The Drive To Carmel in the Kia Cadenza

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Last month my husband and I went on an incredible travel adventure to Carmel, California. Here is another installment in our Carmel travel series.

The drive from San Diego to Carmel was stunning, gorgeous, and all around rejuvenating as we were able to experience nature and all of its beauty. On the way up we took the coastal scenic route and I HIGHLY recommend it. It took an extra couple hours to go this way and it was worth it!


We stopped often to take pictures so we could show the girls the beauty that surrounded us.




 The water was so blue and clear!

We stopped at one point because I wanted to see the trees. You know you are working too much behind a computer when you stop to look at a tree. The thing is the trees up north are different. They are almost more peaceful and powerful all at the same time.  Stunning really. 

Our drive up the coast was made much more comfortable because we were driving in a 2014 Kia Cadenza. I was so impressed with this car. It was roomy and so luxurious. Take a look at this interior…


When we were on the freeway we used the adaptive cruise control.

The Kia’s adaptive cruise control will amaze you. You set the cruise control like normal and it senses when to slow down and speed back up again. We put it to the test in some pretty thick traffic and it worked like a charm. My husband has told no less than 20 people about it because it was that awesome! 

We both felt like there was more than enough leg room. I’m short, Pete is 6 ft. so that’s a big deal when we are both comfy in it. I also drove it to a conference the weekend before we left and I chauffeured three of my blogging friends and they loved it too… one of them is already planning to go to a dealership to test drive it herself since she is in the market for a new car.  I used the navigation and back up camera and both functioned very well.  There were plenty of cup holders <— I’ve got my priorities straight. 

We give it 5 stars out of 5 and I can’t wait to drive another KIA because each one I drive I fall more in love with the brand. It also got really good gas mileage. Kia states the mileage at City 19, highway 28, combined 22. We did even better than that which seems to be our experience with Kia’s in general. 

I also think it looks really awesome and I was proud to be driving it all around on out trip! Learn more about the Kia Cadenza on their website.


The highlight of the drive was seeing a beach full of Elephant Seals. 

There is something so stunning and captivating when you are able to see animals in their natural habitat. What started as just under 2 dozen Elephant Seals in 1990 spotted on the beach just south of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse has now grown to almost 17,000 elephant seals that call this beach home. The population of seals grows every year.


There are seals are on this beach pretty much all year long, but the best time to visit the seals is late January, April and October. We hit the jackpot visiting in April.


It was an experience, to say the least to be able to see these beautiful creatures sprawled out and relaxing in the sun. I was even able to capture this video that I posted on the It’s a Lovely Life! Instagram Page.

Loved this sunbather!

Not a care {at the moment} in the world, which is exactly how I felt too! He is totally smiling, right? Do you see it too?


Viewing is free of charge and there is a beautiful boardwalk that keeps you a safe distance from the seals to view them from. There are also docents on site to answer questions about the seals. For directions to the beach and to see a live webcam of the seals anytime, visit this SITE.


If you are planning on going to Hearst Castle, the Seals are right across from the entrance. 

About 30 minutes south of the Seals we even saw whales playing right off the coast.

We stopped and enjoyed them for awhile and I was able to capture this image of one of their blow holes shooting water into the air. It was a magical drive and we are planning on taking the girls all back there this summer. 


Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


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