Stephanie Be’s recent whirlwind California adventure took her from the sands of Huntington Beach to the snows of Big Bear with great food, spa treatments, and photo ops along the way. The TravelBreak founder started her six-day journey catching summer waves in Surf City USA then cruised along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway to Lake Arrowhead. She finished in style by catching a few winter waves on the slopes of Big Bear Mountain (and enjoying the après-ski ambiance at Big Bear Mountain Resort). With her trip in the rearview, we asked Be about her favorite California moments.
1. What was the top highlight of your California winter surfari?
I loved how diverse our trip was. Hiking, skiing, and swimming in one week? Yes, please! I also loved how California is such a foodie destination. Blue Gold in Huntington Beach and Lou Eddie's Pizza in Lake Arrowhead were amazing!
2. Which destination or attraction surprised you the most, and why?
I've been to Huntington Beach in the past, but only in passing by bike or to check out the Bungalow. I had no idea it was such a hot foodie destination. Every restaurant we experienced in Huntington Beach was superb.
3. What’s at the top of your to-do list next time you visit Big Bear Lake?
I want to ski more! However, I'd also love to visit Big Bear Lake during the summer. I've only experienced it during the winter.
4. Which picture or social media post best demonstrates how others can Catch the Winter Wave in California?
5. What is your best piece of advice to visitors looking to experience California?
What's great about the Golden State is the proximity of town to town. I recommend doing day trips or planning road trips to experience more California geography, food, and activities.
6. What California destination should be next on a bucket list after Huntington Beach, Big Bear, and Lake Arrowhead, and why?
I’ve done weekend trips to Death Valley National Park for sand dunes and salt flats, then Catalina Island for a South-of-France-feel. You can keep up with all my California weekend trips and activities on my new app BUENA.
7. What are your best tips for taking amazing Instagram-worthy photos?
Other than precision in equipment, lighting, and creative angles, the best way to get Instagram-worthy photos is to research the most beautiful spots ahead of time. What I love about shooting and posting my photos on Instagram is that it forces me to look up places beyond where to eat, drink, and play tourist. It often gets me off the beaten path—and that's what travel is all about!
Follow Stephanie Be on Instagram (@StephBeTravel), and read her photography guides on TravelBreak.