The Cali-Moon: 5 Places to Mini-Moon on the Best Coast

Don’t have enough vacation days or funds for that ultimate honeymoon getaway? Enter the Mini-Moon! Our guest blogger, the lovely (and recently married), Kira Shaw, reveals her top 5 Places to Mini-Moon on the Best Coast. Follow Kira on her journey of new beginnings, creation, and learning through life and art on her re-launched blog  S P O I L S // O F // T H E // W E E K E N D 


Ahh, the honeymoon. Well it’s not over yet. The one question that folks (inevitably) ask you, right after “the dress” question, is usually: “Where are you going to honeymoon?” This question seems to make my cortisol levels spike and make me stress-sweat-real bad. A honeymoon?! I am supposed to plan that TOO? The feeling is overwhelming and sinking. So you are telling me I'm now supposed to get on a plane, and somehow feel instantly relaxed? Gahhh. And do all newlyweds really just pile into a car with clanging cans after the reception and head for the airport? Father of the Bride, I think you may have misinformed me of this post-ceremony reality. The truth is — there is no right answer. No correct way in which to bridge the small gap of time between singledom and man-and-wifery. All California weddings are different, that is what makes them great! All couples are different, and everyone should have their own idea of how and where they would like to do their ‘moon. If you are like me, you fantasize about laying in the sun while drinking coconut water that magically replenishes itself. Everybody has a unique vacation fantasy, but not everyone can afford the overwater beach bungalows in Fiji or a yacht to Crete. Factors such as funds, travel style, level of tolerance for international customs lines, and timeline will come into play. Maybe you chose to postpone a bigger trip for a different time in your life, and you have settled in more. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a journey to signify and celebrate your new partnership. Why not stay local? To Californians, there is always something new to discover, and to the California newbie: even the smallest taste of California will leave you wanting more. And yes; the best coast is on the left coast — just ask anyone around here. We will tell you all about how great it is.

xo, The Alt. Bride



Joshua tree is a magical place that is quietly humming with energy and heat. There is something breathtakingly indescribable that happens when you are there. Besides the planet Mars-like landscape and complex plant and animal species that call it home, it appears almost stuck in time. Stuck between the retro edges of the Palm Springs periphery and a hippie community of artists and practitioners living in the surrounding areas, therein lies a no-man's land that is free, and truly wild. Trust me, you don’t need the peyote, you will feel out of your mind just being there. In a really good way. A few of my favorite stops are Pioneertown, the church where they filmed Kill Bill, and Joshua Tree National Park. Poolside at your private desert oasis, or at an off-grid yurt — Joshua Tree is like no other. Perfectly placed for new lovers to star-gaze into the warm desert nights. 

Modern Casa

Saguaro Hideaway

The Joshua Tree House

Dragonfly Desert Retreat




“And when the fog's over and the stars and the moon come out at night it'll be a beautiful sight.”

Jack Kerouac, Big Sur


Jack really did say it best, because well, he knew what he was talking about. Miles of miles of road and waves catch the craggy coast of Central California. That sweet spot between Monterey and San Luis Obispo, and everything in between. Being from from this area, trust me when I say that it’s pure magic. Redwoods and pines for days. The coast campgrounds here are unreal, so if you’re not really into spending mucho money on a hotel ― the outdoor accommodations are beyond beautiful. At Plaskett Creek Campground you can wander across Highway 1 for an early morning beach walk (for the glamping version of this scenario, Treebones might be more your speed). Heading South of Big Sur, make sure you pass through Cambria, and get a burger (with those fries!) at Main Street Grill. 

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

Calla Lilly Cottage

Vintage Trailer Eco Retreat

Esalen Hot Springs




Certainly, there will be a multitude reasons why you may only want to stay here for a long weekend. However, there are even more reasons why you may never want to leave. My mother aptly dubs the dense Redwood forestry here as “the enchanted forest," and is convinced that small fairies that roam about leaving dewdrops as wetted footprints along their way. I have to say: she could be right. Truly a town caught in time, many hippies flocked to this area to escape the war, their parents, commercialism, conformity and ended up were all finding the same thing. The perfect small town. Founded on these thoughts and ideas-Mendocino is home to artists and craftsman supported by the town’s art community, and spaces. The beauty of the land, the people, and the purpose is a continual bright light of warmth in this often foggy mystical place.

Mendocino Proper, sits atop what seems like the edge of the continent. In fact: it is. Cliffside homes and rooms in town are sought after and hold the tourist crowds that flocks here year-round for wine, art, and music events. For the best eats around the coast: Wildfish in the Little River is a gem, Cafe Beaujolais town is unforgettable, and Table 128 is worth the drive. Walk, hike, bike, kayak, read, or do nothing. By day three of your stay you will forget what day it is here, and  that’s kind of the point.

Albion Ridge Retreat

MacCallum House

Water Tower Loft

Albion Tower

Bag End House




OK, so it’s a little bit more lively than the other choices but depending on your need for the night, West Los Angeles has you covered. Venice is the casual yet bustling kid brother of L.A., and has the right enough weird and cool mixed together to work. The beach boardwalk is endless and seems to crawl on for days. Public drunkenness is usually (somewhat) overlooked, and you may wake up vaguely remembering yourself signing a waiver to be in an episode of a Bad Girls Club episode, but hey, it’s cool. Los Angeles is always fun  and makes for dreamy long warm nights stumbling into new bars and staring at all the beautiful people. This moment also includes yourselves as you bask in the light of that newlywed high. Bikers and beaches are a “go” pretty much year round.

Nearby is her fancier and vegan sister, Santa Monica. And her older sister Topanga Canyon beckons you with sweet mountain sounds. Joni, Neil, everybody was there. they are all California Dreamin’. Anything goes in L.A. ―  which makes it so unique and full of color. 

Sunset Ave Bungalow

Malibu Dwell

Laurel Canyon Treehouse

Hollywood Airstream

Laurel Canyon Bungalow


Photos by Nik Zvolensky