In my last post of our incredible family road trip to California we had left Monterey and were heading down the coast of California towards Avila Beach, one of the longest stretches of our trip at 150 miles and just over 2 and a half hours. However we decided that rather than see this long drive as a hassle or a means to an end, we would use it to our advantage and take in some of the beautiful sights on route.
Our whole trip was full of pinch me moments, but there are a few that really stick out as defining memories to me and standing up there looking at the view is one of them. I think it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. This is a trip that I had been wanting to do since I was little, before we had children we just never got round to it as we couldn’t afford it for one reason or another, but when I dreamed of doing it I would never have imagined I would have three little children by my side (or just out of shot in the car as we were worried about how high up it was- we got the girls out one of time to take a photo with them!) We spent half an hour or so there taking in the view before it was time to head to Avila Beach.
Our first impressions of Avila Beach as we arrived and had a quick drive around was that it was as lot smaller than the other places we had visited on the trip so far. It is literally just off Highway 1, so perfect for a stopover or a longer stay. And we left feeling like we wished we could have stayed there longer. We arrived late afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Avila Lighthouse Suites which turned out to be one of our favourite hotels of our trip. We had a great suite overlooking the ocean, and there was a pool and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. We were all pretty shattered by this point, so headed out to find some dinner- we found the Custom House restaurant, which judging by how busy it was, was a favourite of many, and enjoyed a delicious meal of flatbreads, pasta and burgers. There was literally one row of shops and restaurants in Avila, which you could walk to from our hotel, and it made a welcome change from having to get in the car to go anywhere. Then it was back to our room for a well needed night’s sleep.
TUESDAY 4th APRIL 2017
We awoke the next morning to the sun streaming in through the shutters in our room. After heading to breakfast, which was basic but good (plus you could make your own waffles with pre made batter which you put in a waffle machine- the girls thought this was the best thing ever), we decided to take advantage of having a beautiful beach right on our doorstep by heading out to enjoy the first golden light of the day.
We then decided to have a paddle in the water by the pier, which turned into pretty much go into the sea up to your waist fully clothed. I sat back on the sand and watched the girls shrieking and laughing with joy. Again it was such a special moment and one of my favourites of the trip (It wasn’t so funny when they started getting grumpy because they hated their sandy wet clothes afterwards though).
A lot of people have asked us how the children coped with going such a long way and doing such long drives in between each destination. I must admit it was something that I had been quite worried about before we travelled, but bar the odd tired meltdown, on the whole they were absolutely brilliant. Out of any trip we have ever been on, they thrived on the quality time with us and were on the whole so well behaved and brilliantly. We actually found the long car journey’s helped us all get a bit of down time, have a nap etc. Likewise for that reason rather than rush on to our next destination, we decided to spend the morning relaxing in the pool at Avila Beach, something which we hadn’t done the entire time we were there. We all thrived on having a slow chilled out start to the day.