Weekend in Santa Barbara for a Wedding at Santa Claus Beach

Russell and I met twelve years ago as freshmen at UCSB. Santa Barbara will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We recently had a great reason to return – to celebrate Russell’s cousin’s wedding.

It’s a five hour drive from the East Bay. We left early Saturday morning to beat the traffic. Stopped in Salinas for breakfast, and arrived in downtown Santa Barbara just in time for lunch at La Super-Rica Tacqueria.

photo 1_3 photo 2_2 We stayed near the Santa Barbara Bowl in a shared house through Air BNB. It’s not cheap in this town, so we were happy to find this gem of a place for a great deal.

The wedding was in Carpinteria at Santa Claus Beach. We were on the sand, in perfect weather, for a beautiful ceremony.

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On Sunday we spent time in Isla Vista where the mood was somber after last month’s shootings. We reminisced on all our good times by stopping by our favorite spots: Sam’s to Go for a beer, my sorority house, a walk around campus, the DLG dining commons where we first met, the beach, and Del Playa.

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This little critter wanted in on the action too.

The beach trails around campus have been renovated really nicely since we left. I’m still thinking about my walk around the labyrinth: how life is a winding path that goes at different speeds for everyone, how sometimes it feels like you’re moving away from your goal but if you keep walking, you’ll reach your center eventually.

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On our last night we went to Montecito to one of our favorite sushi restaurants, Sakana. We used to come here as broke college students for special, extravagant evenings. It still feels like a treat to be able to eat here.

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And on Monday morning we had our final meal at Backyard Bowls downtown where we fueled up on acai bowls before the long drive back. We had such a rejuvenating and fun time in Santa Barbara. I’m so ever grateful that I got to spend five years  in this paradise.

Here’s my quick and dirty guide to SB if you’re interested!


  • Villa Rosa Inn- cute cabanas in walking distance of the beach
  • Canary Hotel- Kimpton hotel with great downtown location
  • Bacara- bougie, also a good place for brunch and spa treatments
  • Air BNB
  • Arigato on State Street- fiesta roll is a must
  • Sakana Sushi in Montecito
  • Cajun Kitchen- best breakfast burritos and jambalaya with eggs
  • Butterfly Beach
  • Hammonds Beach
  • Boutiques and stores all along State Street
  • Tangerine Falls
  • Cold Spring Trail





11 thoughts on “Weekend in Santa Barbara for a Wedding at Santa Claus Beach

    • Very huge. It took a long time from start to center. I didn’t take the time to walk back out of it. If I was still a student there, I hope I would make time to do the complete walk at least a few times. It really was a great mindful exercise.

  1. I have always wanted to visit Santa Barbara. My husband is from Southern California but I’m yet to make it up to Santa Barbara. And that looks like a lovely spot for a wedding. I like the bus! Great photos! 🙂

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