Hi everyone! I’m Farrah! :] Whilst on my 4th-year clinical rotations for medical school, I moved every 2-4 weeks to a different city/state, so I’ve lived in a tonnnn of different places over the past year. Although I’ve found things from every place that I’ve really enjoyed and awesome people everywhere, California will always be home to me.
California is a ginormous state, and my hope is to take a road trip up the entire Pacific coast someday…but until that happens, I’m just going to take you on a virtual tour through northern California to a few of the possibly lesser-known cities/towns!
If you’re at all a fan of eating the world and/or venturing outdoors, I think we’ll get along swimmingly! :] I’ve blogged about most of these places in some form or another on my blog, so if you want a more in-depth review, just search it on my blog or check out my yelp account for my foodie adventures!
I know everyone loves the idea of southern California beaches with the wind and surf in their hair, but my favorite beach in California is in Carmel-By-The-Sea. It’s an incredibly clean, peaceful beach with the softest white sand you could ever set your feet on.
It’s also less than 7 miles from Monterey, a city rich with California history that was the inspiration for a number of John Steinbeck’s novels. Monterey also has the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is home to super cute fish, otters, puffins, penguins, and sea pancakes manta rays, just to name a few! You can learn a lot about wildlife conservation here, and hopefully bring that knowledge with you wherever you go. Bring a student ID if you have one for a discount!
I’d also recommend kayaking or stand up paddleboarding there if you get a chance to! I got to see a baby otter floating around with its mother! There’s a tasty Greek restaurant (Epsilon) less than 2 miles away!
I somewhat hesitate to send anyone else to my hometown to climb Mission Peak since it’s already become a somewhat infamous selfie spot (it’s the most photographed landmark in the city), but this is a really nice hike that offers you a really gorgeous view of the Bay Area once you get to the top! The mountain summit is 2,517 feet high, so be sure to wear good shoes and bring water + sunscreen!
There’s delicious Indian food to be had here (my personal favorite is Pakwan, which is about 7 miles from Mission Peak), and somewhat nearby, in the Niles district, there’s the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, which is where Broncho Billy and Charlie Chaplin used to make films back in the 1910’s--they offer weekly viewings of silent films!
I could write several posts’ worth of things to do in Davis alone, but I’m a biased party because that’s where I went for undergrad and it’s probably where I want to move back to someday to live. Sometimes referred to as the “Bicycle Capital of the U.S.,” Davis is located 20-30 minutes from Sacramento.
As you might have guessed, it’s a super bike-friendly town with delicious food options (especially if you’re a fan of sushi buffets, Thai restaurants, or frozen yogurt—I’d recommend Davis Sushi Buffet, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, and Cultive, respectively) with tons of greenbelts to explore. If you make it there on a Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning, be sure to get the apple juice at the Davis Farmer’s Market! If you’re there on Tuesday or Thursday at noon, stop by the music building to catch a free noon concert by the music students! (I miss playing there!)
I’ve been taking you up north, and at this point, you’re pretty much right at the Oregon border—it’s breathtakingly beautiful up there. There are no hotels or motels within the park boundaries, but nearby towns have small hotels and inns! I came here 6 years ago on a camping trip with the outdoor group at my college, so lodging wasn’t an issue. I would definitely recommend camping here—it was a ton of fun!
There are almost 200 miles(!) of hiking trails in these parks, although in rainy seasons, some of the temporary footbridges kinda disappear. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can also go horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing here! Tis an outdoor enthusiast’s dream!
About the Author
Farrah is a Family Medicine intern with interests in preventative health, sports medicine, and working with under-served populations. She blogs at Fairyburger about food, fitness, healthy living, and excerpts of her daily life. In the rare occasions where she gets free time to have a life, she enjoys lifting weights, dancing, music, cooking, eating, volunteering, being outdoors, and hanging out with rescue animals.