Posts in Category: Travel and Holidays

Cottage Grove Covered Bridges Bike Tour, Oregon


Cottage Grove in Lane County, Oregon is a historic former gold mining hub that is now home to some 10,000 residents and a whole lot of covered bridges. In fact, Lane County is home to more covered bridges than any other county west of the Mississippi River. It’s a great destination if you’re into cycling because of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway – a route that follows the well-signed Cottage Grove Bridges Tour.

All it takes is half a day to bike the 38-mile loop – or less if you’re speedy. There are also options to do and out and back if you prefer to avoid the roads. The biking is mostly flat, easy, and scenic. Along with covered bridges, there is a charming town to explore (Cottage Grove) and a pretty lake to enjoy at the base of the Cascades. Some of the route is in the forest, while other sections are in farm country. The bike ride makes for a great day trip from Eugene, just 30-minutes away.

A very green section on the Row River Trail – note the yellow paint marking cracks in the pavement

Cottage Grove Covered Bridges Bike Tour details

Total distance: 36 miles but you can shorten it

Number of covered bridges: Six including Centennial Bridge, Swinging Bridge (not covered), Chambers Bridge, Mosby Creek Bridge, Stewart Bridge, Dorena Bridge and Currin Bridge.

Time needed: 2.5 – 4 hours

Best for: Almost all ages including families though some road sections should be avoided if kids are very young

Start: Bohemia Park, the Community Centre, or the Mosby Creek Trailhead if you want a car free bike ride

Facilities along the trail: 4 bathrooms, 7 parking areas, and 3 picnic areas 

If you have more time: Check out some of the wineries in the area including Saginaw Vineyards, Iris Vineyards, and King Estates.

Fun fact: The charming town of Cottage Grove has been in a number of Hollywood movies including The General in 1926, Animal House in 1978 and Stand By Me in 1986. Look for markers along the bike way indicating filming locations.

Stand by Me plaque near the Mosby Creek Bridge
Stand by Me plaque near the Mosby Creek Bridge
Check out the Animal House plaque in Cottage Grove
Check out the Animal House plaque in Cottage Grove

Route description of the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges bike tour

Park at Bohemia Park where you’ll find lots of free parking. Hop on your bike and head for the paved Row River Trail – a dedicated bike /pedestrian path that travels for 17 miles along the north side of Dorena Lake. There are long sections of smooth pavement but do watch out for yellow paint highlighting any bumps or cracks in the pavement. And when its wet, pay attention to the slimy green bits at the edge of the pavement – unless you’re interested in ejecting from your bike.

Over the 17 miles on the Row River section of trail, enjoy truly lovely forest, home to some very large trees, wildflowers, and  the odd peek a boo view of Dorena Lake. This is a fast section as its on an old railbed with a gentle grade. In no time you’ll feel immersed in nature where the only thing you’ll hear is your breathing and perhaps the odd bird call. When the landscape opens, as it does on occasion, check out the foothills of the Cascades to the east.

You’ll probably want to stop at all the bridges you come to. Each one is photogenic and all have history attached to them. Reportedly Dorena Bridge is popular for weddings – and I can see why as its in a lovely location on a scenic section of river. 

The official Bikeway route takes you back to Cottage Grove via Shoreview Road on the south side of Dorena Lake. It isn’t difficult cycling but there are a few small rolling hills. Most of the time we didn’t see cars but on two occasions logging trucks passed us – so you need to be comfortable with the odd large vehicle. Fortunately, there’s a good shoulder. After several miles on the road, turn left following the Cottage Grove Bridge Tour sign and begin the only major climb on the route. After stopping to catch your breath at the top, enjoy the fun downhill past a pretty farm to reach the intersection of Garoutte Road and Mosby Creek Road.

If climbs aren’t your thing, you can bypass Garoutte Road and take Shoreview Drive back to the Row River Trail. 

At The Mosby Creek Trailhead pick up the trail that takes you right back to your starting point – but I would recommend cycling through historic Cottage Grove and checking out two more covered bridges and one swinging bridge.

The following photos will give you a good idea of what to expect on the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges bike tour.

Map of the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges tour
Map of the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges tour
Fast family-friendly biking on miles of dedicated bike trail
Fast family-friendly biking on miles of dedicated bike trail
Cycling to the first covered bridge on the loop
Cycling to the first covered bridge on the loop
There is a mix of signage along the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges loop
There is a mix of signage along the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges loop
Sections on the road were quiet
Sections on the road were quiet
Interpretive signage along the Row River Trail
Interpretive signage along the Row River Trail
Peek a boo views of the distant hills
Peek a boo views of the distant hills
Wild Camus lilies make an appearance in May
Wild Camus lilies make an appearance in May
I liked the side windows in the Dorena Covered Bridge
I liked the side windows in the Dorena Covered Bridge
A view of Dorena Lake
A view of Dorena Lake
Good signage along the route
Good signage along the route
View from the top of the only hilly section along the bikeway
View from the top of the only hilly section along the bikeway
Cycle through pretty farm country
Cycle through pretty farm country
The Stewart Bridge was built in 1930 and restored in 1996 but there is no access to it
The Stewart Bridge was built in 1930 and restored in 1996 but there is no access to it
Cycling on quiet Mosby Creek Road
Cycling on quiet Mosby Creek Road
Looking through the Mosby Creek Bridge
Looking through the Mosby Creek Bridge

Cottage Grove

While I didn’t spend much time in Cottage Grove, I did enjoy cycling down Main Street in what is called the Downtown Commercial Historic District. This part of the town is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If I’d had more time, I could have stopped in at one of the cute restaurants on Main Street or quenched my thirst with a beer at Coast Fork Brewing and Feed Store.

There is a bike ride through the downtown that is well worth doing. If you continue to the western end of the downtown, you pass two more covered bridges (Centennial and Chamber Bridges) and the Swinging Footbridge. The Chambers Bridge is the only covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi that is also included on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was completely rebuilt for both bikes and pedestrians in 2011.

Should I get a chance to return to this pretty town, I’d check out some of the local antique shops, take in a show at the theatre and do a self-guided walking tour to see the 10 murals that tell the town’s story from early settlement days, to the Gold Rush and then the Hollywood period. 

A small pedestrian covered bridge in Cottage Grove
A small pedestrian covered bridge built in 1987 to celebrate Cottage Grove’s centenary 
Biking through the Chambers Bridge in Cottage Grove
Biking through the Chambers Bridge in Cottage Grove
Interesting plaque by the Chambers Bridge indicating that the last trail passed through it in 1951
Interesting plaque by the Chambers Bridge indicating that the last trail passed through it in 1951
Riding across the Swinging Bridge on route back to the downtown
Riding across the Swinging Bridge on route back to the downtown
This is one of ten murals in the historic Cottage Grove downtown
This is one of ten murals in the historic Cottage Grove downtown

More useful information

If you want to enjoy more of the area after the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges tour, visit the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.

Several of the area parks offer services. Schwarz Park near Dorena Lake has a campground and restroom facilities. Bake Stewart Park and Wilson Creek Park have restroom facilities.

There are tours and rentals available from Cog Wild in Oakridge, just 40 miles southeast of Eugene. 

Peddling through the Dorena Covered Bridge
Peddling through the Dorena Covered Bridge

Where to rent bikes for the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges Tour

In Eugene, you can rent e-bikes from Pedego

In Cottage Grove, close to the Row Trail and Cottage Grove covered bridges you can rent from Rainy Peak. They have a small fleet of bikes. Check out their informative Facebook page here.

Location map of the Cottage Grove Covered Bridges bike tour

                                                             

Further reading on bike rides

A giant thank you to Bicycle Adventures for leading me on the tour (they might be offering it in 2023) and to Eugene, Cascades & Oregon Coast for hosting me. This is a bike ride I’d recommend to anyone who loves to get out and explore new countryside.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Cottage Grove Covered Bridges bike tour in Oregon
Cottage Grove Covered Bridges bike tour in Oregon

 

 



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5 Unforgettable things to do in Tuscany


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Be all set for a list of factors to do in Tuscany that is packed with wonderful landscape, history, foods, wine and enjoyable!

Tuscany is one particular of Italy‘s most well known holiday vacation locations, with its gorgeous metropolitan areas, towns, and landscapes. Historic cities, museums and church buildings, great wine and delicacies, seashores, and breathtaking landscapes are just a few of Tuscany’s a lot of points of interest.

Tuscany is regarded as the cradle of the Renaissance. It prospered all through this time period of time, creating some of the world’s most notable and legendary thinkers, artists, and visionaries, which include Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

The principal towns and metropolitan areas of Tuscany are residing heritage in them selves: Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Lucca, Pisa, Cortona… each has its exceptional set of joys and sights.

It is not a shock that anyone would like to stop by Tuscany. There are a wide variety of factors you can do there to get the most out of your expertise. Let’s have a glance at the 5 unforgettable items you basically simply cannot miss all through your stop by to Tuscany.

Chill out on the wonderful beaches in Tuscany

Wooden small old boat in Porto Santo Stefano seafront, a famous beach in Tuscany. Location is Monte Argentario, Tuscany, Italy.
The let wonderful Tuscany shorelines enchant you!

Even nevertheless Tuscany is more frequently linked with the countryside and hills, it has amazing landscapes of beach locations! The Tuscan coastline is so attractive and enticing that it’s the perfect desired destination to shell out your summer time vacation: deep blue sea, clean up waterways, astounding sights, magnificent nature, and, of class, delectable foodstuff!

Tuscany has a long coast with a vast range of points of interest. Some of the most famous seashores are Marina Di Massa, Marina Di Carrara, Forte Dei Marmi, Viareggio, Calabrone, and so on. All you have to do is e book a luxury villa close to one particular of your favored shorelines and appreciate one particular of the finest encounters of your lifetime! You can conveniently locate villas like these that will deliver one of a kind accessibility to the area’s prosperous history, amazing landscapes, and thigh-knit lifestyle.

Trip a Vespa in Tuscany  

Gorgeous cute decorated street with flowers and rustic entrance, old fashioned scooter standing in typical Italian street, Pienza, Tuscany.
That’s what I contact a charming way to check out the finest sites in Tuscany.

There’s almost nothing like driving a Vespa by way of vineyards and olive orchards at sunset in Tuscany. Following a day of exploring Tuscany’s superb museums and vibrant nightlife, a Vespa tour getaway is the ideal way to spice up your journey. 

You can expend a working day having in the region’s heavenly vistas, checking out historical villages, and having fun with the exceptional experience of a Vespa tour in Tuscany. Apart from the thrill of the ride, driving a Vespa allows you to go to destinations that are unreachable by general public transportation. Chianti, Mugello, and Val d’Orcia are only three of a lot of common settlements that are only served by added-city buses. We’re sure that using Vespas throughout Tuscany is an practical experience you just can’t skip on your trip to Italy.

Delight in the Tuscan cuisine

Plate of pasta, tagliarini served with bolognese sauce. Food is Tuscany best attraction.
Simple and tasty foodstuff!

It is no solution that Italian delicacies is a key attraction for several guests to Italy. Nonetheless, some non-Italian eaters could be unaware that each Italian region has its have special meals and flavors. So considerably so that you could even say that Italian food does not exist! 

Tuscany has one particular of the best cuisines in Italy. Cucina Povera, or “poor cookery,” is the Italian concept guiding Tuscan cuisine. It’s all about generating uncomplicated and reasonably priced meals in large portions. Considering that Tuscans like simplicity, they do not use innovative flavors in their cooking. Regular Tuscan recipes are centered on what Tuscans uncover fresh new and regional at the market place, creating them typically fast and easy to prepare dinner with couple of elements. 

Crostini Toscani, Panzanella, Torta di Ceci, Ribolita, and Acquacotta are only a several of the finest dishes you just can’t pass up when visiting Tuscany. Irrespective of its simplicity, the cuisine is full of taste. All foods are supplied with the local bread, which is a white, essential, unsalted loaf. This customized dates back again to the 16th century when a salt tax was imposed, leading to inhabitants to rethink how they baked bread. This aged apply of unsalted bread has survived and now distinguishes Tuscan bread from that of other Italian locations.

Investigate the castles in Tuscany

Paschini Castle is a medieval-style castle located in Castiglioncello in Tuscany, Italy. Is one of the most beautiful castles in Tuscany.
Vacation to the earlier whilst traveling to Tuscany castles.

An pleasant tour of Tuscany’s castles is all you will need to be absolutely integrated into the fairy tale and feel the scents of the past. Traveling to its castles will aid you learn about Tuscany’s lifestyle, historical past, and traditions. You will not be disappointed if you are interested in historical past or architecture or if you get pleasure from viewing fairytale palaces simply because Tuscan has a broad wide range of castles surrounded by environmentally friendly landscapes that multiply the natural beauty of these constructions.

Some of these charming Tuscany castles are now partly vineyards or museums, supplying views into the previous. These impressive Tuscan castles have been handed down via the generations, with occupants however living there. 

Some of the magical castles in Tuscany are Castello di Sammezzano, Castello di Verrazzano, Palazzo Vechio, Giglio Castello, Castello del Boccale, etc. These major castles have to be on your checklist regardless of whether you are in Italy for a 7 days or longer or only traveling to Tuscany for a several times.

Consider the most effective wine in Tuscany

Stunning vineyards in Tuscany. The rolling hills are covered with grape vines. Visiting these vineyards is one of the best things to do in Tuscany.
Vineyards everywhere you go!

Tuscany is one of Europe’s most properly-recognized wine regions. It is renowned for its Sangiovese-based dry pink wines. You can see vineyards and olive groves that sprawl throughout rolling hills, distant landscapes studded with farmhouses and castles, and historical roads lined with cypress trees! 

The Tuscan wine area provides all you’re hunting for and a lot more! Tuscany is Italy’s 3rd finest producer of DOC/DOCG wines, trailing only Piedmont and the Veneto. Just after Sicily and Puglia, Tuscany is Italy’s 3rd most planted wine spot.

The region’s Vin Santo and Passito dessert wines are notably hugely regarded, irrespective of remaining generated in smaller quantities. Over 80% of the wine made in Tuscany is crimson, with the Sangiovese grape dominating the bulk of it. As a result, if you are a wine lover, this is the best desired destination for you. 

Tuscany has a good deal to offer in terms of experience, and it is packed with heritage. Include our tips to your bucket list, and we guarantee you will have a good time there. But make absolutely sure you study about the architecture of the sites you are going and their background due to the fact there will undoubtedly be some masterpieces you want to check out and fully grasp. 

If you wish to have a private tour of charming Florence or an authentic Tuscan expertise, you will have a great working experience!



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Grass Pass Hike in Kananaskis Country


If you’re looking for a spring hike with some elevation gain, I’d recommend driving to Longview, Alberta and then turning southwest onto Highway 541 and taking it into Kananaskis Country. Close to the park boundary is the trailhead for the Grass Pass hike – an easy and surprisingly pretty hike you can do from April through to late October. From the pass there are several options if you want a full day of hiking. Do the short out and back hike up Boundary Pine Peninsula and then continue to the Bull Creek Hills. From there you can do a loop that includes a section of walking along Highway 541 or you can simply retrace your steps to the trailhead.

John and I chose to do the Grass Pass hike in mid-April after a cold snap. I had been looking at the Longview weather forecast and was looking for a day that was sunny and mild. What I hadn’t counted on was over 20 centimetres of fresh snow on the trail. Fortunately, we’d both packed gaiters and warm clothes. Unfortunately, we brought our son’s dog with us. He, as you can see in the photo below, collected snow in great clumps to the point that once we got to Grass Pass, he could hardly move. 

So, between deep snow and a frozen dog, we passed on hiking to the far end of the Boundary Pine Peninsula – where there’s supposed to be a large limber pine – and nixed the Bull Creek Hills. We’ll save that for the fall.

Our son’s dog is not built for hiking in sticky snow

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Grass Pass hike details

Distance: 6.4 km return + 2.0 km add-on out and back to the Boundary Pine Peninsula

Elevation: 420 metres (1378 feet) plus approximately 60 m (197 feet) on Boundary Pine

Difficulty: Easy

Time needed: 2- 3 hours

Map needed: Gem Trek Highwood & Cataract Creek 

Best time to hike: Spring until late fall (pictures below are mid-April after a fresh snow)

Watch for: Ticks are active in the grassy areas from early-April until mid-June. Check yourself and your dogs after a hike.

Don’t forget: You need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass to visit Kananaskis Country. Purchase a once off day pass or a yearly pass if you plan to visit a lot. Also, take bear spray on this hike.

Camping: There is a large campground in Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area with over 100 unserviced sites for both tents and RV’s. 

Finding the trailhead

If you’re doing the Grass Pass hike before June 15th, then you must access it from Longview via Highway 541. Drive 37.6 km and either park on the shoulder on the north side of the road about 100 metres east of the Sentinel Recreation Area – if its closed – or in the parking lot there when its open.

If you’re coming from Highwood Pass on Highway 40 (open as of June 15th every year), continue to Highwood Junction to reach an intersection with Highway 940, 40, and 541. From Highwood Junction go east for 5.4 km on Highway 541 and turn right into the Sentinel Recreation Area.

The trailhead is across the highway, about 100 metres east of the Sentinel Recreation Area.

How the Grass Pass hike unfolds

The Grass Pass hike is not signed but it’s still easy to find and follow. There’s an obvious trail into the woods – but not a single sign. However, just 30 seconds up the trail is a bright yellow sign forbidding dirt bikes. It’s not till you get up the trail a little further, that you can appreciate why that sign is there. The trail becomes wide and braided – and an area that looks like dirt bikers would love.

It’s a straightforward hike to Grass Pass. Simply continue in a NNW direction on the well trodden trail (without snow it will be easy to follow) all the way to the pass. From there you have five options.

  • Head west and then southwest to a ridge that descends SSE back to the Trailhead. (It’s shown on the Highwood Pass map.)
  • Continue straight through the pass and descend NNW into Wileman Creek Valley. Even if you hike just a few minutes in this direction you’ll get some good views of Holy Cross Mountain and even Mount Head behind it.
  • Go right or northeast on the trail to ascend the Bull Creek Hills.
  • Take a sharp right and head southeast to Boundary Point Peninsula. From here you can normally see the Bull Creek Hills – and that might help you get your bearings. Allow approximately 30 minutes to go up and down the Boundary Point Peninsula.
  • Or simply enjoy the views and retrace your steps to the parking lot.
The Sentinel Recreation Area is closed in April so we parked at the side of Highway 541 at the trailhead
The Sentinel Recreation Area is closed in April so we parked at the side of Highway 541 at the trailhead
The start of the Grass Pass hike
The start of the Grass Pass hike
Signage indicating vehicles aren't allowed - less than a minute's walk in on the trail
Signage indicating vehicles aren’t allowed – less than a minute’s walk in on the trail
Pretty views looking back within 10 minutes of leaving the trailhead
Pretty views looking back within 10 minutes of leaving the trailhead
A short section with some gorgeous and massive Douglas fir trees
A short section with some gorgeous and massive Douglas fir trees
Very pretty hiking on the way to Grass Pass
Lovely hiking on the way to Grass Pass – this section would be very pretty in fall
Grass Pass (not quite in view) is the low point on the left way up ahead
Grass Pass (not quite in view) is the low point on the left way up ahead
Lovely views on the Grass Pass hike of the Highwood Valley
Lovely views on the Grass Pass hike of the Highwood Valley and Raspberry Ridge in the clouds behind
Enjoying the views just past Grass Pass
Enjoying the views straight past Grass Pass

Detour to Boundary Pine Peninsula

Go up this hill to access Boundary Pine
Go up this hill for some great views
Great view but shy of the top of the Boundary Pine Peninsula
Great view but shy of the top of the Boundary Pine Peninsula
Looking south towards Highwood Trail - if it was clear you'd be able to see Mt. Burke
Looking south towards Highwood Trail – if it was clear you’d be able to see Mt. Burke
Butter the dog is put into my pack for part of the descent
Butter the dog is put into my pack for part of the descent

A few things you might want to take on this hike

Take lots of water as there is nowhere to fill up. If you’ve got a dog with you, this collapsible water bowl is perfect.

I like something comfortable to sit on at lunch time. It can be your mitts on a warm spring day but in summer I swear by my almost weightless seat cushion.

The older I get the more I like using hiking poles. Invest in a good pair that are collapsible, preferably made of carbon because of their weightless quality.

In summer low gaiters are ideal for keeping pebbles and sand out of your shoes though I was very happy to have my full length gaiters for the snow we encountered. 

I always pack a buff as it’s a multi-purpose piece of cloth yet it takes up almost no room.

Another nice addition for those of you who love wildflowers (as you’ll see plenty on this hike by late spring) is the book Popular Wildflowers of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies.

Location map of the Grass Pass hike

                         

Further reading on nearby hikes 

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A 3-season hike to Grass Pass in Alberta's Kananaskis Country



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Things to do in Malibu: 10 cool and unusual Malibu activities


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Today we’re looking into the best things to do in Malibu, Ca.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this stunning destination, that’s why you are here to discover what to do in Malibu. But where is Malibu located? It’s a small, charming California city almost everyone knows about but very few people have actually visited. Malibu is a beach city in the region of Los Angeles County in California, exactly 48 km (30 miles) from Los Angeles’s west downtown. Now you know it!

Malibu Beach pops up in the news after a landslide takes another mansion, or a celebrity buys another multimillion-dollar palace perched on the cliffs between the sea and the land.

Sunsets here are stunning. We know it!

There is a good reason why so many rich and famous people call Malibu their home. Malibu is overlooking the ocean on one side and has its back in the lush canyons and tree-covered parks. 

It has an interesting history, breathtaking natural beauty, and many stories to tell from its very interesting past and present inhabitants. Definitely worth a visit and you will need more than one day to see all the attractions Malibu has to offer.

Here is our top pick of the fun things to do in Malibu:

1. Point Dume State Beach and Preserve

Point Dume State Beach and Preserve is a magnificent piece of California coast with a long expanse of sandy beach, steep cliffs, pounding waves, and small rocky coves. It is a long stretch on the very northern tip of Santa Monica Bay.

There is also another great spot called Point Dume Natural Area, which offers a view of Santa Catalina Island and Palos Verdes Peninsula. When you are visiting Malibu, it’s a great place to relax, get some sun, have a swim, or catch a fish.  

Beachside view of beautiful blue Pacific Ocean and stunning cliffs surrounding Dume Cove on a sunny day with clouds in the sky, Point Dume, Malibu, California
Point Dume postcard picture.

The Point Dume Beach gets some nice waves so you can often see surfers riding their peaks. If you like some outdoor adventure you can join a 4-hour rock climbing by the beach the instructors will keep you safe while you admire the beach from a  different and unique angle. 

There is a trail at the beach that leads to the top of the overhanging cliffs. It is quite a climb but the views are breathtaking.

There is a nice little observation point where you can sit, take a breath and contemplate the beauty of nature.

During the whale season, between December and April, look for these magnificent mammals as they migrate towards breeding grounds.

2. Visit Adamson House

Overlooking the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, at the point where Malibu Creek enters the Pacific Ocean, the Adamson House was the first Malibu beach home.

It’s also an architectural masterpiece known as “The Taj Mahal of Tile” for the amazing diversity of tiles that cover so much of the interior.

Historic Adamson House, Malibu, California. Visiting the house is one of the coolest things to do in Malibu Ca.
Adamson House is one of Malibu’s must-see places.

Built in 1929 in the Mediterranean Revival style as a private home, it has a magnificent carved entrance door, fantastic frescoes, molded ceilings, elaborate cast ironwork, lead-glass windows and a huge number of hand-made decorative ceramic tiles made by Rufus Keeler of Malibu Potteries.

With its magical location, elegant architecture and art-filled interior, the Adamson House offers a perfect glimpse into the lifestyle of Malibu inhabitants, past and present. 

The house, Malibu Lagoon Museum (once the family beach house) and surrounding gardens are now a National Historic Site and are open to the public. 

3. Explore Escondido Falls

The 3.8-mile-long round trip hike that starts at the Pacific Coast Highway will take you to one of California’s most magnificent waterfalls.

Waterfall in Malibu, California. One more place to visit in Malibu.
Malibu has beaches and stunning waterfalls!

The paved Winding Way trail heads uphill for 0.75 miles along, passing some truly extravagant homes. You will gain about 200 feet before the trail starts going downhill to join Escondido Canyon Park.

The trail is easy and a great way for a family outing. It winds through flowering meadows, fields of mustard and fennel, hopping across a small creek that runs through Escondido Canyon.

The upper falls are on private property and are closed to the public, but the lower falls are well worth the track when the water is high, green with hanging moss, falling into a small pool.

Among all the activities in Malibu, Escondido Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains so it can get busy. If you want solitude, come early in the morning and avoid weekends.

4. Enjoy the glamor of the Getty Villa

A subject of much controversy and disdain by art experts, Getty Villa is a big part of what makes this destination so unique and is an absolute must-see.

Lovely views of the Getty Villa in LA. It's one of the places you can visit in Malibu.
Lovely views of the Getty Villa in LA.

You don’t have to like the weird architecture that mimics Herculaneum Villa deli Papiri but you have to admire Paul Getty’s vision and perseverance.

Open originally in 1974 to store Getty’s personal holdings, the Getty Villa was later converted into a museum of Getty’s Mediterranean antiquities collection.

There are more than 1,200 artifacts on display. Most date to the period between 6,500 BC – 500 AD and cover a wide range of themes including the Trojan War and ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses.

Villa’s several hundred rooms host different collections or various temporary exhibitions, labs, and research libraries.

The Getty Villa is also home to the Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation program of the University of California.

Surrounding the villa is a traditional English ivy and rose garden decorated with priceless Roman statues.

The entrance to the museum is free but it requires a reservation. Another way to admire this incredible Malibu attraction is by flying over it. Here is a California Coastline Helicopter Tour that flies over Getty Villa and many more beautiful places around Malibu. 

5. Challenge yourself by hiking Mishe Mokwa Trail

If you’re spending some time in or near Malibu, you might want to get off the beach and do what ma the locals do: climb one of the scenic trails along the slopes of Santa Monica Mountain. 

Malibu, California, Mishe Mokwa Trail: A winding road through the Santa Monica Mountains
A winding road through the Santa Monica Mountains.

On the list of hiking and things to do in Malibu, the Mishe Mokwa Trail is one of the more challenging. It’s a six-mile loop trail, with several steep inclines, but nothing that requires special equipment or a particular fitness level.

You may want to leave your really young kids home – they may be asking you to carry them, which will be quite hard on the way up.

You will pass a few landmarks such as the Inspiration Point and the Split Rock. Check the register at the summit, you will see some big names who passed through. Add your name to it, you just did one of the most challenging Malibu activities so register it! 

Keen to learn about more hiking options around Malibu? Here is the full list of trails.

6. Discover Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is so scenic (and so close to Hollywood) that it played roles in a number of movies – Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H to mention just a couple.

Malibu Creek Park in California is hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains just north of Los Angeles by Pacific Coast Highway. Great for outdoor adventures, hikes, wildlife, and waterfalls. Sunsets.
It looks like a painting, but it’s real, trust us!

This jewel of the Santa Monica Mountains, the state park covers more than 8,000 acres of oak savannas, tallgrass plains, and soaring mountain peaks. 

There are 15 miles of hiking and biking trails winding along Malibu Creek, through sycamore and oak woodlands, crossing chaparral-covered slopes. 

Enjoy spectacular canyon vistas, dipping in the volcanic swimming hole, and climbing some fine rocks. It’s one of the most spectacular things to do in Malibu – you will enjoy it. 

Sorry, no dogs are allowed.

If you link biking, check out this e-bike tour in the Malibu mountains

7. Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach is Malibu’s landmark and its main attraction, known from every photo you have ever seen.

Almost two miles long, running parallel to the Pacific Coast Highway (here is a Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour for the highway), it’s a spectacular expanse of golden sand with all the usual facilities – restaurants, bars, lounge chairs and colorful umbrellas. 

Scenic view of Zuma Beach from the top of Point Dume. Malibu, California.
Malibu Beaches at their best!

It is usually full of beautiful tanned bodies, kids playing volleyball, tourists snapping photos hoping to spot a celebrity. 

There are lifeguards to keep the kids safe, happy surfers riding the waves, and fishermen hoping to catch their dinner.

If you like surfing, then join this cool Malibu Beach surf tour in a vintage VW Van. You get to ride the waves, the van and the beach surroundings, no doubt one of the most unique things to do in Malibu. 

In the winter, you can spot the seals and dolphins from the ridge above the beach.

8. Malibu Pier

Next to the very popular Surfrider Beach, Malibu Pier is a perfect line fishing and sunset-watching spot. 

Another must thing to do in Malibu Beach is visiting its pier. Postcard view, blue sky, and beautiful ocean waves.
Postcard view, blue sky, and beautiful ocean waves.

About 780 feet long, the pier is always full of tourists and locals, fishing or watching surfers riding the waves. The pier is noisy, cheerful and crowded and no tourist can visit Malibu and miss strolling across the pier.

The pier is also the place for watching sunsets or having a nice meal in one of the restaurants.

9. Malibu Country Mart

If you are wondering where Barbara Streisand and her neighbors buy their tomatoes, you should know that they go to the Malibu Country Mart.

The Country Mart is a shopping area in the Malibu Civic Center of California. It includes all sorts of luxury shops for fashion, eating, and playing.

All the shops and restaurants are surrounded by lush gardens, playgrounds, picnic spaces, sculptures, and eateries. They are constructed in a mish-mash of styles, from Mediterranean and Spanish to rustic and modern.

Of course, one of the best-known tourist activities in Malibu is to hope to spot a celebrity, so the Country Mart often gets overrun by tourists.

If you manage to get there, do not miss trying gelato from Grom.

10. Geoffrey’s

Being surrounded by all the glamor and wealth of the celebrity mansions, you should immerse yourself in it for just a short time and eat at the famous Geoffrey’s restaurant.

Opened in 1948, this magnificent restaurant has been the favorite spot of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Shirley MacLaine, and Frank Sinatra.

It is still one of the greatest area’s chic restaurants usually visited for special occasions.

The best table is on the terrace overlooking the ocean and surrounded by a lush garden. Indoors is gorgeous too, elegant and opulent, and only matched by incredible food prepared by Executive Chef Bijan Shokatfard. 

The menu is seafood-focused, super fresh and it goes great with one of their superb wines.

Talking about wines, there are some wine tasting tours in Malibu you can join. Check out these two options below:


Where to stay in Malibu, tips for all travelers!

Before you live, here are some suggestions of hotels in Malibu that suits any type of traveler:


Over to you – Which places do you want to explore?

If you are driving between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and down to San Diego, give yourself some time to spend in Malibu.

Even if you are not obsessed with celebrities and their lifestyle, there are plenty of things to do in Malibu. It is a lovely, very charming California town. 

It seamlessly combines spectacular nature with unique architecture and plenty of art. It also offers great opportunities for outdoor activities and some fine dining experiences. For more US travel tips, click here.

Love this what to do in Malibu guide? Pin it for later!

Your Malibu Guide is here! Follow our tips on what to do in Malibu and have fun. We listed the best things to do in Malibu, from beach and surfing to nature, hiking, and some of the best Malibu attractions. You will also find in this guide some suggestions for tours and Malibu activities and some of the best Malibu hotels to stay in. Enjoy it!
Things to do in Malibu: 10 cool and unusual Malibu activities

Author: Lorena Maia

This is a post by Lorena Maia who runs her own travel blog TravelCroc. Lorena has been a travel blogger for over 5 years. She naturally fell into writing about travel because she has lived in South America, Europe and most recently Australia. She tries to travel as much as she can, and loves sharing her travel experiences.



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30+ TOP Things To Do in Vancouver & Nearby


I lived in Vancouver, a world-class, culturally vibrant city, for close to 10 years and enjoyed a wide variety of the sights, attractions, and things most visitors want to see and do. Most people don’t spend a week in a city these days, but if you even have three days, you can cover off a huge selection of my picks of top things to do in Vancouver. A week will give you enough time to include a variety of activities in Whistler as well. 

Vancouver is truly a wonderful city to visit but access between the north shore and downtown, especially if you’re driving, can be a royal pain. Avoid rush hour at all costs as it can easily take an hour to drive from West Vancouver to downtown Vancouver. Lion’s Gate Bridge gets backed up, but the First Narrows Bridge is no picnic either. I would recommend splitting your time between the downtown core including Stanley Park, the north shore from Deep Cove to West Vancouver, and the outlying areas like Bowen Island and Squamish and Whistler if you have time.

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Best time of year to visit Vancouver

I think most visitors will want to avoid the rainy season – which lasts from November well into April. However, Vancouver does get some high-pressure systems in winter moving in for extended periods of time, so you can get weeks of sunny weather. Unfortunately, it’s not the norm. There was one stand-out February for me that had three plus weeks of sunshine. With flowers blooming, that period was pure magic. You’ll need Lady Luck on your side or the ability to do a last-minute trip.

Most of you will want to visit from May until October. A common saying in Vancouver is that summer doesn’t start until mid-July – and that usually holds true if you’re coming for warm or hot weather. It’s also the busiest time in the city. I personally love the spring for the flowers and early fall for the decrease in crowds.

Granville Island Market is a mouth-watering place to visit in Vancouver

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is the quintessential experience to enjoy in Vancouver, no matter what the season or your age. Here’s a selection of ways to do just that.

  • Spend a good part of a day in Stanley Park. The best way to experience is on foot or by bike. You don’t have to be a regular cyclist to enjoy the bike ride around Stanley Park. It’s easy, flat and can be done over a 1 -2 hours, depending on how many stops and detours you make. (Rent a bike at one of four stores clustered around Denman Street.) I would recommend trying to bike at a less busy time of day so you can take your eyes off the path and enjoy the view! Walking will take you two to three hours if you do the entire seawall.
  • Short on time? Drive around Stanley Park, pulling off at viewpoints to take in the best sights like Prospect Point and Second and Third Beaches. Second Beach is home to a heated outdoor pool, that is perfect for sunny days.
  • Visit the Vancouver Aquarium. There are no longer any whales at the aquarium but there are many more marine animals on display as well as an Amazon exhibit. Animals are shown in ‘natural’ habitats and won’t be doing any tricks or acrobatics to music, and the general presentation is of education and interest – not entertainment.
  • If you’re feeling lazy or romantic, there are narrated horse-drawn carriage rides around the park that provide general information about both Stanley Park and Vancouver.
Walking around Stanley Park
Walking and biking around Stanley Park

Top things to do in Vancouver along SW Marine Drive

If you are coming in from the Vancouver Airport, either drive or ask your taxi or Uber driver to take a detour along SW Marine Drive and continue out along Spanish Banks. It’s only seven minutes from the airport.

  • If you visit the Spanish Banks area at low tide, you can walk out on the sand flats for a mile. 
  • Some of Vancouver’s best beaches are along here including Locarno Beach which is perfect for an outdoor BBQ on a warm evening.
  • Enjoy the view of Vancouver from SW Marine Drive. It’s truly spectacular with the ocean and mountain backdrop. 
  • Near Point Grey, stop at the Museum of Anthropology. Here you can see totem poles and unique British Columbia First Nations art.
  • Kitsilano has a fantastic salt water outdoor pool – three times the size of an Olympic pool – with fabulous views of the mountains as a backdrop for those that just want to suntan and relax.
Sightseeing in Vancouver with a view of downtown Vancouver from the Spanish Banks
View of downtown Vancouver from the Spanish Banks
The Museum of Anthropology is housed in a beautiful building
The Museum of Anthropology is housed in a beautiful building

Top things to do in Vancouver downtown 

For many the skyscrapers of downtown are quite an eye-opener, especially the revolving restaurant. For indoor days there’s plenty of shopping both at indoor malls and on Robson Street, in Gastown, or even Chinatown with its myriad shops to poke around in. You could also try one of these activities.

  • The HR MacMillan Space Center has indoor shows, laser and light shows and telescope viewings. Try to visit on a clear night.
  • Take a dinner cruise while enjoying the downtown skyline.
  • Enjoy a scenic float plane tour. It’s not too expensive when you consider how many people you can tuck in and what can be seen in a very short space of time.
Checking out the Aquabus from Granville Island
Checking out the Aquabus from Granville Island
Float plane trips are easy to arrange in Vancouver
Float plane trips are easy to arrange in Vancouver
Nitobe Gardens in spring
Nitobe Gardens in spring

One of a kind seasonal things to do in Vancouver

  • In the summer there is outdoor ethnic dancing at the Ceperley Park picnic area. While this may sound a bit odd, it can be a lot of fun and was a huge hit with one of my friends out of town visitors.
  • Every August the Squamish Nation Pow-Wow is held at the foot of Capilano Road. It’s quite a sight to see and the Europeans in particular love to see it! There is food, stalls selling native goods, and of course the dance competitions. It’s worth the time for a unique afternoon.
  • Catch the Festival of Light every summer with fireworks starting at 10 PM at English Bay. You don’t have to be in English Bay to enjoy the dazzling show. There would also be some excellent areas to see them from Stanley Park. The fireworks occur three nights over a week.

Top things to do in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

  • Starting at Deep Cove you can take a hike to the lookout at Quarry Rock, about 30 minutes along the Baden Powell Trail. It’s not for those afraid of heights.
  • Browse some small shops and eateries in Deep Cove. When I dragonboated out of Deep Cove on Saturday mornings, we would often end up at Honey Doughnuts & Goodies, eating back all the calories we’d just burnt off.
  • Rent a kayak or SUP in Deep Cove and explore the lovely inlet of Indian Arm or just the cove area itself. You can also take a kayaking tour – even in winter and on full moon nights.
  • Most summer evenings you can watch dragonboat teams practicing. Come out and cheer them on.
Beautiful kayaking out of Deep Cove
Sightseeing in Vancouver can include a beautiful kayaking trip out of Deep Cove

Grouse Mountain 

  • If you can afford the tram ride up Grouse Mountain (about $61/adult in 2022) you can probably afford to eat at the Observatory Restaurant at the peak, and in that case the trip up is included with your meal! If you are a fitness freak climb the 3000-foot mountain on the Grouse Grind Trail, but only if you are prepared and healthy enough to do it! If neither of those methods attract you then there is a helicopter ride from Coal Harbour that will take you up to the peak and back to the harbour later in the day.
The Grouse grind is a massive stair stepper in the forest
The Grouse Grind is a massive stair stepper in the forest

West Vancouver

  • If you want a view at no physical or monetary cost (save for gas) then drive-up Cypress Mountain and pull off at the first lookout. You get a great aerial view of the lower mainland and on a really clear day you can see Mount Baker in Washington.
  • Head to Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay and enjoy a sea safari. Look for seabirds, seals, and even whales.
  • Wander the maze of trails among giant trees in Lighthouse Park, enjoying views at the water’s edge of Howe Sound. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic dinner in summer and watch the sun go down.
Seals seen on the Sewall's Sea Safari
Seals seen on the Sewall’s Sea Safari
On the Circle Tour you get views of Lion’s Gate Bridge
Sightseeing in Vancouver via Sewall’s Sea Safari 
My niece is dwarfed by a tree in Lighthouse Park
My niece is dwarfed by a tree in Lighthouse Park

Bowen Island

  • Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, enjoying lovely views of Howe Sound on the way over to Bowen Island as a foot passenger.  On the island poke around the shops in Snug Cove and have lunch on the deck at Doc Morgans Pub. You could even try a few hours of sea kayaking, right off the ferry dock. If you’re slightly more energetic you can take the loop trail around Killarney Lake or even hike Mt Gardner for the 360-degree view at the top. The island has a little bus service that can get you around.
Watching the ferry come in from one of the parks on Bowen Island
Watching the ferry come in from one of the parks on Bowen Island

Squamish Area

  • Shannon Falls, rising 335 metres above the Sea to Sky Highway at Squamish, is only a 15 to 20-minute walk from the car park to the lookout.
Views from the top of the Chief in Squamish
Stupendous views from the top of the Chief in Squamish
View to Anvil Island from Porteau Cove
View to Anvil Island from Porteau Cove

Drive the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler

  • Drive the Sea to Sky Highway – stopping at some of the iconic sights along the way. The lookout on a clear day over the Tantalus Range is particularly compelling.
  • Brandywine Falls just south of Whistler is an enjoyable 5-minute walk from the car – and worth seeing just for their 70-metre height!
Me on the Whistler zipline
Me on the Whistler zipline
An airy walk on the Skybridge in Whistler
An airy walk on the Skybridge in Whistler

Where to stay in Vancouver

You’ll probably want to stay in downtown Vancouver or North Vancouver so you can walk about – and perhaps forgo a car altogether. From North Vancouver, it’s easy to hop on teh sea bus to downtown Vancouver. Here are some ideas of where to stay.

I have stayed at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – and loved the downtown location, ambiance and the room we had.

The Paradox Hotel Vancouver is rated as superb. 

The Pan Pacific Vancouver located on the waterfront is a luxurious option. 

In North Vancouver, I recommend either the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier with its killer sunset views or The Seaside Hotel located in the Shipyards.

Further reading on things to do in the greater Vancouver area

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

30 + TOP things to do in Vancouver & Nearby

 



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