W hat do three college students armed with a weeklong break for the summer do when given the chance? Naturally, they plan a road trip across the state of California. Our plans started out modest in scope. While one of our parents would be attending a conference in the San Diego area, we would tag along and explore the city of San Diego. In a very short time our plans would balloon to add destination after destination until it became a full-fledged 1,200 mile loop through The Golden State. It’s safe to say that our plans escalated quickly.
The itinerary was as followed: We would fly from Orlando International Airport on a round trip flight to San Diego. We would rent a car from the San Diego airport and begin our journey from there. The primary destinations that we would visit were Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, and San Diego across eight days. The trip would look something along the lines of this:
Running on nothing but excitement and adrenaline (and a little coffee), we departed on a 5:30am Delta flight with a short layover in Atlanta, Georgia. We enjoyed a lovely overpriced breakfast at Hartsfield-Jackson before departing for our final destination. We arrived in San Diego right on time and immediately caught a shuttle to retrieve a rental car. Hertz graciously provided us with a killer silver Toyota Camry roadtripmobile with 30,000 miles along with a 45 minute delay. We rushed out of the rental car terminal and hit the highway towards Los Angeles. The California Road Trip had just begun.
Our first stop was Universal Studios Hollywood. Being big fans of theme parks and frequent visitors to Universal Orlando, this was a must stop. We ate a quick lunch in Citywalk before spending the rest of the day at the park.
After leaving Universal we set out on a quest for dinner at In-N-Out Burger. Because after all, what would a first day in California be without a visit to In-N-Out? Eating at In-N-Out is a life changing experience that made me question every fast food burger I’ve ever eaten to this point.
Our plans would then take us towards Yosemite National Park where we would stop for the night in Clovis, California. We stopped to watch the sun go down over a beautiful lake and mountain range around Lebec that offered a preview to the spectacular views that we would get to experience in Yosemite. .
The sun would completely set en route to Clovis and the world’s longest day would unfortunately finally come to an end at a Marriott property two and a half hours outside of Yosemite National Park. It was now time to catch some Z's before a big hike the next morning.
Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.
After such an amazing day, it was hard to believe that I would crossing off another bucket list item just the next day. We woke bright and early and set off to Yosemite to make it in time for the first tour bus that would take us to the Glacier Point vista and our trailhead. The drive up to the park was beautiful, snaking through winding tree-lined roads gaining elevation all the way to Yosemite Valley.
The tour bus arrived at Glacier Point where we were met with a rolling landscape that looked as if it had been painted in the horizon in front of us. It was really an incredible sight. We began our around 10-mile hike from Glacier Point which lasted almost the entire day taking us on quite the journey through many of the main attractions of Yosemite National Park. A full detailed review of the trail that we did can be viewed here.
Yosemite is something to marvel at. Even those that have a disdain for nature can’t deny just how striking the scenery in the park is. If ever given the chance, never turn down an opportunity to experience the park’s natural beauty at least once.
We completed our hike and began another three-hour journey in the direction of San Francisco. We grabbed dinner at a local diner and ended yet another unforgettable day in The Bay Area.