Southern California is full of beautiful beaches and miles and miles of coastline to discover. Since over half of my time living in SoCal has been under COVID restrictions, I am now very ready to explore the world beyond my little beach town.

Wanting a quick get away, we headed to Santa Barbara, just 2 short hours north. The scenic drive on route 101 made wading through the initial Los Angeles traffic worth the effort.

As we arrived in Santa Barbara at noon time, our first stop was for an outdoor Mexican lunch at Flor de Maiz (Flavors of Mexico). Even though a coastal fog covered the normally clear ocean views from the restaurant, we were not disappointed as the food was spectacular. Every dish felt like it was straight out of someone’s favorite Abuela’s (Spanish for grandmother) kitchen. Have you ever seen a more beautiful flan?

Fancy Flan at Flor de Maiz


Settling on the iconic Leta Hotel in Goleta, just 10 minutes north of downtown Santa Barbara was a perfect choice for our overnight stay. A small intimate spot designed by the female award-winning Kimpton Global Senior VP of Design & Creative Director Ave Bradley, the ambiance was surfer-chic. The hotel staff was warm and friendly, the room was comfy and the bedding of high quality (which is my criteria for a return visit anywhere.)

Surfer chic lobby


We lounged at the pool for a bit and then sipped Happy Hour cocktails at the outdoor bar while listening to live guitar music. We stayed and relaxed at the hotel for a yummy dinner and enjoyed the big fire pit outside the bar as a cozy spot later that evening.

Fire pit fun

The next morning, we hopped in the car to find the perfect latte and French pastry in downtown Santa Barbara at Alessia Patisserie. Go early to catch the chocolate croissants. We couldn’t resist taking some freshly made quiche home for lunch, too.

This brief getaway was the first of many fun nights we were to experience up and down the California coast!

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  • Dr Sharon Ufberg

    Dr. Sharon Ufberg is a freelance writer, entrepreneurial coach, founder of Borrowed Wisdom and hosts Force of Nature on NPR’s 51% radio.

    Dr. Ufberg is a radio host and freelance journalist who writes and talks about human spirit, people and places that make a difference, women, musicians and philanthropic initiatives.She creates and teaches online personal growth courses and privately coaches individuals as the senior consultant for Borrowed Wisdom and Good Advice Works, companies she created to assist people to turn their dreams into reality.