I Will Drive 500 Miles…A Family of 5–and a Dog–Do California by Car (Part 3)

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Deal Expert, Los Angeles
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…Our road trip through California continues! After an overnighter in San Diego and a couple of nights in Huntington Beach, we continue north toward California’s sweeping Central Coast…

Santa Barbara (1 night)

The City of Angels is its own weeklong visit. For just a pit stop, consider the West L.A. communities off the 405, which are easily accessible: a drive down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, shopping in Santa Monica or lunch in Westwood, right down from UCLA. We broke to stretch our legs and grab some frozen yogurt in Brentwood.

Soon after you transition from the 405 to Highway 101, you begin to leave the big city grit behind, and the 90-mile drive that takes you into Santa Barbara skirts the mountains and, soon, begins to reveal beautiful views of the blue Pacific. There are myriad charming towns along the way, like Westlake Village, Ventura and beachy Carpinteria. We took a break along Butterfly Beach in celeb hot spot Montecito, a beautiful, leashed dog-friendly beach with a private feel.

Montecito’s Butterfly Beach is dog-friendly

We live in Santa Barbara, so tonight’s a staycation for us, which we’re excited about. Staycations are an often overlooked way to buck your daily routine and discover something new in your own backyard. Your travel’s easier, too, so they can be easier to budget.

  • Tip: The Santa Barbara wine experience is both urban and rural. Visit the downtown Funk Zone for dozens of tasting rooms and a handful of wineries or head to the vineyards just 45 minutes north, on the other side of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The Goodland, a super cool surfer-chic Kimpton property, is in Goleta, near UCSB. Downtown Santa Barbara is easy to access, about 15 minutes south. But this property is its own destination, with towering palm trees above a resort-style pool, lawn games and its own Airstream and old school Woody parked out front. The restaurant, the Outpost, gets major buzz for its cocktails and locavore cuisine. The lobby, with a classic California-inspired motif, features a VNYL record shop – LP albums from Led Zeppelin to NWA. There was pour-yourself sangria when we checked in.

Love the retro-vibe at The Goodland

Our room was slick and comfy, and we had our own record player; it’s quite a thing to see your kids marvel at how a spinning vinyl disc generates rock n’ roll.

  • Tip: Santa Barbara’s kid-friendly cultural attractions include the ocean view Santa Barbara Zoo, the lovely Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the new hands-on MOXI Museum.

Our staycation fell on the first day of Fiesta, Santa Barbara’s annual celebration of its Spanish roots, a week’s worth of concerts, parades and open markets. Opening night is always the mellowest, a plus for locals. We cruised De La Guerra Plaza before dining at Fork & Finch, a farm-to-table haven inside The Canary, Santa Barbara’s other Kimpton hotel. The raw kanpachi crudo, with an avocado and cilantro cream, was fresh and delightful, and the salmon, with a hearty medley of summer squash, roasted corn and pancetta, was awesome. Each night here is themed; Wine Down Wednesday features several high-end bottles at half-off.

The throwback Woody at The Goodland

In the morning: homemade doughnuts at the Outpost and a quick spin on the Goodland’s complimentary cruisers before hitting the road.

…Coming up: our final stretch, as Highway 101 takes us through a few California small-town gems and, ultimately, to the City by the Bay!

For more images from our California road trip, check out #saglieadventures. For more travel tips, follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And for deals to make your next road trip easier to budget and plan, become a Travelzoo member today!

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