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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The California Road Trip

Scarlet Vandegrift
The picture details a charming scene from Solvang, California. The Dutch architecture is on full display.

A charming Danish village tucked away in the suburbs. 

A coastal beach with metropolitan accents. 

A small town hidden halfway up a mountain peak. 

All a five-hour drive away at maximum, a one-hour drive at minimum. All veiled in our homeland of California. 

Most people have never heard of Solvang, California, but those who have are happy to say they’ve experienced the vacation of a lifetime. A holiday of only three days. 

Pismo Beach and Lake Arrowhead are a little more known in our community, but no one would guess a turnaround trip could be crafted out of these locations, all managed in a single weekend.  

Without the expenses of airfare or astronomical hotel prices, Solvang and Pismo present easy and cheap places to visit for the weekend. I have made this trip twice already and highly recommend it.

Solvang presents multiple attractions, complete with antique shops and mini cafes. A large library is also nestled in the town, and the Danish character adds to the aesthetic and beauty of the village. Pea Soup Andersons, a rare restaurant, is close by. 

Travel time to Solvang is an approximation of three hours, via car, and most of the trip is along the coast of California. Unfortunately, hotels in Solvang stay on the more expensive side, ranging at an average of about 145 dollars per night spent. 

To find cheaper lodging, Santa Maria, a basic urban area similar to Rancho Cucamonga, is a 35-minute drive from Solvang. The average cost of hotels in the city is 91 dollars per night, a considerable difference compared to Solvang. 

Another pro of staying in Santa Maria, besides cheaper lodging, is its location. Although the drive to the city is long, estimated at around five hours, both Pismo Beach and Solvang can be visited. 

Pismo Beach is a 20-minute drive from Santa Maria, and the average parking rate cost is two to five dollars per hour. Around the area, there are cute shops along the pier, and clam chowder and seafood-style restaurants can be found in the tangle of streets leading away from the beach. 

A main road leads to the pier, and shops like a convenience store, a beach supply store, and a famous candy store line the street. Another fun aspect of Pismo Beach is the Clam Festival, which occurs from October 20 to 22 every year. On the pier, vendors sell jewelry and food, as well as many more hand-crafted and miscellaneous items. 

Even if the weather is freezing, Pismo Beach has a lot more to offer than just the beach. Grover Beach, a city nearby, also supplies many cute thrift stores, all clothing, books, and toys sold for a relatively cheap price. Grover Beach is a six-minute drive from Pismo. 

A holiday to Solvang and Pismo can be accomplished in a single weekend. My mom and I were able to take this trip on a random weekend in October and had an absolute blast. We left at 6 p.m. Friday afternoon and arrived in Santa Maria at 10 p.m. that night. 

The next morning, we traveled to Pismo Beach, during the Clam Festival, and stayed for three hours. It was cold, so we didn’t stay at the beach. After Pismo, my mom and I drove around Grover Beach, went to a few thrift stores, and went back to our hotel in Santa Maria at 7 p.m. 

The next morning, on Sunday, I completed homework and we checked out at 11 a.m.. An unplanned trip to Solvang and Pea Soup Andersons ensued. We stayed for an hour in Solvang since we had already visited in the past. We were home by 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Another turnaround road trip is a weekend getaway up to Lake Arrowhead. The average hotel cost in the area is 152 dollars per night spent, a close comparison to Solvang. A little on the pricier end. However, the Lake Arrowhead trip can also be made into a camping trip, where a large group of people stay for a weekend at an Airbnb. 

The average cost for Airbnb in the area is 225 dollars per night. Much pricier compared to the hotels, however on a positive aspect, Airbnbs are suited for a larger group of people. 

The lake and the town are the main attractions of Lake Arrowhead, and both hold many opportunities for excitement and activity. The town has multiple shops, cafes, and restaurants, and although expensive, all businesses are filled with heartwarming memories with your favorite people. 

At the end of summer this year, my family planned a large camping trip, and the getaway included nine people, including me. 

We stayed in an Airbnb that was located in Lake Arrowhead and had three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a basement that we used for extra lodging. All three bedrooms had a television in the room, and only two people had to sleep on couch cushions (in the basement). 

Unfortunately, there was no central air conditioning in the cabin, due to the normal temperatures of Lake Arrowhead year-round. 

The nine of us went up the mountain Friday afternoon and left the area around 2 p.m. We arrived an hour later and hung out for the rest of the evening. The morning after, on Saturday, we went to town and looked in the shops. For lunch, we went to a pizza parlour in the town and went back to Airbnb for the rest of the afternoon. 

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