8 Places to go in Fall in Northern California

8 Destinations in Fall in Northern California
[Mammoth in the Eastern Sierras – YES California does have a fall, contrary to popular belief!!]
UPDATED: September 2019

FALL IS COMING PEOPLE. NOBODY PANIC. REMAIN CALM AND GET OUT YOUR SCARVES, BOOTS, AND CARDIGANS OUT 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.

Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park in California
[Yosemite is obviously great to visit at any time of year, but I especially love it in the fall!]
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.

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8 Reasons I Won’t Miss Living in the Bay Area

Why I Won't Miss Living in the Bay Area
[Even though there’s a lot I don’t like about the Bay, parts of it sure are pretty!]
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:

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Should You Bike the 17-Mile Drive or Stay Home?

The Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive in Monterey, California - Should You Bike the 17-Mile Drive?
[The Lone Cypress Tree, which suspiciously doesn’t look THAT lonely with another tree right next to it]
Updated September 2019

The 17-Mile Drive is located in the very pretty (and very rich) 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, but what is it like to bike? Here’s what you need to know!

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Why I Regret My Visit to Upper Antelope Canyon

Why I Regret My Visit to Upper Antelope Canyon
[This is how I pictured Upper Antelope Canyon – quiet, serene, stunningly gorgeous]
Upper Antelope Canyon was absolutely beautiful – I’d even argue breathtaking. Like I literally had to remind myself to breathe again because I was too busy staring at the gorgeous canyon walls, mouth agape, which let in a horde of flies causing me to choke on my own spit.

And Rattlesnake Canyon – we added this onto our tour before going to Upper Antelope – was amazing! I liked that so much more than Antelope. I’ll go more into why below.

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Can’t Afford The Madonna Inn? You Should Still Visit!

madonna-innOk, so the Madonna Inn is pretty damn expensive. We all know that. But – you can still check it out even if you don’t have the funds to stay in a room (still a dream of mine – one day!!). We went to their cafe and grabbed a slice of cake (yep, that’s it – we broke) and then walked around this gem of a hotel.

The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California
[It’s already so cool! A PINK SIGN!]
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)…

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Common Cacti of the Southwest

Common Cacti of the SouthwestIt’s that time of year when the cacti start bloomin’ – a lot of them probably have already! As an avid cacti/succulent lover myself (how original) I thought I’d put together a quick guide of the ones I saw (and loved!) when I was living in Arizona during this time 2 years ago (ahhhh why does time go by so fast…).

This is the best time of year to visit the desert, in my opinion, because it’s not toooo hot yet and of course, CACTUS BLOOMS! (Also I am not perfect and don’t know everything specifically, but I’m doing my best :))

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Arizona Should Be on Your Radar

Arizona Should Be on Your Radar; Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon
[Lower Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon – another reason to hike to the bottom, instead of just checking out the rim!]
In my humble (aka always right) opinion, Arizona is such an underrated state and vastly misunderstood. (At least it was by me?)

Colossal Cave Mountain Park in Arizona[Look at all those lush desert plants! And that beautiful red desert rock! And that kinda sorta desert sunset! Side notes: Desert sunsets really are some of the most beautiful! This was near Saguaro National Park]

Like, did you know that not all of Arizona is desert (which is what I originally assumed #dontassume) and that it actually SNOWS in some parts? Like what.

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Visiting Yosemite in Winter – Yes, It’s Awesome

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park are still just as beautiful (and make great hikes) in winter!
[Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls are absolute beauts – and you can still hike them in winter, too! We were weenies and only did Lower Yosemite Falls]
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.

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Victoria, Canada: I’m Obsessed With You

Lynn Canyon Park in Vancouver, Canada has turquoise water and lots of trees
[Prettiest water color in Lynn Canyon Park, aka go here for the free suspension bridge if you don’t want to pay for Capilano]
I’m currently still in Sweden (only 3 more days! So sad). But all this cold weather reminded me of my trip to Canada in fall 2016.

Actually that’s bullshit, it didn’t really remind me of it at all, I just wanted to post about it…LOL. But without further ado…

Foggy view from a ferry ride from Victoria to Vancouver, Canada
[Foggy view on the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver]
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