Life’s a beach…Santa Barbara Travel Itinerary

We used our time in Santa Barbara to take a breather after a manic first week in California. We quickly fell in love with this city by the sea and would urge anyone planning a similar trip to consider visiting the area.


Day One


We departed Monterey and embarked on the 4.5 hours trip to Santa Barbara (the longest drive of our trip). As I mentioned in my previous post, the Highway 1 was closed due to storm damage, so we had to take the inland route. This highway might not be as scenic but we did enjoyed playing our music loudly and taking in the agricultural setting.


As we came in to San Luis Obispo, we couldn’t help but make a lunch stop at the infamous Madonna Inn,the most fabulous pit-stop and motel I have ever step foot in!


Where do I start with the Madonna Inn?! Looming on the side of the US Route 101, you will be drawn in by the enormous pink sign on your approach. With a fifty year history, the Inn has been thrilling tourists with its imaginative decor and world famous rock waterfall urinal. We only stayed for a quick lunch in their tea room but you can also feast on a three course dinner in their lavish rose garden/ steak house (or Barbie’s version of Middle Earth) or stay in one of the themed guest rooms. Whatever the reason for your visit, you will leave with a big smile on your face. Only in America!



From Madonna Inn, it was another 1.5 hour drive down to Santa Barbara. We arrived at our Harbor View Inn. Already the air felt warmer here so we headed straight to the pool area to catch some rays (with a side of fries- for some reason, fries always taste better on a sun lounger by the pool!).


Took a walk up State Street to investigate the restaurants and bars. There is a great Happy Hour scene in Santa Barbara and we quickly grabbed BOGOF margaritas at the popular Sandbar.


After freshening up and enjoying a complimentary bottle of bubbly from the hotel, we strolled (stumbled) back up State Street to Paxti’s Pizza for some much needed dinner. During our meal, we could hear some live music and frivolity coming from the unit next door so we decided to check it out. The venue was The Red Piano, a downtown party venue that serves up cocktails and amazing live music where the audience can request songs for the set list. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters actually rocked up one night in October and played a surprise performance (the video is below) . If I had been there I actually might have died and gone to rock & roll heaven!

Image result for the red piano santa barbara


Headed home but at what time….who knows! Needless to say, we had an excellent night. Santa Barbara nightlife was awesome.

Day Two


After nursing our sore heads and indulging in an American breakfast at Eladio’s, we set out along Stearns Wharf and sea front to East Beach. The walk was approximately 30 mins and you pass skate parks and the numerous beach volley ball courts. You can also rent bikes and surreys and take the cycle path all the way along.


We grabbed a burger at the famous Habit Burger (Santa Barbara’s answer to In-n-Out or Shake Shake) on State Street and did some people whilst sipping on our Dr.Pepper’s from their patio.



Took a drive to the beautiful 18th century Mission Santa Barbara and enjoyed views of the city, through to the Pacific.



Walked in to the Funk Zone district for some pre-dinner drinks whilst watching the sun set over the nearby railway. The Funk Zone is full of hip bars, art galleries and street food outlets. We got the impression that many of the hipsters flocked here. There were many wine tasting venues to try, however we ended up in Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. a lively ale house. Beware, there is only beer on the menu (I don’t drink beer!).



Indulged in some Mexican food at Casa Blanca Cantina….more margaritas followed as we toasted to a brilliant and chilled weekend in Santa Barbara.

The next morning we would be taking the Highway 1 one more time towards Malibu and Santa Monica…the lights of Hollywood were getting closer.

Los Angeles

…the final chapter in my California series!

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