West Coast

Portland | Oregon

Since we had a total of two weeks allotted for our trip, we had to sacrifice some time up north in order to make it to a few additional destinations down south, which meant that sadly, we only had one day in Portland. This was my first time visiting, but I definitely plan on going back for more! Here's a brief snapshot of what we saw during our day.

Jedidiah Smith Redwood Forest | California

We decided to spend the night right in the middle of Redwood country, in a town called Crescent City. We found Patree's place on Airbnb and she was the perfect hostess for the evening! She was very knowledgeable about the area and this post is thanks to her because we would have missed out on this winding dirt road through the forest and a multitude of photo-ops had it not been for her advice! (Scroll down for a driving route) This area certainly exudes a mystical element; you can feel the centuries rising from the roots.

The GPS will send you on the highway to get to the Jedidiah Smith Redwood Campground; don't do it. Instead, backtrack a wee bit south to a small road called Howland Hill Road. Follow this for unforgettable views! Once the road turns to dirt, be on the lookout for a number of hollowed out trees along the way that are large enough for several adults to fit in.

Chandelier Dive Thru Tree | California

When we began planning a trip up the West Coast, I was most excited about visiting the land of the Redwoods and it did not disappoint! From San Francisco, we continued up the 101, which I would highly recommend for its aesthetic if you plan on visiting the area. The scenery is simply stunning.

As its name suggests, the Chandelier Tree is a hollowed Redwood large enough for a car to pass through. I was pleased to discover that we were only one of two couples at the time we arrived. While driving through a tree the size of a high rise was an impressive experience, the grounds are host to a bounty of fallen and uprooted trees, creating a natural playground to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

Alcatraz Island | California

Being a huge fan of crime procedurals, I was very excited for the opportunity to visit Alcatraz! In order to tour the island, you have to book tickets here a few weeks in advance. We opted for the early morning tour, which means that we were the first ones on the island. We had about an hour before the masses descended on the prison and I would highly recommend it.

Upon exiting the ferry on the island, we were greeted by a former inmate recounting his time on the island. We headed up the hill towards the penitentiary, entered though the shower room and were handed an audio tour to make our way around at our own pace, to the stories and recollections of former inmates and officers.

San Francisco | California

San Francisco is oozing charm at every turn. Well-preserved historical sites mesh with the conveniences of a modern city. Having been to San Francisco as a child, I have always had a desire to return as an adult. Luckily, San Francisco was on the route we were traveling and bonus, Haley was able to join us for a few days. In no particular order of things we watched the sun rise over the bay bridge, ate some churros at Pier 39, made the obligatory drive past the "Full House house", got locked up on Alcatraz and found some spectacular spots for photo-ops (click here for the locations). Unfortunately, the house from Mrs. Doubtfire was set on fire the evening we arrived which meant that it was a crime scene during our stay. I also convinced everyone that trying Indonesian food was imperative since the opportunity arose at Borobudur Restaurant. My comrades were brave and tried it all but ultimately only enjoyed the chicken sate. At the end of our time, I believe that overall our favorite place was the Musée Mécanique, a collection of vintage arcade games and entertainment, tucked away in Fisherman´s Wharf. Definitely worth a visit, whether you are alone, on a date, or with the family!