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The Ultimate California Road Trip

couples coordinates non-touristy things to do in los angeles


Those of us who live in California are incredibly blessed to be able to snowboard, surf, and skydive all in a 24-hour period if we choose to do so.  One of our good friends, Griffin, just did that this past winter and now it is right at the top of our bucket list.

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Obviously getting on a plane and heading abroad is preferred, but if you want to stay local this summer and/or save a bit of money, you’ll love the…

Couple’s Coordinates Ultimate California Road Trip

Of course, everyone will start at a different point on this “loop.”  Start in whichever city is closest to home and follow the loop in this order:


Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it. 🙏🏻✨ [Roald Dahl]

A photo posted by Alex Carson | California (@alexandra_carson) on

San Diego

San Diego is the land of beautiful beaches, friendly locals, and the best Mexican food this side of the border. We are absolutely in love with San Diego, and honestly want to live there at some point in our lives. San Diego is the southernmost major city in California and is the perfect stop just before the Mexican border. Enjoy an amazing breakfast at The Mission and spend the afternoon at the beach. Then head to the Gaslamp District to hit some bars/night clubs before you head north for your next destination.



Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it. 🙏🏻✨ [Roald Dahl]

A photo posted by Alex | California (@alexandra_carson) on

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is one of the most quaint (and due to the MTV show, one of the most popular) beach towns in Southern California. The town offers adorable architecture, beautiful cliffs, gorgeous beaches, wonderful people, delicious food, and some of the best skimboarding one can find. Be careful, you might end up stopping your road trip and deciding to live in Laguna forever!


“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” -Thomas Merton

A photo posted by ✈️ Couple’s Coordinates (@michael_j_gallagher) on

Give me 🌊 🌞

A photo posted by Alex | California (@alexandra_carson) on


Malibu sits in a perfect position. It is isolated enough to be away from the craziness of Los Angeles, but also close enough that you can get to LAX or downtown in under an hour (well, depending on traffic ha!).  Michael lived in Malibu for about 5 years and Alex was able to spend about 3 of those months with him there right when we started dating. It is essentially a home of sorts to us and a place we can easily see ourselves living again in the future. Head to Malibu Farm and enjoy a nice lunch on the pier and then spend the day surfing one of Malibu’s famous surf spots.

Sunset ona Sunday 💛 Happier than a bird with a french fry!

A photo posted by Alex Carson | California (@alexandra_carson) on

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a town rich in history and culture. The town itself offers much shopping, many restaurants, and a long coastline of beautiful beaches. Check out the Santa Barbara Mission for some rich history and venture to State Street for some shopping. Maybe even stop by and see our friends at 805 Ink for a tattoo.

Pismo Beach

Are you seeing a theme here? Well, we LOVE beach towns, especially small/local ones. Pismo is no exception and is absolutely a stop you need to make on a California road trip (especially if you are driving north along the coast). The surf, the people, and the views are all great here.


If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. @alexandra_carson #CouplesCoordinates #BigSur

A photo posted by ✈️ Couple’s Coordinates (@michael_j_gallagher) on

Big Sur

Big Sur is simply our favorite stretch of coast in California. No question about it. Big Sur is unlike any place in California. It combines beautiful mountains, pine trees, cliffs, beaches, and bright blue water to create somethign out of a dream. Where else have you seen a waterfall on a beach?? Yes, a waterfall on a beach. Big Sur has some of the best hikes we have found anywhere in the world. You’ll also be blown away by waterfalls and gorgeous rivers. Be sure to stop in Big Sur and camp on your road trip! If you need help, here is our advice on how to plan a weekend trip to Big Sur.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most unique cities in the world. It’s east coast vibe is something quite unfamiliar to the rest of the state of California. It is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and beliefs, and as such is loved by people of just about every walk. San Francisco is not particularly a city we could live in, but we love to visit for a weekend! We have a numbe of friends who live in the city, so it is always nice to spend time with them and enjoy international cuisine.

Throwback to Napa. Today there is nothing that I’m more thankful for than you, babe. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! #tbt

A photo posted by ✈️ Couple’s Coordinates (@michael_j_gallagher) on

Napa Valley

Napa reds. Oh my. Historically the French and Italians would mock the wine of California, but Napa Valley changed the world of wine with its world famous deep reds. Just about all of our favorite cabernet sauvignons come from Napa Valley. For a couple, Napa is the perfect getaway, and makes for the perfect stop along the road trip after a busy day or two in San Francisco. Napa not only produces world-class wine, but also has some incredible views that you’ll enjoy as you sit on a patio wine tasting with your partner.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It actually spans two states as it extends from California into Nevada! Whether you’re taking this road trip in summer or winter, be sure to stop by Lake Tahoe. During the summer, you’ll enjoy beautiful days out on the lake. During the winter you’ll enjoy some of the best snowboarding/skiing in California.


Walking up to the tallest waterfall in North America 😍 Yosemite you’re a dream!

A photo posted by Alex Carson | California (@alexandra_carson) on

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is the most incredible National Park in California and could arguably be considered one of the most beautiful in the United States. Yosemite is home to a number of waterfalls, mountains, and much more. The tallest waterfall in North America actually resides in Yosemite! Be sure to plan ahead and bring your camping gear. You should check for camping reservations quite a bit in advance unless you plan to arrive around 4 or 5 AM to attempt to get a walk up. Check out these 5 things to see in Yosemite.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

A photo posted by ✈️ Couple’s Coordinates (@michael_j_gallagher) on

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is unlike any other place in the world. The Joshua Trees themselves seem like something out of a Salvador Dali painting and the park in its entirety will make you question what planet you’re on. The rock formations, beautiful valleys, mountains, and night skys make Joshua Tree one of the best camping destinations in the world. Check out our blog on how to plan a day trip to Joshua Tree for great advice that will work well for your road trip.

Palm Springs

Luckily for you, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree are incredibly close to one another. We have a feeling that at this point you’re about tired of driving and probably just want to relax. Well, Palm Springs is perfect for that. Pools, spas, good shopping, and world class restaurants make Palm Springs what it is. Sit back, grab a glass of wine, and relax with your partner before you head down to San Diego to close out the trip.

San Diego

Wowzers. Ok, so yes, this is a long one. But you virtually cover the whole of the state and see a number of state and national parks as well as some of the most beautiful coastal towns.  So pack a couple friends into whoever’s car gets the most MPG and take off for a couple weeks!

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