#349 Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes

The Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes are the largest coastal dune ecosystem in California at 18 miles long. Several opportunities are available from relaxing at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, off-roading at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and camping at Pismo State Beach. Native American Chumash used the site as a fishing village and hunted alongside wild grizzly bears.

Cecil B. DeMille filmed his famous epic 'The Ten Commandments' in 1923 and buried the gigantic sets after filming. Excavated pieces of 'Egypt' have been discovered in the shifting sands. This National Natural Landmark also preserves many endangered plants and animals. Enjoy exploring these wild, uncrowded dunes.


#337 El Camino Cielo

El Camino Cielo or 'Trail to the Sky' is the most beautiful drive in Santa Barbara. Winding through the Santa Ynez Mountains of Los Padres National Forest, the road soars 4,000 feet above the city and provides stunning panoramic vistas and access to hiking trails. Sandstone canyons, towering peaks, chaparral and pine forests combine to create a diverse ecosystem.


#326 Mission La Purisima Concepción

Mission La Purisima Concepción was the 11th of the California Missions established on December 8, 1787. At its peak, the Mission controlled 470 square miles with 24,000 cattle and sheep making it famous for hides and blankets. Today, state runs the site as a State Historic Park and is the most complete mission. The Civilian Conservation Corps and National Park Service meticulously restored the structures and dedicated it on December 7, 1941 allowing visitors to travel back to the 1820's in an authentic setting.


#316 Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area

Figueroa Mountain is a Recreation Area north of Santa Barbara in Los Padres National Forest. Spring is the best time to visit when the hills and mountains put on the most stunning wildflower displays in California. Grass Mountain can become completely covered in poppies it looks orange from miles away and views from the top stretch across the Santa Ynez Valley all the way to the ocean. Whether hiking the many trails or enjoying a scenic drive, Figueroa Mountain will be an unforgettable experience.


#309 Knapp's Castle

Knapp's Castle is an abandoned mansion in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara. A trail just under one mile out and back takes you to the ruins and a stunning vista point overlooking Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez Valley. George Owen Knapp, founded of Union Carbide, created the mansion for his residence in 1916. Famous Opera Singer Lotte Lehmann moved here in 1940, but the castle was destroyed by fire only 5 weeks later.


#298 El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park preserves one of the four original presidios or military districts of Alta California. Founded on April 21st 1782, its primary purpose was to protect the mission and settlers against local attack or foreign invasion. It was also the primary government and cultural center from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo. Today, the presidio operates as a State Park Museum that offers a glimpse into the past with original and restored structures.


#287 Jalama Road Scenic Byway

Jalama Road is a 14 mile Scenic Byway between Lompoc and the ocean. The road winds through rolling hills that are a brilliant green in the winter and golden in the summer. Oak groves dot the slopes to provide shade and a haven for wildlife. At the end is the secluded Jalama Beach where you will feel worlds away to discover a pristine coast.


#276 Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is my favorite museum in Southern California and has been around since 1916. The museum beautifully showcases the surroundings of Santa Barbara from the Native American Chumash, bird & mammal halls as well as marine and plant life. The beautiful grounds run along Mission Creek. With 3.5 million specimens in its extensive collection, there is something to delight everyone during its Centennial Celebration.


#266 Gaviota State Park

Gaviota State Park or 'Seagull' in Spanish is an impressive park on the Santa Barbara Coast. Hiking trails wind through sculpted canyons of the Santa Ynez Mountains covered in Spring wildflowers. Sandy beaches lie next to sea stacks to create an unforgettable rocky coastline that drops from mountain to sea. An historic railroad trestle soars above Gaviota Creek at 811 feet. It opened in 1901 and became a regular service route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.


#256 Solvang

Solvang is an historic Danish Village on the Central Coast. Danes wanting to escape cold Midwestern Winter's founded the town in 1911 and called it Solvang or 'sunny village'. Its charming architecture, thatched roofs and windmills create a truly authentic experience along with its 200 shops and restaurants. Solvang is also the heart of Santa Barbara's wine country making it the perfect spot for tastings. A replica of Copenhagen's famous 'Little Mermaid' statue is a highlight for any visit.