El Camino Real

Santa Barbara Travel Blog

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Santa Barbara County Courthouse (1929)

Santa Barbara is well-known as a trendy coastal city and home to UC Santa Barbara. There are historic sites here, too, the most famous of which is Mission Santa Barbara. The mission church was founded in 1786 by the Franciscans who established 21 missions throughout California during the Spanish colonial era. Mission Santa Barbara is stilll an active parish church. The road linking the missions was known as El Camino Real and the coastal highway retains this popular designation today.

Driving north of Santa Barbara brought us to Buellton. Located here is Anderson's Split Pea Soup retaurant.  A stop at Anderson's is a long tradition for the traveller on the coast highway.

Santa Barbara from the courthouse tower, El Mirador
A must. Really. We had a late lunch here and we did order their famous split pea soup. It's very good.

North of Santa Barbara on 101/1 we drove through rolling open agricultural country as the land rises away form the sea. At San Luis Obispo, the highways diverge. US 101, the main highway, takes an inland course. We stayed on California 1 that hugs the coast. We passed though seaside communities like Pismo Beach and Cambria and reached San Simeon, our destination for the day. After checking in at our motel, we walked down to the nearby beach. The beaches along here are narrow and rocky with cliffs jutting out into the sea. It was overcast and threatening to rain, but we stayed long enough to put our feet in the Pacific.

We backtracked a bit down the highway to Cambria where we had dinner. Afterwards, we looked around the shops in town. New Age was all the rage here. Music. Crystals. Wind chimes. Suncatchers. Etc. (New Age was still "new" then. It had not yet reached the East Coast.) My wife opined that the locale reminded her of Maine, to which comparison the locals seemed to take some umbrage.

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Santa Barbara County Courthouse (1…
Santa Barbara County Courthouse (…
Santa Barbara from the courthouse …
Santa Barbara from the courthouse…
Red tile roofs of Santa from the c…
Red tile roofs of Santa from the …
Santa Barbara from the courthouse …
Santa Barbara from the courthouse…
Santa Barbara beach at Stearns Wha…
Santa Barbara beach at Stearns Wh…
Santa Barbara beach
Santa Barbara beach
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Fountain at Mission Santa Barbara
Fountain at Mission Santa Barbara
Doorway from Mission Santa Barbara…
Doorway from Mission Santa Barbar…
Andersens Pea Soup Restaurant adv…
Andersen's Pea Soup Restaurant ad…
Santa Barbara Sights & Attractions review
Mission Santa Barbara, Virgen y Martir
Mission Santa Barbara was founded on December 4, 1786 (the Feast of St. Barbara) as the tenth of California's twenty-one Spanish colonial missions. As… read entire review