I promised you guys a full round up of my latest trip to California... Dream along with me on my perfect three days in Southern California! First up.... fly into LAX and take an uber to Santa Monica Proper Hotel.
DAY 1 - When you get to the hotel, head up to the rooftop and take a quick dip in the pool to freshen up after your flight. The hotel has bikes (electric and regular) so next up is a bike ride to Elephante for lunch. If it’s early, make sure to try the breakfast pizza! And don’t miss out on the whipped eggplant (mainly because the dipping bread it heavenly). Elephante is just a few blocks from the beach so continue on your bike ride and head to Venice Beach. First stop, ride your bike through the canals, I got to do this for the first time on this trip and now I believe it is a must do!! Start at Dell Ave, the pedestrian bridges, adorable beach houses, paddle boarders and row boaters are all so charming. Abbot Kinney founded this area and wanted to adopt the charming and romantic feel of Venice, Italy and bring it back to Venice, California.
Of course you have to head over to the beach to dip your feet in the Pacific. There is always a ton of action happening on the beach: live music, volleyball tournaments, artists, and skateboarders. Abbot Kinney Blvd is a must while in Santa Monica, and it's the main drag so you won't miss it! If you’ve saved some room after lunch for a little snack or an afternoon cocktail, make sure to go to Gjelina for a pick-me up or Felix…both restaurants are yummy and have a fun vibe! If you go to Felix, make sure to ask for a table so that you can have a view of the “pasta lab.”
Spend the rest of the afternoon popping in and out of shops on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Make sure to stop for a coffee at the Butcher's Daughter (they also have a location in NYC and I always be sure to stop in no matter which city I'm in) or an ice cream at Salt and Straw. Aside from all the great clothing stores and home stores, you must stop in the cutest stationery and gift store: Burro Venice. I always leave brimming with new gifts and inspiration!
**P.S. If you don’t feel like shopping, Santa Monica has some of the most beautiful hiking. My favorite trail is the Solstice Canyon Loop. It’s a 3 mile hike and has some of the loveliest views!**
At sunset, head back to the hotel and have dinner on the rooftop or in the downstairs restaurant of the Proper - the people-watching is the best!
Another great option is to spend the first day in Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach. They are about a 30 minute drive from Venice Beach & Santa Monica but the areas offer a great beach, surfing, awesome restaurants and lots of outdoor activities.
DAY 2 - Time to head up the coast! The 101 is one of the most beautiful roads in the US in my opinion! Look to your left and you’ll see the Pacific Ocean, gorgeous beach homes, and surfers galore. Stop at the Surfrider Malibu Hotel for lunch (sometimes you need to be staying at the hotel to have lunch, but if it’s not too busy, you’ll be able to get a seat at this very cool hotel/restaurant). Make sure to try the coconut margarita it's one of my favorites!! The menu is all farm to table and it's one of the prettiest views in Malibu. If you are craving sushi, Nobu is right down the street and sits on the beach but make sure to make a reservation!! The famed Malibu Farm is also a great choice.
After lunch, take a walk on Point Dune Beach or pop into Malibu Country Mart and take a yoga class at 5 Point Yoga. There is also some great shopping at the Country Mart too!
Keep heading North on 101 and you’ll arrive in Santa Barbara! One of my very favorite places! I’d recommend renting an airbnb in Santa Barbara or Montecito. There are lots to choose from and many are right on the ocean which is just dreamy! Lunch at Bettina or the Rosewood Miramar. The Miramar is absolutely beautiful and has become incredibly popular with celebrity weddings. But it's a great place to have lunch or enjoy a cocktail!
Montecito is one of my favorite places and you won’t want to miss the sunset on Butterfly Beach! It’s truly unforgettable. Maybe pop into the Pierre LaFond to pick up some snacks to bring to the beach for sunset.
You also might enjoy taking a surf lesson from the Santa Barbara Surf School or doing a wine tasting at The Montecito Tasting room.
For an incredible dinner setting, drive up to San Ysidro Ranch. Make sure to get there before dark so you can truly take in the fairy-tale like setting!
DAY 3 - Before you get on the road, make sure to go to Renauds for the most delish breakfast. If you are in more of a rush, I LOVE Merci Montecito. You can order from the counter and everything is absolutely incredible!
I could easily spend weeks in Santa Barbara but if you are visiting for a short trip, it time to get back on the road and drive up to Los Olivos for some horse-back riding and wine tastings! It’s a gorgeous drive and the California Mountains are absolutely incredible!
Check into Mattei's Tavern and spend some time enjoying the outdoor pool and spa. Two great choices for the afternoon: either Horseback Riding at Vino Vaquero or spend the afternoon Wine Tasting in Los Olivos. If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss Bell's for dinner, it was SO good!
Day 4 - Phew... This trip goes by quickly, but we packed as much in as possible!! On the way back from LAX I have just one last stop.... back in Santa Barbara to have breakfast at Jeannie’s bakery. Take a few minutes to pop in and out of the art galleries in the “Funk Zone” before heading back to LAX. We packed a week into three full days…it was non-stop but totally worth it!
Hope you get lucky enough to head out to California soon!! Adventure Awaits!