Time for a little California Dreamin’ (minus The Mamas and The Papas)…

With a rare upcoming long weekend and nothing happening, we decided to make a last-minute run to Southern California and turn the weekend into a weeklong trip.

Since we hit very few of the LA tourist attractions while wintering in San Diego in past years, and Delta has non-stops from Denver to Los Angeles, why not?

Despite the torrential downpours soaking California and causing mudslides and flooding, we skated by without any rain at all until our last two days.

One of our happy haunts – South Carlsbad State Beach – did not disappoint once again. Gorgeous sunsets despite the cool temps, palm trees, birds of paradise, surfers braving the cold Pacific.

Sunset And a Beer

Sunset And a Beer
Chilling oceanfront at the South Carlsbad State Beach.

Carlsbad Sunset

California Dreamin' - Carlsbad Sunset
This view never disappoints!

Carlsbad Panorama

Love the sound and the smell!

Up to Newport Beach, fun memories from being a kid, and another gorgeous sunset with lots of surfers riding the waves. The pier makes for some great people watching, and is extremely photogenic.

Throwback Hippie

Throwback Hippie
Tell me that the inside of this Volkswagon Microbus doesn’t smell like weed…

Surf’s Up

Surf's Up
A surfer catching a wave at the Newport Beach Pier.

West Coast Egret

West Coast Egret
Funny how these egrets look exactly like Florida egrets.


California Dreamin' - Tracks
Bird tracks along the beach.


Waiting on sunset, watching the tide roll in.

Newport Beach Pier

California Dreamin' - Newport Beach Pier
The Newport Beach Pier is a great spot for sunset.

Newport Sunset Pano

Newport Beach Pier sunset Panorama.

Mulholland Drive, check. Well, except for the center section closed due to mudslides. Beautiful views, yet so close to the city. I can see why the elite live in the Hollywood Hills.

Sunset Strip, check. Meh.

Beverly Hills, check. Rodeo Drive, check. Bentleys and Lamborghins, check. $8/gallon gas, check. It’s a whole different planet.

Arm And a Leg

Arm And a Leg
Wow, just wow.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills
Yes, I sang the Weezer song the entire time.

Hollywood sign, check. You can’t actually get to the sign itself due to fears of vandalism, but there are several viewpoints where you can ooh and aah and get your Instagram photos.


California Dreamin' - Hollywoodland
You must have a photo with the sign.

Hollywood Burger

California Dreamin' - Hollywood Burger
My cardiologist thanks me, but Hollywood Burger is a must-do!

Hollywood Walk of Fame, check. Fun to see the stars and the famous red steps leading up to the Dolby Theatre, but really just a typical tourist trap with bus tours and souvenirs. Good to see once, check check check.

The Chinese Theatre

The Chinese Theatre
The TCL Chinese Theatre is a popular landmark along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I Am The Greatest!

I Am The Greatest!
The only star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that isn’t set into the ground.

Red Carpet Treatment

California Dreamin' - Red Carpet Treatment
The famous red carpet leading into the Dolby Theatre.

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine
Yes, I sang the Kid Rock song the entire time…

Nighttime in Hollywood

Nighttime in Hollywood
We caught the torrential downpours soaking California, but the wet streets make for great nighttime photos.

Paramount Studio tour (separate blog post to come), check. This was definitely worth the price of admission.

Pretty sure we’ve scratched the itch and have no reason to return to LA unless it’s to visit Channel Islands National Park. California Dreamin’ is done, now it’s time to wake up and head back to play in the mountains.

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