Amtrak Journey to Santa Barbara Real Getaway

Got to acknowledge it – it’s hard for this Californian to give up his car for the weekend, but which is accurately what we did on a recent prepare getaway to Santa Barbara that proved we could do our modest section to enable lower targeted visitors and auto emissions and continue to have a good time.

In simple fact, just put aside the added benefits to the surroundings and seem at the added benefits to our personal relatives: We saved on gas, auto dress in and tear and on the frustration that generally will come with a under no circumstances-know-what-you happen to be-gonna-get travel by means of the L.A. freeway process. We got to attempt a new experience, introduce our eight-year-aged to rail vacation and we packed a ton of sightseeing into a shorter two-day interval.

Santa Barbara is particularly very well suited to car-a lot less vacation since many years in the past metropolis fathers made the decision they wanted to do some thing to lower the congestion they had been looking at with several much more readers and the smog that would lure by itself above the metropolis. The Santa Barbara Car No cost Project right now delivers vacationers discount rates on Amtrak as very well as at taking part inns. They sweeten the pot by throwing in a multitude of discount rates on local sights and transportation. Our relatives of three made the decision to give it a attempt, touring to Santa Barbara from our house in north San Diego County.

Boarding the seven a.m. northbound Pacific Surfliner in Oceanside was a snap. Accustomed to extensive waits at present for air vacation, we showed up nearly an hour in advance of our prepare to verify our a single big piece of baggage. But A/ we really didn’t have to have to verify the baggage – there is a rack you can put your baggage on in the organization course rail car – and B/ you can move appropriate on the prepare, even acquiring your tickets onboard.

Organization course is a little much more high priced but delivers reserved seating and amenities these as a continental breakfast, a newspaper and a relaxed perform spot with a ability outlet for our laptop computer. We went up the stairs to the 2nd amount, found our seating and sat back again to appreciate the surroundings. In just a couple of minutes we had been on our way, the magnificent California coastline passing in advance of our really eyes.

We had been reminded of a recent state chart-topper called Sunday Morning that talks about the several walks of lifestyle in the Usa and how individuals invest their Sunday mornings. It was, in simple fact, Sunday early morning and we had been observing our fellow Californians out for their early morning jog or enjoying a newspaper and espresso on their beachfront deck, or preparing an out of doors breakfast in a single of many beachfront condition parks alongside the Surfliner’s route. The prepare sped alongside, normally at 70 miles for each hour or much more, having us on an adventurous route by means of several parts of the Southern California coastal location that we experienced not witnessed in our several drives alongside Interstate five.

Another way to explain the sensation is to relate it to those people “About” displays – you know, the PBS television programs that are fully manufactured up of aerial views of lifestyle in a metropolis or location. We were not really up in the sky searching down, but even the upstairs amount on the prepare can give you that exact mesmerizing result.

Our trip from Oceanside to Santa Barbara took about five several hours but we recognized some thing quite curious. When driving that distance, we generally are anxious to arrive. But on the Surfliner, we practically had been sorry we experienced arrived. It was these good rest and attention-grabbing surroundings that the journey was no for a longer period a usually means to an stop but section of the stop by itself. Our strain-relieving getaway weekend experienced started from the second we experienced boarded the prepare.

Arriving in Santa Barbara, it was just a three-block walk to the Resort Santa Barbara, a single of the “car-free of charge” taking part inns with a spot in the coronary heart of the metropolis in close proximity to sidewalk cafes and chic retailers alongside Point out Road. We checked into our roomy and relaxed home by midday and had been sitting at a sidewalk bistro just a few minutes later on, enjoying some terrific individuals-looking at and Panini sandwiches. In simple fact, we lingered a small too extensive above lunch and then did some thing we had been hoping not to do: we hired a taxi. It was the only way to get to the harbor in time to hop aboard the 43-foot sailboat, the Sunset Kidd, for a two-hour cruise alongside the Santa Barbara coastline.

The ocean delivers the best, most panoramic view of Santa Barbara, its mountains and its beach locations and delivers convincing evidence that local tourism promoters had been place on when they named this section of the coastline the “American Riviera.” Just one can visualize these areas as Monte Carlo or Cannes when you just take in this amazing overview alongside with the parade of high-class yachts and younger, gorgeous individuals. Captain Dennis Longaberger prides himself on featuring a real sailing working experience relatively than a tourist boat and suggests the Sunset Kidd is a scarce illustration of a non-public sailboat that has been upgraded to have travellers. The best section of this sail was looking at two pods of dolphins frolic just a few yards from our boat.

Back from our sail, it was just footsteps to the Infinite Summer bar-caf?a perfectly situated cafe and watering hole named just after the famous surf movie and featuring magnificent views of Santa Barbara’s harbor spot. Acknowledged for these specialties as its popcorn shrimp, refreshing ahi and to-die-for Kaui Mud Pie, the cafe enjoys a faithful next of both equally locals and readers who continue to keep coming back again for much more.

This 1st day established the tone for the entire trip – good places to eat, visits to these sights as Stearns Wharf, the waterfront, the shops alongside Point out Road, the a variety of parks, gardens and museums that all are possibly inside of walking distance of downtown or simply achieved by the city’s handy general public transportation. The Car No cost Project delivers a $2 low cost off the Santa Barbara Trolley which, for $21, will let you journey the trolley all day to eight distinctive spot tourist sights. (note: you can help save $five by acquiring your ticket on the web at Another handy way to get around the major section of town is the Electric Shuttle which operates up and down Point out Road as very well as alongside the beach areas. It can be just twenty five cents each and every time you board.

If which is continue to not sufficient alternatives for transportation, hybrid taxi services is twenty % off for Car No cost readers, and there are lots of local bike rentals.

We experienced a entire day of sightseeing that 2nd day since our prepare didn’t depart until seven p.m. We experienced performed a ton in just two times, and the gentle journey house by Amtrak gave us the chance to actually sit back again and unwind – a far cry from our standard nail-biting trip house on those people congested Southern California freeways.

AT A Look

Where by: Santa Barbara is about 100 miles north of Los Angeles and a relaxed prepare journey from several coastal metropolitan areas to the north and south.

WHAT: Santa Barbara is unmatched in splendor and is an fantastic metropolis to see car-free of charge. Or if you choose, you can travel the coastal highway by means of Ventura.

WHEN: Any time of the year. Santa Barbara has a single of California’s most relaxed year-round climates. Our recommendation would be to take into consideration avoiding the busiest Amtrak trains which are those people that depart northbound Friday night time and southbound Sunday night time. At peak moments, coach course can be standing home only. Amtrak is looking at much more clients as gas charges climb.

WHY: The Spanish architecture sets the mood in Santa Barbara, but the metropolis is loaded with tourist sights which include Stearns Wharf, the harbor and marina, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Museum of Natural Heritage and the Courthouse as very well as parks, gardens and a sturdy downtown shopping spot.

HOW: The Santa Barbara Car No cost Project delivers discount rates on several customer providers in order to inspire individuals to take a look at the metropolis devoid of their car. Amtrak enables a twenty % Santa Barbara Car No cost low cost on coach fares. The adult coach fare from Oceanside to Santa Barbara, roundtrip, is $66 in advance of low cost. Organization course delivers reserved seating and is $16 much more each and every way with no low cost. In addition to discount rates on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, there are discount rates on lodging, providers and retail goods. For much more facts, go to or cellphone (805) 696-1100. For much more facts on the Resort Santa Barbara, a really classically styled lodge with an fantastic continental breakfast, go to