Weekend Warrior: Santa Barbara Beaches

And by "warrior" I really mean "an individual who is willing to fight the difficult battle of not spending their days off just sitting on the couch binge watching Sherlock." (At least, not all of their days off.)

After that London trip, my wanderlust kicked into high gear, but knowing that my bank account wasn't ready for another European vacation and that I had to think about things like, oh, I dunno, work and life responsibilities, I made a conscious decision to try to go do more interesting things on the weekends. These activities would have to fit in the following criteria...
  • DOES...
    • Take less than 3 hours to get to by car
    • Take me outdoors
    • Afford Charles and I some quality married people time
    • Require some physical activity
    • Involve bringing Merlin, our pup, whenever possible
  • DOES NOT...
    • Require flying
    • Make my wallet weep
    • Require any special equipment
And so, the "Weekend Warrior" series begins! The criteria isn't too demanding and living in LA helps. We have the mountains to the north, the ocean to the west and the desert to the south. It's good to have options.

So, with that, I wanted to share our latest weekend jaunt that hit all the marks. If you're in LA, maybe you should try the Santa Barbara Beaches. They're especially convenient for those of us with dogs who are constantly feeling guilty about not paying enough attention to them during the work week and extra guilty about doing anything on the weekends where they can't come along.

The beaches of Santa Barbara are vast and welcoming with completely dog-friendly stretches. Your little fur nugget can even go sans-leash. Just be careful if they don't do well with other dogs because these areas are filled with happy canines fetching balls out of the water, galloping around together, and greeting you with slobbery kisses and sandy paws. (It almost goes without saying, but don't wear your fancy clothes for this little excursion.) It's a little like what I imagine dog heaven might look like without piles of steak every 10 feet and a magical tennis ball machine that shoots balls out every 30 seconds.

This isn't our first trip to the area, but it's been at least a year or more. What we found to be the best plan of attack is to park by one of the beach entrances far away from the crowds and start there.

Find out more info on this area on Google Maps here.
I can't even tell you how good it was to be back. When we got to the sand, we freed our furry friend and started walking. Charles and I like taking our shoes off, walking along the water's edge and finding nice rocks to bring home and, for rock enthusiasts, there are plenty of really interesting ones that wash up.

So, we walked and walked and walked.

And we also ran at some points.

And when we were wiped out and starving, we hopped back in the car and made our way to the center of town where there are tons of cafes, restaurants, shops, and things to do. We relaxed, enjoyed a snack, and reveled in the seaside experience we just had. At this point, Merlin was completely exhausted.

So, that's it. We got in the car and drove home. Merlin was asleep the entire ride, dreaming of endless beaches with his salty paws twitching. Charles and I were pleasantly riding on a wave of post-beach bliss with sandy shoes and pockets full of rocks.

It's exactly what we needed and helped us refocus our energies on ourselves and each other. That's what weekend jaunts are all about. Enjoying life. To be fair, I forget to do that a lot, but I'm making a real effort and I'm pretty sure Charles and Merlin are completely on board with me.

What's your favorite weekend excursion or activity? I'd love to check out your suggestions! xo!

Additional Pointers When Visiting the Beach:
  • Even when you think it might be cool out, the sun is still strong and there's no shade on the beach, so dress in layers, don't forget your sunglasses, and get some sunblock on.
  • No public restrooms for a good long while - don't forget to hit a bathroom before you start walking.
  • Dog people, don't forget your baggies. Dog poop is already unpleasant, but it can be REALLY unpleasant in a situation where people aren't wearing shoes.
  • Keep towels in the car - before you hop back in your vehicle, do your dog a favor and wipe them down. Get all the sand our of their fur and paws so they can be comfy. Some stations along the beach also have doggy wash stations, so that's always great if your dog is REALLY into running around in the ocean.

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