A Midwinter Getaway on the California Coast


What is the best thing to do when it’s cold, wet and gray everyday? Go to California of course. Lucky for us, work was sending GB to sunny California at exactly the same time as SB was going on her midwinter break From school. So we purchased two extra tickets and planned an extended weekend for exploring the Northern California beaches from SF to Santa Cruz.


Baker Beach, San Francisco 

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you might remember we had a similar trip last year with our weekend getaway in Monterey. What a treat it was to get to do it all over again this winter. As soon as GB was free from the San Francisco office, we picked up a rental car, and were on our way to play on Northern California’s scenic beaches.  The drive started at beautiful Baker Beach right under San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge. I think a car is needed to get here from the downtown area, but the location makes for amazingly gorgeous photo opportunities and is well worth the effort. If you are the adventurous type, you can join the naked sunbathers at the most northern tip of the beach. Yes, this is a nude beach. Of course explaining this lifestyle choice to SB was a bit of a challenge, so we opted to stay to the south and admire the view of the bridge in the distance.


Pigeon Point Lighthouse,Pescadero 

These are not the sun, sand, and tan beaches of Southern California. Beaches in the north of California are made for exploring. The drive south down California Highway 1 to Santa Cruz took just over 2 hours  with a couple of stops along the way. We took our time winding along the coast and admiring the views. We even pulled off the road to check out a surprise lighthouse at Pigeon Point. Turned out the lighthouse is a hostel with little cabins that sit right under the 115 foot tower. Unfortunately the park closed at dusk only allowing us to snap a couple of quick photos from the parking lot before moving on down to Santa Cruz.


Santa Cruz Boardwalk 

What a great weekend it was to be in Santa Cruz! SB was especially excited because being in Santa Cruz means a visit to the fun packed, and ride covered, boardwalk. We were surprised to learn when we arrived that  they were having a Clam Chowder cook-off with 200 chowder making groups right  on the famous Boardwalk. It turns out it is  a yearly event. So if you are looking for something to do in February, go check it out. We paid  $30 dollars for 3 tasting kits that includes a cup, spoon, 5 tasting tickets, and a voting ballot. We quickly discovered  200 chowder choices, and only 5 tasting tickets, makes it very  hard to choose. But in the end, we were able to narrow it down to 5 choices and cast our votes. This was a 100% fun day. All roller coasters and chowder.


Kings of Clamelot win my vote for a favorite theme booth.


The lighthouse and Surfing Museum at Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz


Lighthouse Point offers a great view of this popular surf spot.


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