Solvang/Santa Barbara – Day 6 of a 8-Day California Road Trip
We were headed to Santa Barbara for Day 6. Of our 8-day road trip, Santa Barbara was by far my favourite spot. It was less busy than Los Angeles, yet had the beach and good restaurants.
To start our day, we picked up breakfast pastries from Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery in Solvang. The bakery has been serving delicious danish pastries since 1970!
Next stop was the Old Mission Santa Ines, which is less than a 5 minute drive from the central Solvang area. Originally built in 1804, it has undergone restorations and expansions throughout history. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in California. We stopped to take pictures, but did not go in.
The drive from Solvang to Santa Barbara is less than an hour, but goes by quickly as it is a lovely drive through the countryside. On the way to Santa Barbara, we stopped at the Cachuma Lake Vista Point, where you can get a view of the lake and Bradbury Dam.
Once we reached Santa Barbara, first stop was the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The Old Mission Santa Barbara is even older than Old Mission Santa Ines, and was founded in 1786. We only stayed to take pictures of the exterior, but you can also visit the museum at a price.
Next stop – lunch at Bettina. Bettina is an Italian restaurant with outdoor seating and has a great selection of pizzas and pastas. We shared the pepperoni pizza and the ‘nduja stuffed dates. Yum!
Afterwards, we wandered downtown Santa Barbara. We snapped pictures of the County Courthouse, El Presidio (a former military installation originally built in 1782), and Paseo Nuevo (shopping centre). We also stopped for ice cream at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams. The architecture at Santa Barbara is heavily influenced by Spain and is so interesting!
We then headed to Stearns Wharf and shared an order of calamari at the Moby Dick Restaurant.
Afterwards, we checked in at the Lavender Inn by the Sea and picked up bikes (included in our stay) for a bike ride along the beach. I highly recommend going for a bike ride along the beach. It is absolutely gorgeous (especially as the evening rolls in)!
For the final activities of the day, we headed to Loquita for spanish tapas and Test Pilot for cocktails! Loquita was amazing – we ordered the olives, kale salad, and chorizo y pollo paella. This was honestly my favourite meal of the trip. The cocktails at Test Pilot are fun and delicious as well!
Complete Day 6 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
9:00 am: Have pastries at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery.
9:30 am: Visit the Old Mission Santa Ines (3 minute drive from Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery).
10:00 am: Drive to the Old Mission Santa Barbara (50 minute drive from Solvang). Stop by the Cachuma Lake Vista Point (15 minute drive from Old Mission Santa Ines).
12:00 pm: Have lunch at Bettina (10 minute drive from Old Mission Santa Barbara).
1:00pm: Wander Santa Barbara Downtown (6 minute drive from Bettina). Visit the County Courthouse, El Presidio, and Paseo Nuevo. Stop for ice cream at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.
3:00pm: Walk along Stearns Wharf and have a snack at the Moby Dick Restaurant (21 minute walk from Santa Barbara Downtown). Go for a bike ride along the beach!
7:00pm: Have dinner at Loquita (9 minute walk from Stearns Wharf) and drinks at Test Pilot (2 minute walk from Loquita).
8-Day California Road Trip Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 8-Day California Road Trip Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in California!