Our top list for our Road Trip travel this summer was Big Sur along the Pacific Coast highway of sunny California.
We also picked some rest stops along our way to the Big Sur, and the first ones were Pismo Beach for lunch and for dinner we stopped at Solvang, CA. It is the best quick stop for family with hungry kids. For an affordable and pet friendly hotel, we stayed at the Sideways Inn hotel in Buelton, CA. The hotel was impressively clean and pet friendly. It has free hot breakfast daily and is very near the freeway. The hotel was less than 3 miles from Solvang, CA where we had dinner. We had great wine tasting in several wineries in the area that is close to this hotel. We also saw some Ostriches at the Ostrichland USA, where the kids also experienced feeding those wild Ostriches.
En route to our Day Trip of the Big Sur, we passed by several land marks including the Morro Bay. We headed north to Hwy 1 and reached the Ragged Point Inn resort, and we recommend it as the best lunch or snack stop; this hotel has a stunning view of the Pacific ocean. My family of four had a short delicious lunch at the Barbeque on the Cliffs right next to the Rugged Point Inn. I can truly say it had an expectacular view of the ocean. One of the key places to stop and should not miss on the Big Sur is the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park. While in there we took a quick photo of the famous McWay Falls as seen on one of the slide photos in our blog. We headed to San Simeon, where we visited the famous Hearst Castle. We recommend to at least spend an entire day at the Hearst Castle to take photos and enjoy the amazing views. While in San Simeon, we stayed at the Morgan hotel which has an ocean view and this hotel offers complimentary breakfast with free wiFi. What our kids truly enjoy was the quick side trip to the Elephant seals of San Simeon which was totally free of charge! And we had a brief morning hike from there to the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. We spent about a total of 4 days with this mini-vacation, and we are very proud to say we stayed within our budget. Our hotel stay per day was below $200.
Few tips if you truly want to save money:
1. book ahead of time for your hotel. I used several sites online like booking.com; kayak; hotels.com and trip advisor.
2. find a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast and has a small fridge.
3. pack your water, snacks and lunches if you can. We packed some fruits to go like banana, oranges, apples, and of course some granola bars or anything that is healthy and easy to grab and go.
4. ask for more information of places to visit once you arrived at your hotel or you can search for blogs such as this one to get better ideas for your next trip.
5. ask what kinds of activities you could do with your kids for free while visiting an area of historical significance.
6. use a durable sack pack or light back pack when you travel. We love to hit the beach, so we pack our beach towels, sunblock and flip flops.
7. Look for areas where you could get some groceries near your hotel.
8. if your car has an extra room or space; bring a cooler for your water and other beverages.