Last week we drove out to Santa Barbara, the surrounding wine country and a small Danish village called Solvang (in the middle of nowhere, in the Santa Ynez valley!). Santa Barbara is always beautiful, but this was a really good day, not so hot that it'd burn you, but warm enough for shorts.
- Food Find: Should you happen to go, and happen to fancy Indian food on State Street, steer clear of "Spice Avenue," and stick to the "Taj," which is less pretty than the former, but has way better food. "Spice" is an oxymoron; the food is really pretty bland.
Then drove another 45 minutes up to Solvang, which I was visiting for the first time- finding Solvang is a bit of a surprise to all first time visitors, me included. It is primarily 2 streets of Danish style architecture, all tourist traps, with some fun stores. Lots of wine tasting opportunities, should you be so inclined.
- Food Find: Hold off on dessert till you get here, so that you can Mortensen's bakery and the ice cream shop next door to it. I recommend the ice cream shop's weird but excellent root beer flavor, and pretty much all of the bakery's goods :)
You might consider stopping in the nearby flower fields of Lompoc; for us it was already 3:30pm, so we drove right back down to the Refugio beach, where I hadn't been before, and much fun was had by all.
You would do as well by stopping at one of the many beaches dotting the shores in the surrounding area- most of these are not overflowing with the general populace, and you will have relative privacy. Steer clear of beaches in the immediate Santa Barbara area- too many weepy kids, bicyclers and the like, unless of course you are so inclined.