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Drive From LA to Santa Barbara?

Drive From LA to Santa Barbara?

Old Aug 3, 14, 3:35 am
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Drive From LA to Santa Barbara?

Hi all. Have a business trip in Santa Barbara in a few weeks and was wondering if the drive from LA up to SB was worth taking, rather than flying LAX to SBA?

A little bit of background which may sway opinions. I am flying from MAN, and will arrive on a Saturday evening. Thinking of spending the night in a hotel local to LAX before driving up to Santa Barbara on the sunday? I start working on the Monday so would only have one day to do the drive up.

However, if the drive isn't worth it, id take the option of a few hours in LAX (or possibly SFO, as i may change my routing) then fly onto SBA.

Hope the above makes sense, all opinions welcomed.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by SheBangsTheDrums View Post
Hi all. Have a business trip in Santa Barbara in a few weeks and was wondering if the drive from LA up to SB was worth taking, rather than flying LAX to SBA?

A little bit of background which may sway opinions. I am flying from MAN, and will arrive on a Saturday evening. Thinking of spending the night in a hotel local to LAX before driving up to Santa Barbara on the sunday? I start working on the Monday so would only have one day to do the drive up.

However, if the drive isn't worth it, id take the option of a few hours in LAX (or possibly SFO, as i may change my routing) then fly onto SBA.

Hope the above makes sense, all opinions welcomed.
Highway 1 and Santa Barbara vicinities are very nice to drive around. I'd use this opportunity.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 4:10 am
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Drive From LA to Santa Barbara?

FYI there is a regular bus service between SBA and LAX.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 4:21 am
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I would recommend the drive... very nice route, take it slow and maybe have a nice lunch somewhere along the coast. Just hope the weather is nice that day.

Also making a stop at the Getty villa in Malibu is worth your time. Just reserve some free tickets (parking is $15) in advance through the website.

Last edited by RTW1; Aug 3, 14 at 7:17 am
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Old Aug 3, 14, 5:29 am
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You might want to consider taking Hwy 1 on the drive up, then take Hwy 101 on the drive back.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 7:00 am
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Amtrak has multiple departures daily.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 7:44 am
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If you have time hwy 1 is the way to go for scenery.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 8:40 am
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As this query pertains to one geography, we'll move this over to the California destination forum for further discussion. Thanks! /JY1024, TravelBuzz co-moderator
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by JY1024 View Post
As this query pertains to one geography, we'll move this over to the California destination forum for further discussion. Thanks! /JY1024, TravelBuzz co-moderator
Thanks for the move JY1024

Thanks all for the suggestions, my heart was saying take the drive, just wanted that extra nudge in the right direction.

Been on the west coast several times but never made it out of any of the cities!

Rooooooad triiiiiiip (mini one anyway)
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Old Aug 3, 14, 10:04 am
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As suggested above, avoid as much of the 405 and 101 freeways as possible and take Highway 1 where it is available. If you are still on the 101 as you approach Santa Barbara, be sure to get off at Cabrillo Blvd (exit 94B) and take Cabrillo into Santa Barbara. There is a huge arts and crafts show every Sunday in the park along Cabrillo close to Stearns Wharf.
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Old Aug 4, 14, 11:37 am
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All things being equal, I would say take the drive, particularly if you have the time to stay on the Pacific Coast Highway all the way. PCH between Malibu, California, and Ventura, California, is terrific. (Heck, I even like the drive that includes US 101 up until the two roads merge in Ventura, but that's just me. )

That said, I'm not sure if I would trade the drive (as nice as it is) for extra time in Santa Barbara, California. Santa Barbara's pretty magical. And I might put a higher priority on spending an extra evening there. You didn't say where you'll be staying in Santa Barbara, but I'd wager that it's nicer than most hotels in the vicinity of LAX.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by SheBangsTheDrums View Post
Thanks all for the suggestions, my heart was saying take the drive, just wanted that extra nudge in the right direction.
I think you'll enjoy the drive. Plan to make at least half a day out of it.

You mentioned above that you might change your flights to SFO.... If you're looking for a truly epic road trip, consider booking your flight in to LAX and out of SFO (or vice-versa) and then also drive the coast route between Santa Barbara and San Francisco. It's one of the finest scenic drives in the US.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 2:09 pm
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Originally Posted by SheBangsTheDrums View Post
Hi all. Have a business trip in Santa Barbara in a few weeks and was wondering if the drive from LA up to SB was worth taking, rather than flying LAX to SBA?
The drive is only 100 miles. There is not much traffic on Saturday or Sunday and it will probably take about 90 minutes to get there. And it is a nice drive. You can even stop by Camarillo Premium Outlets to do some shopping.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 2:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Need View Post
The drive is only 100 miles. There is not much traffic on Sunday and it will probably take about 90 minutes to get there. It is faster to drive there than flying (with going thru airport security and other stuff), and it is a nice drive. You can even stop by Camarillo Premium Outlets to do some shopping.
It's been a few years since I have done this drive, but traffic on this route *can* be pretty nasty. Dunno about you, but I dislike sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, so you can keep an eye on SigAlert.com to see how the traffic flows around the time of day you are considering the trip.

Again, it's been a few years but what I would expect is heavy traffic going from LA to SB on Friday/Saturday, and heavy traffic going from SB to LA on Sunday, especially in the afternoon. A holiday can change this pattern, but that is the usual weekend traffic pattern.

If I were in your shoes, I'd roll reasonably early on Sunday and try to grab breakfast or brunch in SB.

While the drive can be quite nice, and it certainly affords more freedom of movement, the train from LA Union Station to SB can be decent. That same Web site offers additional details about how this can be done. You can download a map which might give you a clearer idea regarding whether this seems good to you.

Last edited by zippy the pinhead; Aug 6, 14 at 2:28 pm Reason: Added information
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Old Aug 7, 14, 7:27 am
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Thank you for the replies. Have now booked and am arriving two days early to accommodate the drive (also heck of a lot cheaper flight-wise, BA from MAN to LAX via LHR). Anyway, the important stuff.

I am going to have the Sunday to drive from the hotel at LAX to Santa Barbara, I intend to take the PCH all the way. Can anyone suggest a nice scenic place for lunch on the way? Also, anything you think might be nice for a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll/explore on-route?

On the Monday I have the day free in SB. Likewise, anything you can suggest, within reasonable driving distance to spend some time.

I guess I'm really looking for anything scenic/nature related; however any ideas would be welcomed.

Fingers crossed for some sunshine!
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