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Road Trip: Ventura, Santa Barbara and Beyond

Road Trip: Ventura, Santa Barbara and Beyond

Southern California’s many charms burst into vivid display on this drive along the coast from Los Angeles

Posted 5 years agoby California Now

This coastal journey starts with lively urban scenes in Venice Beach and Santa Monica and winds through the natural beauty of Malibu before exploring the downtown areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura. With stops for seafood, premium craft beers, and wine tastings, this unforgettable road trip is positively delicious, too.

Stop one: Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Once funky and now chic, this street a few blocks from famous Venice Beach has evolved into a top Los Angeles dining and shopping destination. Distance to next stop: 3 miles

Stop two: Santa Monica Pier
Catch spectacular ocean views from the solar-powered Ferris wheel at the historic pier’s Pacific Park, and see local marine life at the Heal the Bay Aquarium. Next stop: 12 miles

Stop three: Adamson House
Overlooking the locals riding the waves at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, this romantic Mediterranean Revival landmark is a storehouse of vintage craftsmanship. Next stop: 33 miles

Stop four: Murphy Auto Museum
The iconic vehicles here include a sleek 1956 Austin Healey and a classic Chevy Woody. The museum, just five minutes from downtown Oxnard, is a must-see for car buffs. Next stop: 13 miles

Stop five: Downtown Ventura
Just off U.S. 101 and with beautifully restored buildings from the 1920s, Ventura’s downtown is filled with boutiques and great dining, including the seafood at Lure Fish House and comfort foods at Rumfish y Vino. Next stop: 17 miles

Stop six: Island Brewing Company
Taste such innovative beers as the Avocado Honey Ale at a craft brewery a few blocks from the beautiful stretch of sand along Carpinteria State Beach. Next stop: 11 miles

Stop seven: Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone
Shop for vintage accessories, stroll the galleries, or taste wine and spirits at this beach-adjacent neighborhood set in converted warehouse buildings. Santa Barbara's stunning coastline and Spanish-style architecture means there are plenty of opportunities for Instagram-worthy photos. Next stop: 74 miles
Stop eight: The Luffa Farm
Just north of Santa Maria in Nipomo, take a free tour of this family-owned operation that grows all-natural luffa sponges.
Next stop: 20 miles

Stop nine: Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards
Sip wine and hard cider at this charming winery in San Luis Obispo County. Keep an eye out for the resident peacocks that wander the vineyards and picnic grounds.

Traveler Photos

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California Winery

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