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Suggestion on location

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New Jersey
Level Contributor
114 posts
1 review
Suggestion on location

Hi. My husband and I are just beggining to plan a trip for Southern California that will include travel from San Diego to Santa Barbara with a stop in L.A. (maybe Santa Monica for L.A.).

We are going to be able to allow 10-14 days for the entire trip and in my head now it breaks down to SD-4 nights, LA-2 night, SB-the remainder of our time.

We have never been to any of these areas so trying to allow decent amounts of time to cover what we want to see/do as well as relax. I see the SB portion as more of the relaxation area especially since we will spend the most time there.

We want to see Santa Barbara itself - beaches, Mission, shopping, dinners, etc. But we also want to do some exploring in wine areas away from SB (I believe that means further north).

Is there a location that I should be looking that will allow for easy access to both SB downtown area and beaches as well as access toward wine touring.

We will have a car and don't mind driving and exploring but I'm unable to decipher a most central point.

I would also consider spliiting time between SB and location X, although that would mean 4 moves for us. I don't love that idea but would consider it if I knew what location X was.

One more ? Is there advantage to planning the route SB to SD vs. SD to SB?

New Jersey
Level Contributor
114 posts
1 review
1. Re: Suggestion on location

I should also note that in the SB area we will be looking for a vacation rental, not a hotel.

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
4,455 posts
48 reviews
2. Re: Suggestion on location

not sure about any vacation rentals in Wine Country, but it's about 30 miles from the center of SB and State Street, so it's not exactly a short walk to get there, or to the beaches.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
114 posts
1 review
3. Re: Suggestion on location

I was looking at a few places in Los Olivios.I guess we are better off basing ourselves in SB and making a day trip or two. Does that sound about right?

Dallas, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,910 posts
376 reviews
4. Re: Suggestion on location

We're traveling to this area in July for our 42nd anniversary. Wine tasting will be our focus, so we're staying at our Worldmark condo in Solvang -- easy access to Lompoc's "wine ghetto" and Los Olivos and Santa Ynez wineries. We've planned one day trip into Santa Barbara, visiing the mission, shopping (and tasting!) on State Street, with lunch on Stearns Wharf and dinner at Cold Springs Tavern on the way back to Solvang.

If you're more interested in exploring wine country, staying in Los Olivos or Solvang might be your best bet -- making a trip or two into Santa Barbara for beaches, shopping and dinner. But if wines are just a minor part of your itinerary, staying in SB would be better.

Edited: 7:03 pm, February 15, 2013
New Jersey
Level Contributor
114 posts
1 review
5. Re: Suggestion on location

Thought perhaps there was a good mid point but I guess not.

Since we can get beaches in LA and San Diego I lean toward wine country.


Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Venice
Level Contributor
6,782 posts
396 reviews
6. Re: Suggestion on location

mbw, I may be messing with your plan a bit, but ... since you have two weeks to burn, why don't you venture further North from Santa Barbara? It gets incrementally prettier further North you go. As lovely as Santa Barbara County is, there would be no reason in this World for me to hang around there eight days. I assume you will be driving but I do not know whether you have ever been to/about San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles wine region; driven Highway 1; Carmel?? I think you could do better then San Diego (three nights is fine) - Santa Barbara stretch.

Like I said, I may be messing with you and, if you are fine with your original plan, then yes, staying about Los Olivos is fine. Lots of wineries around.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
114 posts
1 review
7. Re: Suggestion on location

Not messing with me at all because I have loads of time to plan.

Husband has never been to California.

I have done San Fran, Napa, down to Carme and over to Tahoe.

Have also done Palm Springs.

I hear you on Carmel and can stll consider but that puts us at 4 moves. Not my first choice. Maybe I just need to re-think the overall length of the trip.

Appreciate the insight and will consider.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
18,504 posts
10 reviews
8. Re: Suggestion on location

Location X IS Paso Robles. The Paso area has far more wine tasting options than the Santa Ynez/Los Olivos area. And there are several Paso wineries that have B&B's on site, if that's what you're looking for.

The town of Paso Robles offers excellent dining options and the lovely seaside town of Cambria is less than 30 minutes away. I consider Cambria to be more conducive to "relaxation" in comparison to Santa Barbara. Don't get me wrong. Santa Barbara is a beautiful small city by the sea. But Cambria is MUCH quieter with MUCH less traffic.



Edited: 12:39 am, February 16, 2013
Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
47,473 posts
416 reviews
9. Re: Suggestion on location

I would stay in SB proper in the lower State Street area or maybe East Beach.

Here are some local resources on rentals.




Avila Beach...
Level Contributor
1,052 posts
9 reviews
10. Re: Suggestion on location

I agree, SB is nice, but that's way too much time there, with the best parts of CA stretched out from SB to Carmel. Together with your previous trip you have missed the best part of CA - the Big Sur coastline (unless you previously did a day trip there). Consider staying in Cambria or Paso Robles and doing a day drive through Big Sur.

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