Welcome to the California Riviera

Santa Barbara Travel Blog

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We made it to this beautiful seaside city of Santa Barbara and just really enjoyed it. Many people refer to this place as the American Riviera. There is so much to do here that we really had to take some time to plan our couple of days in the area. The movie “Sideways” was one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of this place. Wine was the main subject and so I guess we can’t talk about Santa Barbara without talking about wine.

Although wine was on our minds, the first thing we did after getting to our hotel was to go out for a walk along the beach.

Shopping off of State Street
It was still rather cool at this time of the year so there were not as many people on the beach which made it much more enjoyable. The beaches were pretty clean and well kept. The one thing we did notice was all the oil well platforms off the coast. With the BP oil spill in the gulf, it made something otherwise unnoticeable very visible. There were plenty of places to eat, drink and just sit and enjoy the views. I think of all the interesting things along the coast including the pier, the shops the people fishing, was the creative  or maybe innovative way the homeless set up ways to earn money. Along the pier, you will find this almost carnival atmosphere. Many of the people have set up fun ways to donate to their causes. You can try and make it in the cup. Just check out the photos and you will see how creative it was.

Walking down State Street is another interesting adventure.

The Santa Barbara Marina
All kinds of people from all over the world just hanging out, eating, and spending lots of money. We went into Macy’s and had a great time. Met this employee named Elizabeth, she was from France and gave us a pretty good deal on a tie and then she gave us a lot of cologne samples, but mostly she talked to us for a long time telling jokes, talking about where she was from and just about where we were going. It was a pleasant time talking with here.

We took time to walk down to the Mariana as well. All the boats and small shops made this a nice stroll. I think we were both fascinated watching the pelicans dive into the water for their meal. It was like watching something from a movie. I tried to capture it on film, but it just didn’t work out.

We found a great restaurant to enjoy a really great Mexican meal while we were there.

that beautiful flower tree
I think I was fascinated by the purple flowered trees that were around town and we went as far as asking around and found out what it was called. Now, I can’t even remember the name of those awesome trees. The meal was great as we sat out on the patio with all the birds and some other brave souls. Brave because it got pretty chilly as the sun began to set.

Of course, in Santa Barbara, even the arts want to get out for fresh air! Besides all the annual arts events and festivals, Santa Barbara offers time-tested standbys: monthly 1st Thursdays, when galleries extend their hours and downtown streets become outdoor stages, and Sundays all year Cabrillo Boulevard transforms into a stretching seaside celebration of local arts and crafts.

A visit to the Ronald Reagan Ranch Center was a nice step back into history. Everything about the place reminded me of how the world was back in the eighties when I had just gotten involved in politics. The city of Santa Barbara with all of its Spanish Style architecture was a really clean and friendly place to visit. There were plenty of hotels to choose from, and of course, I decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express. This was a historical property located in downtown which was very close to all the best places to visit and experience. I am sure I will be back again.

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Shopping off of State Street
Shopping off of State Street
The Santa Barbara Marina
The Santa Barbara Marina
that beautiful flower tree
that beautiful flower tree
Near the marina
Near the marina
Along the beach
Along the beach
Cant really see those oil platforms
Cant really see those oil platforms
Looking south
Looking south
On the pier
On the pier
people just walking around the pier
people just walking around the pier
This sea lion found a resting spot…
This sea lion found a resting spo…
Clean white beaches
Clean white beaches
me at the entrance from State Stre…
me at the entrance from State Str…
Everyone was catching fish this day
Everyone was catching fish this day
Looking down the highway from the …
Looking down the highway from the…
The Train Depot
The Train Depot
The Train Depot
The Train Depot
Catching fish at the Pier
Catching fish at the Pier
Just me at the beach
Just me at the beach
zoom in to get an idea if you coul…
zoom in to get an idea if you cou…
Just hungry
Just hungry
at the marina
at the marina
Lots of flags flying
Lots of flags flying
Couldnt afford to buy them so I t…
Couldn't afford to buy them so I …
Looking towards the hills
Looking towards the hills
A flower along the street
A flower along the street
the Reagan Center
the Reagan Center
Azul Restaurant
Azul Restaurant
Santa Barbara Hotels & Accommodations review
Beatiful Hotel in Beautiful Town
This is another one of those really nice and historical Holiday Inns. The property is ideally located in town close to the beach as well as the main t… read entire review
Santa Barbara Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Great Patio and Food
I found this restaurant on the Holiday Inn Priority Club site and it came with very positive recommendations. We really enjoyed dinner on the patio th… read entire review