This past weekend D and I drove up Hwy 101 to Santa Barbara for a brief stay. We’ve had this planned for about 6 months, and I was seriously looking forward to it. We planned on making the trip for my birthday, but the place we wanted to stay was booked solid until this past weekend. That being said, let’s get to a few things that I’d recommend getting in on a trip to Santa Barbara.
1. Santa Barbara Auto Camp
Instead of staying in your normal, run of the mill hotel, we stayed at SB Auto Camp. The SB Auto Camp is an RV Park of sorts, only instead of towing your own 5th wheel down the road, you stay in one of their five renovated, nostalgic, shiny Airstreams. While they had everything we needed and more for the weekend (including 2 beach cruiser bikes), if you prefer a place to spread out and stretch your legs, you may look elsewhere. That being said, D and I made due with our 6 foot frames. 🙂
2. Downtown SB – State Street
Downtown SB, State Street particularly, is full of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and leads you right to the Pacific Ocean. Whatever you need to do in SB is more than likely happening around State Street. SB is also rich in the arts, full of venues, museums, and galleries. We didn’t take advantage of that on this trip, but it needed to be noted. 🙂
3. The French Press
Anytime I’m heading out of town, I always try to find a local coffee shop. In Santa Barbara, I came across The French Press, and read reviews saying it was a great place. I went a couple times and loved it. Both times I ordered a vanilla latte, and the thing that really sold me on this place was the temperature. As silly as it sounds, the latte was the perfect drinking temperature. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfecto! A couple of our friends, Rob and Julie, came to visit, and said that the coffee was sub par, so I’d stick to a specialty drink.
4. Holdren’s Steak and Seafood
If you are on the hunt for a nice dinner, Holdren’s Steak and Seafood is a great place to try. It’s conveniently located on State Street, among all of the restaurants and nightlife of Downtown Santa Barbara. We didn’t get a chance to eat here on this trip, but the last time we were in SB we had dinner, and it was ALL good.
5. Mac’s Fish & Chips
Also on State Street, there’s a little dive called Mac’s Fish & Chips. They had the best fish and chips we’ve had since we moved out here. The batter on these bad boys is so dang good and they were made to order. And the chips? Oh the chips! The fries were cut thick and crispy on the outside, they were the perfect side dish to the fish. We ordered a side of coleslaw, and it was super horseradish-y. Not my favorite slaw by a long shot, but you really don’t need at this joint. We didn’t do dessert all weekend, except for here. We ordered a fried Twix with Creamed Chantilly. Normally I wouldn’t have gotten on this train, but man am I glad I did! It was so good.
6. Rent a Bike
Our airstream came with a couple beach cruisers, but if it hadn’t, we would have rented bikes. SB is so bike friendly, full of bike paths that will get you where you’re going quicker than a car. There are many places on State Street you can grab a beach cruiser (if you’re willing to pay quite a bit) or you can head down closer to the beach and grab one there. I would definitively recommend budgeting for a bike. You a grab one at Wheel Fun Rentals for $10/hour or about $36/day.
7. The Neighborhood
Like I said earlier, nightlife in SB is abundant, I think for a couple reasons. First of all, it sits so close to the ocean and the weather is always nice. Secondly, it’s a college town, housing Santa Barbara City College. You can stay on State Street and hit bar after bar, or you could meander a half mile off of State Street and into The Neighborhood. This bar made me feel like I was back in college big time. It had a dozen or so beer pong tables outside, and couple ping pong tables and a pool table inside. It had a more laid back atmosphere than most of the place on State Street. Check it out!
8. Kayak the Harbor
One afternoon we had some free time, and had been biking the better part of the day so our legs were tiiiired. The weather was too nice to stay put at the airstream, so we biked it down to the beach and rented a kayak. Originally we wanted to take a guided kayak tour to the Channel Islands, but the one we wanted was booked, so we just paddled around the beach and harbor. It was really fun and a great way to see the pier, harbor, and all of the boats coming in and out. As long as you stay out of the boat channel, you shouldn’t get ran over. 🙂
There are so many things that didn’t make this list, because we didn’t have time to get them in ourselves. Such as:
Hop you have a great day!