We love being out in the world, but California will always be home. And since our March theme is “California cool,” we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate where we’re from than looking back on our favorite trips through it. We asked a few of our coworkers to share their most memorable California adventures. From road trips down the coast to historic hikes, these stories are bound to unleash the inner traveler in you, too.
“Whenever I want to go off the grid, I go to Big Sur. There’s something magical about the place—from the impossibly blue skies to the rolling Pacific and the traces of Kerouac in the Henry Miller Library.
“I took this photo of my friend the morning after a long weekend spent off-the-path hiking (we later found out we walked through poison oak and had a week’s worth of rashes to prove it; stay on the trail, kids!), drinking kombucha on cliffs maybe a little too close to the ocean and sleeping under the stars in a tiny, tiny car. It was one of those perfectly still mornings where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. We didn’t want to leave. It’s always hard to leave Big Sur. But at least it’s only a short drive away from home!” – Anna, copywriter
“Every couple of months, my friends and I go on different Bay Area trips to stay in touch. We’re actually all current/former Gap Inc. employees! This time, we drove to Stinson Beach and did a 10-mile hike at Dipsea Trail. So beautiful!” – Rae, merchandising
“It’s a delicate gem of a city that always brings me joy and reminds me why California is such a treasure. Growing up in the Bay Area and going to college in San Diego, I had the privilege of making that 500-mile road trip many times. Nothing made the trip better than spending the day in downtown La Jolla, soaking in the juxtaposition of city life and beach life, taking in the sea breeze or stopping in for a fresh beer at a one of the breweries downtown.
“La Jolla has something for everyone. There’s no shortage of fancy cars and beautiful homes lining the streets, but there’s something about the pace of life there that makes you feel like you’re in a small town, miles away from the big city. Truly a place to enjoy—sand, sea and city, all in one.” – David, marketing
“After watching the ‘Valley Uprising’ documentary about the evolution of rock climbing in the Yosemite valley, we instantly were inspired and eager to make our way to Camp 4, one of the historic spots from that era. We were so eager that we packed our bags and hit the road two days later—knowing nothing about anything—and were so excited, we ended up forgetting our gear at home! We arrived around 6 a.m. and slept in line with a few dozen others, waiting for camp 4 to open.
“Despite the bag mishap and having to wait in line for a few hours, we were incredibly lucky and overwhelmingly excited to begin our weekend. We hiked one of the hardest trails (Yosemite Falls Trail) with hoagies, granola bars and several bottles of water. After we ran out of water we drank from the falls itself. Incredibly delicious and probably a little dangerous—but we were living on the edge. This weekend still stands as one of our top three spontaneous adventures of our lives.” – Alyssa, design
“While it’s a pretty typical roadtrip to drive down the coast from Northern California to Southern, we stopped along the way at Cambria. It’s a little beach town near the Hearst Castle (the reason we stopped there). We stayed in a cute renovated motel called the Cambria Beach Lodge which was right across from the beach. It was memorable because of the mix of mountains and beach that make that stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway so beautiful. Everything felt so quaint in town, yet modern. The Hearst Castle is amazing and full of history. So I felt like we got a mix of education and chill.” – Ray, design
“Every year, some friends and I leave San Francisco for a long weekend in Guerneville to celebrate the Fourth of July. Guerneville is this tiny town nestled in the redwoods along the Russian River, about 20 minutes from the ocean. It’s known for float trips, good wine nearby, shaded hikes and a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, which adds to its charm.
“Every year, my friends and I get a big house just outside of town, hang out on the river, grill and go to the pool. It’s such a fun tradition! It’s also the town where a lot of my Bay-Area friendships really started to take shape, so it’s got a special place in my heart.” – Justin, copywriter
“I love driving down to Santa Barbara. A few of my favorite spots are the lawn of the Old Mission Santa Barbara (perfect for picnics), wine-tasting my way through the Funk Zone, catching a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl and hiking up Inspiration Point. What’s special about Santa Barbara to me is how it has those relaxed, surfy characteristics of San Diego without being isolated in location—and it’s got the ritzy elements of LA without taking itself too seriously. Basically, it has a little bit of everything!” – Ysabel, social
Want to share your favorite California trips? Tag @bananarepublic and #BRNoBoundaries on Instagram, and stay tuned for more stories of our own adventures.