Our babymoon vacation travel guide is here! We always knew we wanted to go on a babymoon before our first kid. It just seemed like a fun way to soak in some time the two of us before our lives truly change. Early June was the set time frame because of Jacob’s schedule. We wanted to go somewhere with a beach and mountains but was not going to be too hot. Tulum was really high on the list, but we decided to go with Southern Cali because of the weather. Plus, we had miles and a companion ticket available so booking domestic saved us a lot! Santa Barbara has always been super special to us because we got engaged there 6 years ago. It is stunning there with a lot of great things to do! We didn’t want the hustle and bustle vibe of LA for this specific trip. We landed on 3 days in Santa Barbara, 1 day in the Ojai Valley and 1 day in Santa Monica before heading home. The trip was short, but we definitely milked it for all it was worth!
We got LUCKY with our hotel because we booked back in March when we didn’t even know if this trip was possible with the state of vaccines and COVID cases. That said, with points, we knew could cancel so we took advantage of the great deals. We ended up booking the Ritz Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. A spot far normally above what we could afford! I am so glad we snagged it because it was truly magical. Resorts like this are just breathtaking and the service and rooms are amazing. We really enjoyed our time there and hope one day we could go back. It is perched up on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Other spots we were looking at: Hotel Californian and The Rosewood.
With the Ritz as our base, we could drive to Santa Barbara (15 minutes) downtown for food and have access to a ton of beaches and hikes. There is so much to do in the area. That said, being pregnant, I was limited in some of the physical stuff. Hikes we did in the past were no longer an option for me. I just get winded too fast! So we did some low key walks and a lot of time walking the beaches.
Hikes we have loved in the past:
- Inspiration Point
- Jesusita Trail
Hikes we did:
- Lake Los Carenos Park
- Bacara Beach Trail (connected to the Resort)
- Santa Barbara Shoreline Trail
- Arroyo Beach Walk – go from the Boathouse restaurant
- Elings Park
- Douglas Reserve
Pro Tip: I recommend downloading the AllTrails app. Makes it super easy to find trails to you basically anywhere in the country. The reviews are super helpful!
- Backyard Bowls – Healthy breakfast spot with açaí bowls and toasts
- Outpost – Vibey breakfast spot in a Kimpton hotel
- Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach – We loved breakfast here. BEST VIEWS. You are literally sitting on a quiet beach surrounded by cliffs. We ate here two times for breakfast but would come back for lunch or dinner too.
- Loquita – Amazing Spanish tapas! Drinks are super fun too. I had an amazing mocktail. Adorable patio set up.
- The Lark – an absolute must! Such unique seasonal dishes! Amazing atmosphere.
Places on our list:
- Oliver’s – incredible vegan in Montecito (city near by)
- Lucky’s – super fancy steak house that is apparently amazing.
- Stonehouse at San Yisdro Ranch – we had a reservation here and regret cancelling it. It is apparently unbelievable! The atmosphere of the resort is also apparently 10/10. Next time for sure.
- McConnell’s Ice Cream – lines were way too long. Next time!
- Bettina – apparently the best pizza in the area.
- La Super-Rica Taqueria – amazing hole in the wall taco joint. Worth the line up apparently!
Things to see:
- Old Mission – historical area of SB, we toured it last time we were there
- Downtown – so fun to walk around and see it all!
- Wineries / Funk Zone – there are a TON of small wineries that you can tour around right downtown. We also did this last time we were there. Being pregnant, we obviously skipped this.
- Beaches – Leadbetter Beach is where we got engaged. So sprawling and gorgeous views. The beach next to the boathouse restaurant is amazing. We walked there for an hour and it was quiet and breathtaking.
We were only in the Ojai Valley for a day and omg, I wish we had longer! It is an adorable “ranchy / country” town that reminds me a bit of Sedona. Lots of spiritual places, vegan eats, and just happy people. The drive from Santa Barbara was also amazing. Lots of winding roads through mountains! Partway through, you can get an amazing view of the highway of Lake Casitas.
We stayed at the Capri Hotel right in town. It was a mid-century modern boutique hotel that was so cute! Felt like homey vibes and totally renovated. Kind of a cottage feel! We did spend most of the day at the Ojai Valley Inn for our spa day. This was a big splurge for us but was absolutely worth it. The Inn is iconic. Truly, one of the most amazingly beautiful resorts I have seen. I would LOVE to go there again one day as an overnight guest, but even as a day guest at the spa it was wonderful. The spa was 100/10. One of the best spa experiences I have had. We went early and enjoyed the spa pool, cold-pressed juices, and amenities. We definitely got all our money’s worth by spending the day there. They had a great prenatal massage too! We also had dinner there as the sun was setting. Gorg!
- Ojai Coffee Roasters – incredible local coffee shop.
- The Hip Vegan – we loved!! I got the Wagamama bowl. Jacob got the burger and we shared the gunpowder fries. It was so nourishing and delish.
- The Oak – we had dinner here after our spa day at The Inn. It was delish! The bread they serve is something I will be dreaming of!
- Love Social Cafe – adorable breakfast spot!
If we were there longer, we would have hit up more spots and hikes. There seemed to be amazing trails nearby and tons of great eats! Hope to be back again one day to explore more.
Since we flew in and out of LAX, we had some time in Santa Monica and Malibu. We stopped in Malibu on our way to Santa Barbara. We went to Malibu Farm (a fave!) for lunch and walked the pier. On the way back from Ojai, we stayed in Santa Monica for a night. We stayed at the Viceroy in Santa Monica. It was funky, greatly located, and had a great pool area. I have been here a few times, so if you eat previous recos – you can check out my previous blog post here. We also stopped at El Matador Beach and walked along the coast. Super beautiful!!!
- The Rose Venice – delish! We met friends here for dinner. Great vibes.
- Alfalfa – amazing salad and wrap place!
- Gjusta Bakery – just the best sandwiches! We got breakfast here before we left.
- Go Greek FroYo – my friend we were with brought us and it was amazing!
- Alfred Coffee – unreal coffee! Famous spot with a few locations.
Other recs we didn’t make it to (timing):
- Felix – apparently the best Italian in the city. Dying to go here next time.
- Calabra at the Proper Hotel – apparently the best atmosphere.
- Elephante – also really wanted to go here! Hear the dips are 10/10.
- Salt & Straw Ice Cream – had in the past and loved!
- Jon & Vinny’s – always wanted to go here!
That is it! We just had 5 days there and really made the best of it. Love the area so much and we got incredibly lucky with the weather. Can’t wait to go back. For more content on our trip, check out my IG highlights and posts from our time there.