The Quintessential Casual California Day in Goleta

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One thing I really love about California is that there are so many places that are perfect for an impromptu weekend trip. The laid-back style here means you can come as you are just about anywhere. Even if you don't have detailed plans, the scenery always lends itself to perfect memory-making.

We recently partnered up with Go Goleta to feature their down-to-earth town – and it was such a great fit for our active and outdoorsy family! Here's how our quick trip went down.

Toddler playing around on the grass in Goleta CA

An early-afternoon check-in at Pacifica Suites left us with time to hit up their free happy hour snacks in the lobby. We enjoyed the family-friendly grounds for a bit. There was so much space for the kids to stretch their legs after being in the car for a few hours!

Hollister Brewing Company fish tacos Goleta

Next, we headed on over to Hollister Brewing Company for dinner. We pretty much gorged on their phenomenal duck fat fries, leaving just enough room for their tasty fish tacos.

Goleta Beach Park

After that, it was time to head off to Goleta Beach Park for some play and the most beautiful sunset we've seen in awhile.

Ellwood Mesa Bluffs Goleta CA

The next morning, after a free buffet-style breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Ellwood Mesa for a walk along the bluffs. We parked at the end of Santa Barbara Shores Drive near Carmel Beach Circle for a quick and easy jaunt in as opposed to walking the entire loop. This was the perfect spot for baby-snuggles and kite-flying!

Playing in the trees at Ellwood Mesa Bluffs Goleta CA

The boys were also pretty stoked about all the trees that were perfect for climbing.

Fairview Gardens

From there, we headed to Fairview Gardens to check out their organic farm stand, play around their tractors and explore a self-guided tour that showcases sustainable agriculture (we also spent a bit of time eyeballing one of their yurts, since we've been thinking about getting one for our own little plot of acreage).

Bacara Resort pool with kids

After a quick afternoon nap, things took a fanciful turn at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Bacara Resort. My grandpa has timeshares at a couple five-star resorts in Mexico, and the service here was totally reminiscent of my childhood memories there. The scenery was stunning, everyone was helpful and kind, and you really can't help but relax here.

Swimming with the kids at Bacara Resort Pool

Even our oldest – who struggles with anxiety a bit – was splish-splashing like a fish! We've practiced and practiced, but he's never been totally comfortable in the water until this moment. The shallow wading pool was exactly what he needed, as he doggy-paddled from one side to the other exclaiming, “Look mom, I can touch the bottom the whole time!”

The Bistro at Bacara

Dinner was at The Bistro – named one of Open Table's Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America – where Nate and I got to squeeze in a mini date moment over Thai Brussels Sprouts and Filet Mignon while the boys took turns rolling down the grassy knoll next to the patio.

Goleta is the perfect California blend of oh-so-casual, stunningly beautiful and great for families.

It was utterly perfect, and the boys are already begging to go back.

I must say, I'm pretty eager to oblige them.

Have you ever been to Goleta?


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