tldr; SoCal weather is perfect.
After our week and a half in La Jolla, we headed north up Highway 1. We knew that we needed to be in Ventura on May 30 for our ferry ride to Channel Islands National Park but we otherwise didn’t have a plan for where to go or stay during the next 5 days. We ended up exploring a couple different coastal cities, sleeping at Planet Fitnesses and working from parking spots on the beach. We loved this minimally-planned week and are planning to spend much of the next few months like this, driving up the coast, stopping wherever we want, and meandering our way to our next destination.
The first place we stopped was just north of La Jolla, Encinitas. We didn’t stay there long, just stopped for a quick post-work hike through a sand dune slot canyon. We’d explored lots of slot canyons in Utah but this was our first one carved out of a sand dune. It was a fun, short hike with tight squeezes through crumbly sandy walls and even a ladder to climb!
After our hike, we hopped back in the van and drove up to Carlsbad, a cute, touristy town with a nice Planet Fitness, easy parking right by the beach, beautiful homes, and a delicious ramen restaurant. We spent two days working from a parking spot overlooking the ocean, taking walks on the beach and playing in the sand when we needed a break from work.
We met a really friendly couple one of these afternoons, Hilda and Jim. Hilda and Jim are in their 70s and they were really interested to learn about our experiences living in the van and working remotely. Hilda had lots of stories about her experiences driving around a huge RV with her family years ago. Jim told us that it’s great that we’re doing this big adventure before having kids of our own and to adventure for as long as we can (you hear that mom and dad??). We saw them again a bit later in the afternoon and they told us that they’re thinking about taking off this summer on a road trip of their own. Hilda and Jim – if you’re reading this, drop us a comment and tell us about your own adventures this summer!
After a couple of nights in Carlsbad, we drove up to the LA area. We walked around on a place called Dog Beach, watching the sunset and pups play. This peaceful walk was interrupted when Choi claimed that there’s no way that I could throw him into the ocean, no matter how hard I tried. I took that as a personal challenge and we spent the next 30 or so minutes in a vicious battle of me trying (and unfortunately failing) to drag him into the surf. We probably looked nuts to people walking by, but we had a blast. Tired and sandy, we headed to a nearby Planet Fitness in Huntington Beach to spend the night.
The next morning, we woke up early for a quick bathroom stop in Planet Fitness before starting work and promptly locked ourselves out of the van. This was not the best experience to have at 6AM but luckily we have a Triple A membership and a couple guys arrived in just half an hour to save the day. We tried to work from another beach-side park like we had in Carlsbad but found that we didn’t have great cell signal at this location and working was slow. After lunch, we packed up and drove a bit more north to Camarillo.
Camarillo is a peaceful suburban town not too far from Ventura. It didn’t have the ocean views we’d grown accustomed to but it had great cell signal, a quiet Planet Fitness, and a huge park with incredible grass. We spent one peaceful night in the suburbs of Camarillo before our trip to Channel Islands the next day.
We think that this week of driving and working up the coast is a good indication of what our summer in California will look like. We’ll love the ocean views and coastal cities driving up Highway 1. We’ll find some incredible places to stay and we’ll also find that some places don’t work and we’ll be flexible and adjust our plans.
Southern California, we love your beaches, friendly people, and ocean-side highway. Along We Go!