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Golden Coastline Day Trip ๐Ÿš

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Michael Diego. Explorer and food-enthusiast who has spent his life in and around the Atlanta area. Michael enjoys long walks on the beach and eating more food than everyone else.

Take a joyride down the golden coast making multiple stops along the way. You'll explore lighthouses, famous coastal landmarks, and check out the wildlife. Your final destination is a charming Spanish seaside town with plenty of shopping and cuisine. ๐Ÿ

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Pigeon Point Lighthouse Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pigeon Point Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060, USA

This lighthouse is smaller than others on the Pacific Coast Highway as you head south. Nonetheless, it is packed with beautiful views. There are benches where you can quietly sit and take in all the glory of cliffside ocean views.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a trail that will lead you down a hidden beach below. Prior to a storm, you can watch the powerful waves crash against the rocks along the shoreline. The sound and sight are just mesmerizing. The best part of all, this whole experience is free.

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Image by @pigeonpointhostel on Instagram

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Shark Fin Cove Shark Fin Cove, Davenport, CA 95017, USA

If you’re looking for utterly jaw-dropping views of the NorCal coast, this is it. Drive up, walk across some pretty, abandoned railroad tracks, and behold the “shark fin,” an enormous rock jutting out of the water, just offshore. A short scramble down a steep path leads you to a small, secluded beach, perfect for relaxing and taking in the view.

For photographers, even better views can be had by climbing along the cliffside paths to the sides and looking down over the rocks. If you’ve got kids in tow, try to come during high tide when an archway serves as a blowhole for waves crashing up into it.

The only downsides are that it’s so easily accessible, you might find groups of other humans glutting up your fantasy of total seclusion, and there is definitely a problem with litter sometimes. Pack it out folks, if you don’t want to be that guy.

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Image found on Davenport, CA Wikipedia page

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Monterey Bay Aquarium 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Parking: During busy times, don’t try to park nearby as spots will be filled or you’ll pay a grip. Look for meter parking on streets parallel to cannery row.

Timing: Especially on weekends, it gets crowded in the afternoon. Plan for at least two hours, maybe three.

Route: If you come early, start with the giant octopus as it’s most likely to be awake in the morning. Loop the first floor and then head upstairs. If you come later, check the otter feeding time and make sure you’re there 10 mins earlier.

Must-See Exhibits: Otters (upstairs viewing better), giant octopus, jellies, bat rays. PS: You can touch them.

Eating: Most of the places nearby are of questionable quality and have higher prices. I would recommend eating at the aquarium itself. Prices are high but the food is of good quality. The aquarium gets busy at peak times but it’s definitely fun for all ages.

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Image from Monterey Bay Aquarium website

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Bird Rock Vista Point Bird Rock Rd, Pebble Beach, CA 93953, USA

On its calmest days, Monterey Bay is idyllic. Warm, dry breezes ripple cobalt waters, giving the impression that you are closer to the tropics than you actually are.

But on wild days, gray clouds wall up and march in from the northwest, signaling the arrival of autumnโ€™s first powerful cold fronts, torrential rains, hurricane-force winds, and raging seasโ€”the oceanโ€™s raw power on display.

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Image by @christelschuricht on Instagram

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Carmel Plaza Ocean Avenue &, Mission St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

Nestled in the heart of downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Plaza features one-of-a-kind fashion and specialty brands, restaurants, gourmet shops, wine tasting, salons, wellness studios, and more. All of this offered in a relaxed, sophisticated setting.

You’ll find a collection of clothing stores from high fashion to casual dress shops, shoe stores, and even children’s clothing. Men’s stores include Khaki’s of Carmel, which was voted one of the best men’s clothing stores in America by Esquire Magazine.

Shop for decor, art, or the latest cosmetics all in the beautiful Carmel Plaza’s garden patio courtyard. Dogs are welcome! You’ll also find a delicious selection of restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating. Cheese, wine, coffee, or cocoa, the Plaza serves it all.

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Image by @asbcarmel on Instagram

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