One of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing incredible views unlike any other. Sure, you can live vicariously through photos, but experiencing places in person really throws you into the moment. You feel truly present, aware, and alive. We sometimes take for granted this beautiful planet that we currently reside on, which is why gentle reminders of mother Earth’s natural beauty are important.
During a recent trip to California, I was fortunate to see most of the state. Although I had previously been to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego (all on separate trips), I hadn’t seen the real beauty of Cali until this trip.
The journey started in San Francisco with its shockingly steep streets and bustling trolleys. I checked out the golden gate bridge and explored the Fisherman’s Wharf, and even spent an afternoon hiking to some nice viewpoints. After some fun in the city, I was ready to head south for some warmer weather.
Everyone needs to drive Highway 1, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, at some point in their lives. If you want hours and hours of breathtaking views that rival the European Riviera, then you must take this drive. Every turn brings a stunning and novel view of the sea. If you’re a photography lover like me, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of viewpoints that you can easily stop at. These views really reminded me how wonderful our planet is. I basked in the serenity of it and just watched, no thoughts no judgement, only being.
In addition to these views, there are so many great places to stop and explore along the drive. Carmel-by-the-sea is the spot to go for lunch and an afternoon stroll. Filled with the finest restaurants, galleries, shops, and friendly people, this Monterrey Peninsula beach town does not disappoint. Carmel is dog-friendly, has a strong artistic culture, and is a vacation home for many celebrities.
Morro Bay is the place to watch the west coast sunset. Its infamous big rock and boats lining the shore create the perfect sunset setting. Called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” this town is happy to host you.
Just south of Morro Bay are the vineyards and wineries of San Luis Obispo. I will admit, I had a strong preference toward Italian and French wine before visiting here but my opinion has since been completely changed. There are countless great options for wineries to visit in this area. Many of them do tastings where you can choose five wines to try for a fixed price. I personally loved Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. This place had some of the best sparkling wine and I couldn’t resist taking a bottle with me.
Next stop: Los Angeles, the city of dreams. LA is fun, though feels like any other big city. It’s nice to stop by a rooftop bar in Santa Monica and wander through Hollywood, but the real fun begins when you venture 2 hours inland to the Coachella Valley.
Palm Springs and Palm Desert are truly one-of-a-kind. I couldn’t believe the views before my eyes as I rode in from LA. When you’re in the valley you can see mountains as high as the sky in every direction. The valley is so sunny and hot that you’re sweating, yet you look up to see snow-capped mountains. The resorts in Palm Desert emanate feelings of relaxation and rejuvenation, and the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort is the place to be. As you drive up, you’re happily welcomed by pink flamingos in the lake. You could easily spend a whole day relaxing at the pool, wandering around the property, and golfing. Can you say paradise?
The mountains surrounding the valley feel so far away, yet it’s a relatively quick drive to get to the top. Every turn of the steep and winding road gives way to a different perspective. The valley becomes smaller and smaller until it all it appears as are expansive specks of life. It’s quite humbling to quickly switch from driving through the valley filled with people, homes, cars, and stores, to being up high where none of that seems to exist anymore. It all becomes a lively looking blur. The movement and excitement turns into quiet and peace.
This is why I travel, and this is why Facilitate Luxury wants to share life-changing experiences with you, too. Experience breathtaking views of our magical planet as often as you can, for it awaits to teach you.
The Bridge and River tour is a scenic 3-hour bicycle tour will take you from the Upper West Side of New York City up and over the George Washington Bridge for a ride along the river on Route 9W. Get the full touring experience and leave New York City for a few hours. During the ride, we make stops at Grants Tomb Memorial on the Upper West Side.