Hi guys! I’m writing this currently sitting at the airport on my way back to LAX from my college bestie’s bachelorette party trying to finally put this post together. As you may have seen on Insta, we took a road trip a couple weeks ago up the California coast and met my family in Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur. We also got to drive through Monterey on our way up there (shout out Big Little Lies fans- but like did Bonnie really have to be that dramatic this season? I digress.)
This area of Northern California was SO stunning I felt like we were Europe somewhere. I thought it was certainly worth sharing some of the plant based dining options and touristy highlights with you guys. Plus, if you’re a vegan health freak like me or even an aspiring one, then you probably can relate to me here- the restaurant struggle is real.
It always takes me hours of researching and scouring the internet to find quality organic restaurants that also have plant based vegan options. In addition to that, I always ALSO have to do normal trip research to squeeze in all the local hot spots to check out. Luckily, my Mom planned this trip so I didn’t have to do my usual vaca protocol lolz but that’s typically the drill.
As a self-proclaimed “healthy vegan,” I find myself always making an itinerary after looking at a million different blogs and travel websites (more travel itineraries here!) We are a family of super health conscious eaters but not all of us are 100% plant based (referring to the men in the fam- Dad, brother, and husbands, oh our poor husbands- they had no idea what they were signing up for when we met them in college HA oops).
We often like to dine at restaurants that offer organic food but also have vegan dishes on the menu. That way, everyone is happy. We also like to be very active and drink a lot of organic alcohol, so our trips consist of all the walks our parents can get us to do, hikes galore, and happy hours. You get the gist!
Anywho, this area is amazing for a little getaway without having to travel outside of the US- complete with charming local shops, farm to table food, and gorgeous scenery. Without further adieu, here are a few recommendations from our trip.
CARMEL BY THE SEA
Carmel Belle – Favorite breakfast and lunch spot! They make their own almond milk and we could not get enough of their lattes, “Farmer’s Market” salads, and raw vegan chocolate cake!
Cultura – Two things: Eclectic Mexican food and house made tequila. YUM. We ate here Friday night and the margaritas and vegan veggie bowl were AMAZE.
The Cypress Inn – This boutique hotel is a must see. It was owned by the late actress and animal activist, Doris Day. While Carmel is an EXTREMELY dog-friendly town (we bought Caesar our little Maltese almost everywhere), this place takes the cake. Dogs are allowed throughout the whole hotel. Like, everywhere. We went for late night drinks after dinner two nights in a row and danced to live music in the comfy, living room style lounge with pups all around us. True bliss IMO.
Pebble Beach – Probably what most peeps know Carmel and Monterey area for. This is one of the nicest golf courses ever or something, apparently. Idk, I don’t really follow #sports too much but the husbands and brother were super excited to get to see this. We went to the resort and popped in the visitor center too. Def worth checking out! Ok enough about that lololol.
17 Mile Drive – The hubs and I didn’t meet up with everyone early enough for this (5+ hour drive from LA!) but it’s definitely one of the top attractions.
The drive from Carmel to Big Sur is known as THE thing to do on a road trip here. It only takes about 45 minutes but there are numerous recommended stops along the way. It’s super easy too and the highway is always full of people pulling their cars off the road to take in the views and get a few selfies. Here are a few of the stops we did!
Bixby Bridge (the Big Little Lies bridge!)
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
The Village – a little strip of shops featuring local organic coffee and wines, located next to the Big Sur River Inn. It even had a Mercado Sagrado x Big Sur pop-up open when we stopped (if you’re into the LA wellness scene you may have heard of this highly-curated wellness festival- check it out here if not!)
Nepenthe – gorgeous outdoor happy hour bar with suh-weet views of Big Sur. Freaking breathtaking. Highly recco.
Ok not gonna lie, didn’t get to personally check these places out. However, the fam who got there a day early did and I totes trust their opinions. Blog post worthy spots for sure.
Cannery Row restaurants and shopping
Fisherman’s Wharf (Sea lions and otters galore!)
You guys let me know if I missed anything! Until next time.