It’s boutta be the summer of (free!) camping in California! I honestly love camping and always have, even when I was in high school and my preferred habitat was the mall. I’d still be more than happy to bust out a tent (or just sleep under the stars like I used to do on the balcony at my dad’s house) and I’m not one to be bothered by bugs or a little dirt. (Like when I shocked everyone I knew and joined the conservation corps – not showering for a week quickly became the norm).
However, we only went camping a handful of times when I was younger. So, when I graduated college I decided it was time to make all my camping dreams come true. That said, campsites can expensive AF, especially here in the US, and I was coincidentally broke AF. I needed to find a solution.
And then I stumbled upon BLM land. More about that below. First, some story time! If you hate stories feel free to skip to the “Why I Love Free Camping” section.
FALL IS COMING PEOPLE. NOBODY PANIC. REMAIN CALM AND GRAB YOUR SCARVES, BOOTS, AND CARDIGANS IMMEDIATELY. THEN HEAD TO YOUR NEAREST PUMPKIN PATCH AS SOON AS YOU CAN. I REPEAT: EVERYBODY PLEASE. REMAIN. CALM.
But actually it’s impossible for me to remain calm because fall (or ~autumn~ as the fancy people call it) just happens to be MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SEASON. In fact, I love it so much, that I even wrote a bucket list of all the fall activities I HAVE TO DO every year. I think it’s about time to revisit that, shall we?
Feel free to steal my ideas. I’ll allow it.
It also just so happens that fall is the BEST time to travel (in my humble opinion) – prices are slashed, the crowds are gone, temperatures are lower (I HATE running around all day in the heat), and you don’t have to fight tooth and nail for accommodation.
And maybe in other places it’s freezing in autumn, but in Northern California, the weather is PERFECT at a balmy 60-80 degrees most of the time. Sometimes it can even climb up to over 80! Of course, this depends on where exactly you go (California is gigantic and spans many different climates, something I have to remind people often), but on average, I’d say that’s the temperature.
So contrary to what you may believe from my last post about why I WON’T miss living in the Bay Area, there are actually plenty of things I love about the Bay, too. I lived there for about 23 years in total, so of course there are things I really appreciate about the Bay!
Ahh the Bay Area – land of start ups, the word “hella”, giant tech companies, the best burritos (yeah I said it), the Golden Gate, and so much more that I could never fit it all into one sentence without violating all kinds of grammar rules. It’s a wonderful melting pot of a place.
I grew up in San Jose and was living in Fremont the past 2 years. I will always love the Bay (and there are plenty of reasons I’ll miss it, too), but I’m also very ready to leave. It was a good run, but here’s why I’m not looking to return:
Oh, so I hear you’re going to the Eastern Sierras?
Well, I guarantee that you’re about to have. An. Epic. Time. The Eastern Sierras are one of the most underrated parts of California, in my opinion!
This guide goes from north, beginning in Bodie, to south, ending in Big Pine. However, you can also go the opposite way of course! You can probably do this in 2 days, although if you include the hike in Big Pine you’ll want to tack on an extra one. I guarantee you’ll want to stay longer, though – I’ve been to the Mammoth area three times and there’s still so much left to explore!
Also know that the Eastern Sierras can get a LOT of snow, so be sure to check road conditions before you go if it’s late fall, winter, or spring. You may need to carry or use snow chains, or not even be able to go at all.
I’d highly recommend early fall as the best time to go. Less people, the Aspens are changing colors, and it’s (hopefully) still warm enough to go for a dip in one of the many lakes!
COVID-19 Update: The 17-Mile Drive is CLOSED July 3-5, except to residents or people with confirmed hotel, spa, restaurant, or golf reservations. Beaches, beach parking, and turnouts in the Del Monte Forest are CLOSED to everyone. The 17-Mile Drive will reopen on July 6.
The 17-Mile Drive is located in the very pretty (and very expensive) area of California called Pebble Beach. It stretches between the towns of Pacific Grove and Carmel, and is close to the larger town of Monterey. And, of course, has lots of beautiful coastal views!
Most people drive it (hence the name “17-Mile Drive), but what is it like to bike? Here’s what you need to know about biking the 17-Mile Drive!
You can check out the restaurant, bathrooms (of course lol but you really should look at them, even if you don’t have to go! They fancy AF – the dude’s bathroom has a freaking WATERFALL in it), shop(s), pool area (although I don’t think you can swim unless you’re actually staying at the hotel), tennis courts (they’re also PINK!), garden, and the outside of all the pretty hotels. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and someone will be leaving theirs when you walk by and you can get a glimpse inside! (I’m actually the creepiest)…
Yosemite Valley is just one of the those places you HAVE. TO. SEE. And It is chock full of fun winter activities!
IMO it is just awe inspiring, and so so so beautiful. And there’s so much to do, even during the winter! However, make sure you check the weather first, because snow storms are a thing. And you want to go when it’s pretty and perfect and not when a storm is raging.
Okay so I wanted to go to Apple Hill so badly once I found out about it. I love hills. And apples. So clearly it was made for me.
But let me tell you – it’s much more than that. Although there are many apples and hills involved. And apples in so many forms – (hard) cider, beer, strudel, pie, freshly picked, it goes on and on.
We couldn’t actually do any apple picking the first time we were there (all the apples are gone by like September, news to me), although we did go rogue and pick some off the ground on the side of the road. There were a ton of them and they looked like they were going bad! So I was doing them a favor! Otherwise they’d attract deer and other unwanted pests and the like…
The second time, however – I made SURE we would get to pick them apples. All of them. And you bet we did.