Sunday, May 5, 2019

How to cover the real California in 7 days - Day 1

Explorer Lens

USA is one of the biggest countries in the world and has its benefits for being one.
Because it covers such a large area, it is home to the best national parks, beaches, architecture, museums and cities in the world.
I would say one of the top tourist destinations.

I have visited close to 15 states in USA and each state has something different and unique, but California stands at the top of the list.
Jaw dropping views of Pacific Coast, the largest and oldest trees in the world, finest wineries of USA, Silicon Valley, World class Amusement Parks, Best beaches of USA and Yosemite National Park, California homes all of them.

There are numerous places to visit in the most beautiful state of USA and even a month’s time won’t suffice, but when you are tight on budget and time, here is how you can explore the true and natural California in a week’s time.

This plan is not for you if you are an amusement park person and want to spend 2 days visiting Disney, sea world and universal studios in LA and San Diageo, as we didn’t cover those places and won’t cover it in our itinerary.
However, if you love nature, this plan fits perfectly.

For the entire trip our accommodation was in San Jose, which is like a center point to all the destinations. I always prefer Airbnb as it is cheaper as compared to any hotel, you get to share the kitchen, there is a local host to guide you and when you are staying for a week the cost even reduces a lot.

I normally prefer McDonald, Wendy, Taco Bell, Subway and Burger King on my travel, as they have drive-ins and you don’t have to waste an hour sitting in a restaurant and waiting for your order to arrive.
So now as we have the accommodation and food settled, its time to plan the itinerary for each day.

Day 1
On day 1, we covered the bay area of San Francisco and the north of California.
We started early around 8 a.m. as we had to reach SFO by 9ish.
First place to visit was the Golden Gate State Park, from where you can have amazing views of the royal Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz prison and skyline of SFO.

Next in line were the two beaches/bay area points in SFO from where you can witness gigantic waves of Pacific ocean, magnificent mountains/rocks and great views of golden gate bridge. These points are Bakers Beach and Lands End. If you are a cave person, Lands End also has a small cave and the most beautiful thing at this spot is a rock with heart shape in it.

It took us around 3-4 hours to cover these spots, especially because I love photography.
If you are good with normal mobile clicks, it might take you half an hour less.
After visiting the points in SFO, it was time to head north.

Our next destination is the home to one of the largest and oldest redwood trees in the world –
Muir Woods National Monument. The hiking trails are beautiful and serene. There are different bridges that define the end-point of trails/loops. If you want to get out of your monotonous and tiring schedule and feel at peace, this is the place to be. If you have time, I recommend to take one of the panoramic paths that take you high up, giving you a view over the sea. However, if you have a time crunch, get at least to bridge 4 which is around 1.5-2 hours loop from the starting point. The entrance fee for the park is $15 per person for people 16 years and older. A parking has to be reserved earlier and costs you $8 per vehicle.

After spending 2 hours in the woods, it was time to take the route to the valley of wineries – Napa Valley.
It is a gorgeous sight to see the hills covered in wineries, which follow a beautiful symmetry.
Head directly to the Napa Valley Information Center and you could be lucky enough to get some complimentary wine tasting coupons as we did. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the valley over few glasses of sparkling wine. It would take you at least 2 hours exploring the wineries and valley.

After the wine tasting, it was time to call off for Day 1 and head towards our Airbnb in San Jose.

There is another beautiful attraction which lies in the north and can be covered - Point Reyes Lighthouse. You can see grey whales migrating and elephant seals lying in their natural habitat from this point. From the visitor center to lighthouse, it is a 1.3 miles moderate trail.
But you have to cover it some other day as there is no time on Day 1 to cover it.

Total hours of commute           : 4 hours
Total hours at the attractions    : 7 hours
Food and other break                : 1 hour
Start time from San Jose          : 8:00 a.m.
End time at San Jose                : 10 p.m.

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

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