California is beautiful. Point blank. It’s always hard for me to put my travel experiences into words, because I feel like I can never do them justice. I’m so thrilled my boyfriend loves to travel as much as I do. Last month we took a weekend trip up the coast of California, from Los Angeles to Carmel Valley. It is about a 6 hour drive, the perfect road trip. The official name is Carmel Valley Village in Monterey County, California. Filled with rolling hills and beautiful greenery, Carmel Valley makes for a perfectly quaint, weekend getaway. It is famous for it’s wineries and cute inns and lodges. We also explored the 17-Mile drive (one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever seen), the Monterey Bay Aquarium (about 30 minutes from Carmel), and on the way back, drove down the coast of Big Sur. The best part is, we did all of this in one weekend without feeling rushed.
We planned to leave Friday around midday, but my boyfriend waits until the last minute to pack, so we ended up leaving around 8 p.m. and arriving around 2 a.m. Thank goodness for valet. We stayed at the gorgeous Bernardus Lodge & Spa. It is Carmel Valley’s most exclusive and luxurious resort. The resort is very charming and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The room (which is like it’s own little villa) was absolutely divine, with a neutral grey color palette, wood floors, granite counter tops, a FIRE PLACE and a complimentary wine bar.
Saturday we woke up and had breakfast in bed. Honestly, having breakfast in bed is one of my favorite parts of staying in a hotel. The food was good. Pricey but good. We spent the day driving around and sight seeing, before eventually ending up at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is about a 30-minute drive from Bernardus Lodge. However, the aquarium closes at 5p.m. and we arrived around 4:30p.m. If you by tickets that late in the day, they still allow you to go in AND come back the next day, which was nice. After scoping out what we wanted to see at the aquarium, we decided to do the 17-Mile Drive. It is a scenic road through Pebble Beach. It was only a 12 minutes drive from the aquarium. I recommend going at sunset for some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see. I had to stop and get out of the car every 5 seconds to take a photo. My favorite photo that I captured is of one of the 10 most famous trees in the world, The Lone Cypress. The tree is one of California’s most enduring landmarks, having been perched on it’s granite hill for over 250 years.
Sunday we had breakfast in bed again. I think Sunday’s are so scary because it’s the end of the weekend. Then we headed back over to the aquarium and took what my boyfriend calls “instaworthy shots.” Proud of him for stepping up his insta-game lol. We spent about two hours in the aquarium which I believe is enough time to see everything. We wanted to leave early enough to drive down Big Sur. It is described as the “greatest meeting of land and water in the world.” I absolutely agree.
Overall, this road trip was one of my favorites thus far. Definitely one that I would do again. For those wanting to travel on a budget, there are cute lodges and inns in Carmel Valley as an alternative option to the Bernardus Lodge & Spa. I recommend looking into the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa; they have rooms for under $200 a night! Andddd, another $$$-conscious bonus is that the beautiful views along the scenic route of Big Sur are absolutely free. 🙂