Road Trip: Phoenix to San Francisco

My grandfather always told my mom growing up, the before you venture out to see the world, see your own country first. Seeing the Southwest and West coast through the eyes of a New England girl is always fun (especially during the New England Winters). We just returned from the most amazing road trip that was just at 1,000 miles over 10 days. We went from Fountain Hills, AZ and took the most scenic route to San Diego—Route 8 along the Mexican border. We saw such changes from sand dunes to forest to driving right through the mountains.

Cactus in Arizona

Our first stop was in San Diego, where we spent a few days by the fish pier and enjoyed the San Diego Zoo.

Giraffe San Diego Zoo

From there is was off to Santa Barbara. Watching the fog “burn off” from the Pier on East/West Beach was beautiful. The colors of the water popped and the seals were putting on a show for the onlookers. The Castillo Inn in Santa Barbara was by far one of the most pleasant stays we have ever had at a hotel. With unbeatable (out of season) prices and round the clock service I highly recommend it.

Santa Barbara

Next up it was time for the long stretch of road trip from Santa Barbara to San Jose with memorable pit stops along the way on Coastal Route 1 (from San Luis Obispo through Monterey Bay we toured Hearst Castle (a must see!) and saw the Elephant Seals in San Simeon.

Hearst Castle California
Stairs to Hearst Castle
Indoor Pool Hearst Castle
Elephant Seals San Simeon

A stop in Santa Cruz for sea lions and windsurfing.

Windsurfing Santa Cruz
Sea Lions in Santa Cruz

In San Jose, we took a day trip to see the incredible red woods at Big Basin State Park and walked the beach of Half Moon Bay.

Big Basin State Park
Redwoods Big Basin State Park

Last up was the quick 30 min ride to San Francisco for the last couple days of the road trip. From the side guided tour of Alcatraz to walking famous Pier 39 and across the Golden Gate Bridge it was a perfect locale!

Cells in Alcatraz
San Francisco Cable Car
The Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Seals Pier 39

We also took time to drive down Lombard Street, check out the “painted ladies” and take in their famous St. Patricks Day Parade—and I can’t forget the rides on the Trolley cars.

Alamo Square San Francisco