Day 8 of my cross-country roadtrip found me in my old college stomping grounds of Santa Barbara, CA. I picked up another one of my college roommates, Sandy, while passing through Los Angeles and together we drove up the coast to Santa Barbara to spend a day wandering around our old college town. I LOVE this city so much and will absolutley be returning time and time again, especially now that I live back on the West Coast. This visit was far too short, but we still tried to squeeze in as much as we could in one day. Check out my highlights from the day below!
Wander the UCSB Campus
Considering we spent the majority of our time on this campus, it only made sense for this to be our first stop of the day. The University of California, Santa Barbara is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the town of Goleta. It’s situated on a point overlooking the Pacific Ocean, making it, in my opinion, the most beautiful college campus in the country. On one sie of campus is the ocean and the other are the Santa Ynez Mountains. We strolled throughout the campus and managed to sneak into our freshman dorm, walked along the bluff outside the dorm that overlooks the ocean, wandered through the newly renovated library, and took a stroll along the campus lagoon. It was so nice to be back walking around this perfect campus without the pressure of having to attend class or complete any assignments.
Stroll Along the Pier in Downtown
Downtown Santa Barbara has plenty of stores and restaurants that could easily fill a day. State Street is a great place to start in the downtown area if you are looking for something to do – if you park nearby and just start walking you are bound to find something to interest you. I much prefer lower State Street, as close to the ocean as you can get. If you keep walking down the street you’ll eventually hit the pier which is one of my favorite places in town. Walk out to the end of the pier and you will see sail boats, kayaks, fishermen, and so many birds. I’ve even seen athletes swimming all the way around the pier…crazy! There are also plenty of shops for souveniers, salt water taffy, and restaurants to try while you are there.
Dip Your Toes in the Ocean
If you visit in summer, you absolutely must swim in the ocean. Visiting in February like I did, however, isn’t the best time for swim. But you can still at least dip your toes in the water and dream of being on a beach vacation! The morning I left SB, I spent a good while standing ankle deep in the water, just admiring the endless expanse of water in front of me. There’s also something about watching waves crash on the sand that is the perfect background scence for thinking and reflecting. Even though it was a little chilly, both in and out of the water, being barefoot in the sand feeling the water was a perfect end to my visit.
Eat Like a Gaucho
Santa Barbara has some amazing high-end restaurants downtown that I definitely could never eat at during college. Instead, us college students would eat all the food in Isla Vista, the community next to campus. Sandy and I took some time sampling some of our favorite foods from our college years like these Freebirds nachos. These overloaded, greesy, cheesy nachos were our go-to snack after a late night out. Now, they weren’t quite the same but still held fun memories! We also had smoothies from Blenders and shared a slice of Woodstocks Pizza. There are so many restaurants throughout Isla Vista that you could easily spend a day just eating your way through the town!