Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

< Previous | List | Next > Depart Los Angeles on Highway 1/101, head into Santa Monica Mountains, visit Santa Barbara and sleep in Santa Maria

Driving into Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles Around 10am, we headed north on 405, then east on 10 until we reached Highway 1 in Santa Monica. At Topanga Beach, I headed north on instinct, driving up Highway 27 into the Santa Monica Mountains [NPS]. The Santa Monica Mountains are a National Recreational Area. A PDF map is available. After a short drive on Highway 27, I turned left onto Old Topanga Canyon Road. Drove through the mountains and reached Mulholland Highway.

After driving on Mulholland Highway, we stopped for about an hour at Rocky Oaks, before heading back down to Highway 1. While this little place certainly paled in comparison with the sights to come, it was nevertheless a nice way to acclimatize and get into the right mood.

We followed Highway 1 until it became Highway 101, and followed it to Santa Barbara. We first visited Stearns Wharf, the "oldest working pier on the West coast", which was built in 1872 and is 1900 feet long.

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse The Red Tile Tour is supposed to show you a number of historic buildings with quite a bit of Spanish influences, but I wasn't too thrilled. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, built in 1929, was already closed when we arrived around 5pm.

I took Highway 154, passing San Marcus Pass (2,225ft) and stopped at a Vista Point shortly afterwards to take a few pictures. We rejoined Highway 101 and drove on to Santa Maria, where we had dinner, and for the only time on our travel, took advantage of any motel swimming- and whirl-pool.

Miles driven: 197mi (317km)

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Comfort Inn (Santa Maria, CA): $60.30 plus 10% tax