I have had the good fortune of spending many weekends in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. My daughter attended Cate School, a boarding school in Carpinteria, where my son currently is a sophomore. Carpinteria is a quaint little town 20 minutes south of Santa Barbara and 2 hours north of LA, which makes Carpinteria a perfect weekend get away, especially if you want the perks of Santa Barbara at a fraction of the cost.
Gigi’s Perfect Carpinteria / Santa Barbara Weekend
Leave early around 8AM and make a pit stop at Camarillo Premium Outlet some of my favorite stores: Neiman Marcus last Call, Saks Fifth, Tory Burch, Restoration Hardware, J. Crew, Barneys, BCBG just to name a few. Stay a couple hours and stop for lunch in Ventura at Mary’s Secret Garden. I love this place, the best smoothies. I always get the raw tostada, but everything is good even if you are not vegan you will enjoy lunch here.
Continue the drive along the coast which is breathtaking. We usually stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Carpinteria, it is clean, neat, and great for families. Each room is a little suite and rooms are quite reasonable. Other places we have stayed are Montecito Inn, Four Seasons Biltmore, Bacara Resort and Spa, and Fess Parker’s Double Tree. Canary Hotel and Agave Inn are two other places in Santa Barbara that come highly recommended.
Where to Eat
So many choices, some of our favorites:
Traditional Italian food always good. We have been coming here for years, we had Amani’s graduation dinner here in 2008. Mollie never disappoints. I first discovered Mollie through “O” magazine, Oprah is a big fan of Mollie’s.
Jeannines’s Bakery -Good breakfast always crowded with locals.
Arigato Sushi best vegan selection, amazing rolls and good “regular sushi” no reservations and there is always a line but well worth the wait.
Zookers- in Carpinteria, American bistro close to the Holiday Inn
Siam Elephant Thai-family run good home style thai food a favorite of Cate students
Four Seasons Brunch- great for a special occasion beautiful location great food.
What to Do
State Street- the main drag in Santa Barbara great for shopping, eating, and Santa Barbara people watching.
Lotus Garden– Madame Ganna Walska’s private estate now open to the public, reservations a must due to location in a private neighborhood.
Orchid Shopping- Orchids are grown in the area check here for upcoming orchid events and sales.
Wine Country Santa Barbara has a vibrant wine region. You could spend the entire weekend visiting wineries. Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Solvang, Buellton, and Lompoc have numerous wineries waiting for you. There are tour companies that do day tours for under 100.00 person. Las Brisas Transportation 805 455-6384, Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling 805 686-9490, Wine Canyon Tours, and Santa Barbara Adventure Company 805 884 9283 just to name a few.
Rent Bikes at the beach
On the way back stop at the Mcgrath Farms right off the freeway before the outlet exit, always interesting local produce and just in case you forgot something stop make your final stop at the outlet.