Valentine’s in SoCal

If you know me, you know I’m a pretty active person.
But if you know my parents, you know they’re even more active.
So, whenever Matthew & I go on a vacation with my parents, we brace ourselves for non-stop days, packed full with a new activity to do or new place to see by the minute. Basically, there’s truly never a dull moment while vacationing with my parents!

The past 5 days in Southern California were no exception.
We landed in Los Angeles on Wednesday, since my dad wanted to go to a golf tournament over there. That was fine with Matthew & I, as not only were the flights cheaper than if we had flown into San Diego (where we were planning to spend the majority of our trip), but we were also excited to start our vacation with a chill day in Santa Monica.

Our morning & early afternoon consisted of grabbing a cup of coffee at The Coffee Bean (literally ran into the first coffee shop I saw because I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before – yay for early morning flights), walking along the pathway from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, and getting a tasty brunch at Urth Caffe.  

img_0029-1After the golf tournament, the adventures began with my parents, as we hiked to Escondido Falls in Malibu (cool hike, small falls > pictured on the left) and then drove alllll the way to Santa Barbara to grab dinner at a seafood spot. We weren’t thrilled about the fact that we still had to drive all the way to Carlsbad, where our hotel awaited, but hey, at least the seafood in Santa Barbara was good.

I rarely sleep in on vacation but I was so tired that I totally slept in the next day, which was a good call, as we had a day of hiking ahead of us. After running on the hotel’s pathway (love when hotels have running trails on-site), we were off to brunch at the Daily News Cafe in Carlsbad before heading to Torrey Pines & La Jolla for the day.

We hiked a couple coastal trails that were truly off-the-beaten path and absolutely beautiful, then saw the seals in La Jolla (so many seals!!), watched the sunset from the Torrey Pines Gliderport (maybe next time, we’ll actually go paragliding), and ate dinner at The Fish Market in Solana Beach.


Day 3 was Valentine’s Day and consisted of all things San Diego after going for a nice run along the beach in Carlsbad. We then ate brunch at a place called Claire’s on Cedros (ayyy Claire’s) in Solana Beach before making our way to the San Diego Zoo (we had to do it…haven’t been there since I was a kid + my parents got 2 free tickets from the hotel!).

After a very entertaining time at the zoo, we checked out the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park – what a huge park!! Would love to run all around here some day. And then we were off to watch the sunset at Coronado Beach, where I’ve decided I’d like to buy a house and stay forever.

Dinner was all about avoiding the Valentine’s date night rush, so we went for The Taco Stand, which was a recommendation from some coworkers and was absolutely delicious. And to get a glimpse of how busy the town was for Valentine’s Day, we went to San Diego’s Little Italy, where every restaurant was packed, but we were still able to snag some gelato for dessert.

Saturday was all about the wine. After getting an acai bowl at Sambazon, we spent the entire day in Temecula – beautiful wine country just 1 hour from our hotel in Carlsbad. Matthew & I swiped a Groupon for a 4-person wine tasting at Frangipani Estate Winery and we also stopped by Miramonte, Peltzer, and more. Definitely some different vibes from what we’re used to in the Colorado brewery scene, but a fun experience nonetheless. After the wineries, we made it back to Carlsbad by sunset and had dinner at a popular Mexican restaurant, Norte.


Our last day in California was a short one, since our flight was at 2:30 PM back in LA. We went for another run along the beach in Carlsbad before heading to breakfast at Swami’s in Solana Beach. Then, our vacation came to an end as we headed to the airport for our flight home.


So, you see what I mean when I say my parents are crazy active?
We visited about 8 different cities during our 5-day trip: Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Carlsbad, La Jolla, San Diego, Coronado Beach, Solana Beach, Temecula

With all of that, I’m happy to have today off of work to take a vacation from my vacation (it’s a real thing, folks)! But I’m also so appreciative that 1. the weather could not have been better the entire time we were there (sunny & 65 degrees ❤) 2. to have parents who are willing to invite us along on their travels (rental car + hotel taken care of thanks to my dad’s work perks) and to take us to all of these new places! 3. to go on a trip like this with my parents where the only expenses are delicious food & plane tickets. Forever thankful!

P.S. Matthew & I will definitely be back for more Mexican food & beach vibes, SoCal.

frugal & free

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s