Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

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Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

On the west coast of the United States, California has a lot to offer to those who put their heart into it. Between national parks and spectacular cities, just follow the guide!

You're surely familiar with cosmopolitan Los Angeles, the famous Hollywood film studios and San Francisco's blue house. So what do you say we take another view at California? Let's head to Solvang for instance, a small American Copenhagen, or to the magnificent Lake Tahoe, hidden amid mountain chains. From the famous Yosemite Park and its impressive summits to the Alcatraz prison and even the Beverly Hills neighbourhood, get ready for Californian beauties. Follow our guide Alex Vizeo and get on board his fantastic road trip!

Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 1: San Francisco

San Francisco lights up…

The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the first image that comes to mind when you hear of San Francisco. To create unforgettable memories of the City by the Bay, take the ferry or ride your bike and cross the famous red bridge (if you're not afraid of heights)!

A stroll on Pier 39 to watch the sea lions

Sea lions amid the city? It is actually a quite common sight for San Franciscans. Lying on large floating docks, they strike a pose for photographs and curious visitors coming especially to see them. They are the real celebrities around here!

Discover the famous Alcatraz prison

The most famous of all prison islands holds no more convicts and Alcatraz has become a must-go-to for travellers stopping by San Francisco. If you're looking for an unusual experience, choose a nighttime visit, at the end of which you'll witness cell lockdown. It will send shivers down your spine!

Where to breakfast?

Fresh break at Farmer's Market

What better way to start the day than with some delicious breakfast, especially at Farmer's Market! Between organic produce, fresh pasta and other various delicacies, you can also run a few gourmet errands to snack on later during the day.

Where to sleep?

A few steps away from the Golden Gate, set up camp at the Cavallo Point Lodge. In a cosy atmosphere, you'll be able to enjoy a sense of calm provided by the San Francisco Bay, as well as a gorgeous view onto the Golden Gate Bridge from the panoramic windows of your bedroom.

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA

Pier 39
Beach St & The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94133

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
One Ferry Building, #50,
San Francisco, CA 94111

Hôtel Cavallo Point
601 Murray Cir,
Sausalito, CA 94965
+1 415 339 4700

Discover our travel guide for San Francisco


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 2: San Francisco's trendy neighbourhoods

Mission, the oldest part of San Francisco

Carry on with your journey to the heart of the city: you have to take a stroll in the colourful Mission District, one of the oldest in San Francisco now housing an important Hispanic community, and in a broader sense, cultural diversity.

Castro, at once hype and retro

The Castro, as it is called, is a very lively neighbourhood. Make a stop at 429 Castro Street, in front of the famous movie theatre and its Baroque façade, which really has to be seen. Do not miss Harvey Milk's photo shop at 575 Market Street and then carry on to Haight-Ashbury, a former hippie neighbourhood where the Greatful Dead band used to live. Visit the Buena Vista Park and wander along steep streets lined with beautiful Victorian houses.

Late night on Ocean Beach

Before going out for a drink, head over to Ocean Beach and enjoy a traditional camp fire by the sea. All year long, outdoor barbeques are available for you to spend truly unforgettable moments, as water draws near.

Where to go out?

Whether for dinner or simply to have a drink, you have to try the Sabrosa, only a stone's throw away from the bay. Order one of the many house cocktails, along with a few Mexican snacks. Close to the famous Lombard Street, you can also take a seat at the Eastside West Bar. Brunch is served all week long, tacos are the Tuesday special and a bottle service menu is also available to kick off the evening.

Bar Sabrosa
3200 Fillmore St,
San Francisco, CA 94123
+1 415 638 6500

Bar Eastside West
3154 Fillmore St,
San Francisco, CA 94123
+1 415 885 4000


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 3: Sacramento

Hop on the culture train

After two days full of discoveries, make your way towards California's capital. About 60 miles from San Francisco, you'll love wandering around the Sacramento streets, straight out of a western. Make a detour to the California Railroad Museum and learn about old locomotives and passenger cars, as the country's history is actually linked to the construction of the railroad.

Where to sleep?

Have you ever dreamt of sleeping on a boat? Then opt for a night on board the Delta King. In one of the seven bedrooms of this floating hotel, you'll enjoy unrivalled comfort and a magnificent view onto the Sacramento River and the city's various attractions.

Hôtel Delta King
1000 Front Street Old Sacramento
CA 95814
+1 916 444 5464


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 4: Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, nature's magic

About 100 miles from Sacramento, a visit to Lake Tahoe is an essential. Nestled amid a mountain chain and a forest, the clear waters of this oasis will take your breath away!

Thrills and zip-lines

Craving for a high altitude excursion? The use the Heavenly Gondola cable car. Hop off midway to make the best of majestic views over Lake Tahoe, then back in to hurtle down the impressive Blue Streak zip-line.

Where to lunch?

After this adrenaline rush, you'll need to stop at a Heavenly Village restaurant. Devour a hot dog and a few cinnamon rolls at the Heaven's Little Café before carrying on with your trip.

Where to have dinner?

At Sprouts Café, you can taste healthy specials like smoothies, salads and colourful fruit juices.

Where to sleep?

For a dream night on the shores of Lake Tahoe, your best pick is the Hotel Azure. Relax in one of the nine rooms and suites, adorned with modern wooden design. Sit by the pool in the inner courtyard and enjoy some well-earned relaxation!

Heaven's Little Café
1001 Heavenly Village Way #23
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Sprouts Café
3123 Harrison Ave
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
+1 530 541 6969

Hôtel Azure
3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
+1 800 877 1466


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 5: Around Lake Tahoe

Hiking in Emerald Bay

About 12 miles from Heavenly Village, you have an appointment with Mother Nature in the Emerald Bay National Park. This is the starting point of the Vikingsholm hiking trail, which offers almost 400 feet of elevation! About 2 miles long, it weaves through the forest and offers incredible views onto Lake Tahoe.

Where to lunch?

It is now time to get comfy and indulge in a gourmet break at Raley's. In this huge supermarket, you'll find fresh produce, pastries and various typically American specialities.

1040 Emerald Bay Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-6214


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 6: Yosemite Park

Total city break in Yosemite

Your next stop is 120 miles away from the Emerald Bay State Park. There, spectacular waterfalls, huge cliffs and gigantic sequoia trees await you. Take a breath of fresh air and walk up the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail. With an almost 1,000-feet incline, this 1.8-mile long trek will leave you speechless.

Where to breakfast?

What better way to start the day than with a healthy breakfast? Choose a breakfast bowl and get your fill of vegetables and proteins. Comfortably seated in the Revive Coffee & Wine charming garden, sip on a tall latte or an espresso before setting out again.

Where to lunch?

Decorated with fairy lights, large wooden chairs and tables, the Iron Door Saloon looks straight out of a western. The Star Spangled Banner, one dollar bills and old monochrome photographs will dress a typically American lunch with a feel of authenticity.

Where to sleep?

Less than 18 miles from the Yosemite National Park, the Half Dome Village welcomes you for a glamourous camping night amid the forest. You can choose to stay in either small cabins or upscale tents with bed, wooden furniture and shelves.

Revive Coffee & Wine
3135 Harrison Avenue
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
+1 530 600 4007

Iron Door Saloon
18761 Main St,
Groveland, CA 95321
+1 209 962 8904

Half Dome Village
9010 Curry Village Dr
Yosemite Valley, CA 95389
+1 888 413 8869


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 7: Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes, natural beauty

From the Half Dome Village, you'll have to drive for 60 miles before reaching Mammoth Lakes. Between dizzyingly high mountains, thick forest and a crystal clear lake, a single trek is all it takes to feel the bewitching nature of this timeless landscape.

Where to lunch?

After your magical excursion in Mammoth Lakes, try out Toomey's and its 1970s-like decoration for lunch. There, you can devour a filet mignon, followed by a delicious carrot cake and a cappuccino for instance.

Where to sleep?

Nestled on a hillside amid the forest, the Westin Monache Resort is a genuine piece of paradise in the heart of nature. Its large picture windows, ultra-design decoration and spacious suites will undoubtedly seduce you!

Where to have a drink?

Night owls will probably appreciate the possibility of having a beer at the Mammoth Brewery Tasting Room! Only two minutes away from the hotel, you'll enjoy home brewed beers in a charming garden that also serves delicious meals. Drink in moderation of course!

Mammoth Brewery Tasting Room
18 Lake Mary Rd
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
+1 760 934 7141

6085 Minaret Rd
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
+1 760 924 4408

Westin Monache Resort
50 Hillside Dr
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
+1 760 934 0400


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 8: Channel Islands

Full-scale nature in Channel Islands

Time has come to hurry towards the Island Packers Office to retrieve your boat tickets, heading for the sublime Channel Islands National State Park. There, you'll see spectacular ocean landscapes, enjoy a terrific kayak spot and even observe whales or schools of flying fishes if you're lucky. Magic also finds its way at your feet through exceptional flora and carpets of wild flowers during summer.

Where to sleep?

End the day by driving back to Ojai, north of Ventura. Spend the night in one of the Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn's 81 rooms. Spacious and bright, they hold the promise of unrivalled service.

Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn
550 Sanjon Rd
Ventura, CA 93001
+1 805 947 757

Island Packers Office
1691 Spinnaker Dr #105B
Ventura, CA 93001
+1 805 642 1393


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 9: Ojai and Santa Barbara

Hiking in Ojai

Ojai is waiting for your visit! Do not miss the exhibitions and various other events of the city museum. Take advantage of your stay and hike around Lake Casitas, only a few miles away.

Tram ride in Santa Barbara

Further west, your road trip across California will lead you to Santa Barbara. On board a traditional tram, you'll be able to discover the city and its history. The guide will reveal many anecdotes and tell you about the various celebrities that have ever lived there.

Where to lunch?

Take a gourmet break at the Bree'Osh French bakery. On the menu: brioches of course, but also croissants, burgers and even some Kouign-amann, a very buttery speciality straight from Brittany, France.

Where to sleep?

Before hoping on to your next destination, you'll keep driving further west until you reach El Capitan Canyon, for a night of “glamping” (or glamourous camping). Mini cabins and converted tents create a new kind of experience in the heart of the forest.

1150 Coast Village Rd
Montecito, CA 93108
+1 805 705 7415

El Capitan Canyon
11560 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
+1 805 685 3887

Ojai Valley Museum
130 W Ojai Ave
Ojai, CA 93023
+1 805 640 1390


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 10: Solvang

Solvang, the American Copenhagen

Get ready for Solvang, a genuine Danish city in the midst of the American West. With its windmill, typical houses and Mermaid replica, this warm town is brimming with surprising activities.

Culinary delights in the spotlight

Get your fill of chocolate and sweets at the very famous Ingeborg's Danish Chocolate Shop. There, prepare to discover brand new flavours before resuming your journey to the Buttonwood Farm Pintado Winery & Vineyard. Expect visits, tastings and gourmet picnic in the vineyard.

Where to brunch?

Revel in a delectable Danish brunch at The Solvang Restaurant. Order the famous medisterpolse (Danish sausage) and pancakes with raspberry jam for a total experience.

Where to have a drink?

Before making your way to the hotel, make yourself comfortable at the Wandering Dog Bar for a drink. Could anything beat a glass of wine with a cheese platter?

Where to sleep?

Your last stop before Venice Beach is situated in Los Alamos. For a wonderful night, we recommend the superb rooms and suites of the Alamo Motel.

Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
1500 Alamo Pintado Road
Solvang, CA 93463
+1 805 688 3032

The Solvang Restaurant
1672 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
+1 805 688 4645

Wandering Dog Wine Bar
1539-C Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
+1 805 686 9126

Alamo Motel
425 Bell St
Los Alamos, CA 93440
+1 805 344 2852


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 11: Venice

Sunbathing in Venice Beach

You should get up early in order to fully enjoy Venice Beach. Make your way towards the Abbot Kinney Boulevard and scout the various shops and restaurants.

Exercising on your way to Santa Monica

From Venice Beach, rent a bike or put on rollerblades and take off towards Santa Monica by following the oceanfront. The sea breeze does some good, and so does the sight of athletes training there all day long under the sun.

Sunset on the Ferris wheel

Perched on top of the big Santa Monica Ferris wheel overlooking the bay, this is the perfect spot to enjoy the L.A. sunset, before proceeding to your hotel for some well-deserved rest.

Where to sleep?

Only ten minutes away from Santa Monica, the beautiful and modern suites of the Erwin Hotel await your visit! Setting up camp on the rooftop, you'll sip on a drink while enjoying unobstructed views over both the city and the seaside.

Hôtel Erwin
1697 Pacific Ave
Venice, CA 90291
+1 310 452 1111


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 12: Hollywood

In the shoes of a Hollywood celebrity

You cannot end a road trip on the west coast without going to Hollywood! The hillside sign, the Walk of Fame and movie attractions around the Chinese Theatre are all potent reminders of the city's prevalence for the art of film.

Looking up to the skies

Take a cooling break in Griffith Park, the true lung of Los Angeles. If your head is usually in the clouds and beyond, you'll gladly visit the park's planetarium and make use of the telescopes.

Sublime and stylish panorama at Stahl House

A genuine architectural masterpiece, Stahl House hangs over Hollywood and offers a superb vantage point over the entire city! A lot of photo sessions and filming regularly makes use of the location.

Trendy outing on Sunset Strip

Your day will end on the Sunset Strip, in the heart of West Hollywood. Over almost 1.5 mile, you'll see bars, restaurants and concert venues lining up, regularly welcoming hordes of celebrities. For one night, you can also be part of the legend in this timeless place!

Where to sleep?

Spend the night at The London in Beverly Hills. The ivy walls around the entrance, the bright and modern suites as well as the arbour swimming pool on the roof will give you a dreamlike impression!

The London
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
+1 310 854 1111

Stahl House
1635 Woods Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90069
+1 208 429 1058


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!

Day 13: Los Angeles

Vintage shopping on Melrose Avenue

For your last day, a stroll in the Melrose district is a must. Discover various vintage boutiques, on what shopping addicts consider their avenue!

Discovering Los Angeles

Head for Silver Lake, one of L.A.'s coolest neighbourhoods. This hipster side of town is filled with quality record shops and bars. End the day on a symbolic note and gaze at the sunset from the Mulholland Drive hills.

Where to lunch?

Make the best of a walk around Farmers Market to take a gourmet break. You'll have so many possibilities, from fresh fish to quality meat and produce. Or you could simply take a seat at one of the nearby restaurants.

Original Farmers Market West Hollywood
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Californian road trip: in Alex Vizeo's shoes!