I Left My Head Back in Cali

Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach



I love California. I love the sun. I love the beach. I love the water. And when you throw great company in to the mix, it makes for a great weekend.

The trip to California was a bit of a last minute thing. Last Tuesday, I got an invite to join a friend, who I’d met a couple days before, to join them for a quick weekend away. I said yes and the tickets were booked within a couple of hours. I was to meet him down there Friday evening and we’d fly back to PDX on the Sunday. To say I was excited is an understatement. As much as I love Portland, I couldn’t wait to see someplace new.

So off I went Friday to the airport. It’s really easy to get to from downtown Portland and a great way of skipping the crazy traffic. I got the 12 bus from Pioneer Sq out to the Red Max Line. It dropped me off outside the door of the airport with no hassle. I flew from PDX to LAX with Spirit Airlines, who were fine. You do have to pay min $35 to bring a carry on bag so beware if you ever fly with them. I had given my friend a few of my things the evening before so all I had was a handbag. A school bag would be fine but nothing bigger!

The flight took around 2 hours and when arriving in PDX I headed over to National to pick up the car and made my way to Santa Monica. Although I’ve done a spot of driving in the states, it was nothing compared to LA. I completely forgot that there was going to be a million lanes with everyone flying it in their cars! But I survived and made it to the Marriott in one piece (it was probably the funnest drive I’ve ever had to be honest!). After leaving the car with the valet, I met Korey and dropped off my bits in the room. The view from the room was amazing. We had a clear view of the beach and Santa Monica pier – I couldn’t wait to explore!

View from the hotel room
View from the hotel room

Saturday was a designated beach day so we made our way from Santa Monica to Malibu around 1:30pm. After stopping for some food at Tramonto (a lovely Italian between the two towns), we arrived at Point Dume where we were going to spend some time at the beach. It’s $14 to park until 6 but after that, it’s free. The beach wass absolutely beautiful! After a bit of lying out, we took a bit of a swim in the ocean. It was baltic at first but pretty soon we got used to it! To finish, we were able to catch the sunset, which of course was awesome.

Point Dume Beach, Malibu
Point Dume Beach, Malibu
Santa Monica

I arrived late in the evening Friday but Saturday night and Sunday were spent looking around Santa Monica. There is a main street which has  a bunch of restaurants and a couple of bars to choose from. We didn’t hang around here too much, just for dinner the first night at Brick an Mortar (which I highly recommend!). Saturday evening, after Malibu, we took a stroll down to the Santa Monica Pier which was only a 5 minute walk away. My first experience of this pier was a stampede of people (all ages) chasing a Pokemon. We were absolutely stunned by what had happened but got such a laugh out of it! After we got over that, we had a look around the fair grounds. Obviously we hopped on the ferris wheel to get the birds eye view of the area. It didn’t disappoint!

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

After this Korey won a giraffe bear in one of the basketball games (and it has officially become the mascot of travels). We wandered around a little more before finishing off at Rusty’s for a drink and to listen to some music.


Sunday was another beach day but we hung out in SM. The Marriott is just 2 minutes from the beach so we parked ourselves up here for a couple of hours. Of course we had no suncream so we got fried. Somehow I’m a little worse off and have officially broken up with the sun! The beach is full of activity during the day as there is an area for acrobats and yogis, an adult playground and volleyball. It was brilliant to watch all of the people doing their thing!

Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach

We finished off our stay in the hotel with some tasty Mojitos and then made our way to the airport to head back to Portland. It was such a relaxing weekend though. It’s now Tuesday and I’m struggling to come back to real life – God know’s what I’d be like if it was for longer! California has absolutely left an impression on me and I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m back again. There is a lot of stuff to see and do but the beach was calling and we couldn’t resist. So it’ll have to wait until the next trip!

Anyway, huge shout out to my travel buddy who was great company and kept me laughing the whole weekend. I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for him, so THANK YOU!

  1. It’s obvious but wear sunscreen. 70 degrees in Cali is different to 70 degrees in Portland. It was HOT and the sun is strong!
  2. Bring a bit of cash to the beach, there’s a fella who goes around calling ‘MangoMangoMangoMangooooosss’ and sells them for a couple of bucks.
  3. Rent a car, It’s a lot easier than trying to work around buses.
  4. The traffic is kind of crazy in spots so give plenty of time going from A-B.
  5. The sun is strongest mid day so beware!
  6. Plan to spend at least 3-4 full days to get an opportunity to do a few things. There’s no point in rushing, where’s the fun in that!

I’ve updated the Gallery with more pics!

Until the next adventure….

Point Dume Beach, Malibu
Point Dume Beach, Malibu

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