A Dreamy Road Trip Through California { short form }

I find that on a day when my kids are driving me insane is truly the best day to sit and think about a past vacation. If nothing else, it keeps me from sticking a fork in my eyes. If something else, it reminds me to be thankful for my little humans in all their forms.

Now then, where’s that fork!?

But first.

My sweet bunch!

Our vacation to California started the day after school ended.

Here is the quick and dirty:

Travel Dates: June 10 – 21, 2023

Passengers: Mom, Dad, 4 Kids (ages at the time of travel – 10, 8, 5, 2)

Flight: Direct from Raleigh to Los Angeles. 5+ hours. Breeze Airways.

Luggage: 1 checked bag (paid). 1 checked car seat (free). 5 back packs in cabin (free).

Car Rental: Model X Tesla via Turo

Miles driven: 1800+

Lodging: Airbnbs + Hotels

Cities in the order of our travel: Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Exeter, Mariposa, Oakland, San Francisco, Monterey, Cambria, Paso Robles, Los Angeles.

National Parks Visited: Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Yosemite.

Kid Gear Notes: We did not take a stroller. We did take a baby-sling, noise machine, night camera, Nintendo Switch, my old smart phone for kids to use on the plane. We do not own iPads or tablets.

Moose in China Town, SF, purchasing a mooncake


Sometimes I find that the reason why a trip comes about is just as interesting as the trip itself. In this case, it all started back in March when we were on another family trip – visiting my nephew at NYU in New York City. (Pictures here, here, here, here, here and here).

There at the natural history musem, we came across a slice of this giant sequoia tree which stopped the kids in their tracks.

How does one look at something so big, that lived for over 1400 years, and not be moved? The conversation about the tree slice eventually ended with Devang asking “would you guys like to see a real one?”.


And that is how we found ourselves on a dreamy road trip to California in June.

Photo Dump

If you saw the list of cities we visited, you can get a sense of the amount of information and pictures I have to share with you. It’s a daunting task to try and get it right in one go. So, I have decided to break down my pictures, thoughts, and information about each city in a separate future post. In the meantime, here is a photo dump to tie you over.

One last thought : Buy fewer things. Get out of your comfort zone. Take those kids out there to see the world. You can do hard things. It is so worth it!

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