Highway 1 Honeymoon

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Last week we celebrated one year of marriage! It’s amazing how fast this year has flown by. We have had so many adventures over the past 12 months, and we have been able to see so much of our little part of the world. So to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, I thought I’d take some time to tell y’all about our first married adventure – our California Roadtrip Honeymoon.

My main goal on this trip was to take in as much of the Pacific Coast Highway as we could practically do in a short trip. I had seen this scenic highway featured in old movies and photographs countless times and was determined to make myself feel as much a part of those scenes as possible (right down to wearing a headscarf and red lipstick.)

Day One:

For our first day of our roadtrip we flew into LAX bright and early and started our drive north towards Santa Barbara. This was my first time in California so the whole experience was overwhelming, from flying into Los Angeles and taking in the magnitude of the biggest city I’ve been in to date, to driving the coastal highway, never sure if I should be looking left to the ocean, or right towards the mountains.

Since this was my first day in California, we made sure to stop at a lot of the famous beaches along the highway – Hermosa, Venice (“Muscle Beach”), Santa Monica, and Malibu. Each one had a unique vibe, but all were distinctly Californian.

In Venice we strolled down Abbott Kinney Boulevard, grabbed some coffee, and browsed a few of the shops. This is definitely a more artsy area of LA, and it was really cool to experience the atmosphere here, even if it was a bit different than my typical scene.

We took our time driving highway one and enjoyed all of the little stops and asides we took on the trip. In the evening we finally made it to Santa Barbara and the Harbor House Inn. I can’t say enough good things about this Inn. It was so adorable, and only a couple of blocks from the beach and downtown.

Day Two:

The second day of our trip was spent entirely in Santa Barbara. We started the day by visiting the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, which was fantastic! It was so beautiful and had a lot of great walking and hiking trails. (If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m kind of a botanical garden junkie.)

From there we went just a couple of miles down the road to the historic Santa Barbara Mission. This is one of the most well-known historic missions, and is very well preserved. The mission and grounds are beautiful as well. I love history, so this was a really enjoyable place to visit.

After these two outings in the morning, we enjoyed exploring some more of downtown Santa Barbara and then we went to the beach. I was a bit disappointed to discover that the water was very cold – despite it being late June. Apparently that’s normal for California water. Or maybe I’m just spoiled from warm gulf water.

That evening we went to The Boathouse Restaurant where we are dinner and watched the sunset – both were exquisite.

Day Three:

On day 3 we drove from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach. This day included lots of fun California sightseeing. Ivan did a great job of pretending to be as much of a tourist in his home state as I was on my first trip there.

For lunch we went to In-N-Out in Hollywood, because that’s what people do in California. Also it’s one of Ivan’s favorites, so of course he had to take me.

We went by all the major Hollywood sights – walked on Hollywood Boulevard, drive through Rodeo Drive, and waved to the Hollywood sign. We also stopped at the Grand Central Market and perused the various food vendors. Since we had already had lunch, we didn’t end up getting much here, but we did enjoy some yummy popsicles.

After a busy day in Hollywood we drove a little further south to Newport Beach. We didn’t do a whole lot here, because it had already been a long day, but we did take some time to walk along the beach and we finished the day off by eating gelato and watching the sunset. (Food and Sunset watching was somewhat of a theme on this trip, haha.)

Day Four:

For our last full day we drove from Newport Beach to San Diego. We started the day with a good breakfast from the Rose Cafe and Bakery in Newport Beach. Ivan also bought me some baby roses at a flower stand across the street from the bakery.

Ivan was really excited to arrive in San Diego that morning because it was my very first time visiting his hometown. He was a great tour guide during the brief time we were in town.  

The main stop we made was La Jolla. Once again I was a little put off by the water temperature, so getting in the water wasn’t very much fun and didn’t last very long. But the beach was beautiful and I loved seeing the sea lions! La Jolla was a great introduction into Ivan’s city, so I’m glad we made this our first stop.

From there we went to Ivan’s parents house for a wedding reception where I was able to meet some of his extended family for the first time, as well as friends who weren’t able to make it to the wedding. We had such a great day in San Diego and were sad to go – but glad we had a reason to come back again and again.

That night we stayed downtown at the Westgate Hotel. Once again, I felt like I was in a movie! The historic hotel felt so big and luxurious. Our little balcony gave us a great view of the city and the ocean. It was easily the nicest hotel I’ve been to.

Day Five:

For the last day of our trip we had breakfast at the Edgewater Grill in Seaport Village and it was so good! This was such a nice and relaxing way to end our whirlwind honeymoon…sipping coffee, overlooking the ocean, making memories.

California Coast Honeymoon


California Coast Honeymoon

Highway 1 Honeymoon | JuliaAuburn
Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip

California Highway 101 Honeymoon | Julia Auburn | #california #californiahoneymoon #californiacoast #caliroatrip #californicaraodtrip #highway1 #highway101 #hwy1 #highway1roadtrip #usaroadtrip #honeymoonroadtrip #travelguides #adventure #traveldestinations #roadtriproutes

A lot of these photos were taken on our phones – but for my Nikon I mainly use these lenses: Nikon AF-S DX 35mm F/1.8G Lens (portrait) Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens (AF-S Motor) (for Nikon) (wide angle)


  • Hannah

    Your California Roadtrip Honeymoon sounds amazing, Julie! I just love the Pacific Coast Highway and have always wanted to do a road trip like this!!! My spouse and I just went on our official “honeymoon” this year – seven years after being married (military life…). It was so much fun!

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