California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See – 2018 – La Jolla, San Diego Edition

Hello WordPressLand!

As I mentioned in the two posts before, this whole trip is along Southern California. We hit up LA for a few days then drive down to Laguna Beach.  From Laguna we drive up to Anaheim for a couple of days, and then finish off down in La Jolla, San Diego. 

San Diego is the second largest city in California, and crazily enough the eight largest in the US! I did not know that till I started doing research either! San Diego is known for its beautiful weather, the Zoo, its wildlife, beaches, and for the foodies out there, a hot spot of amazing food.  And if you are into Mexican food, like myself, then I guess this is our city.  It is a mecca of good Mexican food, and so close to the Mexico border.

So YES!! LeTzzGO!

We are planning a handful of days in the San Diego area, staying at the La Jolla Shores Hotel. We figure this is a great spot to feel like we are on a beach vacation, yet just close enough to take advantage of the downtown area.  I did get a lot of good tips from some of you on FB about San Diego, and I have added them to the list below.  Thank you btw!  I always appreciate the conversation and if anyone else has recommendations, please don’t hesitate to message me.


California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See

La Jolla, San Diego Edition
La Jolla Shores – This is a mile long beach where our hotel is situated; so it’s a no brainer to check it out.  It is stated as the best beach in the area and looks like a perfect place to bum around like I plan to do!  🙂


La Jolla Cove– This is supposed to be one of the most photographed beaches in California. It just looks beautiful as it’s surrounded by cliffs and there seems to be a ton of seals and sea lions who like to take housing along the rocks.


The Cave StoreThe Cave Store is the entrance point to the Sunny Jim Cave, one of many caves in the area.  The pictures look amazing, and it seems like a fun place to start on our cave explorations.


Shell Beach This place looks super cool.  This beach is situated at the bottom of a cliff where you have to take stairs down towards.  This beach is known for its tide pools that are home to some amazing sea creatures.


Children’s PoolThis is an area of beach that was initially built up for, you guessed it, the children of the area.  They placed retaining sea walls so the waters would be less aggressive, safe for children.  BUT as soon as the sands built up in the space the Harbor Seals took it over!  And we need to check out these chubby guys up close!
San Diego ZooEver since I was a kid I have been dying to see the San Diego Zoo!  This is the number one zoo in the world with over 3,700 different animals! One of which, I have never ever seen in person before, the Giant Panda. The cutest animal to exist.


Seaport Village on the Harbor – This is a large waterfront shopping area along the harbor that seems like a fun place to spend an afternoon.


Little Italy San Diego is supposed to have the largest Italian neighborhood in the country, and naturally, that means I have to go.


Richard Walker’s Pancake House Looks like this is a breakfast place we cannot miss! Not only did I get a recommendation to go but my husband had it on our list of where we are eating!  haha And the owner is from our state, so it’s like a must eat place now that I know.

Well, there we have it, some of our San Diego hotspots to check out. We have a lot more research to do on restaurants and stuff, but I loved looking into all the amazing spots to visit in San Diego and cannot wait for this trip to arrive.  Again, if you have recommendations please hmu!

I have always wanted to visit San Diego, and here I wrote about this awesomeness.  I can’t believe it!  (I just literally said, “YEEE”!) I am so excited for this trip!!  Bahh I can’t stand it!!




California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See – 2018 – Laguna Beach Edition

Hello all,

Here we are on the second installment of ‘California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See’– 2018 .  This is the Laguna Beach Edition.  It sounds so formal, but we all know I am so far from formal.

During this part of our trip we will be spending 2 nights in Laguna Beach, one of which is my husband’s birthday.  What I’d ideally like to do is to make this as much of a beach visit than anything.  Especially after running around in LA for a few days.  Plus, I need to work on a tan because by August I will probably be a smooth cool tint of white linen.  (Yup, I may be the only Sicilian woman who never tans!)

img_2650Laguna Beach is a seven mile stretch of beach between LA and San Diego, and is a huge hot spot for vacationers. Which means there are a ton of things to see and do (and eat) with lots of people around, but what do we go see and do!?  When you look at a map of Laguna, the beaches all collide into one another and look simple enough to walk to but I just uploaded the Laguna Beach app and now I am not so sure.  hahah.  But we will give it a whirl!!

The app is actually really good; it is the Visit Laguna Beach app. You can search hotels, restaurants, shops, as well as find the current weather, maps, surf and tide reports, parking information and an events calendar.  And real estate, for those of us who plan to not come back home.  (I know, my good friends keep hearing me joking about this, though I have never been to So Cal my gut tells me I will not want to come home. haha)

So far, we booked the Pacific Edge hotel, which is on the south end of the beach.  We reserved a room in the reef tower (facing the ocean!!), which looks like a dream. The amenities, and the area of the hotel, look pretty great, and we read that the waves can be heard in every room all day.. which turns me on. Haha. Falling asleep to the ocean is just what I want, folks.

Here is a list of places we discussed seeing in Laguna.  So many of you guys commented and messaged me on FB with recommendations for LA (and San Diego!), I hope to hear some for Laguna Beach, too!


California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See

Laguna Beach Edition


Art Colony/Walk the TownAs I am learning, the art scene in Laguna is its primary draw, and well, it sort of reminds me of my favorite local beach art colony here in Gloucester at Rocky Neck.  And while we are at it we will take a stroll through the town to check out their shops, local restaurants and stuff.


Heisler Park- When I looked up this place my chin literally dropped. The views are tremendous, and it looks like a perfect place to take a sunset walk.  It is an oceanfront park set up along the cliffs with walking trails, gardens, and a marine refuge with tide pools.



Crystal Cove Beach Tide Pools– Researching Laguna is fun, tide pools around seem to be a running theme, and Crystal Cove is supposed to have the best ones.  Feel like we would really enjoy trekking around on some rocks checking out the oceanic wildlife in the pools.


Royal Hawaiian Tiki Bar–  The Royal Hawaiian is a tropical bar with super fun looking tiki cocktails, good menu, and we love that type of atmosphere, so I figured we would take a closer look.  It is a street over from Heisler Park, where I figure would be a great location to take a night stroll along the water.


Thousand StepsI keep coming across this as a must see place, and watched so many youtube videos on how to get there, because there is a catch!  First, this beach is gorgeous, and is the largest in Laguna. Second, there is a large cave at the south end of the beach that can be entered when the tide is out, and basically only then, because then the entrance is exposed but you have to make it back before high tide, or well, you are SOOL.

img_2668Laguna Trolley– Laguna Beach offers a free trolley service, and I love trolleys, so I HAVE TO RIDE ONE!  They actually may come in more handy than I am joking about, because they have two lines of service that hit near or on most of the spots we are looking to go. Also, that app I mentioned earlier, they have a trolley tracker in it so you can see where the trolleys are going.


Driftwood Kitchen– This restaurant is set up along the water, and the views look amazing.  So does the food.  It gets really great reviews, and the photos I have been seeing online are surreal.  


Pirate Tower/Victoria Beach– Happened upon this blog while researching Pirate Tower. Gah, it’s just amazing.  The photographer takes us on a trip to find Pirate Tower on Victoria Beach…and it’s just dreamy.  Thinking my family would love to take a trip over to see the tower, and maybe just explore the beach, I know I would!   


Let me know if you have any recommendations for Laguna.

Next up… La Jolla/San Diego!!!