Getaway: Quick SoCal Adventure 2017

8:00 AM

When you live on the east coast, you don't automatically think California when you think "quick trip". But when the opportunity arises, you take it anyway! This is what happened this past January. Since I was heading to SoCal anyway in mid-January, I decided to extend my trip and have my husband tag along. It worked out quite well since the Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland was happening the weekend before I was to begin work!

I'll admit, it was hard to create an itinerary that was the perfect mix of exploration and relaxation for a Saturday through Tuesday timeline. Seeing as the first two days would be in Anaheim at Disneyland, it didn't leave a whole lot of time, but we made it work! 

Our early (6AM, sorry Brian!) flight landed in California around lunch time, which gave us plenty of time to head over to our hotel for check-in, as well as venture to the runDisney expo for bib pickup and a bit of shopping. We even stopped by The Coffee House outside the Disneyland Hotel for some Dole Whips.......... with RUM!!!! They were delicious. 

Our dinner that night was at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, which was delicious, then it was off to sleep for our early morning and race day, which can be read about here.

On Sunday, after the half marathon was completed and we were showered and ready to roll, we went right to Disneyland! Though it was a bit crowded, probably from the runDisney weekend, we were able to ride the rides and enjoy many of my very favorite Disney treats! I don't need to go into detail about our day at Disney - as I'm sure you can imagine, it was amazing!

By the end of the day, though, I was exhausted from the early morning and my feet were killing me from the 13.1 miles I had run, plus the many, many steps we'd gotten in traveling all over Disneyland and California Adventure. It was with much displeasure I left the park before fireworks and headed back to sleep for a deep slumber.

We awoke the next day, stopped by Downtown Disney for some breakfast, and then headed to pick up our rental car. Our ultimate destination was Santa Monica, where we would be staying at The Hotel California. But, decided to make a few stops along the way to really take in The Gold Coast. 

First up was Seal Beach. This adorable town was filled with kitschy beach shops (where I bought some flip flops for my aching and blistered feet!), surfer dudes, and some awesome looking eateries. We hung out on the pier and took in the beautiful scenery. Prior to our visit, it had been cold and rainy in California. While the state definitely needed the rain, I was pleased that our visit was filled with warm rays of sunshine and clear blue skies. 

From Seal Beach, we went to Hermosa Beach and drove through towns like Manhattan Beach and Marina Del Rey. Looking at the gorgeous beach houses made me long to leave the East Coast and head to a glorious home overlooking the Pacific. Now, I just need to win the lottery in order to do that!

Finally, we arrived at our hotel. I chose The Hotel California for its location, price, and theme. I thought the name was awesome, of course, and especially loved how the rooms were decorated and that it was just a short walk now only to the beach, but to the Santa Monica pier as well. All in all, it ended up being a great place to crash for a couple of nights. 

We quickly dropped our bags and headed to the beach just in time to watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean. Wow! That was an amazing sight to see. If you have never seen the sun rise over the Atlantic and set over the Pacific, please put it on your bucket list. 

We strode to the Santa Monica Pier and took in all the touristy amusements going on. We also stopped for dinner on the pier and had some Mexican food and a few strong drinks. While it was tasty, it was definitely a tourist-y restaurant. But, as this was a trip where I didn't plan every detail and had not done a lot of research, it did just fine! 

The last day of Brian's stay was my favorite. We woke up early and rented bikes. With no real plan, we cruised along the ocean to Venice Beach, then ventured back where we found a spot for some breakfast and coffee. 

After our delicious meals, we rode the bikes up in the other direction towards the Pacific Palisades. At one point, we even saw dolphins jumping out of the ocean to greet us. What a peaceful and enjoyable experience it was to bike alongside the ocean. Should you ever have a chance to do it, I highly recommend it. 

At this point, Brian neared the end of his vacation and we had to head back to the airport. I was so pleased that we were able to squeeze in as much as we did for the short time he was there! 

There is just SO MUCH to discover in California. I hope we can plan another trip and hit some National Parks and the northern region, as I've never been and have been dreaming of seeing the Redwood Trees in real life. Here is to the next adventure!

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