California Road Trip: Ten Must-See Places on Highway One - Pinch of Yum
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California Road Trip: Ten Must-See Places on Highway One

Ocean view.

Today’s post is sponsored by NatureBox, makers of delicious snacks that are a road tripper’s best friend.

Hi friends! We’re hooooome! Said with a long Minnesota o.

This little post today is going to include a quick trip recap of the California road trip, snacks by NatureBox, a giveaway for a year’s worth of NatureBox snacks (omg get it), a smorgasbord of vacation pictures, and a list of ten must-see places near or on Highway One in California.

So with that intro, let me just say wow. I am so glad we did this trip! <– understatement of my life. We spent the last ten days taking in the incredible state that is California via an extended road trip on the famed (and sometimes kinda scary) Highway One. It was a super busy trip with lots of sightseeing and blog work in between and bajillions of pictures. Like a bucket list kinda trip.

Woman standing on rocks near the ocean.

I included a more detailed itinerary with my ten must-see places on Highway One (cities to see, parks to visit, places to stop along the way) at the end of the post in case you happen to find this post while looking to plan your own trip! Check it out by just scroooolling on down to the end.

Days 1-3: We started our adventures in San Jose and Santa Cruz where I was connecting with some food blog friends for a quick beach rendezvous and Bjork was holding things down on the blog front from a cheap hotel room. Which was actually sort of perfect for both of us.

Resort in California.

Days 4-7: We hit the road and made our way to Pacific Grove where we found an adorable little rental home and set up shop for a few days exploring the cities and beaches and all kinds of walking trails of Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur.

A quick word about Big Sur: driving that coast from Pacific Grove to Santa Barbara on Highway 1 was one of the best days of my life. –> Not afraid to use bold there. We saw ACTUAL WHALES in the WILD from the side of the road at a SCENIC OVERLOOK. What?! Like, we literally pulled over and just saw whales from the side of a cliff.

The fact that this kind of awesomeness exists in real life blows my mind.

Man standing on a cliff looking at the sunset.

Days 8-10: We found warmer temps and sunshine when we got to the Los Angeles area (specifically, Long Beach, and more specifically, Naples) to visit a friend from high school who recently became a Californian.

Two people sitting on rocks looking at the ocean.

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of awesome restaurant recommendations to give from this trip because so many of our meals were either in-house (green smoothies, chips and salsa, and cheese and crackers) or eating on the road (hiiii NatureBox Peanut Butter Nom Noms).

Small round snack.

But as a result of all that car snacking, I DO have a list of five must-try snacks from NatureBox that we need to talk about.

If you’re not familiar with the beauty of NatureBox –> it’s a subscription snack service that allows you to choose from 100+ wholesome snacks based on your eating preferences or health goals – no added sugar, vegan, non-GMO, etc – and then ships them right to your door.

Before our trip, I just went online and picked out the snacks we wanted to try, they showed up on our doorstep, and we packed them up and took them to California.

On the road, our munchies from NatureBox saved the snacking day. They provided us with an array of wholesome, flavorful, savory AND sweet snacks, and kept us fed and happy during the long stretches of Highway 1 with no restaurants or shops in sight.

We had a collection of ten little 4-serving-ish sized bags of snacks for this trip and we came back with exactly zero left – I polished off the final crumbs of our last bag of Sriracha Roasted Cashews on the airplane on our way home. We ♡ NatureBox snacks!

Hands holding snacks.

Our NatureBox Road Trip Favorites:

  1. Peanut Butter Nom Noms (my fave)
  2. Sriracha Pop Pops (Bjork’s fave)
  3. Dutch Cocoa Sun Crunch
  4. Pistachio Power Clusters
  5. Chocolate Quinoa Granola

If you’re interested in seeing what NatureBox is all about IN PERSON (like, in real food form), you can sign up for their free snack trial here to receive a selection of their most popular snacks. This is available to readers in the US and Canada.

Here’s the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now, onto my barrage of pictures.

View from the airplane.
Dock to the ocean.
Man on the shore.
Man on the beach.
Ocean water view.
Tall trees.
Ocean view.
Sunset on the ocean.
Woman on the beach.
Two men on a bridge.
Woman wearing glasses holding a snack.
Seals on the shore.
California Road Trip Snacks.
Man standing next to a waterfall.
Woman's reflection.
Man and woman wearing sunglasses.
Men standing in ocean water.
Large restaurant.
Man and woman on the beach.
Large tree.
Three people smiling.
Table with plates of food.
Trees with a sunset in the background.
Woman doing a yoga pose in the sunset.
Three people's silhouettes.
Silhouette of a man jumping.
Man kissing a woman's cheek.
Man and woman smiling.
Men eating snacks.
View overlooking the city.
Sunken City.
Ostrich Farm Restaurant table with food.

For those who might be planning a trip, here’s a more detailed itinerary with my TEN MUST SEE PLACES (the ones in bold) near or on Highway One:

  • Day 1: flew into San Jose
  • Day 2: Santa Cruz beach rental house – VRBO #433060
  • Day 3: (another night on the beach in Santa Cruz)
  • Day 4: Pacific Grove rental house – VRBO #324713
  • Day 5: Day trip to Carmel Beach and Point Lobos State Park
  • Day 6: Day trip to Asilomar State Park, bike riding through Monterey, Monterey Aquarium
  • Day 7: Driving Highway One from Pacific Grove to Santa Barbara (one of the best days of my life): Garrapata State Park, Big SurPfeiffer State Beach, Pfeiffer State Park, Nepenthe Restaurant, Elephant Seal Lookout at Piedras Blancas, and countless scenic overlooks from the highway
  • Day 8: Long Beach
  • Day 9: Los Angeles, Grand Central Market, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Griffith Observatory at Sunset
  • Day 10: flew home!

Thank you to NatureBox for sponsoring this post and giveaway! 

Let’s keep the Cali love going! Check out this post of my time in La Jolla.

Filed Under: Giveaway Life Travel

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jennifer Petersen

    Lovely pictures! NatureBox sounds like my kind of cuisine. 🙂 I would like to try the Dark Cocoa Almonds and the Double Berry Fruit Peels. Thank you for the post!! I can’t wait to hear about your new fur-baby. 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Caity S

    I’ve been wanting to try NatureBox for a while now and just haven’t signed up, but it would be perfect for all of the work travel that I do! The sweet & salty nut medley looks delicious, but so do the pistachio power clusters, cranberry almond bites, sticks & stones, and all the popcorn. So many delicious choices!!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Probiotic power mix! It would be be so, so good mixed with yogurt, or oatmeal, or pretty much any way.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Those snacks look TASTY! Road trip at the end of April…..We will have to stock up!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Sriracha cashews? YUM
    Also, this post makes me so grateful to call California home. It’s an amazing place!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Those peanut butter nom noms, I have to say… they look amazing!! Always wanted to try Naturebox 🙂 beautiful pictures as well!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am so psyched to love in Northern California and that I am off to vacation in Big Sur at Esalen Institute this Sunday!! First vacation without the kids ever!

    Also, Santa Clara is not on the coast, so where did you stay? Half Moon Bay?

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    California is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world! I am having serious vacation envy. Also, the Sea Salt Pop Pops look amazing!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    That’s my hood! I was born in Monterey and lived in Carmel until I moved away for college.

    Such a beautiful area and it looks like you had a great time. Point Lobos and Big Sur are some of my favorites!