Living in Southern California is hard to beat—with generally mild, sunny weather and both the ocean and mountains within a two-hour car ride from each other, you’re never at a loss for adventure. And that’s just one small piece of what the entire Golden State has to offer—a fact California-born Lauren Feldon, our content strategy manager here at Braven, knows all too well and always wants to take advantage of.

“An old coworker and I used to talk about a ‘five-hour radius’ theory,” said Lauren. “Essentially just challenging yourself to go on as many adventures as you can within five hours in any direction from where you live. It’s the best motivation to make an adventure out of a weekend. And living in California opens you up to all kinds of amazing trips—there are so many beautiful places to explore.”

Ever since then, Lauren has made it a point to put her theory into action as often as she can, including earlier this year when she headed to Yosemite National Park with her fiancé and a group of friends. “Our expectations were to have some quality time together and see nature at its finest.”

Did Yosemite live up to it? “100% exceeded. We couldn’t believe how amazing [it] was—and only a short road trip away from home. It literally looked like it could have been fake. There were a lot of moments where I’d have to blink a few times and pinch myself. From catching the sunrise at Tunnel View to a picnic at Valley View, it was all insane. And we got to see two sides of Yosemite—the foggy, snowy side and also with the sun glistening. But don’t ask me to pick a favorite…" We get it. With all that Yosemite has to offer, we wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to just one best thing about it either. And when a place like that is so close to home, it exponentially elevates your appreciation for where you live—something adventure-seekers like Lauren are really grateful for.

Check out some of the photos Lauren took throughout her trip—just more proof that the scenery in California is absolutely mind-blowing.