Answers from Our Experts (1)
The Central Coast spans from Santa Barbara to Monterey and includes sandy beaches, rocky coastline, charming villages and wonderful wineries. If you’re looking for the true Central Coast experience, book some spa time at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, go wine tasting in Santa Barbara, visit Hearst Castle, stroll through downtown Santa Barbara and make a stop in Solvang.
1. The quaint little town of Ojai is home to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, a Spanish Colonial-style resort surrounded by rolling green hills. The recently renovated hotel includes Spa Ojai, where treatments take place in cozy rooms with murals and fireplaces. In addition to all the standard treatments, the Native American-inspired spa offers a group treatment involving clay mud and heat, and also features an artist’s cottage and apothecary.
2. Santa Barbara is a great place for wine tasting in the area. It is under an hour from Los Olivos, a picture-perfect town with wine tasting rooms and wonderful little restaurants. Surrounding Los Olivos, you’ll find dozens of wineries, including Babcock Winery and Firestone Vineyards.
3. The spectacular home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst is open to the public and a tour is a must. Buses take guests up a windy road to the top of a hill where the Hearst Castle is located. The best part: the breathtaking Roman indoor pool featuring floor-to-ceiling mosaic tiles in shades of blue and orange.
4. Downtown Santa Barbara is a lovely area filled with shops, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Betsey Johnson, and wonderful restaurants like Bouchon Santa Barbara, which features wine country cuisine. Visitors will also find art galleries, theaters, cafes and lounges.
5. The quirky Danish town of Solvang has a variety of galleries, a wine tasting room and bakeries selling Danish pastries. Much of the film Sideways was filmed here.