travel: christmas in california part 2

It’s been well over a month since I posted my second California instalment, and I admit, I’ve been lazy at getting the last post up.

danan point volley ball dana point 1 image2 santa monica pier

Life has got crazy recently, and quite frankly, I haven’t been prioritising blogging. Taking on my new exercise kick has absorbed a lot of my free time as well as mayhem at work, and this is the first time my laptop had been switched on in weeks. But today, I have an hour to myself on the sofa and as much as Netflix is beckoning, I was excited to finally get my last Cali post up. If you’re new here and wondering what I’m chatting about – I spent my Christmas in California. Laguna Beach to be precise, with a short stay in Palm Springs. You can read my first Christmas in Cali post here and check out my Palm Springs Photo Diary here. Today’s post is just to finish off with my final photos before all the memories escape my head.

Once we were back from Palm Springs, we had just over a week locally to explore further. We weren’t too fussed about going too far afield as we wanted to get to the know the area we were in and where my brother in law grew up. We hiked, we walked on the beach, we caught the sunsets, we ate burgers, we visited the Farmer’s Market, we got brunch. All the kinds of things you do on a relaxed holiday. We visited the next town along, Dana Point, that has a beautiful marina and beach. We’d also been recommended Huntington Beach which was further up the coast, towards LA, by a few people. I have to say, if you head further south out of the city, you’re spoilt by beautiful beaches. I think a lot of people don’t get down as far south as Laguna but it’s really worth it. Huntington didn’t blow either of us away and we much preferred the SoCal beaches. We also headed to Anaheim for an Ice Hockey game which was definitely a trip highlight – we finished it with an In’n’Out, dreamy. I’d really recommend Ice Hockey for non-sports fans. It was fast and fun, and split into 20 minute segments. We had girl’s day where we got out nails done and went out for lunch. We also volunteered one evening at the homeless shelter and took lasagne over for dinner. That was a real eye opener for the way the system works in the US, and how much their welfare differs from ours.

santa monica image4 (2) image2 (2) dana point seagull

We did take one day out to visit LA – the traffic was terrible but once we finally made it to Santa Monica we walked on the pier, ate tacos, visited the Hollywood sign and drove down Rodeo. We ticked all the tourist boxes and I can’t wait to visit again to see some more off the beaten track spots.

One day that I particularly enjoyed was when Sam and I walked downtown in Laguna – it was around a 45 minute walk from where we were staying and we strolled down PCH, stopping in all the small boutiques and cool seaside stores. We stopped at Laguna Coffee Company for iced lattes and had an ice cream walking along the boardwalk down at Main Beach. It was a pretty perfect Californian afternoon (despite the seagulls).

laguna beach 1 image3 dana point marina

And soon after New Years Eve (dinner at home and bed by ten thirty – the dream!), it was time to head home. It’s interesting when you’ve wanted to visit somewhere for so long and you finally do – what you’ve built up in your head is so different to reality and it’s hard to say which is better. But my first trip to Cali certainly won’t be my last. There’s so much more to see and do and I loved every second of being there. To the next visit!