You probably know where this is going with the title ... I went on another vacation to California for the fifth time! You’d think at this point I’d be sick of it, but truly I am not. Cali is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. Of course, I’m determined to travel around the world and discover as many countries and cities as possible before I kick the bucket, but I’m still always down for another adventure in the Golden State!
My dad had to go over to Newport Beach for Shamrock, a company that he works with, to do some business. My mom and I were invited to go with him once again. My sister also managed to take a week off from work and the four of us flew over to have our family vacation. It was extra special because Lauren is getting married next summer, so it was our last vacation with just the four of us! We spent four days in Newport, one day in Anaheim, and the last two days in Santa Barbara after my dad was done with work.
It’s been almost a week since we came back from California. Now that I’m back and busy with my internship and blogging part-time, I could really use a margarita and an influential book sitting the poolside in noncloudy sunshine! But I’d be more than happy to reflect our amazing trip with y’all.
We stayed at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa for the first few nights while in Newport. It was perfect because it was right next to Fashion Island, a beautiful outlet mall where we mostly walked around, got coffee and shopped. We spent our time in Newport by doing that, walking around Balboa Island, and relaxing at the Marriott’s pool. That gave me the opportunity to wind down after a so far super busy summer and drink an uptown margarita, sit in the hot tub (if the wind got too breezy), and read Ainsley Earhardt’s "The Light Within Me".
Unfortunately, my chest became roasted red. So bad that it was painful to take showers afterward, it felt like I was bathing in lava. But I don’t regret relaxing in sunny paradise!
Two of my favorite things to do in Newport Beach: walk around/shop at Fashion Island and get frozen bananas at Balboa Island!
Y’all, these banana treats are THE BOMB. I was honestly not expecting to like them that much, but I was so pleasantly surprised. The chocolate covered ones with all the toppings on the menu on it were a hit. Definitely worth blogging about it!
Dont be too fooled though, it may sound more healthy with the banana 😂 My family and I kept joking about that. But hey, it’s still a perfect splurge to treat yo self!
What’s great about Newport is that it’s only a ten minute drive to Laguna Beach, one of my favorite places to go in Southern Cali. We spent an afternoon and evening there, mostly just dining, exploring the beach and checking out the (overly expensive) shops. The beach is obviously the best and most iconic part. A perfect place to relax and have fun photoshoots!
On Day 4, my dad had to work all day so the three of us ladies got to spend a girls’ day at the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!!
It was indeed a very magical day. It could not have been any better. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to park hop to Disney’s California Adventure, but it was still a full day well spent at the Magic Kingdom! The whole day at the park cost around $500; $381 for our three tickets to the park, $100 on food and $30 on parking. Not too shabby, especially for how expensive Disney is!
Being a roller coaster/adrenaline junkie myself, we got to go on plenty of thrilling rides that I love including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (my favorite), Space Mountain (my second favorite), Splash Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Indiana Jones Adventure, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. You can't go wrong with any of those rides, they're worth it even when the lines are almost two hours long!
(P.S. I highly recommend downloading the Disneyland app to check wait times for rides or shows, and don’t forget to buy some FASTPASS tickets!)
Other than either riding rides or waiting in line for rides, we got to watch some fun shows in honor of the Pixar Festival including the Pixar Play Parade and Together Forever - A Pixar Nighttime Sepctacular, which is still going on until September.
I love Pixar movies, both old and new. So the fest definitely brought back both old and recent memories!
We also ate some super delicious food, obviously! From churros to Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream sandwiches, we were living the experience up to the fullest potential. Popular opinion: all kinds of food taste way better at Disneyland!
It’s impossible to not smile while at Disneyland, whether you’re a Disney fan or not. I was in all smiles throughout the entire day. I felt like a college blogger turned princess!
After one last full day arm Newport Beach spent with two of our college friends (who live and work in LA), we drove three hours through LA and made it to our next destination: Santa Barbara. It was such a beautiful city full of missions churches and cute small town shopping areas. One of the highlights was going wine tasting at SAARLOOS AND SONS in Los Olivos. It was so relaxing and perfect for a sunny day outdoors. And for a bonus, we got to eat cupcakes with the wine!
On our last full day in Cali (sigh), one of my dad’s Santa Barbara native friends took us out on his boat into the Pacific Ocean. The areas we drove around were supposed to be areas invested with great white sharks, but we didn’t see any – which was unfortunate but also relieving. We did see a few harbor seals pop their little heads out of the water, and they looked so adorable I wanted to pet them! Our friend also showed us all the houses along the beach shore owned by either celebrities or successful business workers, including Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Steven Spielberg. They all had to be at least over $30 million (not too expensive, right?). The best part about the boat ride; however, was driving back when the wind picked up big time and the waves coming toward us were super choppy. Our friend increased the speed of the boat and we went flying over a ton of waves. Sometimes me and my sister were in midair! It was so fun, like being on a roller coaster. My sister, my mom, our friend, and I loved every second of it! My dad, on the other hand, not so much.
To top off the night, we explored the tangerine and lemon gardens of Montecito before having dinner at our friend and his wife’s house. It was indeed a beautiful and adventurous day, the perfect way to end an amazing vacation! Now I realize it's time for me to go to bed as I type this.
Have you ever vacationed in California? Comment and share your experience down below, I’d love to read about it!