A couple of weeks ago I came home from a two and a half week trip to the West Coast of America where I (classic) packed as much as possible into the itinerary! I went with my brother and we split our time between the states of California, Arizona and Nevada, staying with family in Southern California for the majority of the trip- Los Angeles and San Diego. We had visited California once before just over 9 years ago, back in 2008 on a family holiday, but our memories of everywhere were a bit hazy so we were looking forward to revisiting places as well as seeing new bits – and also obviously now we were of the age to drink legally!
We arrived in Los Angeles in the evening after a direct flight from Gatwick. The flight was 11 hours but felt like it went on forever (there were a few strange characters on board) and it was a relief to finally make it to my family’s house in Redondo Beach. On our first full day in the country, we had a chilled day and spent it relaxing on one of the local beaches, Hermosa Beach. Redondo Beach also has its own beach (hence the name of the city) but we were advised that Hermosa has more cafes/ restaurants etc and is more geared up for tourists than Redondo. It was gorgeous weather, about 27 degrees which felt nice in October! We spent the day sunbathing and swimming – my favourite kind of day- and at one point, we walked out to the end of Hermosa pier (where these photos were taken) and spotted dolphins playing way out to sea!
Santa Monica & Venice Beach
The following day we visited Santa Monica, which was somewhere we hadn’t managed to visit on our last trip to Cali so it was high on my list. It was about a 30 min drive up the coast from Redondo, give or take traffic (there is sooo much traffic in LA!!). We drove straight to the beach at Santa Monica- it was absolutely huge! We walked to and all along the famous busy pier, having a look at all the rides and stalls. We didn’t get the chance to visit the actual town of Santa Monica, but I would love to go back and spend longer there- it looked so nice. After a quick swim in the sea to cool off, we drove a short distance along the coast to Venice Beach. We took our time walking slowly along the promenade here as there’s so much to see; its full of countless street performers, music stalls, music and shops and is absolutely full of life. We walked all the way along to Muscle Beach section and saw some posey bodybuilders working out in the rickety old gym there, before going for another quick swim in the sea to cool off. We finished our day watching the sun set behind the palm trees. It was such a good day!
One thing I really wanted to see on this trip was the Hollywood Sign from up close. I had read online that the residents in the village below called Beachwood do not like people driving/ walking through their roads looking for the sign so they do not make the way up very obvious at all, so it is best know your route in advance. Luckily we managed to find our way and got a great view first from the right hand side of the sign. We then followed the path round and trekked all the way to the top of the mountain, for about half an hour in the baking heat, to the viewpoint behind the sign. The view was worth the effort though, it was incredible; you could see so far across Los Angeles it was amazing. One of the best views I’ve ever seen. After we’d taken it in and walked all the way back down, we drove down to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We had been here before last time, but it was good to take a second look at all of the stars, and the hand and footprints of famous people across the decades.