If you follow along on Instagram then you know we recently took a mini road trip to cross a few more cities off the California Bucket List. Since my job ended earlier than originally planned (thank goodness!) I ended up having an extra week and a half of free time. We left Wednesday, April 5th and returned back to Newport really late on Monday, April 10th. In those 6 days we visited Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. I’ll share more shortly, but today I want to focus on our 48 hours in Santa Barbara.
Let me start by saying I did pretty much no planning. As in I was googling “best things to do in Santa Barbara” about 30 minutes before we left the house. I found this website to be quite helpful.
Our first stop was the Chromatic Gate – an art installation right by East Beach (and Instagram heaven haha). I discovered it here, but it definitely looks cooler in photographs than in person.
From there we figured we should find somewhere to sleep that night (like I said, ZERO planning), and after a quick Google Search and a few drive-bys, we decided on the Ramada Inn – a few minute drive outside downtown. With a fresh water lagoon, pool, breakfast and access to a local gym, it had the best amenities without having to spend a fortune. They also price matched a deal we found online for both nights!
After checking in + changing we headed to the main drag, State Street. We walked up and down the streets and stopped to snap blog pictures on the tiled stairs. From there we walked to the marina to have dinner at Brophy Bros – a restaurant recommended to us by the hotel staff. I’m not a seafood eater, but B said the seafood was decent. (Not as good as she hyped it up to be).
See Day One photos below 🙂
We decided to give Dawn Patrol (a local brunch spot) a try Thursday morning and it was the BEST decision. So great that we ended up back there for lunch on Friday…haha.
They have your typical breakfast/lunch items but then they have a customizable hash menu. So you choose your potatoes, meat, veggies, type of cheese, how you want your eggs, and what sauce you want on the side. They serve it with your choice of toast + a small side salad. SO GOOD. I actually substituted my toast for fresh fruit the second day. I don’t like eggs, so I always struggle with brunch because I end up eating WAY too many carbs. This was great because I could easily make my own hash without eggs!
After our delicious brunch we shopped and explored State Street, walked to the County Courthouse and toured it (definitely do this – amazing views of Santa Barbara and the architecture is stunning!), and visited the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
We wanted to hike Inspiration Point on Thursday as well, but by the time we finished with everything else it was already 5:00pm and we’d walked 6+ miles. Since we didn’t book any hotels beforehand, we decided to spend one more night in Santa Barbara so we could hike the next morning.
After returning to our hotel and showering/relaxing/changing, we headed back to State Street for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Casa Blanca. It was average, nothing special in my opinion. Good but not great (nowhere near Dawn Patrol). Although I will say they had great Happy Hour deals!
We woke up Friday morning ready to hike Inspiration Point, and I made the mistake of wearing running tights. Word to the wise – if its 60 degrees or higher, wear shorts. We’re about 99% positive we took an alternative route up to Inspiration Point, because our final stretch was incredibly steep. But, we made it to the top and enjoyed our views along the way.
Post hike we headed to State Street one last time to eat at our favorite spot one more time. And Dawn Patrol did not disappoint. They are two for two y’all!
We left Santa Barbara around 2pm Friday, making our stay there about 46 hours. The one thing that I wanted to do but didn’t happen was Sea Cave Kayaking. After looking into it more, the package I found would’ve cost about $400 for two people, which was more than we were willing to spend. (Next time though!)
PS. The Ramada has pet ducks (Einstein + Washington) 🙂
Overall I really enjoyed our time in Santa Barbara! If I were to go back I’d would love to visit Channel Island National Park and do sea kayaking. To me it seems like a 3-5 day city – it isn’t very big, so you can see a lot in one day. I felt like our 48 hours were sufficient to get a feel for Santa Barbara while exploring some of the top rated places.
If any of you are heading to Santa Barbara shortly I hope this helps!