Everyone and literally their dog has Instagram nowadays. Whats more is that you just want a killer picture and destinations that truly inspire you without all the BS that comes with social media. I don’t have 100K followers or even 10K. I’m just a normal gal who decided to take a 5 week trip to California, doesn’t have clue as what is coming next and in need of divine inspiration with killer photos to remember my trip. So what better way than to share with my fellow creatives the best places to visit in CA for inspiration.
Without further a do, the must visit places that you really wont even need an Instagram filter for (but lets be serious, everyone loves a filter)
10. Hollywood Sign
There’s nothing more glorious than looking out over a big city and seeing a skyline. No wonder so many celebs live on the Hollywood hills! The city really is beautiful up there and a must if you’re in LA dreaming of living in a big beautiful house where the city feels so small. You can watch the sunrise and set from here, see all the colours change in the sky and watch the shadows on city change. Concrete beauty.
9. Big Sur
Driving along the California coast is a must, there’s so much wildlife on the coast too! But Big Sur is a must for those who love the water, a road trip and a scenic shots. It’s the contrast of colours that really grab your attention with its white sandy beaches, brilliant blue waves and greenery edging over the rocks. Check out the route before hand as there’s a lot of mud/rock slides along the coast and some of its still being rebuilt.
8. Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk
I loved the excitement here, the colours and cool typography on the amusements. Grab some food, go on a couple of rides, chill on the beach and just have a fun day out. Let yourself go as when your brain relaxes it really allows you to take things in a lot easier and sparks that divine inspiration you’ve been looking for.
7. Rodeo Drive LA
You’re probably wondering why Rodeo Drive? It is such a hot spot! It’s filled with designers, all the creatives that have made a HUGE living from sharing their designs and inspirations with the world. Creating full fledged brands that some people even worship. The streets are so clean and lined with palm trees it just gives that extra feeling of luxury. So if you’re looking for an injection to luxury into your creative life, I suggest you take a trip here and even splurge if you can. Plus there’s lots of great spots surrounding here such as the beverly hills sign, Sprinkles cupcake atm and lots of huge houses all beautiful and each one different from the next. We had a lot of fun roaming the streets and choosing which house we’d like to live in.
6. San Diego Zoo
Really? A zoo? I hear you but San Diego zoo is one of the largest zoo’s in the world! If you’re looking to pattern, colours, textures to inspire you. You’ll find it here with so many different species living here to get your creative juices flowing. Personally I loved the artwork used in the zoo and for it’s advertisements. Also seeing the peacocks strut around, the bird cage enclosures (even though having a slight fear of birds), elephants, giraffes, bears and so much more. Make sure you head to the larger animals enclosures in the morning and your favourite animal at feeding time as you’re more likely to see them (Giant Pandas are best for this as they’ll sleep all afternoon). After lunch time it’s best to go to the bird cages, elephants, giraffes as they’re all still up and about. Take a sketch book with you and take lots of photos. Have something with an awesome zoom and high quality camera is perfect so you can really get that first hand detail you’re after.
5. La Jolla Beach
La Jolla was one of my highlights as we completely didn’t expect to see seals all over the beach. We just planned a quick stop off on route to our next destination. We pulled over and admired the rocky shore and walked further down the coast to find hundreds of protected seals, beached for breeding season. Now I love seals, there’s just something about them that makes me so happy/ When I mean something I mean the way they just lay around on their bellys and roll over. It sounds like a dream right. Sometimes seeing something so natural and so surprising really grabs you and makes you appreciate the world we live in.
4. Universal Studios
Honestly how could you not? It was probably one of the most magical days and I had a huge freak out of seeing Harry Potter world. Everything is done with such detail it just makes you want to become a set designer or a full time wizard. Whatever floats your boat. But seriously the insane creations throughout universal just blows my mind. Whole worlds have been created just from a tiny idea, it really gets you thinking. Plus remember what I said earlier about fun? Have loads of it here! Grab a butter beer (seriously it doesn’t contain alcohol and is drool worthy).
Ever wanted to see a real life giant? Then the Redwoods is for you, even if you’re not much of a nature lover. It really is awe inspiring, seeing something so old, tall withstanding for 100’s of years battling all weathers (even a lighting strike) it just takes your breath away. There’s so many spots from San Fransisco all the way up to the top of California that you can see them but the best is the Redwoods national park. (Yes I am in that picture.. you just have to zoom.)
2. South Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is positively stunning, it’s mainly a skiing town but when the snow has cleared up a lot of bikers head there for the trails. We stayed up the mountain so it got pretty chilly even in May! but the views driving up the mountain and to Lake Tahoe are awe inspiring. We went to Eagle falls trail head one day and you’re literally standing on top of a waterfall. Take a go pro with you if you really want to capture the movement of the water. There’s lots of tree’s and hidden waterfalls in the area so make sure you do your research before hand as the signal can be pretty iffy up there.
1. San Francisco
Now I wasn’t all that interested in San Fran when we was planning our trip, but it ended up being one of my favourite places. There’s something about the city that really buzzes that creative vibe and holds so much intrigue with its architecture, fog, Alcatraz and old trams. There’s loads to see and there’s so much colour and history held held here. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge and boy that was windy! Seriously San Fran is such a windy city, be prepared. The tourist attractions can be a nightmare for parking so I suggest getting there early or finding out beforehand what spots you want to visit and bring your walking shoes as it’s a bit of a hike. I also recommend going to the Secret Garden steps where artists in the local community raised money to decorate several steps within the city with different tiled designs. It truly is a work of art and makes a great photo! Honestly I think San Francisco deserves a whole post by itself of cool places to visit but we didn’t get to see it all and would definitely like to visit again someday.
What’s your favourite places in California that struck you for inspiration? If you’re looking for more inspiration and a spam worthy amount of photo’s from my trip, head over to my Instagram & leave me a comment on your favourite place or would love to visit place. See you soon!