Travel - La Jolla, California

July 11, 2016

We got back from California and Hawaii last weekend. My family, Ben and I love America so decided to go on another road-trip {remember this one?} in California. Ben and I stayed in La Jolla on a work trip last February {see this post} and loved the area so much - I declared I wanted to live there - that we decided to return for longer this time, staying in a beach house with everyone. Some photos {a lot}, and our favourite places below if you'd like to see.. 

We flew from Heathrow to LA {flying over the Grand Canyon which was pretty spectacular} and then drove three hours down the coast to San Diego. If you're planning on visiting though, LA airport is hell, last time we flew direct to San Diego and back as it's such a quieter, calmer experience. This time because we were flying to Hawaii, the only way to get it all on one ticket was to fly via LA. Anyway, jet lagged and hungry after a long flight we stopped en route at In n Out Burger - a classic West Coast American experience that has to be done. Cheeseburger heaven. 

Blue skies, palm trees and burgers. California we had definitely arrived. 

We rented a beach house for the week - {this one} via Seabreeze Vacation Rentals. On our last visit, Ben and I had been reviewing hotels but as a family, a beach house made more sense. And it was fun to pretend like we were living as locals for the week. It was a two minute walk down the end of the street to the sea on Windansea Beach in La Jolla and about a fifteen minute walk to the main town. 

It had a rooftop deck with a hot tub and outdoor kitchen with a bbq as well as a little courtyard with an outdoor fire. The inside was super cute in a beachy Californian style.

The sunsets on the West Coast are insane and we loved walking down to the beach each evening to watch the sky change colour. The first night was one of the most spectacular.

The next morning, a Sunday, we were wide awake early with jet lag. Amazingly the supermarkets are open, even on a Sunday, from 5am in America. How crazy! So we stocked up the fridge and cupboards for the week, ogling at all the amazing products for sale. I don't know how anyone shops in America with about 30 choices for every single item of food. I mean, it's amazing but also slightly mind blowing?? 

Such extremes with the healthiest, organic products on side and then crazy coloured cookies and aisles full of junk on the other. That's Murica for you! 

Our first stop that morning was the Farmers Market, a favourite from our visit last February. Although this time around, in summer, it was twice the size and full of yummy local berries, fruit and veg. Part of that sunny Californian lifestyle. 

There were local craft sellers and food stalls that were cooking as well as your traditional farmers market fair. I bought these open painted frames that I've been lusting over since I saw some on Pinterest. They were such a bargain. 

Home with the food shopping, we got packed up to head to the beach and explore the town. It was soo good to be back. I really loved La Jolla first time around but this time, when it was hot enough to properly enjoy the beach, it sparkled.

Being slightly out of town this time meant that Ben and I got to see new parts of La Jolla. And oh gosh the cute beach houses and front gardens were to die for!

Surf's up!

The American's love a pretty wreath all year round. 

There were some amazing old cars around too.


The colour of the sea in La Jolla! So beautiful. And if you go swimming you'll probably find a seal next to you in the water, they were everywhere along with the pelicans. 

We spent the first day showing my parents and brother around La Jolla. It's a village by America's standards but a town for us little Brits. What I love about it is that there's so much to see, do and eat but it's all still very walkable. Nowhere else is like that in America. In a lot of ways it reminded us a lot of Australia with the laid back surf feel whilst still being upmarket but relaxed if that makes sense? If you've been to La Jolla you'll know what I mean. Everyone I know who's been there just loves loves loves it. My friend Charlie is the same and we forever talk of moving there!

In the afternoons and evenings we'd come back to the house to relax on the roof. We were lucky with the weather, I mean California is known for being so sunny all the time but May and June can actually be pretty gloomy on the coast. With the desert being so hot and the sea being cold, a mist forms over the beach towns most mornings in May and June and can take all day to burn off. This year it's El Nino so the effects are much lighter, we had one gloomy day.

We cooked a BBQ on our first night, it was father's day and my Dad is the BBQ king.

On another day, a day of a heatwave which made it crazily hot, we went downtown into San Diego for the morning while it was cool {ish} to look around the Gaslamp Quarter and then across the famous bridge to Coronado Island - one of my favourite favourite places in America.

Downtown San Diego is such a cool place. I think I said before on last year's trip there how it's such a juxtaposition between the old buildings, which feel like you're walking in a film set, and the big new modern city. It feels like New York or somewhere but it's so quiet. And calm and clean. And there are palm trees growing everywhere.

For a city, it's actually really small and easily walkable. There's not too much there shopping wise but it's well worth a visit. Last time we took the ferry across to Coronado but as we had a car this time we decided to drive as parking is so much easier over the water.

We'd packed up a picnic and ate it by the beach before renting bikes to explore the island.

Again, it was house porn central. We were about a week too early to see all the fourth of July decorations but a few had started preparing early.

The view from the top of the island, across the water to the city is gorgeous.

Hugellyyy unflattering dress on a bike... 

My brother and I would spend hours and hours playing Sims when we were younger and it felt like we'd stepped right into a Sims neighbourhood or into an American film.

Such a cute little church.

Hot and sweaty, it was time for a Fro-yo on Orange Avenue the main shopping street in Coronado and then to hit the beach. Coronado is one of those classic Californian beaches with a boardwalk, Baywatch style lifeguard huts and rolling waves. It's constantly voted as one of the best beaches in America and the sand is so so white.

The Del sits behind it, an old hotel that's almost an institution in California now. Next time, I'm definitely booking a few nights there!

Another day, we visited the outdoor mall for some retail therapy. Although with the dollar rate {especially after the day Brexit was announced}, and the fact that they add 11% tax onto every purchase, nothing was super super cheap out there. I bought a few bits from Sephora {mecca}, Forever 21 and American Eagle but Anthropologie wasn't any cheaper than London. It didn't stop me lusting over everything in there though.

Obligatory Five Guys for lunch *heart eyes*.

I did buy this new maxi dress so wore it on an evening at Duke's restaurant in La Jolla.

A lot of love for this lot. And that sky before sunset!

There are so, so many choices of places to eat in La Jolla. We wished we'd had longer to try more of them! George's at the Cove, Cafe Med at La Valencia, Eddie V's, The Cottage, Puesto Mexican Street Food, Nine Ten, the list goes on. Foodie heaven. 

Duke's was good fun, good food and had this sunset which was probably my favourite of the whole trip.

On a grey morning we decided to walk down to Pacific Beach, it was about 3 miles through residential streets - some almost Beverly Hills like, but frankly with all the American food we were eating, we needed the walk! 

We spotted this outside one of the houses, so American but so so cute.

Pool float appreciation.

Pacific Beach is a completely different vibe again to both Coronado and La Jolla. Surfy, fun, a bit skater? Lots of proper Mexican taco restaurants {the whole of San Diego is amazing for tacos and mexican food being so close to the border} along with bars, some beach shops and the highlight - The Baked Bear ice cream sandwich shop! 

Emoji stickers in Urban Outfitters. Want!

You choose 2 flavours of cookies {or a brownie or a doughnut} and then choose your ice cream flavour. Writing this is making me soo hungry.

Torrey Pines National Park is another must see if you're in the area. There are spectacular hiking trails that lead down across cliffs to a beach as well as rattlesnakes and cactus! It was like being in the desert. Luckily we didn't see a snake, there's enough people walking there everyday to scare them away I'm sure.

We stopped at La Jolla Shores after our hike for lunch. It's the beach in between Torrey Pines and La Jolla itself which is always pretty packed but the little streets behind have got some good little lunch spots and the best fro-yo shop. The coconut flavour was amazing. In California I made it law for myself to have a frozen yogurt daily.

The week went by so quickly. There's just so much to see and do out there that we could have easily spent another week there. But I think we were all ready for some proper chill-out too. California is amazing but because there is so much to do and we were all so hyped up to be there, it's more adventure than holiday relaxation so Hawaii was perfect timing.

Still, we were sad to leave the beach house and wonderful town. 

On our last day, my parents and brother went down to San Diego to visit the USS Midway museum and Ben and I had one last walk into La Jolla for some shopping. There's a Kate Spade store that had a sale on as well as a stationery shop that I wanted to buy EVERYTHING from. The Americans do stationery so well don't you think. Also we walked past the house above, pink pinterest dreams!

There's some cute little antique shops that made us wish we had bigger suitcases.

And said hi to La Valencia. 

I'd been tempted with this obscene cupcake all week and finally decided to buy it on the last day. I did only have half but who cares about calories when in America... White chocolate, oreo cookies and cream!

After the incredible week pretending we were living like Americans, it was onto Hawaii.

Part 2 coming soon!

I really do love La Jolla/San Diego/California in general so if you're visiting and have any questions let me know!

Past trips to San Diego here and here.
California road trip posts with San Fran/Yosemite/LA here and here.

R <3 xx 

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