Highway 1

In the big ole USA the west coast is really rather stunning. We only managed a wee part of it when we visited over Christmas, but spent a lovely day visiting Santa Cruz, Carmel, and Monterey driving along the beautiful coastal route. Even in the depths of winter its sunny and beautiful. It reminded me a little of New Zealand’s West coast – but without the rain! We saw a lot of seals and some wild dolphins riding the surf which was pretty spectacular.

Santa Cruz has one of the oldest board walks in the USA, with some good old-fashioned wooden roller coasters, I felt a bit like I’d stepped into Greece and the seaside of the 1920’s. I can totally see why everyone went to the beach for a holiday. Its a little bit kooky and spectacularly pastel and bright.

Next on our stop was the beautiful Carmel – a bit like the Hampton’s, there were no roller-coasters in sight, or any alteration of the natural beach. Houses were nestled amongst rainforest trees and the windy roads felt more like I’d landed in an Enid Blyton novel ready to go exploring a pirates cove or two!

Monterey is a good base to explore further along the coast to the incredible Big Sur, in Monterey itself the beach isn’t as spectacular as Carmel, or as bright as Santa Cruz so its worth travelling further to watch the sunset! With more time we would have loved to kayak or paddle board, eaten more ice cream and seen more seals. Its also a popular spot for whale watching depending on the time of year. Santa Cruz was my favourite and definitely worth a visit, I’d recommend grabbing some fish and chips and sitting on the beach.

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