Point Dume

Point Dume is located in LA County in the glamorous city of Malibu. This beach features headlands, cliffs, rocky beaches, and tidepools. And at the right time of year, it’s also a perfect beach for whale watching.

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To get to the beach, from the top of Point Dume at Cliffside Dr, follow a little path till you reach the stairs. Then take the stairs down, down, down…so far down…until you reach the water. At the bottom of the stairs it is mostly rocks, so if you are looking for a sandy beach, hug the side of the cliff and follow it to the left. You’ll see the sand and better water for swimming over there.

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Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

This beach is a good beach to sit around and hang out. Get a tan, splash around in the water, check out the tide pools and Nature Preserve…but it’s not a very “active” beach. It’s a lot of work to get to the beach, and even just bringing our picnic was difficult. Because of it’s lack of accessibility, this isn’t a good beach for surfing or family fun (in my opinion). And on top of that, there are a lot of big rocks in the water. But it’s perfect for relaxing with a book and watching the waves.

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Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

Though we were unable to visit it because it was under construction at the time, Point Dume has a Nature Preserve that is supposed to be pretty cool. So I can’t really offer up any opinions or advice on this part of the beach. But if you go and it is open, I would definitely check it out if I were you. Access to the Preserve begins at the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Rd, and a gradually ascending trail leads to a viewing platform offering views of the Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu, the Santa Monica Mountains, and even Catalina Island on a clear day. So it sounds like it would be pretty awesome to see if you get a chance. Please stay on the trail to help preserve the sand dune!!

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I’m just gonna come straight out and say it: parking is a bitch at Point Dume. There is an official parking lot on Cliffside Dr, but there are only about 10 parking spots. Which are basically always full, and have a 2hr parking limit anyways. There is also a pay lot at the end of Westward Beach Rd, but you should also assume it will most likely be full. Though it’s always worth a shot. Odds are you will end up having to park in the residential areas down the street. Be prepared for a long walk just to get to the stairs that lead to the beach. And as is the case everywhere in LA, CHECK THE SIGNS POSTED WITH PARKING RESTRICTIONS. And be respectful of the residents.

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MY THOUGHTS ON POINT DUME: It was definitely a very beautiful beach, but not very practical for a real beach day. Those stairs getting up and down the cliff are fierce, and way too challenging to navigate holding any sort of beach gear. Those stairs could also present a challenge for bringing small children. This is a good beach to just bring a blanket and relax for a couple hours, maybe do the Nature Preserve trail (though I can’t really comment on that part since it was closed for repairs when we were there).

I would recommend only bringing supplies you can easily sling over a shoulder. You’ll want at least one hand free to use the handrail on the stairs, and whatever you bring, you’ll have to carry for a loooooong time.

There is also little to no shade at this beach (so bring a hat and sunblock) and no restroom facilities (so go ahead of time, hold it, or use nature’s giant toilet).

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LOCATION/DIRECTIONS:

From Santa Monica: follow Pacific Coast Hwy 18-miles west to Westward Beach Road. Turn toward the ocean, go beyond the fee collection station to the very end of the road.

From the 101-Freeway: exit at Kanan Road, follow it south 12-miles to Pacific Coast Hwy, then turn right. Westward Beach Road is over the rise, at the foot of the hill.

To access Point Dume State Preserve: access begins from the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Road.


USEFUL INFO:

  • Beach is open sunrise to sunset.
  • Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

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For more information, visit the Point Dume State Beach website.


 

Road Trip Photo Diary: South Dakota to Los Angeles

Ok, so this is probably gonna be one of the least informative posts on this blog. Just a heads up. I didn’t plan on writing this post originally, but when I was looking through my photos from my trip to South Dakota, I decided I liked all these pics too much to leave out. So I had to find a way to include them on the blog.

It’s hard to put into words how awe-inspiring the heart of America is. I’ve road-tripped through the country dozens of times, but I still fall in love with the land again every single time.

So this post is a photo diary of sorts. Basically just some snapshots of my journey home from South Dakota back to California. Big skies, open land, small towns, and tourist stops. A drive done over three days, passing through South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and finally home to California…

The childlike blue line marking our approximate journey (cause no, I didn’t actually look at the map closely and follow the specific freeways when I drew it)

START: South Dakota

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Wyoming…

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Utah…

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Nevada…

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California…

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END: California

So there it is. Will this post help prepare you for traveling to any of these states? Probably not. But the reason I ultimately decided to share this post with you is so it might serve as a reminder that the journey is just as worthwhile as the destination. Look out the windows as you drive. Stop at the weird sights along the way. Try local foods.

It’s all those small things that sometimes make the best travel memories. ❤

Royal Gardens and Classic Architecture: A Walk Through Munich

For my last day of roaming through Munich, I ventured farther out into the city. I had spent the past few days exploring the area around Marienplatz, and decided I should see more of the city.

So I started my journey the way all journeys should begin: with bratwurst! Who cares that it was still in the morning…bratwurst is amazing any time of the day!

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I loved that there were tons of little parks throughout the city. A perfect place for a bratwurst picnic!

And then I set off to explore! My objective: find the Englischer Garten and the Hofgarten. Along the way, I passed some beautiful architecture-

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The Hofgarten is a beautiful garden in the center of the city in the area surrounding the Residenz Palace. It was originally created in 1613 as part of the palace complex.

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The park is formally laid out around two footpaths that intersect in the center at the Temple of Diana.

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The Temple of Diana, or the hofgartentemple, was designed in 1615 by Heinrich Schön. The temple was built with eight arches from which footpaths lead, dividing the garden into eight sections. The bronze statue on top of the pavilion is the “Tellus Bavarica,” symbolizing the treasures of the Bavarian land – grain, game, water, and salt. It was originally sculpted in the likeness of Diana, the goddess of hunting, in 1594, but was later remodeled into the allegorical figure of Bavaria in 1923.

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Bavarian State Chancellery

Another cool sight you can find in the direction of the Englischer Garten and the Hofgarten is the Victory Gate, built in 1843 to commemorate the bravery of the Bavarian army and its success in the Napoleonic War of liberation. The Victory Gate was largely destroyed during WWII, and when it was rebuilt, a quote by Wilhelm Hausenstein was added to the arch that reads: “Dem Sieg geweiht, vom Krieg zerstört, zum Frieden mahnend,” or in English, “Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, reminding of peace.”

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The Victory Gate

I did make it to the Englischer Garten, but I wrote about that in another post which you can find here. Getting there took awhile, but I passed through so many beautiful streets on the way that the distance didn’t bother me one bit.

On the way back to my hotel, I took a different path so I could see as much Munich as possible (and thanks to my trusty map, I never got lost).

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Street musicians! Strolling through the incredible streets of Munich was even more enjoyable while listening to the live entertainment found in many plazas and street corners.

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It was super cold out, so I became a frequent customer of Munich Starbucks.

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Seeing the Starbucks sign juxtaposed with the classic statue on the next building over made me laugh. It was a perfect example of the way Munich is a blend of old and new.

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True, I have no idea what most of the buildings are that I photographed. But sometimes it is nice to just wander and enjoy the scenery.

Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle

Around 2 hours outside of Munich, nestled in mountains above the town of Schwangau, sits Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle looks like something straight out of a fairy tale (it was even used as the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World!). With a history as romantic as its location, a trip to Neuschwanstein is perfect for anyone with a love of history, architecture or who has a love of storybook worthy scenery.

To visit Neuschwanstein, I decided to enlist the help of the pros and booked a guided tour through Viator. The tour met up bright and early at Munich Central Station (which was right across the street from my hotel…yes!!). And my goodness it was cold!! Luckily the tour left quickly, and coffee in hand, we all piled onto the warm train and settled in for our 2-hr ride. DSCN1044

2 hours might seem like a long time to sit on a train, but the ride was actually very pleasant. Our tour guide told us stories of Munich, the Wittelsbach Dynasty, King Ludwig II and Neuschwanstein, all while taking in the beautiful scenery of the Alps and southern Germany.

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The Alps!!

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Before I knew it, we had reached the small town of Fussen. From there, we hopped on a bus that took us to Schwangau, where the castle is located.

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Fussen

Upon arrival in Schwangau, we took a lunch break while our tour guide arranged the rest of our journey. Yes, I got more bratwurst and German coke. I had formed a fierce addiction to those wonderful sausages.

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And then the journey continued on foot. We walked through Schwangau, passing by King Ludwig II’s childhood castle of Schloss Hohenschwangau.

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Walking through Schwangau

 

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Schloss Hohenschwangau

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The walk up to Neuschwanstein is pretty fierce, so we each paid a couple euros to take a tram. We stopped at Marienbrucke first, a small bridge stretching across Pollat Gorge that King Maximillian II (King Ludwig II’s father) had built as a birthday present to his mountain-climbing love, Marie. Those with a fear of heights might want to skip this one, as the gorge is a long way down. But the views of Neuschwanstein from the bridge are absolutely incredible, with rolling hills and small villages surrounding this magnificent castle.

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After taking in the panoramic views from the bridge, we continued on foot to the castle. There was still some snow on the ground, and it just added to the magic of the castle.

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Schwangau, with Schloss Hohenschwangau

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As I’m sure you have figured out by now, this tour requires a TON of walking. You’ll definitely be wanting the comfortable shoes for this one.

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Made it to the castle!

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Feel like Disneyland yet?

And then it was time for the guided tour. Neuschwanstein is absolutely gorgeous inside, and the decorative details are incredible. No photography allowed inside the castle though, so I don’t have any pictures of it. They wouldn’t have been able to do it justice anyways.

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“Mad King” Ludwig II was a shy dreamer with a vivid imagination and a tendency to isolate himself. He had visions of grandeur, and identified himself with the kings of the Medieval age. He was obsessed with the idea of a holy kingdom by the Grace of God over which he could rule as a true king, instead of the reality of just being a constitutional monarch with little ruling power. Ludwig II retreated more and more into a fantasy world where he could live the old-world, poetic life he dreamed of. He spent less time in Munich, and sought a residence away from the hustle of city life. He wanted to build his own kingdom where he could be free to live in his world of fantasy, a world in which great kings still existed and resided in ornate and elaborate castles in the countryside.

Ludwig II selected a location near his childhood castle, and began construction of Neuschwanstein in 1866, two years after taking the throne. Ludwig wrote to his good friend Richard Wagner, saying:

“It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day (in 3 years); there will be several cosy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of “Tannhäuser” (Singers’ Hall with a view of the castle in the background), “Lohengrin'” (castle courtyard, open corridor, path to the chapel); this castle will be in every way more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau further down, which is desecrated every year by the prose of my mother; they will take revenge, the desecrated gods, and come to live with Us on the lofty heights, breathing the air of heaven.”

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In reality, the castle construction took much longer than Ludwig II expected, and he was not able to move in until 1884, roughly 20 years after the original plans were drawn.

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The lifestyle Ludwig II was building for himself proved to be in conflict with his duties as head of state. Neuschwanstein and the life Ludwig II lived in it were expensive; far beyond the means of a private king. Foreign banks threatened to seize the property, and Ludwig’s refusal to act rationally about the situation resulted in the government declaring him insane and removing his title and power. He was interned in Berg Palace, and the next day, he was found dead in Lake Starnberg under mysterious circumstances alongside the psychiatrist who had declared him insane. It is thought that he preferred death over returning to reality, and he choose to end his life while still in his world of dreams and illusions. However some people also believe he was murdered, with several witnesses claiming to have seen or heard King Ludwig II be shot and then dumped into the lake. The truth remains a mystery…

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Following the tour, there is a cool gift shop where you can pick up some fun Neuschwanstein souvenirs. I got a hand-blown glass Christmas ornament and some postcard pictures of the castle interior.

But oh the walking has not yet ended. While we were able to take a tram up to the castle, we had to walk all the way back down to Schwangau. Our tour guide told us what time we had to be back in Schwangau to get on the bus, and then permitted us to shop and stroll our way back at our leisure. I stopped at a cute little stand and bought some hot chocolate in a souvenir mug and some German cookies to enjoy during the walk.

And then something magical happened. It started snowing!! I know that is not a big deal to a lot of people, but as a southern Californian, I had never been snowed on before. I had been to the snow of course, but had never actually experienced seeing snow fall. I was beyond excited. Everything about the castle felt like magic, as if Ludwig II was still creating his romantic fantasy world from beyond the grave.

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SNOW!!!!!

Our tour group eventually all made it back to the bus in Schwangau, but some of the group took too long getting there and made us miss the train in Fussen. Thankfully there would be another train along in an hour, but until then, we had to kill some time in Fussen. Which normally would’ve been wonderful, because Fussen is a very pretty town with lots of fun shops and stuff, except for the fact that it was freezing and pouring rain.

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Like I would let that stop me. I still went out and explored anyways. A little rain never hurt anyone (unless you are in an old movie, in which case rain = certain death).

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I appreciated the humor of whoever put this pink shirt on the statue hehe

The train ride back to Munich was decidedly less pleasant than the last ride. I was soggy from wandering in the rain, and the train was super crowded. A lot of people even had to stand, which was a bummer since it was a 2-hr ride.

By the time we made it back to Munich, I was starving, cold, and exhausted, but still mesmerized by the magic of the castle.

For more information on Neuschwanstein Castle, visit their website.