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Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

Copenhagen, Denmark
1 post
Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

Hi all,

We are a family (2 adults, 2 kids ages 4 and 6 + 2 grandparents) heading to California for a wedding this summer (July). We will be staying in LA for 3-4 days before heading to San Francisco. On the way north we are planning to stop for a couple of days in either Santa Barbara or Monterey to enjoy some coastal scenery, a nice town and hotel with a pool environment that's nice for kids.

Could anyone advise us as to whether Santa Barbara or Monterey would be the best stop? Santa Barbara's climate is obviously significantly warmer (more pleasant for hanging out by the pool), but Monterey and the area around it may have more to offer for the whole family. Also, it would seem wiser to drive most of the way to SF when leaving LA, rather than just heading to Santa Barbara and then having a long drive north when we head to SF.

Any reflections on this would be much appreciated?

Thanks in advance and best regards,


5 replies to this topic
Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,063 posts
10 reviews
1. Re: Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

The LA to SF drive is best with more than 1 stop off. Since Santa Barbara is only 2 hours from LA, spend one night there and one in Monterey.

If you only want to stay in one place for both days, then Pismo Beach is the logical midway stop. But it also means missing out on so much more of the California coastline due to limiting yourself to one destination.

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,325 posts
435 reviews
2. Re: Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

What she said ^^^

Level Contributor
3,176 posts
1 review
3. Re: Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

Me three.

I'd make one stop Pismo (or perhaps Avila) Beach and then Monterey. The drive from either 1) SB to SF or 2) LA to Monterey is awfully long for two kids the ages of yours. Actually, it's a long drive for me too :)

California is a bit state (the size of Italy). Distances are likely a lot longer than what you might be used to.

Edited: 18 February 2018, 17:50
San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
21,260 posts
76 reviews
4. Re: Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

It's not Santa Barbara "vs" Monterey, it's Santa Barbara "AND" Monterey. In other words, what they ^^^ said.

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
988 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Santa Barbara vs. Monterey

ideally...one night in santa barbara and two nights in monterey.

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