Santa Barbara, a 4Hr (approx) drive from San Diego. The stunningly beautiful place to unwind yourself beside the jaw-dropping view of the Pacific coast, with the Santa Ynez Mountains as a majestic and beautiful backdrop. Santa Barbara is nestled between the Santa Ynez mountain slopes and the beautiful blue Pacific ocean, is indeed a beautiful place in California.
The drive to Santa Barbara was very smooth because of the beautiful weather and the view from the Pacific coast and the Ynez mountains.
2 days at Santa Barbara are more than enough if you are only going to visit the attractions. But, if your planning for a relaxing vacation then I would suggest your vacation of 4-5days or a week and relax at the beachside, cycle at the beachside and eat at local eateries.
On our first day, we visited the Stearns Wharf, the chromatic gate, the Cabrillo bike path, and the old mission Santa Barbara Museum.
- Stearns Wharf
Before checking in to the hotel we decided to visit a tourist spot Stearns Wharf, a pier in the harbor in Santa Barbara which is said to be the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The wharf allows first 90minutes parking and 90minutes on the wharf is more than enough. Enjoy the fresh seafood, click pictures and visit the beach.
Stearn Wharf is the most iconic landmark and tourist places to visit in Santa Barbara with a beautiful view of the mountain on the backdrop and stunningly beautiful beach on the other side. It’s quite an interesting and soothing experience to spend some relaxing time there. Do watch the sunset at Stearns wharf if you get the chance, it’s beautiful. <3
Lunch @ The Moby-Dick Restaurant
We were dead hungry after the traveling for 4hrs 25mins approx and after clicking beautiful pictures. We went to Moby-Dick restaurant, which is one of the best restaurants with a beautiful ocean view and undoubtedly excellent service. We ordered for Fish and chips and a plate of Chicken Burger. Meanwhile, we finished the bread and butter while waiting for the food. The food was fresh and good. Though you must try their seafood for which it is famous for. This might sound strange to you but the fries itself were so fresh and delicious that I didn’t feel like eating anything else. 😀
Ice-Cream @The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company
We stepped into ‘The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company’ at Stearns wharf for the after lunch dessert. Wonderful ice-cream in fresh waffle cones. Even though we were full we couldn’t resist the smell of fresh cones and the beautiful spread of different flavors of ice cream. I took 2 scoops- 1 scoop of rocky road and 1 one cookie and chips in a waffle cone. He took one scoop of pistachio ice cream in the waffle cone. Crunchy and delicious, in every bite it was.
The cost is high obviously as it’s a tourist spot so we were not surprised by the price. The location is worth enjoying with a cone of ice-cream in your hand.
2. Chromatic Gate
Our third stop was the chromatic gate, you will hardly need 6-8mins there. Though there is nothing much to do at the chromatic gate, but if you wanna get a picture then this could be a beautiful frame for your picture. Get a family picture there. <3
3. Cabrillo Bike Path
A fun way to see the oceanfront at Santa Barbara is to rent a single Surrey bike if you are a couple and enjoy the beach view. The distance for the bike path is approx 4.5miles from Stearns Wharf to East Beach, then back to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Do plan this bike ride on the same day you visit Stearns Wharf and Chromatic gate.
3. Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Mission was established on the Feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1786, and was the tenth of twenty-one California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans.
More than 200 years later, the Mission continues to be the chief cultural and historic landmark in the city of Santa Barbara. Home to a community of Franciscan friars, a beautiful church with a large and active parish; a museum and gift shop; a cemetery and mausoleum; and twelve acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.
If you are planning to visit Santa Barbara then I would suggest visiting this place and enjoy the lush green garden in the front, period art, museum, church, a gift shop and of course, click a lot of beautiful pictures.
We paid $9 each for the entrance. And trust me, it’s worth going there. Do check the timings before you plan your visit as it gets closed at 5.00PM.
The Front View
The Sacred Garden
Originally garden was used as a work area for the Native American peoples to learn building trades. The surrounding buildings were used as workshops.
Now you will see a beautiful bunch of roses there. Enjoy the view and click pictures. 🙂
*As the church was closed so we were not allowed to go there and click pictures.
The present-day museum rooms were originally used as living quarters for missionaries and their guests. Today the rooms display a historical collection of artifacts, most of which are dated from the early mission period.
The Serra Shop
Shop educational literature, souvenirs, and gift.
We ended our day here and headed back to the hotel. As it was my birthday so we took a chocolate cake, ate it all up and slept like a baby. 😀 Next day was much relaxing as we covered most of the points on our first day itself. Our hotel was in Solvang, so after having breakfast at the hotel and a relaxing jacuzzi time we roamed there in the Solvang for half a day and again came back to Santa Barbara.
We took a long walk at the beachside in the beautiful sunny weather and went for lunch at the Lilly’s Taqueria.
Lunch @ Lilly’s Taqueria
The most authentic and delicious tacos in Santa Barbara. The place is not a fine dining restaurant kind of but the tacos here are really good. They only serve tacos and they are worth trying even if you are not a fan of Mexican food. Get a bottle of soda with your favorite taco and enjoy the meal.
We went back to Solvang and clicked a few pictures there. Ours was a 3day short trip to Santa Barbara and Solvang. It indeed was a unique experience visiting these beautiful places and relaxing in the mountains and the beachside. I will post soon about out visit at Solvang. While heading back to San Diego the other day, we took the Pacific coast highway and BUOYYYY, the view was breathtakingly beautiful. Do plan a short trip to Santa Barbara and please do not forget to take the Pacific coast highway route.
Hope you enjoyed reading the post and liked the pictures too.
Stay Happy And Blessed!