A Weekend in Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara area is considered The American Riviera. A city with beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, unique architecture, and a much more relaxed pace than nearby LA. If you are looking for a California getaway, Santa Barbara is one of the very best places!

Our Girls Weekend Away!

We started the weekend off by checking into the beautiful Belmond El Encanto and spending the afternoon poolside. The views and the cocktails made for perfect post-flight place to soak up some Vitamin D!

For dinner, we decided to “dip our toes” into the famous Funk Zone, an area of Santa Barbara known for its restaurants, shops, and Urban Wineries. By recommendation of a friend, we chose to have dinner at Carlito’s Cantina. The Margaritas were amazing and I would highly recommend trying it out if you visit the area.

After dinner, we went back to the gorgeous resort and rested up for a busy Saturday!

Saturday morning we went took the short drive to the trailhead for Inspiration Point. This hike was easy (I would recommend for children over age 5) and has some of the best views in the area. It was a great way to start the day— approximately a two hour roundtrip excursion. Unfortunately, the fires in the area spoiled the view a bit, but I’m still so glad we did this!

After the hike, we freshened up, put our swimsuits on and headed toward the beach! Before swimming, we stopped at a local taco stand that I highly recommend — East Beach Tacos (I’m still dreaming of my Ahi Tuna Taco!).

We then hit the sand and waves at Butterfly beach! After strolling along this famous beach, we took a quick drive to Montecito to check out the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort. I love the beach bar at the Rosewood Miramar and also loved how there are actually houses and restaurants directly on the beach; a rarity in California.

Saturday ended with another visit to the Funk Zone and Stern’s Wharf. I loved this area; I loved walking around, seeing the skaters in the skate park, watching the sail boats in the water! It was the perfect Saturday evening!

On Sunday, we started the day with Brunch at the hotel then ventured out to Los Olivos (about an hour from Santa Barbara) to check out this quaint little town and visit a famous winery in the area, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. The wine was amazing but note; if you want to do a tasting on the patio you must be 21+, however, you can order a glass of wine and sit in the yard if you have your family in tow. Side note: I realized on this trip that I have an affinity for taking photos of my cocktails (or wine) — I’m a complete sucker for a great drink with amazing views.

After the winery visit, we promised Keki a shopping trip. We went to the outdoor shopping area in Santa Barbara called Paseo Nuevo; I’m not sure I would recommend this for most visitors as most of the stores in this mall have locations elsewhere, but Keki was a happy camper.

We finished this day and our trip, just as we started it, poolside!

Where to Stay Santa Barbara

Belmond El Encanto– for guests wanting exquisite views and a unique sense of place. I loved this property for it’s romantic vibe, beautiful gardens, and casita style accommodations.

Four Seasons Santa Barbara– for guests wanting a sense of place right at the edge of Butterfly Beach.

Hotel Californian– perfect for those wanting to be right in the heart of the funk zone! Walk right out your door and be in the action of the best shopping and dining.

Rosewood Miramar Beach– if you are looking for the most glamorous hotel in the area, the Rosewood Miramar Beach is your place. The decor is so chic and the beachside bar made me wish I had packed my Sperry’s and shoulder sweater. This is also perfect for anyone who wants to have an accommodation right on the beach, it’s one of the only places I can think of in all of California that offers that kind of an accommodation!

San Ysidro Ranch– lastly, if you are looking for a romantic getaway with history, San Ysidro ranch is the place. John F Kennedy and Jackie honeymooned at this idyllic spot nestled in the hills overlooking the area. All of the unique cottages offer something different for everyone.

As a reminder, booking any of these properties through the Shameless Tourist offers you exclusive benefits (like breakfast and resort credits, room upgrades, etc!) and VIP status! We would love to help plan your next trip to Santa Barbara!

Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel, VIP Tours, Club 33 and more

Disneyland offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the Magic of Disney in a less stressful, more nostalgic, and a little different way.

If you have boys (or girls!) who like the Cars Movies or Monster’s Inc, Disneyland offers a lot of fun that isn’t available at Walt Disney World.  Radiator Springs Racers is one of my most favorite rides in all of the Disney Parks!  Some of the rides we remember as children only remain at Disneyland Park like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary Adventures.  The proximity of the parks to each other and the hotels makes for an easy day, or as I suggest, long weekend, at Disney Parks.

Anyways, I had the honor of being invited to our Gold Key Advisor meeting at Disneyland in October.  Favorite thing from the trip?  Dinner at Club 33, which was truly a bucket list item for me!  I took away so much from the short visit and wanted to share a few of my favorite tips and tricks–

  • DO: Visit during the Fall!  Great Weather, perfect decor, and the Nightmare Before Christmas layover on Haunted Mansion is worth a visit in itself.
  • DO: Make sure to get great seats for World of Color– it is truly magical!
  • DO: Spend more than a day, Disneyland is a 3 day trip in my opinion!


As always with any Disney Park, if you can splurge on a Disney VIP guide, do so.  It makes all the difference in a trip and I strongly encourage them for anyone who can only visit the parks for a day or two!

Where to Stay: Being recently remodeled and in the heart of everything, the Grand Californian is always a great option.  I also recommend the Resort at Pelican Hill for those looking for a little more pampering, huge accommodations, an amazing pool and kids club, and more.  Just a 20 minute drive from all of the action in Anaheim, it makes for a perfect place to stay for those who don’t mind the short drive or a great addition to any vacation.