We boarded at the Glendale station and rode through suburbia until we got to Ventura where the Surfliner started hugging the coast. It was a very cool way to view the ocean with no worries and no driving. The train has coach seating and a cafe car where you can get something to eat or a glass of wine if you'd like. It was truly enjoyable - and the train station is right in Santa Barbara so we just walked a short few blocks to see the town.
We sat at an outdoor patio in town for a bit after our walk, and then we strolled through town. There appears to be a good bit of shopping and eating to do but we had one goal in mind- get to the beach. Stearns Waterfront is at the end of the main road, State Street, and we ventured off to walk the beach and enjoy the views - Santa Barbara Beach has beautiful mountain and palm tree views as you walk along the pathway along the ocean.
We picked a waterfront restaurant - Santa Barbara Fish House (well, across the street from the ocean but it still has water views) and enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the patio that we had all to ourselves. I'd highly recommend a meal here if you're in Santa Barbara.
Before we knew it, it was time to walk the few blocks to the train station. We boarded and let Amtrak do all the driving once again.We had a beautiful sunset view on our way back to our hotel and enjoyed waves from lots of kids along the tracks. And a short drive to our hotel again from the Glendale station. Easy Peasy.
Where to stay
Though we didn't stay in Santa Barbara there are so many options if you'd like to:
This is part of the Holiday Inn chain so you may use IHG points. Located a few blocks from the pier and ocean, the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara has a patio restaurant out front and some rooms have outdoor patios. Pet friendly. Located next door to MOXI - an interactive science museum for all ages. This would be my first choice if I stayed in Santa Barbara
Hotel Santa Barbara
This hotel is on State Street in the thick of the restaurants and shops. A bit further from the ocean, but close by if you are in town for shopping and eating. Still within walking distance to the train station, even with luggage. Has a delightful looking pool and outdoor patio.
Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara
A few blocks off State Street, the Kimpton is a boutique hotel housing the Fork and Finch restaurant and a luxury rooftop pool. Complimentary bicycle use with your stay and a hosted wine hour every day. A little bit of luxury right in town.
And of course, you can try your luck with AirBnB and vrbo.com if you'd like to have a kitchen or just more space.
Where to Eat
Santa Barbara Fish House
Santa Barbara Fish House sits directly across the street from the beach. It has two outdoor patios, a bar and a happy hour menu daily. Mostly seafood - and Mr. UR can attest that the ciopinno is delicious.
Fork and Finch
Located in the Kimpton Canary hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, the Fork and Finch is billed as "offering local, modern American food" of casual dishes made with local ingredients. It has great reviews and I'd like to give it a try.
Finney's Crafthouse and Kitchen
Recently opened near the Santa Barbara waterfront, Finney's is in the newly renovated Hotel Californian. Using local and seasonal ingredients and serving American fare, Finney's has Happy Hour specials, a family friendly and dog friendly patio and a craft bar. When we passed by, it was packed and looks to be very popular.
Things to do:
Shopping and eating are high on the list. You can, of course, enjoy the beach. And you can take a walk down to the waterfront.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Innovation and Exploration
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Historical Museum and
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Unfortunately, with our time constraint of taking the train we weren't able to do any of the above museums though all look interesting. I'd love to go back and do all of them - especially the Old Mission Santa Barbara, "the chief cultural and historic landmark in Santa Barbara." (I've been to other California Missions but never this one)
How about you?Have you been to Santa Barbara?
Linking up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party and WATW at Communal Global!