So excited to share my Organic California Travel Guide with you! If you’ve been following me then you know I took a 2 week trip throughout California hitting up some of the best organic food, and eco resorts. California has it all when it comes to living out a natural lifestyle. Their produce is some of the best, the ocean is always a welcome calming playground and when it comes to eating out they’ve got the natural and organic menus down to a science. Oh and they have loads of sunshine!
I wanted to outline all my favorites after traveling there for so many years and also share some of my favorite resorts and lodging accommodations with you. Whether you’re traveling with your family, a significant other or just by yourself, I’ve got something for everyone.
I’ll be sharing my favorite places by city so you’ll know exactly where to find them. California is one place where any organic and natural traveler can have their cake and eat it too! They have a little of everything. You will be sure to have the best time and come back refreshed and with a full belly.
Laguna Beach, California
I mean what’s not to love about Laguna Beach? Really nothing. It’s the quintessential little beach town. Standing on one of the highest points it almost looks like a little Italian coastal village. The shops are all quaint and easy to access, as well as the beach area. There’s a playground on the beach where the kids can play, volleyball games taking place and lots of sunbathing. Everyone who lives there seems to loves it. It feels like you step back in time a little to a slower pace. I love how walkable the little city is. Bottom line, if you haven’t been then you need to go- it won’t disappoint.
We had the pleasure of staying at one of the finest resorts there. It was truly a little getaway even from the hustle and bustle of Laguna Beach. I wanted to share my full experience as this resort is one of kind and truly special, especially when it comes to sustainability.
The Ranch At Laguna Beach
Check out the video below to take a peek inside The Ranch!
Where do I even begin with this gem? It was such a treat to stay here. If you want to feel completely relaxed, away from it all, yet still close to the action- The Ranch At Laguna Beach is it. You feel completely carried away into the resort’s slower chill pace. It’s between the canyon and the beach. You wake up to birds chirping and golf games happening. You can easily get right to the heart of Laguna Beach quickly, but it feels nice to be away from it all as well.
Trust me, you won’t get bored. There’s a salt water pool- yes salt water, I was ecstatic to find this out. Also, Sycamore Spa complete with facials, massage, wraps, scrubs and a co-ed infrared sauna. You can easily get a golf cart lift to the beach where you can enjoy dining at their Lost Pier Cafe. Of course the Ben Brown’s 9 hole golf course can keep you busy. And don’t you worry about food, there is plenty to go around at The Ranch. From their Harvest restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as has a full bar. If you’re wanting a more casual feel Ben’s Pantry is a great pick, or even grab some food in your room through in room dining.
I love how they have Spring on The Porch Mondays- Saturdays at The Ranch. Live music is played, corn hole games are on and the fire pits are going with toasty specials. It feels like grown up glamping. Plus, you can stargaze at night with their master astronomer. In between all the activities I would recommend just pulling out your favorite book and settling down on your resort rooms porch into a rocking chair- now that’s the good life! Check out all the activities they offer here.
Of course you know I’m always looking for resorts taking it to the next level when it comes to sustainability and The Ranch At Laguna Beach is a cut above. I was so impressed with all the efforts they take to make this resort eco friendly. I had the pleasure of getting a tour of The Ranch and seeing their sustainability practices in action. There are a few I wanted to highlight.
- Glass Bottles Repurposed- Every glass bottle on The Ranch is crushed on site into sand and used to fill bunkers on the golf course, filtration in the pool and pavement repairs. The Ranch is the first resort in America to have a GLSand glass-bottle crusher on site. It is a compact machine that creates sand like product from glass bottles. Pretty cool if you ask me!
- New Eco Water System- The Ranch also installed a new water system in 2015 that uses reclaimed water for watering the resort grounds, including gold course. This new system will save 21.2 million gallons of water annually.
- Organic Garden- 1/2 an acre of land is dedicated to organic gardening at The Ranch. The produce is then used in The Harvest Restaurant by the Chef for seasonal specials, seasonal drinks and for testing new recipes. They also practice composting as much as they can. I got a full tour of the garden and it was amazing! Truly taking farm to table to the next level.
- National Geographic Unique Lodges Of The World- The Ranch is the first hotel in California to be in The National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. It is one of only 6 members in the United States alone to hold this title. Such an honor considering the criteria for receiving this recognition is showing a dedication to sustainability, unique local experiences, and superior service and hospitality.
- Paper Staws- In an effort to reduce plastic use, The Ranch only offers paper straws for use with their partnership with National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
- Room Keys- Their room keys are so cool! As a designer himself that was one of the first things my husband noticed. Instead of plastic key cards, they are made wooden and bamboo circles. You can keep them as a souvenir or return to the front desk. If they do get thrown away they will just dissolve into the soil. The Ranch estimates that around 25,000 less plastic key cards will not go into a landfill because of this small change.
I can’t forget the rooms. They are as luxe and relaxing as you would imagine. I had my husband and two girls with me so we stayed in the two bedroom canyon suite. It was perfect. It has a living area downstairs with outside porch and bathroom. Then you go upstairs and you have two bedrooms and a bathroom. It can technically sleep six since the sofa downstairs pulls out into a bed. The rooms upstairs are roomy and the closest spacious. We had more than enough room with our little family. The beds felt so soft, I slept like a baby.
One of the bedrooms upstairs had a deck off of it as well, complete with rocking chairs. The bathroom was complete with two sinks and ample room. Plenty of room for even a larger family. I loved knowing we could go out and enjoy the activities, yet come back and retreat to our room if we wanted. A true resort feel. Check out all their accommodations here!
If you’re in the Laguna Beach area and you’re wondering where to stay- wonder no more. The Ranch At Laguna Beach has it all. It is truly a sustainable resort, leading the way with their efforts. Even though their sustainability is a hallmark for them, every other detail doesn’t go unnoticed. You still feel like you’re staying in complete luxury. This definitely won’t be my last stay at The Ranch, already planning a girl’s trip with my sisters!
A lot of you had recommended this place to me and let’s just say it did not disappoint. They offer a ton of dairy and gluten free treats that are absolutely delicious. I got two gluten free chocolate chip cookies between some coconut ice-cream. Let’s just say it was a match made in ice cream sandwich heaven! They also list all the ingredients on the label! Pretty cool to see exactly what you’re eating. All the ingredients are organic too! Trust me, you need to go there. They don’t really have a website, I had just found them on Yelp. Check them out here!
Some other recs that we didn’t get a chance to try out but people recommended to us are:
- The Stand Natural Foods
- Babette’s Newport Beach- not right in Laguna but super close
I love Newport Beach! It has the ocean, fun restraints, good shopping and lots of good food. I love the walking/biking path along the ocean. Renting bikes there and riding along that path is seriously therapy in itself. Feels so good. The beach is always hopping with activity. I love how you can walk to a lot of things too. If you get the chance to go, do it!
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach-
We stayed here our first night in Southern California. I was a little disappointed in the room size. It felt really small and just not as nice as the photos had shown online. I’ve learned that internet photos are very deceiving. I did mention to you on my stories that we were bummed. My hubs actually went and spoke with them and they ended up giving us a different room in the main hotel. It was much roomier and the door didn’t hit the bed when you opened it.
I’m not one to complain but the hotel wasn’t cheap by any means and typically when I book a Hyatt I think I’m going to be getting pretty good quality. Anyways, they were very sweet and accommodating about it all and even comped our parking. I would stay there again if we were staying in the main building. The pool was amazing and girls didn’t want to leave it. It has a slide and water fountains for them to play in. I also love the location. It’s close to a lot of fun shopping and restaurants. Check it out here!
True Food Kitchen-
I’ve gone to this True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach more times than I can count. It’s always fun because you can sit outside. If you haven’t been to a True Food Kitchen you need to go! This is the holy grail of organic, local, real food. Dr. Andrew Weil founded True Food Kitchen. His desire was that food should make you feel better not worse. They offer gluten free, organic, vegetarian, vegan- really however you want it. They believe in the anti-inflammatory diet and eating food that truly nourishes the body. I love their whole mission! They have so many good options there. A few of my favorites are: Herb Hummus, Kale Guacamole, Charred Cauliflower, Ancient Grains Bowl, Inside Out Quinoa Burger, Grass-fed Burger, Spaghetti Squash Casserole, and Grass-fed Steak Tacos. For drinks I love their Kale Aide and Original Ginger “O.G.”- so much goodness there! Check it out here.
This is a new gem I stumbled upon this last trip. It is this superfood cafe that is just over the top! Their standards are amazing, organic, non-GMO, plant based, and dairy free. They offer smoothies, smoothie bowls, superfood lattes, vegan treats, cold pressed juices, and salad bowls. I basically had to restrain myself from trying one of everything! We got the Warrior smoothie bowls and they were delicious. FYI you could definitely share it with someone, they are huge. We also got the blue mojo cold pressed juice and raw almond joy bar. They did not disappoint. If you have a chance to go there, do it! Check it out here.
This is a staple I always go to when I’m in Newport Beach. It’s an all vegan farm to table restaurant. Side note they’re decor is always on point and so chic. Every time I go I want to order something new. I’m not vegan but I do appreciate eating vegan on occasion and the variety of flavors they offer. If you can go for brunch you should make it happen- so good! A couple items I love our their guacamole, roasted brussel sprouts, Mucho Mexican Bowl, Magical Black Bean Burger. Their Effervescent House Gingerale is amazing as well as their Healing Chlorophyll. You really can’t go wrong with their selections, the atmosphere and overall vibe. Check it out here!
This isn’t technically in Newport Beach but they have several locations not crazy far. I have to mention it because it’s my favorite açaí bowl place I’ve found! What makes them so great is you can customize it to your liking. You literally get to create your own bowl! Sometimes I find I don’t like what’s being offered on açaí bowl menus. So this is amazing. They also offer unique toppings, like chia pudding or steel cut oatmeal. I love how I can layer different things in. Trust me, once you try them you will be hooked! I discovered them last November and every time we are in the area we make a point to stop there. Check them out here!
We stayed in Palm Desert for a week with my mom and dad and siblings and their families. It was so fun! If you want some heat and sunshine the desert is the place to go for sure. It was only an hour and 45 minute drive from Newport Beach. We made most of our meals here since we had a kitchen. We stocked up at Costco, Whole Foods and Sprouts.
Club Wyndham In Indio-
We stayed at Club Wyndham in Indio, California. It’s a little over a 20 minute drive from Palm Desert. I absolutely loved staying here! They are condos. So you have a full kitchen and washer and dryer. We stayed in a 2 bedroom unit with 2 bathrooms. We had plenty of room. The pool was the highlight for sure! Or I should say pools. They have a main pool that is quite large and offers a lazy river and kiddie/toddler pool, plus hot tubs. The lazy river was so fun! You pick up a tube and just plop down and float around the river. I didn’t want to leave. They also have another pool and kiddie pool in a separate area of the resort. The kiddie/toddler pool was so nice! It is so shallow you didn’t even have to worry about the kids as much and they loved playing in there. I was kind of surprised how much they liked it. They also have 2 tennis courts, game room, tons of outdoors grills, fitness center, and playgrounds. If you’re looking for a family friendly place to getaway, I would definitely recommend it! Check it out here.
One night we went out for ice cream to Nitroinfusions. They actually make the ice-cream right in front of you- pretty cool. All the kiddos liked that! All their ice cream is organic and not made with any additives or preservatives since it’s made right in front of you. They also had some dairy free options that I was excited about. I got the dairy free chocolate made with coconut milk. So good! If you’re needing a sweet treat, check this out here.
Bowl Of Heaven-
This açaí bowl and smoothie place is super yummy. My hubs and I both got the Almond Butter Bowl. This was our dinner one night- super filling and refreshing. Great after a long day in the sun too! Check them out here!
This was my first time in Santa Barbara and I must say I was smitten with all the charm. It’s so cute. Seems very European with it’s architecture and close shops. I love the old world feel it has. It’s right along the ocean. Making it fun for outdoor activities. But they also have so many fun shops I wanted to check out too. The vibe feels laid back and easy. We were only there a night, so definitely need to go back to check out all that it has to offer!
We stayed at Hotel Milo in Santa Barbara. I was drawn to it by it’s charm and closeness to the beach. You literally cross the street and the beach is right there. I loved looking out and seeing the water. It’s a boutique hotel. They have table and chairs outside the rooms where you can sit and eat. Also, the cutest basket bikes that are complimentary as part of your stay. It didn’t work for us to use them on this trip but I could see just my hubs and I going back and taking them for a spin. They offer daily wine tasting from 4-6 pm. I loved how close it was to everything. I don’t know if I would go there with a group of girls, as the bathroom was really small. Might make it a little tricky. But then again maybe not. Just something to think about. Check out Hotel Milo here!
Viva Modern Mexican-
This was so good! My hubs and I both wanted Mexican food when we were there. Viva offers cauliflower tortillas as an option and organic ingredients. I ordered the filet mignon tacos and my hubs ordered the steak fajitas. SO good! The food tasted fresh and had such a good flavor. Check them out here!
This was also delicious. A lot of readers had recommended it to me. Their whole menu is gluten free, which is amazing and their fruit was all organic. I got the vegetable quiche which was amazing! I don’t remember the last time I had quiche! Typically they aren’t gluten free, so this was a real treat. My daughter got the homemade gluten free granola with oat milk. My hubs got the breakfast sandwich and then we got a bowl of organic berries. It was all so good and tasted fresh. It’s so cute in there too! You feel like you’ve been transported to a french cafe- not that I know what that feels like haha but it’s what I imagine in my head. If you get the chance to go there, do it. Check them out here.
We also made a quick stop at Green Table. They offer vegan and gluten free food. I wished we had stayed in Santa Barbara longer but since our stay was so short we just couldn’t eat as much as we wanted- first world problems! I did want to stop and just check them out. Their smoothies and juices looked amazing, as well as their matcha menu. They also had so many salads, and food creations that looked so yummy. I had to get a little sweet treat while I was there after checking out there raw and vegan desserts. We all shared a raw matcha mint brownie and a flourless raw chia chocolate-cupcake. They were tasty to say the least! Check them out here.
We stopped at a couple places on our way down from Washington in Northern California and on our way up from Southern California. It’s amazing what you can find when you’re looking for healthier food and eco lodging options.
I was so excited to stay here! I had heard great things about them and it sounded like the perfect place to share some special memories with my family. It is definitely a family friendly place and one of the reasons I was drawn to it in the first place. It’s right on the coast of northern California. It’s liking camping but you’re really glamping. My kind of camping! They have a variety of options for accommodations. You can stay in the lodge, the cabins or tent bungalows. The cabins offer different options depending on your needs. We chose the Coastal Studio RV. They can accommodate up to 5 family members. They offer a queen bed, two bunk beds, sleeper sofa, full bathroom with amenities, two flat screen TVs, full refrigerator, microwave, coffee station, front porch, and outdoor picnic deck. For us a bathroom was important to have in the unit.
I was so impressed with how clean everything felt and well maintained! Even my hubs commented. I love that all the floors were wood and there was no carpet. Just felt easy to keep clean. The bathroom was roomy and nice too. I also loved having a partial kitchen in the unit. They had two stovetop burners where you could cook something on. I want to go back and stay there with my extended family. It would be the perfect blend of nature, yet still having modern conveniences. They had playgrounds, fire pits, tons of biking and hiking trails, kayaking, horseback riding, and even yoga. They even offer guided bird watching tours, stargazing, the-dye workshops, and wine tasting events. Plus, a spa that offers a variety of massages. Great after all your outdoor activities. You can even have group meetings there and weddings. They were actually setting up for a wedding when we were there. Check out all their activities here.
I have to tell you about my experience at their Cascade Restaurant and Bar. It was over the top amazing! The food is farm to table and they are committed to organic produce and practices. They source from local farmers but also have an organic garden that they use for the dishes as well. I mean how cool is that?! My husband and I said it was the best meal we had our whole trip. I wish I had met the chef because I wanted to thank her for all the deliciousness. We ordered the Deviled Green Eggs and Ham for an appetizer, Rib Eye Steak and the House Salad. Everything tastes so fresh and bursting with flavor. It was the best steak ever- clearly my hubs and I are still talking about it! Sometimes simple foods are the best foods. I can’t recommend the Cascade Restaurant enough. They are open for brunch and dinner. Plus, they have a full bar as well.
I can’t forget the general store on site. I was so impressed with their offerings! Most of the time stores on site can be lacking in the organic food department but not this one. They offered a lot of local and organic food options. Especially for packaged goods. They even had wine you could buy as well. It was nice knowing if I needed something quick or was in a bind I could make a quick trip there to get it.
I have been raving about Costanoa since we stayed there! It feels like a truly relaxing getaway especially in today’s fast paced technology driven world. Hearing the ocean, smelling the salt air and being surrounded by the ones you loves is definitely a recipe for a good time. Costanoa offers it all. Check them out here!
We ate at this pizza place in Sacramento. Its not organic but sometimes you just have to do the best you can when you’re on the road. This is a prime example. What I liked about it, is they offer cauliflower pizza crust and gluten free pizza crust. I also avoid meat at places I’m not sure of the sourcing. For me meat is one I’m picky about. I got a cauliflower pizza crust and it was great! All the toppings seemed fresh and I love that they bake it right when you order it. If you’re needing something kid friendly, and semi-quick this is a decent option. Check them out here!