This post is long over due but we have had a lot going on lately so please forgive the delay. Since this trip, we have moved out of our old house and in to the new house so we have been a little preoccupied. BUT, I finally had some time to sit down and gather all of this info for you in case you are working on a trip to Cali! When JL and I went back in April we stayed in Laguna Beach and Malibu. I loved this route because it was SO relaxing, but there are SO many fun places to see in California. Last year, if you remember, I took a girls trip to Malibu, Palm Springs and Los Angeles, so I am going to round up ALL of that info here!
So, first things first, a lot of people always ask where my favorite spot is in Cali. Well, I think at this point I would have to say Napa or Malibu. (If you missed my Graceful Guide to Napa, you can read that here.). The thing is, these two spots are SO different so it really is difficult for me to say. I am a beach girl at heart though so Malibu is definitely up there. In this post, I am going to try to break it down by town/city and give you guys some places to stay & things to do in each!
Where to Stay:
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel - I stayed at this hotel several years ago and just remember how beautiful the views were. When we started planning this trip, I knew I wanted to stay here during our time in Laguna Beach and we were lucky enough to score a great room. This is definitely a pricier option, but if you plan far enough in advance, you can get great deals here!
Montage Laguna Beach - Also an iconic hotel in Laguna, this spot is beautiful. When you search “hotels in Laguna” the Montage pool often shows up!
Monarch Beach Resort - This is where Jon Luke played golf during our stay. It was so pretty and every we played with/worked with while there were super nice!
Golf - This was pretty much why we went to Laguna. I gave JL a round of golf for his bday because the courses in Laguna are beautiful!
Victoria Beach - If you followed me on stories while we were there, this is the beach with the lighthouse. If you google the best way down, there are some stairs that take you right down to it, so it was easy to find!
Beaches - There are SO many pretty beaches in Laguna. We only had time to go to Victoria but you can pretty much head towards the water and be guaranteed to find a beautiful spot!
Hiking - In additional the pretty beaches, there are also a ton a pretty hikes!
Shopping - All of the little towns in Laguna are filled with cute shops and restaurants. If you have time, just park and walk around!
Grab a Bite:
South of Nick’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar - Y’all know I only wanted Mexican food and this spot was perfect. We drove in to town and had a great view while we enjoyed tasty margs and amazing food!
Driftwood Kitchen - We did not make it here but several people recommended it to us!
Gulfstream - Again, a friend recommended this spot to me. If you are familiar with Houston’s, she said this was a similar vibe!
Lay Your Head Down:
Hotel Figueroa - We had lunch here one day and I am OBSESSED. The decor, the vibes…everything about this place is so cool!
The Beverly Hills Hotel - I mean…it’s iconic.
The Ace Hotel - I always love Ace Hotel’s and this one does not disappoint either.
The NoMad Los Angeles - Their pool looks amazing!
If You Get Hungry:
Republique - Such a cool vibe and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Eataly - Not specific to L.A. but it is GOOD.
In-N-Out - I mean, duh.
This one is hard because there are SO MANY good restaurants in LA!
What You Should Do:
(Again, SO MANY options but here are my favs…)
Hike to the Hollywood Sign - This was so cool. We thought we took the shortest/easiest way but we were wrong. I would definitely recommend doing your research before choosing which way to hike up but definitely do it!
Shopping - Obviously there is Rodeo Drive but there are so many cute spots to stop and shop!
Hollywood Walk of Fame - I stumbled upon this when I was there with my mom. We went to take a Soul Cycle class and found ourselves right in the heart of downtown!
Griffith Observatory - I really did not know what to expect when we visited the observatory but I thought it was so cool! I was crowded so I would plan to get there early in the morning!
Santa Monica Pier - If you do not mind driving out to the pier then I definitely suggest it! The beach all around it is nice but the pier is a lot of fun!
Where You Should Sleep:
The Surfrider Malibu - I am obsessed with this hotel. It is an interior design DREAM and the rooftop bar was the best hang out spot!
Find an Airstream - When the girls and I went last year we were fortunate enough to experience the Malibu Dream Airstream. Unfortunately, I believe they experienced troubles during the fire but hopefully they will open again soon because it was amazing!
Nobu Ryokan - This hotel looks like such a cool spot!
Get the Grub:
Malibu Farm - This is a no brainer. Good views, good food, good drinks…a win all around! And if you stay at the Surfrider, it is right across the street!
Nobu - This is actually an experience and I love it. They also have amazing views so go try to grab a table for afternoon drinks!
V’s Restaurant and Bar - We ended up here one night because we did not want to wait at Nobu and we loved it! It was so quaint and the food was great!
What You Can Do:
Surf - Seriously, there are surfers everywhere. One of our favorite things to do was just to sit on our balcony or rooftop and watch them! But you can definitely get out there yourself!
Hike - Again, there are so many beautiful hikes in this area!
Beaches - Get outside. That is one thing I love about Malibu…I feel like everyone does things outside!
Relax - We did a whole lot of nothing on our trip and it was wonderful. Just enjoy the views and the weather!
Take a Nap:
The Parker - OMG. The Parker is adorable and worth every penny.
Sands Hotel and Spa - I am DYING to stay here. Thinking I will be back there in the Spring!
Hotel California - It’s pink, and in the heart of Palm Springs. Need I say more?
If You’re Hungry:
Norma’s - This adorable spot is located in The Parker. Not only is it cute, but it is delicious!
Cheeky’s - We were told the brunch is excellent!
Counter Reformation - They have a cool wine bar!
Workshop - I have not eaten here but I have heard great things!
So.pa - Such a great outdoor space!
What You Should Do:
Pool Day - It is VERY hot in Palm Springs…find a pool.
Joshua Tree - This park is not too far from Palm Springs and it is cool to see!
The Windmills - I won’t lie, they are pretty cool to see!
I have decided that California is one of my favorite places to visit. You have endless options, from wine country, to the beach, to the city…you can plan a different trip EVERY time! I am definitely thinking that I will be planning more trips there soon, but for now, hopefully this guide was helpful for you!