... from San Francisco to Palm Springs

This December has been very special to me since I’ve spent it outside of Denmark for the first time ever. Usually, Christmas equals winter, cold walks, candlelit indoor “hygge”, Glögg (mulled wine) and “æbleskiver” (Danish Christmas cake). This year has been very different since it has been filled with bright sunlight, sightseeing, salsa lessons and busy city life. Fortunately, it has involved the most important Christmas tradition of all which is quality time with family (even though I did miss my dad’s side of the family).

I started the holiday break early in mid-December on a road trip with my boyfriend and his family. We had the most gorgeous weather and got to experience some of the most beautiful Californian nature.

Day 1: Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea

The first day we rented a car and drove from San Francisco to Carmel-by-the-sea (a small town that I happily visited again even though I was there only 6 weeks earlier). On the way we stopped by a few incredible places.

  • Morning coffee at Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz

  • Picnic stop at Moss Landing

  • A short walk by the ocean in Monterey

  • 17 mile drive

  • Pebble Beach Golf Course (I’m looking forward to playing this course in the future)

  • Carmel-by-the-sea (Carmel Lodge)

Day 2: Big Sur and Solvang

On our second day we drove down Highway 1 through Big Sur which was just as breathtakingly beautiful as my first and second visit to this place (I was there 6 and 9 weeks earlier). If you’re planning on going I recommend stopping at all the parking spots along the road to just take in the views and if you’re looking for a hike the AllTrails App has an endless amount of suggestions. And finally, it’s a good idea to have a full tank and a car full of snacks and water since most of the drive is nature only.

Big Sur slideshow (use the arrow on the photo):

After exploring Big Sur we drove to Morro Bay for a very late lunch (we didn’t do any hikes this time, otherwise we would’ve spent all day in Big Sur). I’ve heard that Morro Bay has an incredible sunset, however, we continued our road trip before this. We ended the day in the Danish inspired town Solvang which had the most beautiful Christmas lights.

Day 3-6: Palm Springs

We ended our road trip with a few days in Palm Springs where we stayed in the Dessert Princess Golf Resort. We had a perfect stay here with a combination of golf and nature (and some work I had to finish before Christmas) and maybe most importantly, we got to enjoy the Southern Californian sun. A fun little thing we tried was playing golf during and after sunset at the Lights at Indio Golf Course.

Day 5: Joshua Tree National Park

In Palm Springs we got up early one day to experience a sunrise in the dessert. Less than an hour from Palm Springs is the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve never experienced nature like this and I definitely never thought that my first time in the dessert would be in 27°F / -3°C. I don’t have the words to describe this place so photos are the best I can do.

Joshua Tree National Park slideshow:

I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year!