Travel


China Camp State Park camping and beach

china camp state park beach

China Camp State Park is a Bay Area jewel. It’s a beautiful state park which features camping, hiking, biking, water activities, and a beach on the bay. In addition to outdoor activities, China Camp State Park offers local Bay Area history which isn’t typically taught in schools. Love!

We recently took a weekend camping trip to China Camp State Park, and it was both beautiful and fun. The campsites are flat, and well maintained. There are plenty of hiking trails, biking trails, and fabulous views of the bay. The campsite is a quick drive from the beach, which also features a museum, and several buildings that are original to the historical fishing village.

You can drive, hike, or bike to the beach from the campgrounds. Then, you can relax on the beach with your own picnic, or you can buy snacks from the shop on-site. We drove to the beach from the campgrounds, and we brought our own sandwiches. It was relaxing and fun!

China Camp State Park campgrounds are easily accessible from 101 in San Rafael. I recommend making your campsite reservations six months in advance so you can pick the site you want, and ensure you actually get a site. October was a great month to camp since it wasn’t too hot, and the campground wasn’t crowded.

The campgrounds offer bathrooms and showers. For the showers, make sure you bring quarters as they require payment with quarters. Also, prepare to store your food at night in your car, or the bear box. The racoons are very smart, and not afraid to go after your food. We kept our cooler in the car after dark, and it worked perfectly.

There is a lot of wildlife at China Camp State Park. If you need quiet while you sleep, bring earplugs. There are plenty of coyote sounds, and bird sounds, in the middle of the night.

You can learn more at FriendsOfChinaCamp.org. If camping isn’t your thing, and you are local, you can always day trip to China Camp and enjoy the hiking trails, beach, and museum!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Pismo Beach day 3

pictured: cross body bag (coverts to a belt bag) /

Well, our third and last day in Pismo Beach was one of relaxation. In the morning, we relaxed by our hotel’s firepits and enjoyed pastries and coffee. After breakfast, we took a family walk around downtown and enjoyed a casual lunch at Pismo Pizza and Chowder House. My kids enjoyed the pizza, which they tell me was delicious, and I enjoyed curly fries and a cup of clam chowder. Yum!

pictured: cobalt mug (brought from home) / bracelets (local San Jose designer) / fall nail polish /

When we were done with lunch, we headed back to our hotel, and my husband and son went out to the beach. My daughters, on the other hand, wanted to go back to the downtown area and do some back-to-school shopping. I mean, who am I to object to some shopping?

It is very cool at my daughter’s high school to wear surf and skate brands. So, as you can imagine, my daughters found a couple of stores filled with the perfect attire to wear to school. We found plenty of tee’s, a sweater, and a sweatshirt they can wear in a few days when school starts. We also found key chains with their names on them! We never find their names on key chains, so we picked three! One for each of my children, with their names spelled perfectly. Love that!

After our shopping excursion, we relaxed with some tea, and then went back to the hotel patio to watch the waves, relax, and chat by the hotel firepits. Our hotel, Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach, was perfect for relaxing and admiring the beach and ocean. I highly recommend it if you travel to Pismo!

pictured: linen joggers / Gucci sneakers /

My family was tired after a day at the beach, or a day of back-to-school shopping, so after we relaxed, we headed out to dinner to our go-to Pismo restaurant; Brad’s. This is a casual diner that we always stop at for brunch on our way to Southern California. As I mentioned in my day one post, we always stop in Pismo on our way somewhere! This was the first time we had Pismo Beach as our vacation destination, and we loved it!

What I wore on day three in Pismo Beach:

If you visit Pismo Beach, be sure to eat at Brad’s. They have a huge menu, and all of the food is delicious. Plus, the prices are reasonable. We have been eating there for years!

Well, that’s a wrap! Back to our busy lives in the Bay Area, and in a few days; school!

A few questions I have been asked on Instagram:

  1. This hotel looks beautiful, is it expensive? A: Yes, it is pricey, but it is also part of the Marriott network, so if you collect Marriott points you can use them to stay here and offset the cost.
  2. Can you recommend an affordable restaurant? A: Yes! Brad’s, Cool Cat Cafe, and Pismo Pizza and Chowder House. Yum!
  3. What is the weather like in Pismo? A: It was cool and comfortable. I would say the Pismo Beach area is roughly 10-15 degrees cooler than the Bay Area during the summer. We were sad to leave and go home to 90 degrees. So pack a sweater or sweatshirt, as well as at least one pair pants; just in case. I packed two pairs of shorts but never wore them. I lived in linen joggers, jeans, and leggings.
  4. Do the restaurants in Pismo require reservations? A: We only had reservations at The Oyster Loft and Somerset Grill. If you want an ocean view restaurant, I recommend making reservations. Most of the restaurants in town are on the casual side, and don’t require reservations.

Let me know if you have any additional questions and I will answer them!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy


Pismo Beach day 2

wearing: sunglasses / lipstick / earrings / puff sleeve tee (under $50) / cross body bag / bracelets / fall nail polish / linen joggers / espadrille mules /

On our second day in Pismo Beach, we decided to check out Cal Poly and their famous hiking trail known as the Architecture Graveyard. We woke up early, grabbed breakfast, and then by 8:30am, we were in our car heading up to Cal Poly; which my oldest daughter was excited about since it is one of twenty schools she is interested in attending next year. I am pretty sure we cannot visit them all, but I digress. . .

Poly Canyon Trail aka Architecture Graveyard Cal Poly

wearing: sunglasses / workout tee / fall nail polish / cardigan / cross body bag / wide leg leggings (old, also love this pair) / hiking boots (old, also love these) /

The Architecture Graveyard is located on the Poly Canyon Trail. This trail begins as a service road, and roughly one mile in, you will find the entrance to the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s trail.

This trail features work by Architecture and Engineering students which dates back to the 1960s. It’s interesting to see how architecture has changed from mid-century modern to now. One thing we found disappointing was the amount of graffiti and vandalism on many of the projects. It’s sad that people would come in and harm projects students created. Despite the vandalism, we could still picture the original intent of the projects, many of which would translate extremely well into real life. Of course, some are merely artistic.

Hiking on this trail was fantastic with the kids. They were having fun checking out the works, and didn’t notice how much hiking they actually did! Our round trip hike was well over two miles; much more then I get my kids to hike on a regular hiking trail. Love that! I highly recommend checking out this trail if you visit the area.

Downtown San Luis Obispo

After our hike, we were hungry! We headed over to Downtown San Luis Obispo and to Firestone Grill for lunch. This restaurant was recommended by the valet at our hotel, Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach. He steered us in the right direction! They had delicious lunch options which were all generous in size. The side of fries alone could feed a family of five! We were very full after lunch. I highly recommend checking this place out when you are in SLO. It’s delicious and reasonably priced. Love!

With our bellies full, we took a short walk around downtown, and then did a self-guided tour around the mission; which is beautiful. I recommend checking out this important part of California history if you visit SLO.

When we were done touring downtown, we headed back to Pismo Beach, and rested for a short bit in our hotel. Then, we headed downstairs for dinner at the Somerset Grill in our hotel, which was delicious! I enjoyed a salmon dinner with lentils and mushrooms. Yum!

After dinner, we walked around the beach and pier. We discovered there was a height ruler on the edge of the “P” of the Pismo Beach sign by the pier. We had fun seeing our heights with shoes on. I love how shoes add a couple inches. We all felt so tall! haha

Shop my Pismo Beach day 2 outfit and hiking look online:

Day 2 in Pismo Beach was a great day! We got some exercise, checked out a college, and relaxed by the beach. Love!

Stay tuned for more coverage from Pismo!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy