Driving up the coast of California a must stop is Santa Barbara. In fact, I think it was probably my favorite stop along the way; though we didn't spend much time there. In retrospect, we should have altered our reservations, stayed and explored more. Santa Barbara is rich in history, dating back to 1542, when a Portugese explorer Juan Cabrillo first sailed up the coast to claim the area for Spain. He made contact with the inhabitants, Chumash Indians. Later the area was explored more by Viscaino who named the channel Santa Barbara after The Roman Catholic Feast Day of Santa Barbara.
It wasn't until 1780 when establishment of a Mission and Presidio took place. In 1796 1,000 Chumash Indians were baptized. Trouble and damage to the area from an Earthquake in 1812 occured. The American Period began in 1845......but wait. Don't want to tell you all about it. Explore and find out for yourselves.
Santa Barbara is rich in history, quaint, and quite pretty there along the ocean. Watch the sunsets, eat at any local establishment and you'll be glad you did. Pick a cute affordable Mom and Pop type Motel/hotel for your stay. Enjoy yourself and avoid the chains. Santa Barbara doesn't look like anywhere USA.
Want to sun yourself on the beach........enjoy. Perhaps you want to fish, or visit a local winery. Much to see and do. I'm sorry our time there was short. We didn't have much daylight by the time we stopped, sorry only a few pictures. Even in the cool evenings open pit fireplaces warm you as you stroll up and down the beach sidewalk or dine outside across from the beach.
I highly recommend staying at The Mason Inn. We had a wonderful room just one block from the beach. Our room was very affordable, large enough for a table and chairs, microwave, and small fridge. Definatley not your routine bed in a room hotel.
We had free internet service as well. A very comfortable room. I'd like to go back and spend time in The Mission. We were there in June of last year when fires were everywhere in California. Believe going later in the year would have been a little more comfortable temperature wise.
On recommendations from our host at Mason Inn, we ate dinner at The Fish House. Ola la la!