What AK Products to have while in Santa Barbara?
The French Market Tote, which is a perfect beach town or farmers market accessory. The Small Disco Bag with its removable strap allows for both a crossbody and a clutch, making it fabulous for shopping State Street and dining at the local hot spots. And lastly, you'll find that our Alligator Sandals will take you anywhere day or night.
What To Do?
Hiking - there are fabulous trails surrounding the Santa Ynez Mountains for nature lovers of all ages. No matter who is accompanying you, hiking in Santa Barbara provides a picturesque way to catch up, site see and get in some exquisite exercise. Our personal don't-miss hikes include San Ysidro Trail and Romero Canyon, but be sure to check out Santa Barbara hikes and Montecito trails to find your favorite.
Polo - a beautiful and one-of-a-kind way to spend your Sunday afternoon. The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, located right off the Pacific Coast Highway, is a fabulous and fun way to get a glimpse of the horseback sport that was popularized by the Brits. And for those especially enthusiastic, John Westley's got you covered if the urge to opt for a Polo lesson of your own arises.
Farmers Market - the Santa Barbara Farmers Market offers all of the freshest and best produce in the area direct to you from the farmers themselves, as well as some fun odds-n- ends. Check out the summer and winter schedules to be able to taste all the healthy fruits and vegetables offered.
Ojai Wine Country - located just 30 minutes inland from Santa Barbara, Ojai is sure to please with its small town charm. Whether you're in the mood to taste California wines, do some shopping, visit art galleries or enjoy one of the farm-to-table eateries, Ojai will serve as your super quaint day trip.
LotusLand - this now public, non-profit botanical garden that operates in a private neighborhood is widely categorized as a distinct garden not to be missed. This botanical paradise, which inspired many of Dr. Seuss' drawings, is the home to over 18 unique gardens and collections that have been preserved and enhanced on the estate of Madam Ganna Walska. Visits are by reservation only so feel free to click here to find a day and time that works for you. 805.969.9990
Concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl - when you know you'll be in the area be sure to check out the concert schedule for a special night out on the town. The intimate ambiance and beautiful open air quality make this historic outdoor amphitheater a special way to watch your favorite artists up-close while foregoing the overcrowding of big arenas.
Where to Eat?
Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch (SYR) - for an upscale and marvelous meal out. Located in a 19th century citrus packing house, the Stonehouse offers wood burning fireplaces, an ocean view deck, and out-of-this-world food (prepared with herbs and vegetables from the chef's onsite garden) and uniquely satisfying beverage choices. Make sure to sit outside under the twinkling lights in the garden next to the fire. 900 San Ysidro Lane 805.565.1724
Lucky's - for a savory steak look no more; they also feature numerous other equally delicious non-steak entrees and appetizers as well as a yummy children's menu. 1279 Coast Village Road 805.565.7540
Trattoria Mollie - the pure goodness of their chef's choices has earned this Montecito Italian ￼￼￼￼eatery oh so many global awards and recognitions and made it a local and celebrity hotspot. Buon Appetito! 1250 Coast Village Road 805.565.9381
La Super-Rica Taqueria - this classic Santa Barbara taco stand has lines of hungry patrons filling the block waiting to get their hands (well...mouth!) on some authentic Mexican food. Try quenching your thirst with their fresh watermelon drink too! This super low-key, paper and plastic joint provides an abundance of delicious items on the menu to choose from...including Julia Child's favorite tacos! 622 N. Milpas 805.963.4940
Via Vai Trattoria & Pizzeria - you would be hard pressed to find a better pizza anywhere else; making classic Italian thin crust in a wood burning oven, this restaurant has it down to a science. Their authentic Italian cuisine, casual atmosphere and kid friendliness - giving each child a fresh ball of pizza dough - makes Via Vai ("coming and going") the perfect place to come or go, day or night. 1483 East Valley Rd. 805.565.9393
Sakana Sushi Bar - if you are in the mood for sushi, this is the best in town, and once you go the food and service will speak for itself. 1046 Coast Village Road 805.565.2014
Best Beaches and Beach To Do's?
Our favorite beach to spend the day at is Santa Claus Lane Beach; with its shops and stops you'll feel like you have been transported to a world all its own. But, if you are wanting a more secluded spot to enjoy a nice walk or jog Loon Point Beach is where to go; it's absolutely picturesque and perfect for dolphin watching, working out etc...your dogs will love it too!
Best Beach Eats - Hands down - Padaro Beach Grill, which has a huge sandbox for kids and is family-friendly without sacrificing any taste. They now serve the fabulous Rori's Ice Cream which makes it a for sure win-win place for all.
The choices of what to do at a Santa Barbara beach are seemingly endless, but our top picks include a visit to A Frame Surf Shop for any gear you may need or if you are in the market for private surfing lessons (Erik is especially good with children) or SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boards). There are plenty of beaches in Santa Barbara where you can catch a wave, but for more of an adventure head down to Ventura's Mondos Beach where the locals will be found and where you'll be able to ride some especially long waves.
Another favorite beach "to do" of ours is kayaking at Stearns Wharf. You can choose to take a leisurely paddle on your own or opt for a guided tour of Carpinteria or even the Channel Islands. Lastly, (but certainly not least) also located on Sterns Wharf, is the Ty Warner Sea Center. Operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, this sea center offers children and visitors of all ages the opportunity to get up-close and personal with sea life...so much so that you'll even have the chance to pet sharks.
A meal at Tinker's - comfort food heaven. This classic beach town burger joint will have you salivating as soon as you get in the door; a burger, fries and a shake make for a rather delicious "guilty pleasure." 2275 Ortega Hill Rd. Summerland 805.969.1970
Where to Stay?
San Ysidro Ranch - this exquisite hotel has been named no.4 in the world and sits nestled in the Montecito foothills of Southern California's wine country. Its unique blend of modern luxury and natural beauty make it a go-to destination for chic travelers from all over the globe. 900 San Ysidro Lane Monticeto 805.565.1700
The Four Seasons, Biltomore - located right on the water, this sophisticated, family-friendly hotel is sure to keep you and yours entertained. From the private Butterfly Beach, fabulous dining options and Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club you won't find yourself lack anything. 1260 Channel Drive Monticeto 805.969.2281
Rental Houses - if you want to stay in Santa Barbara for more than a few days, like we always do, renting a house from a local is a wonderful way to have privacy, connect with the locals and feel right at home. Another plus to renting is that you have options everywhere, whether you desire beachfront or mountainside there's a place just for you.
El Capitan Canyon - for those who want to become more one with nature, you will love being able to "camp" here without foregoing many of the typical luxuries that you would traditionally find at a resort. 11560 Calle Real 805.685.3887
Why do we love Santa Barbara so much?
Santa Barbara is one of many Southern California quaint getaway destinations, but to us it has started to seem more like a second home. We have managed to find our way there for a few weeks in the summers and it never disappoints. Being 80 miles from Los Angeles makes it close, yet just far away enough to remain a little sacred heaven!
Santa Barbara is a place where my family and I have grown to dearly love spending time together and we hope that you go check it out and feel the same way!