{travel diaries} Santa Barbara, CA

Surprisingly enough, being a Southern California native, I have never spent a substantial amount of time in Santa Barbara. This is more surprising because my cousins moved there a three years ago, and we still haven’t been to visit them.

We remedied this recently with a quick weekend trip to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. Five of us piled into a “new” (to us) van, and headed off for a weekend of fun. Since we were only up for two days/one night, my SB cousins just showed us some of the highlights, with promises of more next we visit.


BRUNCH – The Outpost at The Goodland Hotel

Rather than sit through Friday evening traffic, we opted to get up early on Saturday morning to head up from Orange County. This was a wise decision, since there was no traffic on Saturday morning, and we made it in about 2 hours. After settling in a bit, we headed to lunch/brunch at The Output at the Goodland Hotel. This hotel is so cute – mixing up the vintage/bohemian/SB style (I suppose). Brunch was delicious!

MOUTNAIN TO SEA – Franceschi Park to Stearns Wharf

After brunch/lunch, Nina took us up to Franceschi Park for an amazing view of Santa Barbara. After some mandatory photo ops, we headed from the top of town to the bottom – at Stearns Wharf. Peter wanted to see this “pier with no rails”. Seemed pretty dangerous, considering the height above the water, but there were plenty of ladders around the pier to get back up if someone were to fall in… I guess.

PIZZA SNACK – Lucky Penny

We had some back and forth about what to do next, and since two out of seven of us didn’t have our IDs on us, we just went to Lucky Penny for a quick pizza snack. Next time, we’ll do more in the downtown area.

DINNER – Pepe’s

After some pre-drinking at the house, we opted for a low key dinner at Pepe’s Nina had some giftcards, and we didn’t want to do anything fancy or expensive, so simple Mexican food seemed to be a good choice. I had no issues with my dinner, but some of the other dishes didn’t turn out so great.

CHILL – Hanging out at Home

In between all the outings, we spent much of the weekend just hanging out at the house, drinking and talking. Simple charcuterie platter as an afternoon snack, after dinner drinks, home-cooked breakfast.. just a relaxing time spent with family. Their house is also adorable and very comfortable, so it was nice to stay in and just chill.

“HKE” and BEACH – Douglas Family Preserve

Nina and Anthony took us on a quick hike/walk down to the nudist beach near their house. It was a gorgeous day out searching for sea glass, skipping rocks, and building cairns.

LUNCH – Shoreline Beach Cafe

Before heading back to OC, we had lunch at the Shoreline Beach Cafe. Nina and Anthony let us know that this was more of a locals spot, and that tourists tend to stay closer to the harbor. The sun was still shining high in the sky, which made for a really nice lunch on the beach.

Overall, the entire weekend was a success.. and we made mental lists of all the things we need to do next time we come up, which will hopefully be soon. And it’s always nice to getaway from home, even for a short while, and spend some time with family.


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