May 5, 2021

California Dreamin’: The SoCal Challenge

California
Difficult
8 plus hours

Did you know that in Southern California, you can go to the beach, the mountains, and the desert all in one day? I’m calling it the SoCal Challenge! You may not know this about me, but I was born and raised in Southern California. In all my traveling, when I meet people all around the world and they ask me about California, I always tell them the same thing…

California is one of the only places in the world where you can get up in the morning, watch the sunrise at the beach, then drive up to the mountains to go hiking, then head down to the desert for go-karting and dirt biking, only to make it back to the beach for the sunset. 

For my birthday this year, we wanted to see what it was like to do all of this in one day… AND get it all on video. I’m calling it the SoCal Challenge!

SoCal Challenge: Beach > Mountains > Desert > Beach

We got up at 5 AM to start filming and catch the sunrise at Laguna Beach. It was beautiful and so peaceful that early in the morning. 

Next, we drove an hour and 45 minutes to Lake Arrowhead, where we hiked around the lake and went through the little village there. It’s so crazy to think that these quaint, mountain towns with populations of 400 people are only an hour and a half from downtown Los Angeles. Talk about radically different worlds. 

My favorite towns nestled in the mountains include Crestline, Running Springs, Skyforest, Rimforest, and Blue Jay. They are amazing.

After hiking around Lake Arrowhead, we drove about 45 minutes to Big Bear Lake, which is the bigger attraction in the area. It’s very well-known to Southern California and people come from all over the world to visit. We also saw Silverwood Lake, which is near Big Bear Lake. We recorded some footage around the lake and then we went to Big Bear Village, a shopping district with a bunch of cute little restaurants, cafés, and shopping. 

Next, we drove an hour and 30 minutes to Mount Baldy Staging Area, where we rode UTVs and ATVs. As you can see in the photos, it’s very desert-like and dry there. It was 102 degrees when we were there. 

After Mount Baldy, we drove an hour and 10 minutes back to Laguna Beach, where we walked along the beach, watching the sunset as the waves came in. 

I’m so glad I got to document our day because I have told people about this for years. It’s one of the reasons I love Southern California. After all of the traveling I’ve done, I realize how special it is when you can spend time in the mountains, the desert, and at the beach all in one day. I encourage all my followers to try the SoCal Challenge if you’re traveling through, or live near, Southern California!

More About Laguna Beach

I actually lived in Laguna Beach for three and a half years, so I’m very familiar with that area. It’s a wealthy town but also has a very small population (23,036 as of 2019). 

Also, you can only really get to Laguna Beach two ways: either through the Canyon / 133 Freeway or through Pacific Coast Highway which runs along the entire coast on the west side of the United States of America.

One day I’m going to do a post about going from Tijuana to Canada along the Pacific Coast Highway. I’ve done it before and it’s a really beautiful drive. You go through Mexico, California, Oregon, and then Washington. There was also a very famous TV show a little before I lived there called Laguna Beach on MTV. 

Hidden Gems of Southern California

I hope that after seeing my experience, doing the SoCal Challenge, that you want to come visit Southern California too. So many people think of large cities and beaches when they think of Southern California, but I think the true beauty lies in the hidden gems like Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Skyforest, & Crestline. 

Why choose between the beach, the mountains, or the desert when you can have all three?

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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.