Looking for a vacation that doesn’t require a passport? Need to getaway for the weekend? Want to take a break from life but don’t want to go far? Have I got the plan for you. We took a huge vacation last year, so this year we are staying close to home while still getting some time to rest, relax and regroup. We’ve been taking some mini vacations on the weekends and we’re getting ready for a week long adventure. We’re staying close to home this year and it’s been fun.
We are lucky, and oh so grateful, to have friends that own a condo right on the beach. Over 4th of July they let us stay at their place for a few days. It was AWESOME
Where to stay: It helps to have a place with prime location. Their place is literally on the beach. I’ve always wanted to stay here. They look fresh and I love the fire pits on the patio. The Carpinteria Beach Cottages are adorable and close to the train – a great way to travel.
Where to eat: Have breakfast at Essau’s Coffee Shop. Grab a burger at The Spot. The line gets long at this local joint but the burgers, and chicken sandwiches, are worth the wait. Enjoy dinner and wine at Corktree Cellars Wine Bar and Bistro. And sip on a great cup of coffee at Crushcakes and Cafe.
What to do: Beach, beach and beach. Carpinteria is known as the “world’s safest beach”. It’s a great beach for swimming, surfing and sunning. Take in the view of a beautiful sunset. Shop in unique local boutiques in town. Stop by the Robitaille’s Candies for some sweets.
We’ve always been huge fans of San Diego. Both my husband and I have family that live there and we visit as often as we can. Now we’ll be there a lot with my son starting college in the fall.
Where to stay: We usually stay with family when we visit. At the parent orientation we stayed in La Jolla at a local hotel. But there are tons of places to stay depending on where you want to spend your time. It’s a big city with lots of choices.
Where to eat: We go by our families recommendations for places to eat. Lots of mexican food and sushi. We had breakfast at the Mission in North Park and had the best chilaquiles. I love visiting Super Cocina El Camino in Little Italy for a margarita and chips with their variety of salsas. Grab a cocktail, listen to some music with a view of the bay at Eddie V’s in La Jolla.
What to do: Again this is a big city, so you can expect lots of things to do. You will want to visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier for a tour of life aboard a vessel. Take the kids to Belmont Park for some amusement. Visit the San Diego Zoo or Wild Animal Park. Spend the afternoon at the Hotel Del Coronado. Or tour museums at Balboa Park. Lots to see and do.
San Luis Obispo
Here’s another place we love to come to where we have family we can stay with. Are you starting to see the pattern? This part of the central valley is beautiful and a great place to spend some time.
Where to stay: With family. But if you don’t have that, and you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, check into the Madonna Inn. There are 110 uniquely decorated rooms that fit any theme.
Where to eat: We eat at home mostly but there are some great places to grab a bite. Visit Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos for some smoked fish tacos. Then pick up a batch of delicious cookies at Brown Butter Cookie Company. Sip some wine or enjoy a full dinner at Justin Winery in Paso Robles.
What to do: Visit the Mission San Luis Obispo for some California history. This works great if you have a student studying the missions in school. Go to Avila Beach. And take a walk through Bubblegum Alley – if you dare.
A new favorite place for us. We were here for a few days when our kids were on vacation with their grandparents.
Where to stay: We didn’t have the best luck with our hotel. It was ok but even though it’s a small town, it was too far from the action. If you can swing it, your best bet is to stay at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. We stayed here years ago for a golf tournament and there is no comparison. We’ll try the Ojai Rancho Inn next time.
Where to eat: Get a drink or enjoy dinner at the Oaks Kitchen at the Ojai Resort. The food is spectacular and the view of the golf course at sunset as the lanterns turn on is magical. The salmon salad at Suzanne’s Cuisine was so, so good. And I can still taste the shiitake mushroom crostini at the Osteria Monte Grappa.
What to do: Take a hike. Lots of great places to hike around this area. Visit the Farmer’s Market on Sunday for local ingredients. Tour the farm and taste the olive oil at the Ojai Olive Oil Company. I bought their lemon olive oil at the farmer’s market and it’s awesome! Get a massage, yes please! Or stroll the downtown area.
I am so excited to visit Santa Cruz in August. We are actually going camping at a local campground but will have a day to visit Santa Cruz and get to know it a little better.
Where to stay: We’re camping at Little Basin Campground this year. We’ve been here before and the kids still talk about what a great experience it was.
Where to eat: This will be a discovery journey for us. One that I am willing to take. While we camp we will be making meals in the campground. We will definitely be getting the homemade ice cream sandwiches from the little shop in the park. There’s a local cookie company, a salt water taffy spot and a creamery that we’ll have to try. I’ll let you know what else we discover.
What to do: We are going hiking and exploring Big Basin. We visited for just one day last time. Hope to take our time this time around. We’re hitting the boardwalk for some good ol’ fashion fun. And heading to the beach. We can’t seem to get enough of that this summer.
It’s been a summer of mini adventures that add up to a whole lot of memories.