Last Updated on March 28, 2023
There is probably no better way to experience the glory of California than by driving around the state on a fun-filled road trip. Better yet, make your adventures food-oriented, and you have yourselves the culinary excursion of a lifetime!
Just imagine it: cruising in a vintage convertible along the Pacific coast, or through the vineyards of Napa Valley, with the wind in your hair and the sunlight on your skin, headed from one mouth-watering meal to the next!
Here’s our guide to planning your dream food-themed road trip through California and enjoying an unforgettable experience.
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The Benefits Of Eating Your Way Through California
California is a stunning state, and travelling by car and enjoying all the delicious foods on offer is a great way to see more of this diverse part of the world.
Of course, besides the obvious perks and romanticism of a food-themed road trip around California, there is also the added convenience of journeying by car.
For one thing, you will have total autonomy and spontaneity, so you can stop wherever and whenever you like.
Can’t wait to kickstart your gourmandizing adventures throughout Cali? If you’re flying there, you can simply drop your car off at any airport, including Orlando Airport where it will be in safe hands until you return. For more on finding affordable parking services, you can look online at parkwayparking.com.
Here are some top tips for preparing your trip:
Mark Out Your Route – But Prepare For Some Deviations
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California is a sprawling state, so if you have time constraints or budget limitations, it may be a good idea to map out your route before you set off and stick to a particular corner of Cali. That way, you won’t miss out on the restaurants and other foodie hotspots you want to experience the most.
For instance, perhaps you have your sights set on the creamy oysters of Port Reyes? Or maybe you want to devote a few days to lolling in the lush wine country of Napa Valley? Alternatively, you may have a strong hankering to savor the Mexican-inspired flavors to the south.
Wherever you want to go the most, plan the bulk of your itinerary around that location – but leave room for some spontaneous outings elsewhere, as well as some unscheduled stops. You never know what little culinary gem you could stumble across – from a roadside diner dishing up the world’s best apple pie to a local deli with the best gravlax you ever tasted.
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Cut Down On Other Expenses So You Have Plenty Of Food Money
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Some of the most delicious food in California can be had for very little cash, but if you’re on a food-themed road trip you still need to make sure you have plenty of funds for some top-notch meals.
To help you with your travel budget, why not try and find ways to make other parts of your trip cheaper? Some clever tips for keeping down costs include:
– Choosing an economical car that provides more miles to the gallon, so the gas you purchase goes further.
– Don’t drive too fast, as this burns through the fuel faster. Driving more slowly can save you 17 cents a gallon.
– Bring plenty of supplies, such as medicines, large water bottles, and other travel essentials, so you don’t have to buy them en route.
– Keep accommodation costs down by choosing hotels and motels that provide you with complimentary breakfasts – or, better yet, find some friends along the way and couch surf for free.
Following these easy steps can help you with your road trip budget so you will have plenty of dollars left over for all of those mouth-watering dishes you’ll be savoring along the way.
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Dedicate A Portion Of Your Trip To A Particular Food
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An interesting way to plan your route is to organize it by food type.
So, for example, you could kick off your epic food quest on the Californian coast, with those aforementioned oysters at Port Reyes, before moving on to sample other seafood delights dished up by San Francisco’s finest restaurants.
The moreish seafood chowder at Pier 39 is definitely not to be missed, served up in a signature sourdough bread bowl. Speaking of sourdough, did you know that California is the birthplace of this unique-tasting bread? San Francisco, in particular, is very proud of its sourdough and you can pick up some delicious loaves at bakeries throughout the city.
Of course, San Francisco is also home to the most historic Chinatown in the entire US, so be sure to pay a visit during your stop. You can feast on the likes of chop suey, assorted dim sum, bitter melon soup, and some Far Eastern baked delights that make the perfect dessert.
Moving on from the gourmet delights of San Fran, you should be sure to experience the fine vintages of the state’s world-famous wine country. From the rugged foothills of the Sierras to the romantic undulations of Napa Valley, there are so many options for delicious wine tastings awaiting you here. Book a few fun-filled tours to try out some of California’s most acclaimed vintages, from White Zinfandel to the fruit-laden notes of the local Pinot Noir.
To finish your road trip, you may want to drive all the way down to the Mexican border and treat yourself to a banquet of piquant Baja-inspired treats, from spiced shrimp tacos to the freshest ceviche and tacos stuffed with guacamole made from Californian avocadoes.
Last But Not Least – Don’t Forget The Essentials
It can be easy to get lost in the excitement of planning your food-themed excursion around California. However, you also need to focus on important considerations, such as making sure your vehicle is road-worthy and ensuring that you are well packed and provisioned for your trip.
Making lists of everything you need is a good idea, as you can tick things off when they are packed. If you need any medications, double-check they are packed before you set off. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast for your proposed routes, so you know what kind of clothing you’ll need to bring along.
On a lighter note, you may also wish to prepare a California-themed playlist to provide the perfect backing track for your food-themed tour of the state!
With your itinerary planned, your bags packed, and your fuel tank filled, there’s nothing left to do but embark on your magical gourmandizing quest around California. Happy eating!
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