Amtrak Journey to Santa Barbara Legitimate Getaway

Acquired to acknowledge it – it truly is hard for this Californian to give up his car for the weekend, but which is precisely what we did on a new practice getaway to Santa Barbara that proved we could do our tiny portion to aid cut down traffic and vehicle emissions and still have a terrific time.

In fact, just put aside the rewards to the natural environment and seem at the rewards to our individual relatives: We saved on gas, vehicle wear and tear and on the stress that normally arrives with a in no way-know-what-you’re-gonna-get generate by way of the L.A. freeway technique. We received to test a new adventure, introduce our 8-12 months-old to rail vacation and we packed a good deal of sightseeing into a small two-working day period.

Santa Barbara is specially properly suited to car-less vacation since several years ago city fathers made a decision they necessary to do anything to cut down the congestion they ended up viewing with several more visitors and the smog that would entice itself about the city. The Santa Barbara Car Absolutely free Venture these days provides travelers special discounts on Amtrak as properly as at taking part resorts. They sweeten the pot by throwing in a multitude of special discounts on neighborhood attractions and transportation. Our relatives of 3 made a decision to give it a test, touring to Santa Barbara from our household in north San Diego County.

Boarding the seven a.m. northbound Pacific Surfliner in Oceanside was a snap. Accustomed to long waits presently for air vacation, we showed up just about an hour before our practice to verify our just one substantial piece of baggage. But A/ we truly didn’t want to verify the baggage – there is a rack you can put your baggage on in the organization course rail car – and B/ you can action proper on the practice, even acquiring your tickets onboard.

Enterprise course is slightly more high priced but provides reserved seating and amenities these types of as a continental breakfast, a newspaper and a comfy function space with a power outlet for our laptop computer. We went up the stairs to the second level, observed our seating and sat back to get pleasure from the surroundings. In just a few of minutes we ended up on our way, the gorgeous California coastline passing before our quite eyes.

We ended up reminded of a new state chart-topper termed Sunday Early morning that talks about the several walks of lifestyle in the United states and how people today shell out their Sunday mornings. It was, in fact, Sunday morning and we ended up observing our fellow Californians out for their morning jog or taking pleasure in a newspaper and coffee on their beachfront deck, or preparing an outdoor breakfast in just one of quite a few beachfront condition parks alongside the Surfliner’s path. The practice sped alongside, often at 70 miles for every hour or more, having us on an adventurous route by way of several areas of the Southern California coastal location that we had not observed in our several drives alongside Interstate 5.

One more way to describe the sensation is to relate it to all those “Above” exhibits – you know, the PBS tv systems that are fully produced up of aerial sights of lifestyle in a city or location. We were not truly up in the sky hunting down, but even the upstairs level on the practice can give you that exact mesmerizing effect.

Our excursion from Oceanside to Santa Barbara took about 5 hrs but we discovered anything pretty curious. When driving that distance, we normally are nervous to get there. But on the Surfliner, we practically ended up sorry we had arrived. It was these types of terrific peace and interesting surroundings that the journey was no extended a signifies to an end but portion of the end itself. Our tension-relieving getaway weekend had begun from the second we had boarded the practice.

Arriving in Santa Barbara, it was just a 3-block walk to the Resort Santa Barbara, just one of the “car-absolutely free” taking part resorts with a locale in the coronary heart of the city close to sidewalk cafes and stylish suppliers alongside Condition Avenue. We checked into our spacious and comfy place by midday and ended up sitting at a sidewalk bistro just a couple of minutes later on, taking pleasure in some great people today-observing and Panini sandwiches. In fact, we lingered a very little too long about lunch and then did anything we ended up hoping not to do: we employed a taxi. It was the only way to get to the harbor in time to hop aboard the forty three-foot sailboat, the Sunset Kidd, for a two-hour cruise alongside the Santa Barbara coastline.

The ocean delivers the very best, most panoramic look at of Santa Barbara, its mountains and its seashores and provides convincing evidence that neighborhood tourism promoters ended up location on when they named this portion of the coast the “American Riviera.” One particular can picture these types of places as Monte Carlo or Cannes when you just take in this amazing overview alongside with the parade of magnificent yachts and young, lovely people today. Captain Dennis Longaberger prides himself on offering a legitimate sailing practical experience somewhat than a vacationer boat and suggests the Sunset Kidd is a unusual example of a private sailboat that has been upgraded to have passengers. The very best portion of this sail was observing two pods of dolphins frolic just a couple of yards from our boat.

Back again from our sail, it was just footsteps to the Unlimited Summer time bar-caf?a beautifully positioned cafe and watering hole named following the popular surf motion picture and offering gorgeous sights of Santa Barbara’s harbor space. Recognised for these types of specialties as its popcorn shrimp, fresh ahi and to-die-for Kaui Mud Pie, the cafe enjoys a faithful subsequent of both equally locals and visitors who keep coming back for more.

This to start with working day established the tone for the full excursion – terrific dining places, visits to these types of attractions as Stearns Wharf, the waterfront, the outlets alongside Condition Avenue, the several parks, gardens and museums that all are both in just strolling distance of downtown or effortlessly achieved by the city’s hassle-free community transportation. The Car Absolutely free Venture provides a $two lower price off the Santa Barbara Trolley which, for $21, will let you ride the trolley all working day to 8 various space vacationer attractions. (note: you can help save $5 by acquiring your ticket on line at One more hassle-free way to get around the primary portion of city is the Electric Shuttle which runs up and down Condition Avenue as properly as alongside the beach places. It truly is just twenty five cents just about every time you board.

If which is still not plenty of solutions for transportation, hybrid taxi company is twenty percent off for Car Absolutely free visitors, and there are lots of neighborhood bike rentals.

We had a entire working day of sightseeing that second working day since our practice didn’t depart until seven p.m. We had completed a good deal in just two days, and the light journey household by Amtrak gave us the prospect to definitely sit back and rest – a far cry from our common nail-biting excursion household on all those congested Southern California freeways.

AT A Glance

In which: Santa Barbara is about a hundred miles north of Los Angeles and a comfy practice ride from several coastal cities to the north and south.

WHAT: Santa Barbara is unmatched in attractiveness and is an great city to see car-absolutely free. Or if you desire, you can generate the coastal freeway by way of Ventura.

WHEN: Any time of the 12 months. Santa Barbara has just one of California’s most comfy 12 months-round climates. Our recommendation would be to take into account steering clear of the busiest Amtrak trains which are all those that depart northbound Friday night time and southbound Sunday night time. At peak occasions, coach course can be standing place only. Amtrak is viewing more prospects as gasoline charges climb.

WHY: The Spanish architecture sets the mood in Santa Barbara, but the city is loaded with vacationer attractions including Stearns Wharf, the harbor and marina, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Museum of All-natural Historical past and the Courthouse as properly as parks, gardens and a sturdy downtown buying space.

HOW: The Santa Barbara Car Absolutely free Venture provides special discounts on several visitor providers in order to encourage people today to pay a visit to the city with out their car. Amtrak makes it possible for a twenty percent Santa Barbara Car Absolutely free lower price on coach fares. The adult coach fare from Oceanside to Santa Barbara, roundtrip, is $66 before lower price. Enterprise course provides reserved seating and is $16 more just about every way with no lower price. In addition to special discounts on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, there are special discounts on lodging, providers and retail merchandise. For more info, go to or telephone (805) 696-1100. For more info on the Resort Santa Barbara, a quite classically styled resort with an great continental breakfast, go to