Zanna Van Dijk, lover of all things adventure and California, hit the road with us to discover some lesser known spots in the Golden State. Travelling from the UK to LAX with Air New Zealand, Zanna started her California road trip in Newport Beach where she then ventured inland to Ojai and Big Bear Lake, ending up in the stunning desert scenery of Greater Palm Springs.
Zanna reflects on her road trip and what she loved the most about her new perspective on California, from the best places to find vegan food to what song is a must on her road trip playlist.
If you could describe your time in California in three words what would those three words be?
Diverse. Beautiful. Adventurous.
When you arrive in each new Californian destination, what’s the first thing you do?
Google the best plant based spots to eat, I am huge foodie and love scoping out the local food spots! California is never short of vegan friendly restaurants.
Where was your favourite sunset spot and why was it so special to you?
The pink moment in Ojai was just incredible, you can see why it is so renowned for it. The whole landscape and the surrounding mountains turns soft pink, it’s truly unique.
What was the best restaurant you visited and what did you have?
Cafe Gratitude is always a winner, we visited a branch in Newport Beach and I was impressed with the extensive plant based menu. I had a Mexican bowl!
What’s the one item you can’t go on a California road trip without and why?
A local SIM card, so you can use your internet access to get around and look up local tips and tricks.
What song has to be on your road trip playlist?
Rüfüs Du Sol- "Underwater". The ultimate chill road trip song.
Who or what is your greatest California love?
The vibe. Everyone in California is so damn friendly, it just brightens your day.
What’s your California #hiddengem?
I would say the Hall of Horrors in Joshua Tree National Park. It isn’t on the main park map but it’s one of the best spots to watch sunset.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing a road trip through California?
Take advantage of the range of landscapes California has to offer, don't just stick to the coastline. Head inland and discover the mountains, lakes and deserts.
Where’s your favourite California workout spot?
I did a lot of outdoor training on this trip, but my personal favourite spot was definitely popping into an Orange Theory studio in Indian Wells. It felt good to have someone else take me through a workout!
Favourite experience from this trip?
That is a tough one! I think maybe the bike ride through Big Bear Lake, the scenery was just stunning and our guide was so knowledgeable.
What was the most interesting thing you learnt about California on this trip?
The diversity. I couldn't believe that one morning I was in Big Bear wearing layers of jackets and by the afternoon I was in Palm Springs sweating in shorts. I didn’t realise that you could experience different seasons in one state!
Which destination is next on your California ‘wanderlist’?
Yosemite, High Sierra and the surrounding natural scenery. There is so much beauty up there and I can’t wait to uncover it.
For a more in-depth look into Zanna’s road trip, watch the video and discover beautiful beaches, mountains and deserts all on one incredible road trip.