Travel

Our dog friendly family trip to San Diego

We’re getting pretty good at traveling over night so we decided to take off 12 hours south to San Diego for 5 nights (3 in the city and 2 traveling). Moonshine came with us again, so it was essential that we find the dog friendly beaches we could all enjoy.

During our time in San Diego, we spent the most time in Ocean Beach (at dog beach – at lifeguard station 5). We loved the old school hippie vibe in the area. We arrived early in the morning and Connor got to wake up on his 5th birthday on the beach 😊

It was also easy to find outdoor dog friendly restaurants everywhere in Ocean Beach which was awesome since we don’t leave Moonshine behind. We loved everywhere we ate; the list is as follows:

Ocean beach people’s organic market (a wonderful local organic market to grab anything you’re looking for; we grabbed snacks and breakfast items for our Airbnb here).

Raglan Public House (great burgers, fries, speciality drinks and an amazing cookie and ice cream skillet).

Wahoo’s fish tacos (it was rated very well on google reviews and it was decent; we wouldn’t go back the next time we visit though).

Pizza port ocean beach (amazing pizza – the sauce was tangy and sweet) and they had a wonderful cider on tap.

The baked bear (custom ice cream sandwiches to die for)!

Little Lion Cafe (an adorable breakfast spot with a large assortment of breakfast drinks and speciality meals). There were only two outdoor tables offered but we arrived right when they opened and got lucky to get a seat.

We also visited Coronado beach. It was not quite as large or as busy as dog beach. The vibe in Coronado was a little too affluent for our taste but it was a great place to visit nonetheless!

The last beach we briefly visited (only one time) was on fiesta island. While it’s dog friendly everywhere (no restrictions to this) there wasn’t a lot of real sand, no shells for Connor to find and the ground was pretty dirty overall. It was ok to visit but it was our least favorite and we wouldn’t return when we go again.

For our last night in San Diego, we left our Airbnb and went to downtown to stay one night at the Hotel Z (stay pineapple – a hip and very dog friendly establishment). It was in the Gaslamp Quarter which was a great central location that had a lot of great restaurants that were….you guessed it – dog friendly!

Barleymash had a large patio and great salads!

Rustic root was an upscale farm to table restaurant that was really good. Connor enjoyed his crab cake (and Mac and cheese with bacon)!

We’re suckers for ice cream so Cali Cream was a must try! The cookies and cream with cookie dough was amazing!

For our last breakfast in San Diego, we hit up Richard Walker’s pancake house and tried a Bavarian pancake (we had other items, too but who wants to see those over this)?!

And last but not least, on our last day, Jerry and Connor did a tour at the USS Midway Museum. It was a similar sized ship Jerry had been deployed on twice when he was in the Marines and Connor wanted to see it.

While I finish up this blog post, we’ve had one refreshing night of sleep at home again, are back to our normal cooking and eating at home and the boys are planning to camp tonight and give me a much needed break 😊there’s never any true downtime with Connor around unless he’s sleeping or gone with one of us; so until next time, you’ll find us encouraging Connor’s mission to wake, explore, repeat!

Travel

We survived our first family road trip to the Sierra Nevada!

Connor always hated the car seat as an infant and young toddler. Jerry and I would always joke that when we could take a true road trip (longer than our usual 4 hours to the desert to camp) we would have “made it” as far as thriving and not just surviving (insert our humor for our once high needs infant, now strong willed little kid).

We decided we would drive overnight for 12 hours to the Sierra Nevada and stay near the Sequoia National Forest one night, then drive a couple hours and stay just outside of Yosemite National Park. It was too cold to overnight camp comfortably in either place in early May, so we stayed in a hotel one night and then in a lodge outside of the park for three nights. While this was more expensive than our fairly inexpensive camping trips, it was definitely worth it for the experiences we had together that week on our first official road trip as a full family (Moonshine included of course)!

Our favorite spot to see giant redwoods up close and personal was on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoia National Forest. This was our first stop after 12 hours of driving and what Connor got to wake up to; what a lucky kiddo!!! *photos below

We also visited the largest tree in the world, General Sherman which is protected in Sequoia National Park. While it is quite impressive and a must see if you’re in the area, we enjoyed being able to climb in and out of the redwoods on the trail of 100 Giants. *Photo below

After we saw all the redwoods, the next day we headed to Yosemite National Park. *Even if you’re staying right outside the park in a lodge (we stayed at Tenaya Lodge), it will take a good hour plus to drive in to the most popular hikes. So that’s two plus hours of driving just to get in and out of the hike plus the time you’ll be in the park. A few trails were dog friendly so we brought Moonshine when we could; otherwise he had to stay behind at the lodge. This is something to always be mindful of when traveling with a dog anyways but especially to national parks.

In Yosemite, we started with the Bridalveil fall trail while it was a little touristy, it was a short nice walk to experience the mist off the fall. *photos below

The next trail we did was lower Yosemite falls trail

And then we had a picnic with our jetboil cooker and our favorite dehydrated food from Outdoor herbivore the cooker and these meals have been a lifesaver for us because they’re convenient and wholesome for people who need to eat a lot and often (insert momma who is a foodie and Connor who is 4) πŸ˜‚

The next day we began with our favorite hike in Yosemite, Vernal falls via the mist trail the bridalviel fall trail mist was like a weak spray bottle compared to the mist we got at vernal! And the terrain could be difficult for many but Connor absolutely rocked it! The “steps” were steep rocks and they were soaking wet from the mist. The waterfall was absolutely gorgeous and relaxing at the top was icing on the cake. This was our favorite day in Yosemite. *we originally hoped to do the second waterfall but doing 3-4 miles total to the first and back was plenty with a 4 year old. The next time we visit when Connor is a little older, we hope to do the full 7 miles.

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On our last day going into Yosemite, we did half of the Upper Yosemite falls . This was the ultimate stairmaster and was very hot and dry. Jerry carried Connor and we powered through!

The drive home was long and difficult (we left at 10am and got home at 4am – in hindsight, maybe we should have hung around most of the day and driven back overnight while he slept but we were exhausted and wanted to get going….plus we got to sleep 6 hours this way once we got in)! πŸ™Œ

The best thing about taking this trip is other than our lodging being booked and having a rough itinerary of what we wanted to do in the forest and park, we totally played everything else by ear. If we saw food we wanted to eat, we stopped and ate. If we needed to make a pit stop, we found a place and stopped. We really lived in the moment together that week and that was worth its weight in gold! We know we can road trip with Connor and Moonshine now and we are planning more fun upcoming trips!