Scenic Sunday Drives: Short on Length, Long on Leisure

Smiling couple sitting in car before going on road trip

If you’re eager to hit the road again but want to hold off on a long trip that requires lots of advance planning, then scenic Sunday drives are the perfect in-between solution.

Check out these shorter stretches of road that offer all the amazing scenery without any of the commitment.

Just hop in and cruise for the day!

Old Mission Santa Barbara exterior

Old Mission Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)

On a Mission: Santa Barbara County

Distance: 56 miles one way

See three historic California missions in one afternoon along the peaceful country backroads of Santa Barbara County where you can also spot grazing animals and sip pinot in nostalgic villages.


The Route:

Start at Old Mission Santa Barbara then head north on Mission Canyons Rd., taking State Route 192 west to State Route 154 over the San Marcos Pass. Continue past Lake Cachuma to Los Olivos and turn left at Grand Avenue. Go right at Alamo Pintado Road and follow it to Mission Drive/State Route 246. Head past Mission Santa Ines through Solvang all the way to Lompoc. Then head back to Santa Barbara on Highway 1 down to the US 101 and cruise down the coast.


Along the Way:

Los Olivos: This one-horse Western town is dotted with quaint buildings that house art galleries, wine tasting rooms, and antique shops. Pick up fresh picnic items at Panino.

Quicksilver Ranch: Pull over to take a look at the adorable miniature horses before making a stop at Ostrichland USA to feed the giant birds if you’re so bold.

La Purisima Mission: California’s most resorted mission features nature trails, a beautiful fountain, a blacksmith shop, and even a few livestock on the property.


Picnic Spot:

Bring a picnic to the tables at Babcock Winery in Lompoc or just order from their menu then enjoy a glass of wine as you check out its collection of vintage rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.


After all the fun out on the open road, circle back for a relaxing stay at Channel Island Shores in spacious accommodations just steps from the beach.


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