Living in San Diego offers a unique advantage – the proximity to the ocean, desert, and mountains. With just a short drive, you can experience the beauty and diversity of these landscapes.
My name’s Mads TenCate. I'm a commercial photographer in the outdoor sports and recreation industry for over 10 years professionally. Based out of Southern Califonia, I split my time between San Diego and Oregon.
This past weekend, my friends and I seized the opportunity for an exciting long weekend trip, and packed up our truck to explore everything Southern California has to offer. Join us on this adventure as we take you through our favorite stops along the way.
The Ocean, Desert, and Mountains: A Triple Delight
One of the perks of living in San Diego is having easy access to the ocean, desert, and mountains. As we hit the road, we were filled with anticipation for the varied experiences awaiting us. With the vast expanse of Southern California at our fingertips, we knew we were in for an unforgettable adventure.
Embracing the Desert's Solitude
Within just 45 minutes of driving east, we found ourselves surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the desert. Thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land stretched out before us, offering endless possibilities for secluded camping – and the best part? It was free. We set up camp beneath the starry sky, embracing the tranquility and serenity that the desert provides.
Joshua Tree National Park: Nature's Masterpiece
From our desert camp, it was a quick jaunt to Joshua Tree National Park. We entered through the park's south entrance and were immediately greeted by the iconic Joshua Trees and stunning rock formations that make this place so special. We marveled at the unique landscape, taking our time to hike, explore, and connect with nature. As we exited the park through the north entrance in Twentynine Palms, we couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude for the natural wonders we had just witnessed.
Chasing the Snow in Big Bear Mountain
With Joshua Tree behind us, our next destination was Big Bear Mountain, less than 30 minutes away. As we followed the local BLM roads, we discovered quiet and empty areas perfect for camping. The chilly mountain air called for warm clothing, and we were grateful to have packed our trusty Nomadix Puffer Blanket. Snuggled up under the stars, we embraced the crispness of the night and eagerly awaited the adventures that awaited us the next day.
Returning to San Diego for a Moment of Relaxation
After three exhilarating days and covering over 500 miles, we made our way back to San Diego. But our adventure wasn't quite over yet. We had planned to meet a friend on her boat, a perfect opportunity to unwind and lounge after our fast-paced trip. As we soaked up the sun and enjoyed the gentle ocean breeze, we reflected on the incredible journey we had just completed.
The contrasting landscapes of Southern California left an indelible mark on our souls.
Exploring Southern California like a weekend warrior is an experience like no other. From the vastness of the desert to the majesty of the mountains and the calming embrace of the ocean, this region offers a remarkable blend of natural beauty. Whether you're camping beneath the stars, hiking through national parks, or lounging on a boat, every moment is filled with adventure and wonder. Pack up your truck, embrace the spirit of exploration, and embark on your own weekend warrior journey through Southern California. The possibilities are endless, and the memories you create will last a lifetime.
Until your next weekend warrior trip, feel free to follow my adventures on Instagram at @madstencate.
About the author :
My name’s Mads TenCate. I'm a commercial photographer in the outdoor sports and recreation industry for over 10 years professionally. Based out of Southern California, I split my time between San Diego and Oregon. My love lies in 35mm film and capturing this life for others to experience through documentation of light, shape, and color.
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