Get a sense for the amazing scenery and incredible history just beyond the urban center of Los Angeles during this 12-hour day trip to visit Santa Barbara, the magnificent Hearst Castle and much more. It's a great way to go beyond the typical tourist hot spots in Los Angeles and San Francisco for a unique look at the diverse attractions of California.
Start your trip in the morning, leaving from either the Los Angeles Farmers Market or the Four Points by Sheraton in Culver City. Head north by coach along the jaw-dropping California coastline, making your first stop of the day in the town of Solvang. This quiet hamlet, situated in the Santa Ynes Valley and originally founded by Danish settlers, played a key role in the iconic film Sideways. Admire the city’s unique Danish-inspired architecture and Little Mermaid monument, based on the story by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The statue is a reproduction of a similar public artwork in Copenhagen. Don't forget to stop by Solvang’s tasty Danish bakeries and Danish-themed shops before leaving town.
Continue your trip at the renowned Hearst Castle. Your memorable visit to the estate of William Randolph Hearst takes you on an in-depth visit inside the luxurious home of this renowned media magnate. Once a frequent hotspot for Hollywood’s elite, Hearst Castle is packed with a floor-to-ceiling collection of artwork and antiquities that spans the globe. Check out Greek pottery that dates from 800 BC alongside priceless oriental rugs and elegant statues. In Hearst’s heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, invitations to this estate were a hot commodity, so be sure to document your visit to prove to others you were there.
Proceed next to Santa Barbara. When you arrive in town, head to the city’s Old Mission, a religious structure that helped give the city its name. You’ll also hear from your guide about the role these Spanish settlements played in the founding of the state of California. Then check out Santa Barbara’s harbor and explore its sublime beaches.
After finishing your excursion in Santa Barbara, continue back along the coast as you return to Los Angeles. It’s a laid-back, scenic way to end your wonderful day along California’s incredible diverse coastal areas.