Weekend California Beach Adventure + My Favorite On-the-Go Wine

Weekend California Beach Adventure + My Favorite On-the-Go Wine

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bota Box. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Last weekend the family and I decided to pack our bags, escape the valley heat and head to the beach. We climbed rocks, explored tide pools, took a little walk down memory lane and relaxed. With Bota Box along for the adventure, we said a toast to the weekend and start of summer!

For our little weekend getaway we chose to stay in Pacific Grove. Mostly because we found a great price on a hotel for two nights, but also because...

nope, that's about the only reason. 

Pacific Grove, however, ended up being the perfect little spot. More reasonably priced with less traffic than Monterey, it's a tiny little coastal town about 10 minutes from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and about the same distance to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I admit, we didn't explore Pacific Grove in depth as our time was limited and our schedule packed! However, by the end of the trip my husband and I did admit to each other that it would be the perfect place for us to live.

Our first night there we climbed along rocks, watched the tide come in, ate a seafood feast to celebrate Father's Day and discovered that our 3 year old is quite literally obsessed with hotels.

The next morning we all popped out of bed ready to spend the day in Santa Cruz.

JK. The only one popping out of bed was the three year old searching for the TV remote. When I told him we were going to Santa Cruz the only thing my child had to say (whine) was, "buuuut, I don't want to gooo to Saaantaaaa Cruuuuuz, Maaaammaaaaa. I want to stay in the hooootelllll!". 

At that moment, all I could think was, oh man! he is definitely my child (since I am a big fan of hotels myself).

After some convincing (rocks! tide pools! juice!) we finally got the kid on board.

We were going to Santa Cruz at my insistence- it is where my husband and I met way back in 2006 when we were both students at UC Santa Cruz. My banana slug nostalgia has been crazy lately and I haven't been back since I graduated. A visit was overdue.

aka- I needed to get it out of my system. Having dreams of returning to college for just a week when I am a mom is not on my list of things to dream about. Besides, I may be old, but I am not old enough for a mid-life crisis just yet).

So, as an experiment, I wanted to see what it would feel like to be back on campus (even if under much different circumstances).

Of course, Bota Box came along...

^^My child sitting with me in the same lecture hall were I took Cell Biology, Economics, and several other classes.

This just boggles my mind. 

College was such a crazy mix of feelings and experiences; if only I had known 10 years ago, when I sat in that very room, what I know now...

well, who knows?

AND, who knows, maybe in 15 years my child will be sitting in that same lecture hall (hopefully with some new, unbroken seats) taking classes and living his own experiences.

Getting old, I will say, is quite something. Don't you think?

Good thing there's always good wine along for the journey. And my favorite on-the-go wine for ALL my adventures is Bota Box. Totally convenient, packable and eco-friendly, Bota Box makes my inner banana slug very very happy.

(The UCSC mascot is the banana slug) 

Crafted by winemakers with decades of experience and sourced from only the most select vineyards, with Bota Box you can enjoy premium wine anytime, anywhere. With no glass bottle or corkscrew to fuss with, Bota Box is perfect for nearly any outdoor adventure from camping to fishing, kayaking to picnicking.

The possibilities are endless.

Not only does Bota Box taste great, its packaging is environmentally friendly. Bota Box is committed to lessen the environmental impact of wine production and transportation through smart, alternative packaging.

After walking around campus until our 3 year old couldn't walk anymore, we grabbed sandwiches from our favorite market and then did what most people do when they come to Santa Cruz... GO TO THE BEACH!

Somehow, and I have no idea how this happened, but in the 5 years I spent at Santa Cruz getting my degree, I never went to Natural Bridges State Beach. I think in my mind I thought it was more difficult to get to, and, at that time I could only get around by bus.

You guys, I was so wrong. It is so easy to find- by bus or car or bike!

I did make it to the beach plenty (although no where near as often enough!), but typically went to less crowded, more locally known spots.

Anyway, I can totally see why Natural Bridges is such a popular beach destination for so many people visiting Santa Cruz. It's big, it's beautiful and there's tons of areas to explore natural tide pools. 

My husband and son played in the water and counted crabs. I finished my RedVolution Bota Mini, counted along and snapped the photos.

On the last day we decided to head south to Carmel before turning around to head north back home. I had read about a hike in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve that we just HAD to do.

See, here's the thing- I am slightly obsessed with cypress trees. I think they are the coolest, most beautiful trees. So, when I heard about a mellow little 1 mile hike through a Cypress Grove - The Cypress Grove Trail- I was instantly sold. Especially since it was only 1 mile I knew Octavian could totally do it.

First things first, my 3 year old could not make it. In his defense he did hike about a half mile before we reached the Cypress Grove trailhead, but Octavian was just not into it. I, on the other hand, was in total and complete heaven.

Before I say anything else let me just say, I will be back to Carmel and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and hopefully this summer. Once you look past the TONS and TONS of poison oak, I can guarantee you will fall in love too.

Octavian, on the other hand could not look past the poison oak which stood between him and all the lizards he wanted to catch. If you don't have the need to jump in bushes, however, I think you'll be happy you made the trip.

I said good bye to the long weekend by climbing to the most isolated rock I could find, closest to the ocean and had a little cup of wine from my Bota Brick before lunch. 

The perfect ending, I'd say.

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Please, with all outdoor adventures, treat nature with kindness and respect and pack and take with you what you brought in. We share these spaces with some special friends. Thank you!

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