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Scenic Drives near SB

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Indianapolis...
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Scenic Drives near SB

My family is taking an extended weekend trip to SB in late September. We would like to know if we have to drive all the way up to San Simeon-Big Sur to see beautiful highway scenery, or are there scenic drives that would take only a few hours total?

Newbury Park...
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1. Re: Scenic Drives near SB

There is wonderful scenery along the coast north of SB and inland into Solvang. Also you can drive through the county and around Lake Cachuma, through the vineyards and more. The further North you go the more dramatic the caostline is though.

Santa Barbara...
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2. Re: Scenic Drives near SB

Juxie is describing Highway 154 - the San Marcos Pass. Here is a nice loop trip. Hwy 154 exits the 101 just northwest of Santa Barbara. It's a 2 lane windy road up over the mountains and offers a great view of Lake Cacuma. Take 246 to Solvang for Danish pastries or optionally continue on 154 to Los Olivos for a western feel. Turn south at 101 to continue back along the coastal route to Santa Barbara.

There is a waterfall near Solvang called Nojoqui Fall. It's a short walk from a county park. Take Alisal Rd from midtown Solvang to get there.

If you feel adventurous, at the top of San Marcos Pass, there is a road that rides the crest of the Santa Ynez Mtns called Camino Cielo. East Camino Cielo is a better ride for tourists. Turn it into a loop trip by headng back into Santa Barbara by exiting Cam. Cielo at Gibraltar Rd. Otherwise, Camino Cielo heads waaayyy back into the Los Padres Forest.

Santa Barbara, CA
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3. Re: Scenic Drives near SB

Highway 154 is a great drive on a nice day. If you do it on a Sunday, make a stop at Cold Springs Tavern, which is just off the 154 at the top of the mountain. Its an old wooden lodge that is a restaurant now, and on Sunday afternoons they do an amazing tri-tip barbeque. Its a huge biker hangout, and they have live music. You park, get your bbq tickets for sandwiches, and go grab a bloody mary, listen to music, enjoy the warm day, and people-watch until the tri-tip is ready.

Continue down the hill towards Solvang. Great wine tasting over there, close to Solvang there's Kalyra (featured in the movie Sideways, which I recommend you watch if you're a wine lover) and Sunstone, my favorite... plenty also over in Santa Ynez and Los Olivos.

Take either the 246 or 154 back to the 101 and head back south to Santa Barbara, a great easy drive.