3 California road trip ideas

It is the time of year when we all start to plan family vacations. Spring break is fast approaching, and summer vacation is on the horizon. Sometimes we have enough of a break in our schedule to plan a plane trip somewhere and enjoy it for a week, or possibly more, but other times, we have a small break in our schedule and a road trip is the best option for a family vacation.

If you are local to California, and looking for a road trip idea, here are a few, which may seem obvious, but hopefully will spark a road trip idea anyway. If you are from out of state, you can easily fly into one of our airports, rent a car, and enjoy one or more of these spots on your vacation. Feel free to leave your road trip ideas in the comments below!

Napa Valley

napa river sunset winter

One of the most popular road trips in California is heading up to wine country. That being said, you don’t have to go wine tasting to enjoy the Napa Valley. This can be a road trip you enjoy with the entire family, and also as someone who does not drink alcohol.

There are plenty of activities in the Napa Valley the entire family can enjoy such as hiking through the Petrified Forest. Here is my full post on this beautiful destination. Call before you go to ensure they have recovered from the recent storms.

You can also visit the geysers, check out the culinary institute, or enjoy a winery with or without drinking.

Pismo Beach

pismo beach sign pier

Pismo Beach is one of the less traveled beaches in California. It is in between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, so for those of us traveling between the two Metropolitain areas, Pismo Beach is a great rest stop for lunch or brunch. That being said, have you ever stayed overnight? If not, then you should! There are fabulous hotels on or near the beach and the beach itself is quite relaxing in the quiet morning hours before the tourists arrive. Even when the tourists arrive, it isn’t too overrun.

In addition to enjoying the beach, you can drive a few minutes to San Luis Obispo and enjoy the hiking trails at Cal Poly SLO. You can check out my post about it here. Poly Canyon Trail is a must-see in the Pismo Beach, SLO area.


Lake Tahoe might be an obvious choice, but it is a place you can visit again and again. So, even if you have already taken a road trip to Tahoe, you might think about going back to see something new. There are too many trails to count, so hiking is always new and exciting. The views from most hiking trails are beautiful and beyond belief, therefore, it is always a breathtaking experience; in addition to the thin air! haha

There are also silver mines close by. These are worth the drive to see in person. We always talk about the gold mining history in California, but the silver mines were here too.

This year, we had record snowfall. This means the Tahoe region may still have snow during spring break and early summer! Grab your sled and get ready to play in the snow! You can build a snowman, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, and just play!

Of course, these are only three ideas. You can always take a road trip to a more obscure location in the state, or head down to Disneyland or Universal Studios for some fun. It is also fun to play tourist and check out all the tourist areas and traps in Hollywood.

What are your favorite road trip ideas in California?

Thanks for stopping by!


What to pack in a carry on bag

what to pack in carry-on bag travel essentials

Travel essentials from top left: scarf (this doubles as blanket on a plane) / compact travel iron / sturdy backpack (stays on when running to connecting flights!) / suitcase lock (keep your stuff safe!) / neck pillow (must have for sleeping on the plane) / water bottle (fill up after you go through TSA) / suitcase set (great price!) / luggage tags (bright tags are easy to see in baggage claim)

Wondering what to pack in your carry-on bag for an upcoming flight? If you are like me, you will want to bring a backpack to store under the seat in front of you, and a small, TSA approved suitcase for the overhead bin. In the suitcase, you are likely to have your handbags, anything expensive or of value, and TSA approved sized toiletries.

When it comes to the bag you stow underneath the seat in front of you, chances are, you will want items which make your flight more comfortable; especially if it is a long flight or a red eye! I have found, I only need a few items to make my flight comfortable, especially since I tend to take red eye flights when I go back east.

I like to attempt sleep when I fly, therefore, a scarf which doubles as a blanket, and a neck pillow, are must-haves. I have tried several neck pillows, and most of them slip off or don’t provide any comfort for my neck. The one pictured above, actually does! It has Velcro to secure the ends together and it can spin around on your neck so you are able to find the ideal thickness for your nap. It also folds into a little bag which can hang from the zipper on your backpack; just in case your backpack is stuffed to capacity.

When it comes to packing, sometimes I like to stuff as much as I can into my carry-on suitcase, this little travel iron saves the day from the inevitable wrinkles which occur from an overstuffed suitcase. It fits nicely into a carry-on bag. I don’t trust hotel irons, so this one is a life-saver. Love it!

A lot of travelers seem to like large tote bags to stuff under the seat in front of them, if you feel secure and comfortable with a tote, you do you, that being said, I find backpacks more comfortable and practical. A sturdy backpack will keep your items secure, and if you have a tight layover, a backpack is easy to put on and not worry about while running to a connecting flight. I will not fly with a tote, only a backpack. It is a must-have for me. The backpack I use isn’t made anymore, but the one pictured above is the same as my daughters and it is fabulous. She uses it to carry a heavy laptop at school and for flying. She loves it, so I highly recommend it!

Shop carry-on travel essentials online:

In addition to what is pictured above, I always have a TSA approved hand cream in my backpack because my hands always get dry on the plane; plus the soap in airport bathrooms is always drying.

What are your carry-on travel essentials?

Happy travels!


Things to do in Central PA

Things to do in Central Pennsylvania

penn state football

State College PA

Looking for a vacation which doesn’t involve a big city? Why not check out historical, Central Pennsylvania! You can easily fly into State College, PA and then travel around from there. While this list may not be complete, these activities should fill up a few days of your vacation and get you out and about in Central PA!

The first thing you need to do is check out the on-campus museum at Penn State named The Palmer Museum of Art. This is an international museum with works from ancient civilizations through to modern times. I loved finding a Warhol, a Rembrandt, and the special exhibits which rotate every semester. This museum is incredible!

For more information about the Palmer Museum, please visit

Since the Palmer Museum of Art is on campus, which happens to be in downtown State College, be sure to walk around and enjoy the historical buildings, local shops, and street art. Isn’t that bench, pictured above by the library, fabulous?

For a meal, you will want to indulge in The Corner Room or Allen Street Grill. They are historical restaurants with amazing food, and even better service. Yum!

If you are in town during the football season, be sure to go to a Penn State game. It is an iconic football school!

Lincoln Canverns

You cannot visit Central PA without checking out the caves! Lincoln Caverns offers tours which last roughly one hour and are extremely informative. We really enjoyed touring there!

For information about tours and more, please visit

Gettysburg PA

You cannot visit Central PA without going to Gettysburg! There is a museum, historical downtown, and more. We spent the day touring the town, learning the history, and appreciating what our fabulous Union army accomplished. You can head straight to the museum to buy tickets for tours, get information, and more.

Boalsburg PA

Boalsburg is next door to State College, and home to Tussey Mountain as well as an expansive military museum. This is a great place to get some snow play, skiing, and history in for the day.

For more information about Tussey Mountain, please visit

Rockhill Furnace PA

How cute is this train! There is a tiny town named Rockhill Furnace which offers extra small town vibes, and a one hour train ride. It is a fun to ride a train and learn about the history of this small town. You can learn more at

There you have it! A few fun things to do in Central PA which should fill up a vacation if you don’t mind a little driving from where you flew into town. Sometimes you can find gems away from the big city. Enjoy central Pennsylvania!