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Christmas at Disneyland and California Adventure

Christmas at Disneyland A couple years ago, in 2017 we were lucky enough to get to spend 3 whole days at Disneyland and California Adventure with our family. We arrived…

Christmas at Disneyland

A couple years ago, in 2017 we were lucky enough to get to spend 3 whole days at Disneyland and California Adventure with our family.

We arrived a few days before Christmas and then spent Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. It was the first time that my kids had ever been and it was so much fun. Here is a bit more about how our Christmas at Disneyland went. 

We lived in Paradise, CA at the time, and we drove down to Sacramento about 1 hour away and stayed the night. Then we drove the rest of the trip the next day (12 hours) and arrived at our hotel. We took two separate cars since our whole family was going.

We didn’t stay at a Disneyland hotel, we stayed a hotel a couple blocks away. It was walking distance from Disneyland so we would just walk back and forth (we definitely got our steps in).

It was a nice clean hotel and we even had adjoining rooms. It also had a nice pool but it was a bit too cold for swimming. The night that we arrive we watch the fireworks show above the Disneyland castle right from our hotel balcony. 

The first day that we went to Disneyland park, we arrived early when it was first opening up. It was nice to get there and get started exploring before it got too busy and the lines got too long.

Even first thing in the morning before the gates opened up it was already very long lines, but once they opened we got in quick. My sister even got my daughter some cute little Mickey Mouse ears. A must have on any Disney adventure. 

We had park hopper passes so we went to Disneyland one day, and then California Adventure the next and went back and forth. 

It was so pretty getting to see everything decorated for Christmas. They had some of the biggest Christmas trees that I had ever seen that were just covered in lights. Almost everywhere you looked there were some kind of Christmas themed decorations.

My son was obsessed with Cars at the time so he really loved the Cars Land area of California Adventure. The Radiator Spring ride was great, one of our favorites, but I was surprised by how fast it went.

They also had different Cars from the movies that would come out and drive around and they would have little shows of music where everyone could go out and dance in the street. That was really fun. 

While we didn’t get to go on all the rides at California Adventure we really did love the Soaring Around the World ride. The line was very long and so we ended up waiting about 2 hours but it was worth it. We later found out the you can get Fastpasses

What are Fast Passes? – There are certain parts of the park where you can scan your entrance tickets and get a fast pass for each member of the ride. Each Fastpass is for a certain ride and you have to be at the ride within a certain time frame. 

The time that you have to arrive is printed on the pass and when you arrive you can go into the Fastpass line which normally is a super quick wait. We did this with the Cars ride and we only had to wait for less than 10 minutes. It takes a bit of planing but it is worth it. 

I have also learned that you can purchase something called the Maxpass that allow you to get a Fastpass right from your phone. The cost is $15 per day per ticket and I would recommend it. I will be getting it next time for sure.

Since we spend a ton of time standing and walking (bring good shoes!) there were a few spots in the park that we found to just relax and let the kids play.

Our favorite spot to relax in California Adventure was the forest camp area located at grizzly peak. There was an entire section for the kids to play and benches for the parents. There was even a little zip line that my son loved. 

We didn’t download the Disney app, but after we visited I learned about an app that you can download that shows rides that are closed and wait times that help you to plan where you are visiting next in the park.

If you are planing a trip to Disneyland make sure that you look into this. I know I will be for our next trip. 

The Disneyland side was great. I think that my favorite ride was Its a Small World since it was all decorated for Christmas.

Also, look into times where they are having shows. Near the back of the park there is a stage area that they have shows a few times a day. We went to one and it was really worth it. I was so surprised by how great it was. 

Also, there is a train called the Disneyland Railroad that goes along the outer edges of the Disneyland side of the park. We rode it all the way around just for fun, but it also makes stops at each area of the park so you can ride the train instead of walking. 

There is also the Monorail that will save you some walking time. We didn’t ride it one night from the inside of the park and got dropped off at the exit area. It was fun riding it and a great view of the park below. 

If you are wanting to get some pictures taken with the characters then you should wait in The Mainstreet USA area. This is where the characters come out from. When they come out there will be a huge line of people to meet them and take photos. 

You don’t know when they are going to come out, so you just have to wait, but it seemed like about every half hour or so a different one would appear.

If you follow them when they first come out you will get to be one of the first people in line and not have to wait too long. My son got to meet goofy and he was so happy. Bring a notebook and pen and they will even sign autographs for you. 

Christmas at Disneyland was so much fun. It was the first time we had spend Christmas together as a family at a destination away from home.

While we didn’t have our same Christmas traditions and didn’t really exchange a bunch of gifts we had an even more memorable experience that we still talk about today. 

Its fun sharing our memories of that Christmas and I would recommend going to Disneyland and California Adventure at Christmas to anyone.

I can’t wait to go back again. I know for sure that I will be downloading the Disney app and learning more about the Fastpass for our next Disney adventure.

Planing a trip to Disneyland? Feel free to use our Disney Captions for ideas to caption all your Disneyland photos.

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15 Things to do in Crescent City CA

What to do in Crescent City, CA? Crescent City is a hidden little coastal town in far northern California, so far north that it’s only about 10 minutes from the…

What to do in Crescent City, CA?

Crescent City is a hidden little coastal town in far northern California, so far north that it’s only about 10 minutes from the Oregon border. While its a smaller town with a population of about 7,000 it’s rich in beautiful places to see.

There have been a handful of movies filmed in the area through the years including; ET (1982), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Not a Moment Too Soon – Tim McGraw’s music video (1994), and most recently, Bird Box staring Sandra Bullock (2018).

Often referred to as “where redwoods meet the sea” because one side of the town borders the Pacific Ocean and the other borders the Redwoods National Park. There is plenty to see and do in this small little town.

We took a trip to Crescent City this last Thanksgiving and it was so much fun. Here is our list of the top 15 things to do in Crescent City, CA. 

#1 Get a better view from Crescent Beach Outlook

Located right outside Crescent City and only a short drive up a hill you will arrive at a small parking area. The walk to the viewing area is paved and a very easy path that only takes a couple minutes. The path ends on decked outlook where there is an endless view of the ocean and the coastline of the city.

Some days the view is better than others. When it’s foggy it can be hard to see much. Often times the fog burns off by the afternoon. You will not be disappointed to visit the outlook on a clear day. Here is more information about the overlook and directions if you want to go see it for yourself.  

#2 Enjoy South Beach – A favorite spot for locals and visitors

Located just south of Crescent City harbor along highway 101 south beach is a large stretch of flat beach that is a local favorite. When conditions are right you will see surfers and paddle boarders out on the waves. You can even rent some paddle boards or surfboards and try surfing yourself. Take a walk on the beach and you will most likely find sand dollars, sea shells and lots of drift wood. 

You can park right along 101 to access the beach or you can park in the harbor area and walk down. It is a popular spot for playing in the sand and enjoying the day. Most days there will be people having bonfires and enjoying the beach. A perfect place for taking pictures and relaxing because the views of the ocean are amazing. You will not be disappointed. 

#3 Explore the Crescent City Harbor

Right next to south beach you wont want to miss out on all the Crescent City harbor area has to offer. You will find restaurants, boats, and gift shops.

There is even a little restaurant called The Chart Room that is right on the harbor. You can enjoy your food and watch the sea lions right from the table side windows. The harbor is full of sea gulls and sea lions.

If you are driving through the harbor make sure you drive around the boat dock area. You can see all the private and commercial fishing boats. You can even walk right down to the boats to get an up close look. There is even a distant view of the lighthouse. There is also a paved walking trail that winds through the harbor and along the beaches. 

#4 Take a Tour at Ocean World 

This is a must stop if you have never been before. Ocean World is fun for the whole family. They offer guided tours that take about 45 minutes, where you can play in a tide pool, see the aquarium, pet a real life shark, and see a super cute sea lion show at the end of the tour. It is a fun adventure and there are some cute photo opportunity spots along the way.

If you don’t have time to take the tour its worth it to visit Ocean World just for the gift shop. They have a huge gift shop area that even includes a large section with shirts and sweatshirts. Here is a link to their website for more information about tour times and prices https://oceanworldonline.com

#5 Don’t miss out on Beach Front Park 

Beach Front park is a large park area over near the pier and lighthouse. The park is right on the ocean and is the perfect spot to spend a few hours. In the park you will find the visitor center, an indoor swimming pool, a park area for kids, picnic benches disk golf, a dog park, and the marine mammal center. It also offers a beautiful view of the ocean. 

#6 Walk to the end of B Street Pier

A walk down the B street pier offers some of the best views of the lighthouse. You can even crab off the pier, you will see people with crab pots along the walk. There is no where to sit but it’s not a very long walk to the end and back.

It’s fun to see people catching crab and experience the views of the ocean right beneath you. Make sure you bring a jacket because it can get really windy out there. 

#7 Walk to Battery Point Light House 

It’s so exciting to experience the light house just make sure that you check the tides and go when it’s low tide. When it’s high tide the water covers the rocky trail area that leads out to the light house so you cannot cross until it’s low tide.

Battery point light house offers guided tours where they explain the history and let you walk through the museum that is located in the light house. Just make sure you check out the times and days that the tours are offered before heading out.

Click here to visit the light house facebook page to get tour schedules and contact information. Also here is a link to check the tide times before you head out to the light house.

This is the site that they filmed Tim McGraws 1994 music video – Not a Moment too soon. It’s fun to watch since you can clearly see the lighthouse and beach in the video.

#8 Let your dog Play at the Dog Park

Also located in Front Street Park, you will find “Dog Town” a fenced in dog park area is perfect for your dog to get off the leash and burn some energy. It is a clean little park that is located right next the the beach and also across the street from Sea Quake, a popular brewery and pizza spot. 

#10 Visit the Marine Mammal Center 

Another great place to check out if you are down near Beachfront Park. The Marine Mammal center rescues injured marine wildlife and takes cares for them until they can release them back into the wild. There are some informational signs around the building and a fenced in area where they house wildlife while they are caring for them. Often times you can see little sea pups right through the fence so its fun to stop by and check them out. 

#11 Check out Brother Jonathan Park

Brother Jonathan park is a fenced in park for kids on one side and on the other has a memorial area to remember the 244 passengers that perished in the Brother Jonathan shipwreck off the Crescent City coast in 1865. The outlook area is a great place to watch the sunset and offers some great views of the ocean. 

#12 Hunt for agates and explore the tide pools on Pebble Beach

Even if you don’t have time to stop make sure you drive down Pebble Beach. This area of the ocean is a more rocky area but is one of the best drive by areas and offers some beautiful views of the ocean. I loved going at sunset as there is always such pretty colors in the sky.

If you have the time and its low tide you can go down the stairs to hunt for agates and view the tide pools below. Also, keep an eye out for whales in the horizon as you can see them in the distance when its migrating time. 

#13 See the tall trees at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park 

things to do in crescent city ca

You can’t leave Crescent City without seeing the Redwoods. Just a short drive about 10 minutes and you will be right in the middle of some of the tallest redwoods in the world located in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Amazing photo opportunities and there are tons of little trails to explore that wind right through the redwoods.

#14 Drive through Stout Grove

If you have some extra time drive through stout grove. It is an old road that goes right through the redwood forest. It offers some of the most beautiful views from the inside of the forest. It ends at the Smith River where there is a camping area and swimming spots. 

#15 Hike the Boy Scot Tree Trail

Wanting to get out and do some hiking. The Boy Scout Tree Trail is a bit over 2 miles and you will be walking through the huge ancient redwoods the entire time. While right outside Crescent City you will feel like you are worlds away as you can’t hear or see the City. You are just surrounded by the redwoods. 

Have you ever been to Crescent City? If you haven’t it is worth the trip. They also have an amazing display of fireworks over the lighthouse every 4th of July if you are looking for somewhere to spend the holiday. Just make sure you book reservations early because the hotels fill up fast. I hope that this list of things to do in Crescent City Ca helps you to plan your trip and enjoy your time in this northern California beach town. 

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39 Perfect California Captions for Instagram

Feeling the California vibe? Or are you planing a trip to California. There is nothing like the golden state. Sunshine, surfing, beaches, mountains, adventure, and anything else that you can…

Feeling the California vibe? Or are you planing a trip to California. There is nothing like the golden state. Sunshine, surfing, beaches, mountains, adventure, and anything else that you can imagine all wrapped up into one state.

I am from California and I hope you love it as much as I do. Here are my top California captions for Instagram. Feel free to use them on your next instagram posts to capture that California feeling. 

California Captions for Instagram

A golden state of mind

California is where my heart is

Palm trees and ocean breeze

I love you to the pier and back

My favorite color is sunset

West coast best coast

California dreamin

California is always a good idea

Salt air cool breeze adventure in my soul

California vibes

california captions for instagram

Something beautiful is on the horizon

Nothing comes close to the golden coast

Heres to you california

I left my heart in california

I want a little bit of California

Theres a feeling i get when i look to the west

If i can’t go to heaven let me go to California

Stay golden

Find me where the waves are

Maybe i just need to go to california

instagram captions about california

All i need are palm trees and a little bit of paradise

Sun shine on my mind

California on my mind

California love

California girl

I love you california

Theres no place like california

Happiness comes in waves

Dear California, I love you

Stay golden

instagram captions for california

California is a state of mind

In the warm California sunshine

West coast is the best coast

California knows how to party

Follow your heart even if it takes you all the way to california

California is calling I must go

California adventure

California dreams

At home in California

I hope that this California Captions for Instagram are the perfect touch to your instagram posts. Feel free to share and let me know what your favorite place is in California!

Looking for more California adventures – here are my California Bucket List ideas. Also, if you really want to experience what California has to offer take a trip on the Pacific Coast Highway. Plus there are a ton of instagram photo spots 🙂 Here are my best highway 1 stops.

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Crystal Creek Falls – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Crystal Creek Falls is the perfect place for a quick and easy waterfall hike. Located in Whiskeytown National Recreation area in Northern California. Crystal Creek Falls is a manmade waterfall…

Crystal Creek Falls is the perfect place for a quick and easy waterfall hike. Located in Whiskeytown National Recreation area in Northern California. Crystal Creek Falls is a manmade waterfall that is easily accessible. The walk to the falls is only a short walk down a paved path. 

Crystal Creek Falls

Details

  • Crystal Creek Falls is about 1/3 mile from the parking area
  • $25 per vehicle (unless you have a national park pass)
  • ADA Accesible
  • Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash

Directions

Heading west on CA-299/Eureka Way you will continue for about 14 miles until you reach Crystal Creek Rd. (If you don’t have national park pass you will want to first stop at the Whiskytown visitor center or purchase your pass online – the cost is $25 per vehicle and is good for 7 days)

Once you reach Crystal Creek Road you will turn left. You will pass over a small bridge and then start on a paved road which is about 4 miles up to the trail head.

crystal creek falls bridge

Continue down the paved road until you see the Whyskytown Falls / Crystal creek falls sign. 

crystal creek falls sign

Right after you pass the sign turn left onto the gravel road that leads to the trailhead parking lot. 

parking area in whiskytown national recreation area

This will dead end right to the trail head parking lot. The parking area is nice and there is even a bathroom. 

parking lot whiskeytown

The trail head begins at the locked gate and you can clearly see the paved pathway. 

trail head crystal creek falls

Go past the gate and you will begin to see the the trail is a paved road. This continues all the way until you reach the lower Crystal Creek Falls. You won’t even have to get off the paved road to view the falls. 

trail leading to lower crystal creek fall

After about 1/3 mile you will reach a small picnic area with a bbq and some picnic benches. When you reach this spot you are almost to the falls. 

picnic area right before crystal creek falls

After the picnic area you can go to the small trail to the left that is not paved to get down to the falls. 

crystal creek falls
bottom of the lower crystal creek fall

Or you can continue on the paved trail to see the falls right from the main road. 

crystal creek falls

You can see below that there is a large building. This is the diversion gate house. If you want to go to upper Clear Creek Falls you can continue down an unpaved dirt trail right past the gate house. (we didn’t go the the upper falls) but we do plan on making a trip back soon. 

whiskytown lake gate house

Clear Creek Falls is the perfect adventure if you are looking for something quick and easy accessible for almost anyone. Just because its easy to get to doesn’t mean that it is any less beautiful.

crystal creek whiskeytown national recreation area

Next time I go back I am plaining on hiking the Wiskytown Falls as well. It was closed down when we went in November of 2018 due to the Carr fire that had damaged the trail.

There are actually a total of four waterfalls in the Whiskytown Lake area; Whiskytown Falls, Bolder Creek Falls, Brandy Creek Falls, and Crystal Creek Falls.

Want more about all the falls? Click here to visit Waterfalls of Whiskeytown National Park page. They keep it updated with important visitor information.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Clear Creek Falls. Let me know how you like it! 

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Fern Canyon Hike – Northern California Redwoods

The Fern Canyon hike is a destination like no other. A canyon in the California redwood forest that is completely covered in ferns from the creek floor all the way…

The Fern Canyon hike is a destination like no other. A canyon in the California redwood forest that is completely covered in ferns from the creek floor all the way to the tops of the canyon walls.

A small gentle creek runs through the canyon and water drips down the sides of the fern walls. Steven Spielberg described Fern Canyon as “an unforgettable natural wonder” and he even decided to film parts of Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World there.

Hiking through Fern Canyon was on the top of my adventure list. Here is more info:

fern canyon hike

Details 

  • Fern Canyon Trail is about 1/4 mile from parking lot 
  • $8 cash or check for parking
  • Dogs are NOT allowed on the trail into the Canyon

Fern Canyon Hike Video

Check out my Fern Canyon California video:

The park is located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Northern California. It is about 2 miles outside a small town called Orick. 

The drive to the Fern Canyon is beautiful in itself. You will be driving through the redwoods and along the beautiful coastline on highway 101. If you are going north form Orick you will turn left onto Davison Road about 2 miles after Orick. From here you will drive through Elk Meadow (make sure you look in the meadow and see there are any Elk) 

elk meadow prairie creek state park

Then you will start up a small gravel road.

gravel road that leads to fern canyon

The gravel road winds through the redwoods for about 6 miles.

fern canyon hike drive

You will then reach the pay station. 

pay to enter fern canyon hiking area

After paying to enter the park, the road opens up a little (you can even see the ocean)

beach in prairie creek state park

Continue about 3 more miles until you reach where the road dead ends into the parking lot and Fern Canyon hike trail head. 

parking area of fern canyon trail

*The road that you drive on to get to Fern Canyon is a very dusty and long gravel road. There are also parts of the road with very large pot holes and standing water that you have to cross.

There are no trailers allowed on the road. Also it is doable by cars but I would recommend a larger car if possible. We didn’t have to use 4×4 but some parks of the road were difficult and small cars had problems passing. 

rough road leading to the parking lot

If you car can’t make it all the way to the parking lot trail head you can park along the road and just hike down the rest of the road to reach the trail head.

Also, keep in mind that during the rainy months hikes in the canyon can be limited due to road conditions so make sure you check out the Fern Canyon Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park website before heading out.

When you reach the parking area and trail head there is a bathroom and a few picnic tables. 

bathrooms

The Trail

The hiking trail is clearly marked and is right at the end of the road you just entered on.

fern canyon hike 0.1 mile

The trail in is only about 1/4 mile before you reach the start of Fern Canyon. It is a very easy trail to reach the start of the canyon and only took a couple of minutes. 

hiking trail to canyon

When you reach the start of fern canyon you will know because you will see the stream. There will also be a little trail off to your left (James Irvine Trail) that trail will take you up above the canyon if you want to check it out from above.

james irvine trail california redwoods state park

We choose to walk right down the canyon floor. If you want to walk through the canyon like we did just start following the stream.

home creek

This stream is called Home Creek. Since it winds the entire area of Fern Canyon I would recommend that you bring waterproof shoes or boots. It also gets a bit muddy near the end of the canyon We wore rubber boots and were so glad that we did. 

fern canyon hike california redwoods

I saw of ton of people carrying their wet shoes and trying their best to stay dry. It was nice to be able to just walk right through the creek and enjoy beauty of the canyon without having to worry about our feet getting wet. 

In the summer months they do install these little foot bridges across the creek. They were nice but I would still recommend waterproof shoes.

walking bridge over home creek

Once you get into the Canyon you will be amazed. You are literally surrounded by ancient ferns 50 feet up the walls of the Canyon. I grew up in the redwoods and have seen a ton of ferns but never have I seen something like this it was amazing. 

fern canyon hike

About halfway in the canyon you will notice that there are places where there is water dripping down the canyon walls. Almost like a small waterfalls but it was a constant drip down the ferns in the creek below. 

water falls and moss on fern canyon hike california redwoods

As you go deeper into the canyon there are some downed trees that add the the beauty of the hike. You will weave around and under the trees to see even more of the canyon. This part of the trail does start getting a little bit muddy. 

downed redwood trees in the canyon

if you continue down the canyon you will reach stairs that take you to the top of the canyon where you can walk back out the trail above the canyon or you can turn around and walk back through the canyon. We went back through since it was just so pretty we wanted to see it all again. 

fern canyon end of trail

Northcoast Weather

You can see in my pictures that I am wearing a tank top since it was pretty warm the weekend that we visited. Normally in this area, even during the summer, the weather is very unpredictable and is often rainy and foggy so you might want to bring a sweatshirt or jacket just in case. 

family pic at fern canyon hike california redwoods

More About Fern Canyon 

Fern Canyon is located in the Prarie Creek Redwoods state park in Humboldt County California. It is park of the Redwood National Park and was named after the 5 species of ancient ferns that cover the canyon walls. It is a popular destination and has even be the location of filming for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Walking with Dinosaurs and Dinosaurs Alive!

ferns next to home creek fern canyon hike

Not only is the Fern Canyon hike a sight to see it is located where the redwoods meets the ocean so you get to enjoy the redwood forest on one side the the ocean on the other. There are also wild Roosevelt Elk that wander the area (if you see them just don’t get too close).

On the way to Fern Canyon there are a day use areas where you can pull out to enjoy the beach for the day and even a camping area if you decide you want to stay the weekend. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to adventure to Fern Canyon and check it off my California bucket list. I can’t wait to go back again soon! 

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