“What’s not to love about a town where the ocean and the mountains meet?” asks Mary Hall, who, along with her boyfriend and travel partner Adam Rondepierre, landed in the seaside city on the latest leg of their ultimate American road trip. “The active community and abundant appreciation for quality food makes for a town anyone would want to put down roots in,” she explains, and we can’t argue with the logic—after all, where else can you get a heaping scoop of artisan ice cream before kayaking through a herd of barking seals? Here’s the duo’s guide on where to eat, sleep, and throw back a cold one in Santa Barbara, California. Meet our guest bloggers HERE!
Mary: Rori’s Artisanal Creamery haunts me, it’s that good! I dream about the rich, flavorful, creamy, organic, local ingredients of every flavor, which vary from root beer float to honey lavender…something for everyone! Go to the Santa Barbara Public Market location and enjoy a scoop or two with the locals.
Adam: A trip over HWY 154 to the hill feels like a step back in time and I half expected to see horses tied-up in front of Cold Springs Tavern, a stagecoach stop dating back to 1886. Their tri-tip sandwiches, served up on the weekends, are phenomenal so don’t bother with a menu. Live music, dancing, and bands of Harley Davidson riders make this historic destination worth the drive.
Mary: Want to feel like you’re on our adventure without having to tow the trailer AUTOCAMP is an awesome alternative to a hotel room. They have five beautifully restored and modern-designed Airstream trailers complete with a front porch, beach cruisers, a grill, and many more amenities. Plus it’s in walking distance to restaurants and just a short bike read to downtown.
Adam: El Capitan Canyon has the perfect accommodations to convince your girlfriend to sleep outside. Spend a little extra and enjoy a luxurious night in a well-equipped yurt, or pitch your tent directly on the bluff overlooking the Pacific.
Mary: Rent a beach cruiser or a surrey at Wheel Fun and journey down the paved bike path along the beach, past Sterns Warf, the harbor and beach volleyball courts.
Adam: Unfortunately, the Channel Islands block any south swell that might otherwise make it’s way to Santa Barbara in the summer. If you’re interested in surfing, check Sands Beach and cross your fingers for some afternoon wind-swell.
Mary: Grab a bottle of local wine and cheese at Cantwell’s Market and head up to the rose garden across the street from the Santa Barbara Mission for an afternoon picnic. Position yourself up on the hill so you can see the roses, beautiful historical Mission, and the ocean all in one view.
Adam: You could spend an entire afternoon exploring the ins and outs of Santa Barbara’s bustling harbor on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Between the barking seals and fisherman unloading their catch, there will be plenty of photo-ops and interesting happenings. End the day at a local favorite with a cocktail and a bowl of clam chowder on their patio overlooking the water.
Both: The funk zone is an industrial pocket of Santa Barbara that was transformed by wineries, a brewery and a handful of hip eateries. is centrally located in an old dive shop and is the epitome of effortlessly cool. If you want an afternoon well spent after a day at the beach, grab a bottle of their Bright White, two glasses, and enjoy it on their front patio as the sun goes down.
Mary: Santa Barbara’s laidback atmosphere allows for casual looks—day and night— encouraging style that mirrors the city’s playful vibe.
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