I plan on going back.

La Jolla, California…where do I begin? Is it the beautiful vegetation that you can see everywhere you go, the marvelous homes that anyone would be lucky to live in or the mesmerizing ocean that is much different from our Minnesota Lakes? It’s all of the above, and it’s where I spent one of the best weeks of my life with my family earlier this month.


    Thanks to the generosity of Phil and Barb Weiler, former residents of Crookston and long-time friends of my dad, along with their friends, my family and I were able to spend our week right on the beach. That’s right, the view from my room was of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, instead of typical Minnesota pine trees back here at home. I loved waking up to the crashing of the ocean, and was even motivated enough to go for early morning runs along the coast where I saw seals and sea lions, something I can guarantee you won't see running on trails in Crookston.


    La Jolla is part of San Diego, which has 4 different weather forecasts, one each for the coast, the desert, the mountains and inland. With their rather diverse weather forecast, you can tell that there are many different choices for places to be in San Diego, along with many different things to do. My family and I spent a good majority of our time at the beach, but we also spent a few days enjoying attractions in the city.


    On Friday, July 6, our first full day in California, we enjoyed a fun-filled day at Sea World, where we were entertained all day. We spent the day walking around watching different shows, including an attraction where the famous killer whale Shamu showed off his many tricks. With all of the many different sea animal attractions, Sea World was a great time, something I would recommend for all families.


    We spent another full day in San Diego toward the end of our vacation. We had lunch at San Diego’s yacht club, followed by a night spent at Embarcadero, a boardwalk where my family and I spent most of our time at Seaport Village, where we stocked up on souvenirs at the various shops. To end our night in San Diego, we took a cruise on a San Diego Seal Tour where we spent 90 minutes exploring the city along with the sea while learning about the city of San Diego itself, one of my favorite events of our vacation.


    Another day of our vacation was spent at Torrey Pines State Reserve where we hiked on different trails taking in many not-so-typical views. We walked over coastal bluffs surrounded by low-lying vegetation giving us an unforgettable view of the ocean and the golden state.


    The majority of our vacation was spent how most would think Californians would spend their summer, laying on the beach soaking up the sun. This was by far my absolute favorite part of our week-long vacation. We visited the La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and spent a few days down by the beach we were staying on. You might wonder how we were able to stand the heat in California after what we have been in experiencing in Minnesota this summer, but get this, California was cooler than Minnesota all week! Most days were in the mid-70s with only one day reaching the 80s. This was perfect weather to me because the rays of the sun in California are so strong that even in overcast, you can still get your tan on, and there was no humidity at all, something I started to get very used to.


    In the ocean, my brother and my dad even took out the boogie boards a few times, catching the waves, something they wouldn't be able to do in the land of 10,000 lakes. As for me, I spent most of my time in the dry sand only taking in the sight and sounds of the ocean. Relaxing on the beach with my sunglasses and headphones on, music turned up loud, was by for the most stress free I have felt all summer. How could you have any stress when you're laying on a beautiful beach in California when you have no other place to be or a schedule of any sort to follow? That was my paradise.


    Most nights when the sun went down, and we weren't exhausted from taking in its intensity all day, we ventured through La Jolla, exploring its many unique stores and trying out its wonderful restaurants. At dinner we would go through the events of our day, sharing our favorite parts and what we would want to do the following day. A few nights, the Weilers joined us for supper. They told us their favorite parts about the city they live in, shared their stories with us and we discussed many interesting topics. I loved getting to know the Weilers better, a couple my parents had always talked so highly of, and by the end of the trip, my brother and I were fortunate enough to be able to call them our friends and not just my parents'.


    As our vacation came to an end, it was very hard for my family and I to pack up our suitcases and head back to Minnesota after spending time in La Jolla, which after only a week started to feel like home. We said our goodbyes to the Weilers and to the glorious city and headed back to Minnesota. As hard as it was to come back to our humid small town after being in San Diego for a week, it was good to be home.


    My week in La Jolla, "The Jewel" of California, was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget, where I got to experience what it's like to be a "California girl.” I may be in Minnesota for the meantime, but stay classy San Diego, I'll be back.