My sister and I spent a weekend last fall driving up to Monterey Bay from Los Angeles. It was a round trip total of 13 hours of driving over 3 days and I loved every second of it.
We had previously done the scenic drive up the Pacific Coast Highway when we were younger with our parents. My dad would be in the driver's seat, munching on go-chu-jang and cucumbers to stay awake. My mom would make us play the "last letter" game in both Korean and English to help my dad stay awake.
Even though our parents couldn't join us this time, we had a great time driving up and down the coast. Our first stop was at Hearst Castle, where we toured the decadent estate with amazing history. Hearst spared no expense--from pool tiles specked with actual gold to imported zebras and giraffes.
From there we made our way north to Big Sur. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was, each turn had breathtaking views of the ocean with perfect varying shades of blue. We finally made our way to McWay Cove, which had a wonderful magical and relaxing aura. My sister and I spent hours admiring McWay Falls. I was debating climbing down (highly not recommended, it's dangerous and you can get a fine if you get caught) and ultimately decided not to since I didn't have the proper shoes or even a swimsuit. Later that day, I saw someone swim in the swells and take a quick cleanse in the falls. I hope to come next time with the proper gear and brave my way down there.
The next day we woke up to explore Carmel by the Sea and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was among the best aquariums I'd been to as it was super modern and had a great variety of sea animals. I even learned how to spot cute sea otters in the wild, laying on their backs and holding hands. In the late afternoon we made our way to Point Lobos, a hiking trail along the Monterey Bay with amazing views. It's been called "the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world", which is definitely not an overstatement. My sister and I stayed until sunset, which made the perfect ending to an awesome day.
On our last day, we made our way back to Los Angeles. Our last stop was to view elephant seals basking in the hot sun. They smelled terrible, but it was still fun to look at the few active ones waddle around and play with each other.
Since my sister and I now live on opposite coasts, I am thankful for the time that we get to spend together. I always appreciate learning from her perspective, as it is often pretty different from mine. I hope to continue taking trips together in the future.