California Coastal Road Trip (Part 02): Santa Barbara, Solvang, & Pismo Beach
It was time to pack up and leave Santa Monica and hit the road again! Our next stop was Santa Barbara. First, we headed over to the Santa Barbara Courthouse. It had beautiful Spanish style tiles and decor that made the space feel inspiring. I loved all the earthy colors used throughout that made the place feel really warm. We climbed all the way to the top to take in the views of the courthouse, town, and hills.
After the taking in every inch of the Courthouse, we decided to head over to take a stroll long the beach. The beach was beautiful with sailboats lining the waters and palm trees along the sandy edge, During our walk, we were starting to get hungry so we it was time to head into the town. We found that State Street was the main drag with lots of shops, cafes, and restaurants lining its sidewalks. We popped into The Natural Cafe to fill our appetites.
Once our bellies were full, we continue to wandered around for awhile, veering off on side streets and alley ways to find little hidden treasures. We really enjoyed stumbling upon El Passeo. One of my favorite parts of the trip was discovering these beautiful orange trees in the courtyard.
Though we didn't want to leave, we needed to get to our next destination of Solvang. Along the way though we happened upon Los Padres National Forest. Though it was a beautiful site from the car as we drove along, we decided to hop out for a little to enjoy its views.
After some fresh air, we continued on to Solvang. The town is known to be a "taste of Denmark in California." It was definitely quirky with its architecture resembling its Danish ways and a windmill holding its grown on the main street. We enjoyed feeling like we were in another part of the world as we strolled along. And, of course, we had to enjoy some ice cream at the Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor before heading out to reach our final stop and resting point, Pismo Beach.
Pismo Beach is a small beach town. We stayed in a quaint little Airbnb apartment there and while we were near Shell Beach, a more rocky—but beautiful—beach, we made sure to venture off to explore the larger beach that the town is known for. During our drive we hopped out at some of the surrounding beach towns as well, such as Avila Beach, that are also apart of the Five Cities Area. This reminded me of the grouping of Cinque Terre in Italy, one of my favorite places on earth.
After some good food and views at Ventana Grill as the sun went down, we headed home to write, plan, and rest. When the morning came, we were fully rested and ready to enjoy some breakfast at Penny's All American Cafe. Before we were back on the road, we made one final stop at Shell Beach to say goodbye to the quiet town that let us get some much needed rest before continuing on to the next big part of our trip, Big Sur!