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Overview: Hiking and touring Big Sur, watching sea otters in Point Lobos and walking around Monterey’s Cannery Row.
After waking up at 3:30am and staying awake for a while, I was able to fall back asleep until a more appropriate time to wake up and get started with our 7th day of Vacation! Haha!
We began our day still at the Fernwood Resort, where we packed up and drove up the road a little bit to a sweet little bakery for breakfast.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
We drove up to Big Sur Lodge, parked and went for a hike. Towards the end of our hike, the rain started to coming POURING down! Like flooding type rain! We ran as fast as we could to take shelter and hide from the rain for a bit inside the Big Sur Lodge for awhile and to dry off using the bathroom air dryers.
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California
The weather was so uncooperative on this trip…it really was messing with my photos! Boo!! However, the Bixby bridge is gorgeous and I highly recommend checking out this post where we visited Bixby bridge before when the weather was nice!!
Garrapata State Park
This was a pull-off State Park off of Highway 1. After parking on the side of the road, you hike down a trail towards the water. Although it was super cloudy and misty, the views were stunning! I am so glad that we made this stop!
The weather was so dreary that my camera couldn’t’ even get a good shot of my kids!
When we headed back to the point, I spotted a couple of whales blowing spouts while doing their sounding dives! We even spotted a tail flip! Such a glorious site!
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
We drove to north on Highway 1 to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve located in Caramel By The Sea, California.
Upon arriving, we parked near Whalers Cove and immediately saw several sea otters swimming around…even some with their babies on their backs! Unfortunately, it was really hard to capture these guys on camera, so you just have to take my word for it. 🙂
The sun had finally started to peek out and the gray clouds roll away. It was the first time on our trip since really seeing true sunshine! Only took us 7 days! HA!
We headed up the hiking trail to get a better look at the coastline – and it was gorgeous! Especially with the blue skies reflecting off of the water!
My sweet daughter took these photos of me…which honestly, I was super thankful for. I am always the one taking photos – so sometimes it looks like I don’t go on vacation unless I take a selfie.
Drive to Yosemite
After Point Lobos, we hopped back in the car to head east to Yosemite National Park.
Early on in our trip, on day 2, we actually stopped at an Advanced Auto store to purchase tire chains for the Suburban we had rented for the week…because entry into Yosemite required that you have tire chains in your vehicle, even if you had 4-wheel drive.
We had been checking the weather frequently in Yosemite as well as calling the park staff and nearby towns to get a real picture of what the weather conditions were really like.
We decided to make one last ditch call out to the area because our weather app was showing more snow and rain…which worried us. We pulled over on the side of the road and rang Yosemite. Unfortunately, we made the sucky grown-up decision to abort plans of going to Yosemite. Which…super sucked. Clayton and I were so excited about taking the kids to see one of our favorite hiking spots in the country. It just was too risky – and the only area open in Yosemite was the Valley…which is beautiful, but, not necessarily worth driving an extra 8 hours roundtrip to not see what we really wanted to show the kids. So…yep, you guessed it, we’ll have to plan another trip out to California!
Click on the photos below to see our trip to Yosemite!
Pacific Coast Highway 1
With plans changed, we got back on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 to finish out what was open.
Monterey, California: Cannery Row
We headed to Monterey where we visited Cannery Row. Clayton and I visited here in 2015, I highly recommend looking at our photos from our trip in this blog post as you can see much more of the historical downtown.
We ate at a delicious Italian restaurant…voted on by the kids. They were done with Mexican and just wanted something different.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
We walked to the aquarium which had a large viewing deck on the oceanside. We saw several seals, birds and even starfish in the water! The kids loved it!
il Vecchio Italian Restaurant, Monterey, California
As I mentioned, the kids were ready for some different food…types of food that I often make at home. Italian!
We found great reviews for a restaurant called il Vecchio so we walked there and were not disappointed! We enjoyed several different types of pasta, desserts and wine from San Simeon!
After dinner, we walked back to the rental car, taking in a few more of Monterey’s sights and then headed north for Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz, California
We stopped for the night in Santa Cruz and stayed a small hotel that had excellent reviews. We were pleasantly surprised with the hotel – and the kids loved the pool and fire pit!