California Adventures: My Favorite West Coast Experiences / by Jasmine Tate

Two years ago I entered a new chapter as I moved from Louisiana to California to begin my journey and career. Within those two years I’ve seen several mountains and valleys, but the highs have certainly outweighed the lows.

My favorite memories have been during visits from my family, with my cousins here and through fulfilling work experiences at Inland Empire United Way and TGR Foundation. Although I’m not close to seeing or doing everything on my California Bucket List, here are 10 experiences I’ve enjoyed most since my move.

Going full speed on California’s largest race track

I enjoy opportunities to meet industry veterans and peers, but adding a once-in-a-lifetime experience is icing on the cake. After a spring PRSA networking mixer members took a lap around the Auto Club Speedway racetrack in Fontana with a professional driver feeling the rush and fulfilling the need for speed.

Meeting a star at Staples Center

It’s not everyday that you get to spend time with a celebrity. While attending a Los Angeles Clippers basketball game to celebrate my cousin’s birthday I ran into Katherine Bailess, also known as Kyle Hart from the VH1 turned BET Series, Hit the Floor. Our five minutes of friendship included conversation around our Southern roots, the return of the show before it was picked up by BET and more. Kyle was extremely kind, and it was an awesome experience meeting and chatting with her beyond a hello and a photo.

Kayaking in Newport Beach

Budgets and strategic plans are much more appealing in route to the beach. During my first planning retreat as a fundraising executive at IEUW, our team went kayaking. Although I cannot swim, the activity revealed trust levels and created a bonding experience between the ladies of the resource development team at the time. Thankfully I barely felt a drop of water and we made it back to dry land safely.

Taking in views from Downtown Los Angeles

California has beautiful scenery from snowcapped mountains and blue skies lined with palm trees to the beauty of nature among hiking trails and beaches. When you’re in the city however, an aerial view is a must see and OUE Skyspace has it all set with fun facts about the state as you make your way to the top and explore angles while you’re there. Save your money on the slide.

Cheering for sports teams on a different level

While I have been to several high school, college and professional football, basketball, baseball games and track meets, after moving to the West Coast I was able to enjoy semi-pro basketball with the inaugural season of the Clippers’ G-League Team, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, the opening minor league baseball game of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, a Dodgers affiliate and attend several Ontario Fury indoor professional soccer games.

Rock climbing at Hangar 18

Climbing walls is harder than you think. Although I had participated in partner rock climbing during grad school, when my brother came to visit for my 25th Birthday, he experienced rock climbing for the first time, and I took a shot at bouldering- free climbing without support from a partner or security belts. It was the first time I experienced complete body soreness, including my armpits. My cousin, Lexi, and I went back so she could conquer the wall as well.

Completing the UCI Odyssey Ropes Course 

After enduring three tight rope walking challenges followed by a zip line exit, I was very excited! Joining students from TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program, I was not only able to spend some quality time with them and learn more about their inspiring stories. It was a team building activity revealing strengths and challenges in team work, determination and communication skills.

Sailing with sea lions on a beach boat tour

When my dad and sister visited Orange County to celebrate his 56th Birthday, he was mostly interested in “sight-seeing” so the Fun Zone Boat Tour was just what the Captain ordered. In addition to breathtaking views on the water, we were able to spend quality time together and learn about celebrity homes, architecture and more.

Hiking a hidden Inland Empire treasure trail

My first hike in California happened at Bonita Falls, and although the path wasn’t clear the waterfalls were. The trail was less than 3 miles round trip, and it was worth every step.

Feeling the sand in my toes on SoCal beaches

Visits to Venice, Corona del Mar and Newport Beaches were all unique and relaxing. From the intimacy and small town feel of Corona Del Mar to the sights, tastes and sounds of Venice, each beach trip was a treat.

Have you visited CA or lived in the state? What were/are some of your favorite places to visit, things to see, food to eat? Share below.

Jasmine C. Tate