The Ultimate Guide to California! Combine cities, nature & fun for a perfect holiday! From San Francisco to San Diego, including National Parks, beaches, American culture & Disney Land! In 2009, at the age of 12, I have been to California with my parents. This was my first trip across the ocean and my first time in the USA as well.
Fisherman’s Warf, Pier 39 & Lombard Street
When we arrived after my first long-haul flight we walked into the city for the first impression of America. We walked to Fisherman’s Warf and we followed the smell. Smell? Yes, the smell! At Pier 39 are a lot of sea lions and they smell so bad! But they are really cute! Without visiting San Francisco you will not experience the ultimate vibe of California!
Fisherman’s Warf is the fish area in San Fran, also mentioned a lot in movies. When we got home and saw American movies or series, we recognized Fisherman’s Warf a lot!
Lombard Street, is known for the street with the most curves. It is really small but so crowded, everyone wants to ride this road of course. It is really cute with all the flowers and all the streets here are really steep. Also, we took the famous Cable Tram to get around in the city without walking in all those steep streets.
Golden Gate Bridge
A must when visiting San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge! We rented some bicycles and drove over the bridge and took the ferry back to the city. The way up was pretty hard, because we had a lot of crosswinds, so on top, we stopped to catch our breath. And then … I saw some dolphins. As a little girl, I loved dolphins, and I was so stoked to see them! We did not have the best weather, but on the other side of the bridge, it was really sunny so we enjoyed the good weather before we headed back to the city.
Alcatraz is an island in the bay of San Francisco, this was formerly used as a heavy security prison where the famous Al Capone was held. It was very suitable as we prison because it was an island and the water around was very dangerous for swimming because the current was very strong. Several escape attempts have been made, but officially no one has ever managed to escape.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a stunning natural area and is mentioned on the UNESCO list. The park is famous for the Yosemite Valley, a glacier-formed valley with granite cliffs. We loved it here and there were so many viewing spots and a lot of animals to find.
Sequoia National Park
It was established in 1890, as the second national park in the United States, after Yellowstone National Park. The park gets its name from the giant sequoias or redwoods that grow there. The tree with the largest volume in the world is also there: the General Sherman Tree. In 2002 the volume was estimated at 1,486 m³. The tree is said to be 2,200 years old and is 84 m high. It is really bizarre to stand next to these giant trees.
Hollywood, Beverly Hills & Santa Monica
We have visited the Hollywood sign and drove through Beverly Hills to watch the giant houses of all the famous people who live here. We also went to Santa Monica and enjoyed our beach days.
During our trip through California, we have also visited some theme parks! If you are interested in theme parks as well or are you traveling with kids, you can not miss these parks. Read hear my top 3 theme parks in California, the ultimate guide in California.
Disneyland in Anaheim is the first Disney park ever built and opened in 1955. From its opening in 1955 to its 50th anniversary in 2005, an estimated 515 million visitors have visited the park. That number has now risen to approximately 600 million. In 2010, the amusement park was visited by 15.98 million people, making it the second most visited theme park in 2010. The years before, the park also finished second as the most visited park.
If you are into theme parks and you have time left, you definitely need to visit the Universal Studios!
Universal Studios Hollywood is both a film studio and a theme park. Originally set up as Studio Tour, a structured tour to give guests a look behind the scenes of the film world, this event has grown to more than 5 million visitors making the complex one of the 20 most visited leisure parks in the US.
I would like to inform you in advance that we did not know at the time how they treat the animals. You hear such horrible things these days …
On this day my dream came true! I wanted so badly to swim with dolphins and the night before I was told my dream would come true! I was very nervous but really enjoyed it! It was such a special thing that I dreamed about for years and then it really happened. Furthermore, the park has beautiful shows with seals, orcas, and other animals. There are also great attractions and you can enjoy yourself here all day long! In the evening the Shamu Rock show is a must, it is a long day, but really worth it. Fantastic!
Airline | KLM
Photography | Ilse van den Berg