singing bowls, etcetera.
  • Go for a walk along the 'Venice walk streets' (like Amoroso Pl.) to get a good impression of the residential area of Venice. These streets were originally build in the early 1900s. The Venice canals are also great for a nice stroll.
  • The Bell Jar in Los Feliz has everything that makes a boho girl's heart pitter-patter: crystals, candles, ceramics, palo santo, essential oils, tarot and oracle cards, etcetera.
  • Moon Juice is the place for superfresh, delicious juices, smoothies and superfoods.
  • By Chloe, the restaurant of vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, is highly recommended for probably the most healthy fastfood-style meal you'll ever have. Try the vegan 'meatball' slider, the sweet potato fries with beet ketchup and the chocolate chip cookie for dessert. 
  • Little Pine is the vegan restaurant of Moby, and we loved it so much we went twice in the same weekend. Amazing food, cozy ambiance, friendly and helpful staff and the home made kombuchas are so good! Make sure to try the banana cream pie for dessert, it's huge so sharing might be a good idea.
  • The Cactus Store in Echo Park is plant heaven for fans of prickly plants.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee, they're also located in Echo Park, has great coffee. We love the New Orleans with soy milk, it's iced coffee heaven in a cup.
  • Stories Books and Cafe, at the same block as Blue Bottle, is the perfect store for book lovers.
  • Another great spot in Echo Park is Valerie Confections, for lunch or sweet pastries, and their bonbons are divine.
  • Proof Bakery in Atwater is a another delicious choice for bread, pastries, coffee and tea. Try their Morning Bun if you like cinnamon rolls as much as we do, it's sweet perfection!
  • Of course you can't leave LA without cruising Mulholland Drive, meandering through the Hollywood Hills to see all the beautiful villas and visiting Griffith Observatory. Tip: Keep Griffith Observatory for sunset and prepare for amazing views over the city!

That's pretty much all of our highlights summed up, hope you'll enjoy your trip as much as we did. We're sure we'll be back in the future, as we can never get enough of this wonderful state!

For more images of our trip you can check out our travel photography portfolio: