Sponsored by Lulus.comI’m not sure why on Earth I’ve never been to Santa Barbara before but this will definitely not be my last time. I’ve lived in LA for 6 years now and it’s taken me a while to visit the other popular cities/towns of California. There was one place I’ve always heard such great things about but never got the chance to visit. Since I have a crazy travel bug on my butt lately and can’t seem to sit too long in LA, I convinced Danny to take a day trip with me to Santa Barbara. It was a little bit random, a little bit on a whim, but I’m so glad we did it!
We left on a weekday (Monday) around 8:15am and there was virtually no traffic. I mean seriously it was the most amazing thing, we were riding against traffic when I thought for sure we were gonna be in that mess. It took us about 1 hour 45 minutes to get to out first destination in Santa Barbara which was the Botanical Gardens.
In LA we have this thing called June Gloom. It’s the time of year in June when it’s just super gloomy every morning then it clears up as the day progresses. But around the coast the gloom is REAL. As we drove closer to Santa Barbara, we could see in the distance a dense fog covering everything. I think fog is the coolest thing because it’s basically clouds on land so I was completely fascinated with the scenery. I know its not everyone’s thing because it can come across as gloomy but I loved it. So if you plan to visit Santa Barbara in May or June, expect to be in “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” I thought the fog would let up as the day progressed but it stayed the whole day, I’m not sure if it varies day by day but the locals told us this is pretty normal for the time of year. Nevertheless it didn’t make the trip any less enjoyable. In fact it made for even more epic picture. Now back to the trip.
Once you hit Santa Barbara you basically drive up a mountain to get to the botanical gardens. Around windy roads that lead up to the most gorgeous view lies a natural botanical garden on the top of the mountain in the midst of residential homes. I originally wanted to come to the botanical gardens for the Willow House, it was this cool house made out of what looked like twigs that I found on the internet. Well when we arrived they told us that house was gone years ago. Bummer! But it still was cool to explore. They have a meadow of flowers, succulents, red woods, hiking trails and tea room. (I would check to see when the tea room opens cause it was closed when we went) If you want to do the whole trail I believe the women who checked us in said its about a mile, I definitely wasn’t dressed for a hike but I loved frolicking in the meadow and seeing red wood trees in real life because *nerd alert* they’re my favorite trees! Across the way is a conservation center which overlooks the channels. We didn’t have much a view that day because of the fog but it was still nice to walk through.
We rented bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals (we went to the one on Mason st) and they had a bunch of different styles to choose from as well as different colors. (Perfect for a photo opp!) I opted for the mint green beach cruiser while Danny got a mountain bike, and we were off! This particular bike rental spot is right by the beach so you just bike a street over and voila, ocean! There is a bike trail all along the ocean and it leads you to different beaches. My advice for visiting Santa Barbara would be to park the car for the day and just bike around. It was SO FUN! I seriously could have biked all day long. If you want to leave the trail, there are bike lanes on most of the streets so it feels very safe to ride your bike around.
We had lunch at State & Fig downtown and it was delicious. It’s American food with burgers and paninis and it has a cute little outdoor seating area. It’s a great central location if your strolling around State st. which is like the main street in downtown Santa Barbara.
There was another place we wanted to try, Cajun Kitchen Cafe but we didn’t have enough time to stop there.
McConnell’s Ice Cream
They have McConnell’s in LA but if you’re visiting from somewhere that doesn’t have one you need to stop here! Or just stop here either way. Located right on State St, they offer a TONNN of delicious flavors of ice cream. I got the Churro ice cream and I have no regrets. (My thighs might later though)
Afterwards we walked around downtown a bit and then stopped into a really cute Cafe called The French Press. I’m weird but my favorite thing to drink after ice cream is tea! We stopped in and got a chai latte which was amazing and we just hung out with the locals and worked a bit.
Wearing: Lulus yellow maxi dress
I randomly came across this sunset boat cruise while looking for things to do in Santa Barbara and I’m so glad I did. This cruise sails around the harbor while you watch the sun set. There is a bar on board and snacks and the boat can fit about 41 people. We went at a good time because there were only 7 people on our cruise so we felt like we had the boat to ourselves. The only thing is, (and prob why there were only 7 people), it was FREEZING. If you go around May I would suggest bringing lots of layers. They do provide blankets on board and if you have an iron stomach, which I don’t, you can get some boos to keep you warm. They do also have hot drinks too like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. I think the boat goes around much further then we went but we were literally immersed in fog so there wasn’t much of a view but the fog did look super epic over the skyline of palm trees. We also saw dolphins on the cruise and lots of sea lions! Many times you can see whales too. They also have a day cruise where Im sure you’re able to see more sea life. But if you are going as a couple I definitely recommend the Sunset cruise. It’s very romantic.
For such a short trip to Santa Barbara we packed in enough variety of things that left me smiling from ear to ear. Santa Barbara, I love you! Can’t wait to go back. This is definitely my new go-to quick getaway location. Sorry Palm Springs!
Lulus.com has the best summer fashions! I can’t wait to bring their pieces along for all of my trips!