My name is Kim, I am 27 years young and I was for 2 years with Apex as a preschool and kindergarten teacher in the USA. I spent my first year in Verona, New Jersey (09/2019-09/2020), my second year in Redwood City, California (09/2020-09/2021) and most of the time was while the pandemic, but even with the pandemic we found ways to travel and be safe. In this blog, I am going to tell you about some of my trips as well as trips from friends I have made in New Jersey! I am not going to rank the trips. I don’t have a favorite one, all of them are my favorites! Every place I´ve been to is special. Every trip has taught me something. Every adventure was a unique experience.
Trip to Niagara Falls, New York. We drove up there with the family cars. We stayed in an Airbnb in Olcott by Lake Ontario. My host family and I rented a boat, which was really fun because everyone was able to be the captain! We went to see Niagara Falls, of course. Unfortunately, no boat tours under the falls, because of Covid (should be back open now), but also no crowds, which means no waiting for the best view! =) It was beautiful, peaceful, it made me speechless! Definitely a great experience and need for repetition!
I was allowed to take the host family car to go up to Lake George, New York. Lake George is also named ”Queen of American Lakes”. I stayed in an Airbnb. It was really beautiful and a good getaway for a weekend.I definitely did enjoy the views! I´ve done a bootstour (I just love the water) and went for a short hike! The weather was awesome, therefore I have spent some hours at the beach. But enough with the words and let’s look at some pictures.
In April 2021 I drove to Los Angeles (~7h). I was allowed to take the Aupair Car and I stayed in an Airbnb in Inglewood. I hiked up to the Hollywood Sign at Sunset. I walked a long the Walk of Fame. I walked from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier, which was beautiful, but I also was shocked. I´ve never seen so many Homeless people at once. It made me sad, it scared me, I had so many emotions about that. It seemed like, Los Angeles, has lost being alive. There were almost no people, it felt empty and kind of lonely. It still was breathtaking, this long long and huge beach with the white sand! (the whitest I´ve ever seen).
On the same vacation I drove to Joshua Tree National Park (~3h from Los Angeles). I have been there for only one day and was totally unprepared (not good). It was hot, of course, it´s a desert. I had way too less water! I am glad I filled up the car with gas before I went inside. There is no gas station near the Park! Always read and collect informations about the Parks before going!!! Another tip, get the Annual Pass for $80! It’s valid for one year and you can use it for any National Park in the US as much as you want!
I also drove for one day from Los Angeles to La Jolla, San Diego (~2h). I was able to see the famous La Jolla Cave with the sea lions. So cute!
I did several Camping weekends with my host family in California. There are so many Campgrounds in and around the Bay Area and in general in California. In the forest with like nature playgrounds and lots to do or less of a family campground, but more for hiking friends. You can camp in the National parks or at the beach! We went to Henry W. Coe State Park by Morgan Hill CA, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park by Santa Cruz, CA and Mt. Madonna County Park by Watsonville.
At the end of May I drove with a friend to Yosemite National Park in California. We booked a spot at a campground nearby (App: Hipcamp). Back then we needed to make a reservation for Day use as well(super hard to get one), which is why we could only go for one day. That we spent one day in Sierra National Forest and the other day we went to the Yosemite National Park.
3 days at Disneyland, Los Angeles. We stayed at an Airbnb nearby, so we could walk to Disneyland. I met my friend in Los Angeles and then we drove together to Anaheim. I took the car of a friend to go to Los Angeles. We bought Hopper Tickets, which means you can go into both parts (Disney land & California adventure park) of the Park. It´s expensive, but you can be more flexible.
My friend Victoria did a Roadtrip in her Travelmonths on the west coast. She started her journey from Danville, CA all the way to Los Angeles with a Camper Van. She rented it at Motorhome Republic Home – Campervan Hire and RV Rental and booked several Campgrounds on the way. From Danville → Monterey → Carmel by the Sea → 17 Mile drive(Pebble Beach) → Santa Barbara → Santa Monica → Los Angeles She took a train from Los Angeles to San Diego and after that she continued her journey with the airplane.
My friend Alexa took the airplane from New Jersey to Arizona. She rented a Car and drove from Grand Canyon National Park to Yellowstone National Park. She says: ,,My absolute favorite was Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is what I always thought heaven was as a kid. (Yellowstone ist das, was ich als Kind immer dachte was der Himmel ist.)”
Next to all those big travels, there is a lot of option as a day trip in and near the Bay Area. I used a lot the ‘Alltrails’ App to find good hiking spots. Also ‘GetYourGuide’, where I found a guided tour to walk up to the Hollywood sign. I used the App ‘Hopper’ for flights, that was before Covid. California / Bay Area has lots of beaches, hiking trails, and fun things to do!
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