A scenic drive, a little wine, a quaint inn, interesting dining options — now you know my ingredients for a successful baby boomer road trip. For a quick California get-away, start in Los Angeles, drive along the coast through Malibu to Santa Barbara, then turn right towards the Santa Ynez Valley and the Danish-inspired town of Solvang.
Wine Valley Inn & Cottages makes a convenient headquarters when road tripping to Solvang. Situated on Copenhagen Drive, tucked away from the traffic of Mission Drive, the boutique hotel provides quiet and convenience wrapped in a floral setting. Walk along the garden path, where a stream meanders next to ivy-covered cottages, ending at a koi pond. A complimentary continental breakfast in the antique-filled dining room provides a nourishing start to the day. Or walk a few short blocks to Paula’s Pancakes for a heartier breakfast.
Take a drive, or ride a bike, through the rolling countryside to visit the the Santa Ynez Valley’s specialty farms where boomers can wander in a lavender field, pet miniature donkeys or purchase olive oil. Adventure lovers can choose from scenic horse rides or jeep excursions. And of course you don’t want to miss a visit to area wineries for a bit of tasting.
On our March journey to Solvang, Alan and I spirited his 80-something mother away from her retirement home for a birthday road trip. She enjoyed the reminder of her Scandinavian heritage over lunch at Bit O Denmark after browsing the shops for Royal Copenhagen dinnerware. We spent another afternoon in Los Olivos, visiting the galleries before returning to Solvang for wine tasting at Taste of the Valleys followed by dinner at Café Angelica.
Check out our Coastal California road trip page for more travel ideas.