Unique Day Trips in Northern California

Having traveled to (and even lived in) California over the past 8 years, I’ve certainly had the privilege of experiencing some of the States most uniquely diverse sights on offer.

It’s without a doubt that some of the first thoughts that enter our heads  include the glitz and glam of Los Angeles’ bustling celebrity hub, Yosemite National Park and of course the stunning Pacific Northwest coastline.

However for this post I want to share with you some of the more unusual spots within Northern California and provide just a short list of some of my personal favourites, from mountains to art installations, which of course can be enjoyed as either as part of a day trip, weekend break or simply added to your American road trip.

Pfeiffer Beach
Located off Highway 1 (and some rather minimal signage) lies a small cove leading to Pfeiffer Beach.
Pfeiffer Beach is regarded as one of the most intriguing beaches known along Big Sur.

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Known for its uniquely purple sand, caused by the erosion of manganese (garnet and rose quartz) along the cliffs edge which have entered the sand giving the beach it’s scattered purple hues, these colours are often more noticeable after storms and makes for some amazing sights.

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Pfeiffer beach is also a popular destination for photographers, with keyhole rock being another major focal point, keyhole rock is a unique rock formation with a (you guessed it) a keyhole shaped gap inside and when shot at the right time, most popular at sunset, can offer some amazing photo effects.

Photo taken by AJ Brustein – via Flikr

Old Faithful Geyser of California (Via Calistoga) 
We’ve all heard of the famous old faithful geyser of Yellowstone National Park but what if I told you that active Geysers also exist in the heart of California too?
For sure the Old Faithful Geyser of California it’s not as huge or well known – but I can assure you that it’s definitely worth the visit.
Located just outside the charming city of Calistoga, Old Faithful Geyser certainly has it;s perks of being less crowded, no queues and a quaint Geological museum which dives into the science and history of the area.

If you’re patient, soon enough you will have the chance to see the eruption which usually occurs every 30 minutes.

Old Faithful Geyser, Calistoga, California - YouTube

 Mt Diablo
Located in Contra Costa County of California, many visitors to head straight to the summit for amazing views over the Mt Diablo State Park. On clear days you can even see as far as San Francisco.
Mt Diablo elevation reaches a total elevation gain of 3323 ft and takes roughly 6 hours to reach the summit – but not to worry, if you don’t fancy the hike you can drive, taking approx 50 minutes without stopping.

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Fun fact: Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. (Source Wiki)

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 Albany Bulb 
Located at Vista Point, overlooking the Bay of San Francisco, Albany Bulb is an ex dumping ground turned hippie commune and home to some pretty eclectic artwork.

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Throughout the grounds you will find a variety of unusual art installations and up-cycling such as sculptures constructed of both scrap metal and natural resources, old walls and rubble decorated with graffiti art, along with a make-shift park consisting of tree branch swings, rock climbing frames and stone spiral mazes.

If you’re interested in seeing more quirky locations and photos then I highly suggest you check out my Instagram page, where I post my weird and wonderful discoveries.
IG: @Girlabouteurope

Lastly, be sure to check out some of my videos too over at Girl About Europe Youtube channel below ☆☆☆

Girl About Europe – Pfeiffer Beach, California

Girl About Europe – Big Sur, Pacific Northwest, CA

I hope you enjoyed this post, what are some of your favourite hidden discoveries?

Disclaimer – All photos are mine unless stated and credited*