3+ Days in the Santa Barbara Area
Sunny southern California was just what my pale skin needed in dreary February and to get to spend the time with my mom made the trip extra-special! The area around Santa Barbara was just beautiful– no wonder the celebrities flock here! Perfect weather, gorgeous beaches and delicious restaurants… what’s not to love? Plus, there’s such a variety of things to see and do — from old Spanish missions to presidential libraries to restaurants on the pier — there’s plenty to keep you busy for days.
After leaving San Diego behind us, we headed up the coast on Highway 101 and drove about two hours to the San Juan Capistrano Mission. There are 21 missions in California (built by the Spanish Franciscans to spread Christianity among the Native Americans between 1769 – 1833 and ranging from San Diego to San Francisco, these missions were built about one day’s walk apart). This particular mission, though, is world-famous because the swallows come back here year after year on the same date. Although not as many swallows come now as used to, the mission is still a beautiful site and there’s much to learn about its history, including the Native Americans who lived nearby. Tickets are $9/adults and there’s a free self-guided audio tour. We stayed here about 1.5 hours before continuing on, but could have spent the day basking in the sunlight and sitting under the ruins of the old church.