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.
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!
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 Rattlesnake Canyon so much more than Antelope. I’ll go more into why below.
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)…
It’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 :))
In my humble (aka always right) opinion, Arizona is such an underrated state and vastly misunderstood. (At least it was by me?)
[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.
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.