Though on a personal level 2016 was not our year due to some emotional setbacks we faced, it was a year full of adventures. Perhaps more than past years. We can say it has been a blessing to explore many more places in California.
When we moved to California in 2014, we made it a goal to see as much of the state as we could. This would be our temporary home for a few years and we wanted to take advantage of our time here. In fact, we have explored so many places that this opened the door to a whole new world of wanderlust.
We once longed to see this whole state and now we long to see the whole world. That’s what California did to us. It made us explorers, adventurers, or wanderlusters. Whatever you want to call it. It’s the reason we started an Instagram account to share our pictures and this blog to share what we learn about each place.
In this post we share with you the beautiful places we roamed in 2016 in California and beyond.
The perks of being a teacher is having a few extra days of vacation during the holidays. Because of this, I was able to go with my girl friends to explore beautiful Portland in the winter while leaving Juan back home. The unique neighborhoods, the coffee, the rain, the greenery, there’s nothing you won’t love about Portland. To me it felt like the most down to earth and relaxed city I have been to so far. This was the best opening to the year.
Passing over to Seattle via train from Portland was the best choice ever because of the beautiful scenic view. Once in Seattle, I fell in love with the city. Everything about it was perfect. It is easy to get around, has an insane amount of coffee shops, and many places to visit.
Las Vegas, Nevada
This is the city we never get tired of coming back to. In fact, it’s special to us because it’s the city we honeymooned in. The simple act of walking the strip makes it a great trip each time because the hotels always have something fun to do.
Palm Springs, California
From shopping, to hiking to relaxing, Palm Springs is the perfect city to sip a cold drink in the hot desert. Take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and you end up the in the beautiful Mount San Jacinto mountains where you will be surrounded by snow overlooking the hot desert. Best combination!
Though Juan wasn’t the biggest fan of Salvation Mountain, I was. The story behind the art is what left me the most fascinated. The message that the artwork displays is touching. So many chances for cool photos also.
Another city we loved! Solvang is different. It has a Danish feel to it and was fun to explore. It has many unique shops, restaurants, wineries, and beautiful windmills. Definitely worth a small getaway from the city or a stop while driving the PCH.
Santa Barbara, California
The picturesque coastline is what we loved about Santa Barbara most. But it also allowed us to enjoy some hiking, ice-cream, relaxation, and some beautiful views. Like in Solvang, Santa Barbara had many wine tasting chances.
Anaheim, California: Disneyland
Who doesn’t love Disneyland?! Enough said.
It’s always ‘home sweet home’ when we go back to Tucson. Our friends in California always hear us talk about how hot it is, how cheap homes are, how traffic is not miserable at all compared to L.A, how it’s slower paced but more chill, and how it has the best sunsets. Not many people may like the desert but for us it’s the city with the relaxed vibe that we so love. We never miss a chance to make it out there a few times a year to visit our family. And I can almost guarantee we will be back to live there again some day!
Los Angeles & More…, California
Living just outside the city since 2014 has allowed us to explore so many corners of L.A and its surrounding cities. This city is never-ending fun. We’ve been able to visit the Venice Canals, Old LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, Downtown LA, the many beaches, and so much more!
We call any city in the Los Angeles County and Anaheim County, LA. So although technically Hollywood could be considered L.A this is one city we like to return to. It’s always fun to roam around this area.
San Diego, California
Another city we love to visit often since it’s near us. Here we got to enjoy Sea World, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park, and the beach.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
Nothing beats the views and the beauty along the Pacific Coast. We made so many stops along the way during our road trip because it was all camera worthy. The road was long and had many slim curves but it kept us breathless along the way. The coast has been our top favorite places to visit in California.
San Francisco, California
Another beautiful city! This place is romantic and just perfect for a couple to visit. Each time we come back we enjoy it like it was the first time. Our favorite thing to do in San Francisco is enjoy the views of the city and the bay. Our favorite spots are Marshall’s Beach and Battery Spencer. Another great place is the Coit Tower and Twin Peaks.
2016 marked our 10 year anniversary and we decided to celebrate in big. Though we originally planned Thailand, we were left at the airport stranded when we realized we made a visa mistake for Juan. Super bummed, and already at the airport and already with the days off, we took the chance and booked a flight to Costa Rica while there. No regrets whatsoever.
We were left amazed with Costa Rica’s beauty because we had never seen a place so green, so rainy, so full of life and wildlife, nor as beautiful as this country. We rented a car and drove it throughout the country seeing one city at a time. Unforgettable!
Sequoia National Park
Nature always makes us happy and there’s no better way to get immersed than in the woods with the largest trees in the world. Standing next to these massive trees is quite impressive and fun.
If there is one thing we hate about living in Southern California, it’s the traffic. You have no idea how much (unless you’re from here). That’s why Catalina Island was the perfect getaway from the busy city. Only a short boat ride away, Catalina Island exposed us to an island with almost no cars, great views, delicious restaurants, lots of fun, and some awesome hikes.
Would you believe us if we told you we crossed the border all the way from L.A just to go eat tacos!? Yup. That’s us.
Tepache, Sonora, Mexico
To close the year, we went back to visit Juan’s family in his small hometown in Mexico. This is where we get a true and most real typical Mexican experience. Here we go back to the bailes (dances), car cruising around the town, see horse races, eat my mother in law’s food and much more. This is where Juan goes and herds cattle to help his dad and where we disconnect.
Overall, it was a great year filled with lots of adventures that have become memorable! Here’s to an even better year with many more trips and adventures!