3 Day Guide to Southern California

Ames Adventure

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3 Days on the West Coast

Are you looking to escape the cold and live the dream? Cali is calling. Read about my adventure to the Gold Coast.

Day 1: Museums

My California adventure began in the Santa Ana Airport which was small and adorable and the best part for me, not confusing. I am not the best solo traveler so this made things a bit easier. Then it was off to a California expert: Nicole's glam apartment in Rancho Santa Margarita. If you haven’t been to this cute little town, it is a must. The view of the mountains is absolutely breathtaking and you are minutes away from the beach, I mean what’s not to love? Nicole was the best host, as she stocked her apartment with all my favorite goodies. Now that’s what best friends are for.

Now for our first official FULL day; the museums. We were off to Long Beach to check out The Queen Mary and The Aquarium of the Pacific. Fun little fact about The Queen Mary… it isn’t accessible, therefore that wasn’t a long tour. We rolled up to the boat, checked out the front and then we were back in the car and on to the next stop. Lucky for them, Nicole is a good sport and we didn’t let a little bump in the road stop our fun. Who wants to go on a haunted boat anyway?! Aside from the accessibility problem, the boat was pretty impressive just to look at. If you enjoy spooky events, check out their paranormal walk or any of their haunted attractions. You can experience “Illusions of the Past” or “Dining with the Spirits.”

Now the aquarium was where the fun was at!.They had everything from penguins and otters to unique light shows! And of course Nicole insisted I pet the slimy stingrays… not exactly my kind of enjoyment but hey when in Cali, am I right?! My favorite thing I would have to say though was the hands-on starfish exhibit! They are some pretty amazing creatures. After a day of checking out the fishes, we hit up Downtown Long Beach for some cocktails and sushi with a view.

Day 2: Disney

Now if you know Nicole and I, you know that we live for Disney vacations but this was our very first Disney LAND experience together. I have to say, I am a Disney WORLD fan all the way but I did appreciate the old time feel of DisneyLand. One must-try food in DisneyLand is definitely the Mickey Beignets. Talk about melt in your mouth doughnuts. O. M. G. I still dream about these to this day, I honestly can’t tell you what is better, the Mickey soft pretzel or these powdery clouds. Nicole and I had a blast meeting all the characters and dancing our way through toon-town. We couldn’t leave without going on the Ferris wheel in the Disney California Adventure Park. Now this isn’t just any Ferris Wheel, let me add, it is one that rocks back and forth! I have never laughed and cried so hard at the same time in my life. Let me tell you, being locked inside a cage is not a good time to realize you don’t like Ferris Wheels. Thankfully, Nicole talked me through it and then of course insisted we ride it again. I must say it was worth it to see the fireworks from the top.

Day 3: The Beaches

Yes, it is true what they say about California beaches. You feel as if you were dropped right in the middle of a Hollywood film. Wow, from someone living on an island being surrounded by a beach, I was in awe of the Pacific Coast. Our first stop was San Clemente and I must say, this was my favorite. I don’t know if it was being able to sip my lavender latte while gazing out into the ocean or the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect but I never wanted to leave this spot. Caterina’s coffee was to die for and the little outdoor bar made it the perfect morning stop to enjoy our cup of coffee outside. Now our next stop was necessary for multiple reasons, have you heard the Luke Bryan song about the pier? Well, let’s just say it is one of our favorites and when there is a pier right in front of you, it’s a must! We hit up The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar for a bloody mary and a snack. While we could have easily stayed here all day, there was so much more to see! Next up was actually the drive down PCH. Apparently everyone in Cali knows what that means but for newbies like me, it stands for Pacific Coast Highway. Who would have thought a road could be so fun? It was the most gorgeous scenic drive I had ever taken.

After blasting country music down the highway, we had to check out the hype in Laguna Beach. I felt like a celebrity lounging on the couches overlooking the beach at The Deck on Laguna Beach. This was the perfect spot to watch the sun slowly set as we sipped our margaritas. Now with little time left before dark, we were off to one last beach. Newport Beach was our last and final stop of the evening and boy was it worth it. This town seemed like one I’d like to go back and explore one day. It was filled with shops and restaurants!

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Welcome to Ames Adventures; Your local Guide to experience the magic of discovering local treasures! I’m Amy Malone. I’m a proud Long Island educator and founder of lifestyle blog, Aimtoadventure.com. Here you’ll find my local adventures, including my favorite bites, scenic spots, unique road trip ideas, trendy boutiques and my passion for mindfulness and journaling.

Kings Park, NY
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