Last winter we took a road trip up the Pacific Coast Hightway from Los Angeles to San Francisco. You may remember our road trip plan here. Well, let me just say…all we did wrong was not make enough time. This drive is STUNNING and I am dying to do it again and spend more time in some of the places we zipped through. While I don’t have comprehensive guides for each city, I feel that I have enough to cover the basics for those of you passing through or spending a couple of days in each location. We really enjoyed these three cities because while they’re all located in SoCal, they are very different.
What To Do
+ In Santa Monica, you must hit the boardwalk and pier. We opted to jog around (it was a beautiful December day, not to be spent indoors) but many choose to bike as well. The boardwalk spans the massive beach with various playgrounds, outdoor gyms and vendors. The pier itself is home to various rides and the famous Ferris Wheel.
+ Corral Canyon Trail: Located in Malibu right off the highway, this is an easy 2.5 miles up and down the mountain. We walked up, ran down and thoroughly enjoyed the warm sun!
Where To Stay
+ AirBnB: We stayed in a friends condo in Santa Monica and it was a wonderful idea as we were able to explore the area feeling like locals.
+ Shutters: Located across from the condo we stayed in, this iconic hotel is a great beachfront place to tuck away for the weekend. It’s a favorite to locals and celebrities and we hear they have a killer happy hour.
+ Four Seasons Montecito: This is hands down one of the most beautiful properties I have ever seen. This is where we got engaged and where I never, ever wanted to leave. Aside from the fact that it was the best day of my life, the service was unbelievable & the property just flawless. The sprawling, lush grounds felt like a rainforest inside, with a beach outside. We spent time at the pool, the bar, the lobby & of course, on Butteryfly Beach where Terry proposed (having flashbacks & loving every moment!).
What To Eat + Drink
+ Sugarfish: A Santa Monica favorite sushi joint of many. Truthfully, we didn’t have the best experience here (overpriced food and horrible service) but I would be willing to give it another try given all of the rave reviews it gets.
+ Blue Plate Taco: A great Mexican spot in Santa Monica with delicious tacos and even better margaritas. This place has a large patio, fun music playing and a chill, friendly vibe.
+ Malibu Seafood: Located adjacent to the parking lot of Corral Canyon Trail, this seafood joint came highly recommended for a reason. It’s a seafood shop and cafe where you can sit right outside on the picnic tables and enjoy the fresh catch of the day. The mahi mahi tacos are to die for!
+ McConnells : A world famous ice cream shop in Santa Barbara that is seriously the best. They’re world famous for a reason – the ice cream is to die for and you’ve gotta get some. Don’t leave Santa Barbara without a scoop!
+ Lucky’s: This steakhouse in Montecito is where we celebrated our engagement over dinner. A charming restaurant with an oversized fireplace, this place is cozy and welcoming. The food was delicious, the service amazing and ambiance was fun.
+ Jeannine’s: This adorable cafe is located in downtown Montecito (Santa Barbara) with the best outdoor patio surrounded by trees. You order at the counter and they serve your coffee & bites on a very eclectic-vintage blue & white china. It’s fabulous and you should go there. Fun Fact: The owner overheard that we were recently engaged and sent over a celebratory dessert on the house. So thoughtful!