Somehow the entire summer has gotten away from me. In just one week from today I will have a first grader! Several months ago we had talked about taking a road trip along the California coast but it had yet to happen. This past weekend we decided now was as good of a time as ever to finally make it happen. So, we packed up the kids, dogs and the car and headed on our way.
Road Tripping Along the California Coast
Stop 1: Solvang
Solvang is a quaint little Danish town located roughly 1 hour north of the city of Santa Barbara. It’s located in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country and filled with restaurants, shopping and of course wineries. They are also home of the famous Ostrich Land USA which was featured in the movie Sideways. For a small fee you can feed the ostriches and it was a total blast! The kids were a little scared. We also enjoyed some delicious Danish treats before heading on our way to the next stop.
Stop 2: San Louis Obispo
San Louis Obispo also known as “SLO”, is located approximately 1 hour north of Solvang. With 3 dogs in tow, we were a bit limited to outdoor activities so we decided a hike was in order. Bishop Peak offered scenic views of the California coast and had a moderate difficulty ranking so we gave it a go. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it too far because the poor pups couldn’t handle the heat so we decided to cool off at the beach. Later that evening we dropped off the dogs at our hotel and explored the beautiful Madonna Inn and enjoyed some pizza and brews at Blast 825 which is right next to the famous Bubblegum Alley.
Stop 3: Pismo Beach
The Madonna Inn unfortunately doesn’t allow dogs. We had planned on spending the second day of our trip in Santa Barbara so we chose a more centrally located hotel and decided to cool off at the beach for a while before checking in. The weather and water were much cooler than we were used too but it was nice to see a new stretch of the California coast. The town itself was absolutely stunning and I’d love to go back sometime and so some more exploring.
Stop 4: Santa Maria
Santa Maria is located about halfway in between San Louis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Naturally, seemed like the perfect spot to stay. We stayed at the Historic Santa Maria Inn which was built in the early 1900s. Since we had our dogs with us, we stayed on the first floor and our room, along with a few others, had gilded stars on the doors denoting Hollywood actors whom had once stayed there. It was nothing fancy but I love places with a little history and thought it was pretty cool. Other than that, we didn’t spend much time in the actual city of Santa Maria but there were tons of wineries nearby.
Stop 5: Buellton
On day 2 we checked out of our hotel and started heading back south toward Santa Barbara. Buellton is about halfway in between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. This wasn’t originally on our “to-do” list but when traveling with kids, you have to roll with the punches. There are several awesome restaurants/breweries here including Firestone, Figueroa Mountain and the famous Pea Soup Andersen’s. They have an awesome gift shop and of course, delicious pea soup. We didn’t end up eating here this time but stopped to pose for a few pictures.
Stop 6: Santa Barbara
Last but not least, we stopped off in our favorite city, Santa Barbara. It was lunch time when we got into town so we ate at our favorite off the beaten path restaurant, East Beach Tacos. This place is attached to a batting cage so naturally, that was next on the agenda. Which let me just say, was extremely complicated with both kids and 3 dogs! Since Pismo Beach was too cold we also walked the Stearn’s Wharf pier and hung out on East Beach for a little while before concluding our trip. It was an amazing trip and I cannot believe all we accomplished in just 36 hours! To read more about what to do in Santa Barbara, click here. I hope this post inspired you to take a trip along the California coast! If you do, I’d love to hear all about it!