Goleta is a small town in Santa Barbara county just 15 minutes outside Santa Barbara city. This is a quiet community on the beach off the main grid surrounded by parks, marine conservation areas, beach caves, wind caves in Goleta, hot springs, Knapps’ Castle, and right outside of Cachuma Lake where you can camp and do recreational activities on the water, and not far from Solvang little dutch town, and hiking Figueroa Mountain filled with purple lupins. In Goleta is a private owned land on the beach called Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm. They have around 6 greenhouses and host events like weddings. They have beautiful private beach and property that is on a hill overlooking the coast. Some of the greenhouses they rent out to campers on Hip Camp to come stay on private beach outside Santa Barbara. They also have a farm with a turkey, goats, pigs, chickens and roosters. The animals are cute and friendly and are so fun to get to play with right down from the greenhouses.
How to get there
La/Orange County to Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is about a 2 hour drive north outside of La and Orange County area. You stay on the US 101 N the whole way exiting off into the city. This is the first leg of the journey. From here you get to the campground area in about 35 minutes and the town of Goleta in about 15-20 minutes. This is a great place to stop and have lunch on your way or shop in Santa Barbara or go to the beach.
Santa Barbara to Goleta/ Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm
From Santa Barbara city you take the 101 N for 15 minutes and take exit 105 which is Fairview Ave into Goleta, Ca or continue on the US 101 N for 13 more minutes to reach the Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm. The exit is 113 from the 101 N and then you follow Naples Access Rd to La Casa Grande Circle.
Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm
This Orchid Farm started in 1943, Samuel Mosher of The Signal Oil and Gas Company purchased the 45,000 acres of Rancho Dos Pueblos. He transformed part of the property into the one of the largest orchid farms in the world. His prize winning orchids and exotic flowers were well known. With his degree in agriculture from UC Berkeley, Mr. Mosher developed orchid hybrids that were hardy and affordable. Dos Pueblos Orchid Company sold millions of orchids per year. The land now is still maintained beautifully and used to host events, parties, and special celebrations that can be rented out. There are also camping areas designated that are rented out to the public. This is a beautiful oceanside farm on the bluffs overlooking the ocean in a beautiful lush jungle of land. There are many greenhouses that hold the orchids as well as some farm animals and gardens.
Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm
301 La Casa Grande Circle
Goleta CA 93117
The Orchid Farm has lots of green houses on its property that are used for animals, plants, and orchids as well as event centers for weddings and other events. There is a greenhouse that is rented out on Hip Camp for camping. The camping spot is located on a private farm cliffside with the ocean and private beach access for surfing as well as a pizza oven where you can make homemade pizzas. There are wooden yoga decks that are built cliffside over the ocean to do sunrise or sunset yoga sessions overlooking the beach. There are hiking and walking trails in the property and different tables and chairs to enjoy the views all around. There are two camping areas and we stayed at the Eclectic Beach Greenhouse. This is the antique glass greenhouse with a barn of animals with sweeping views of the Gaviota Coast. There are a couple wood shanties inside the greenhouse you can stay in or put up tents in the mulch and camp fire area of the greenhouse. There is also a bathroom with a semi outdoor shower overlooking the ocean and hills beyond.
The private beach is not even a 10 minute walk from the bohemian greenhouse. There is great surfing and open sandy beaches as well as a rockier section of the coast if you walk down 30 minutes or so. There is a lean two hut built for shade and relaxing on the private beach and wildflowers and chairs are set on the bluff of the beach.
Right next door to the antique glass greenhouse you camp in, there is an animals pen that is right down the hall. There are goats, turkeys, chickens, roosters and pigs. They all live together in the pens and have names. One of the cutest goats names is Dolly and she has crazy eyes. If you feed them they love you forever. It was so fun to play with the cute animals and feed them.
There is an old school clay pizza oven inside of the greenhouse that you can use to cook while you are there. You must start the fire early because the oven takes a long time to heat up and prepare to cook. Homemade pizzas tasted amazing in the evening after watching the sunset in our greenhouse and beginning to see the stars come out above through the glass. There is a picnic table as well to eat at inside the greenhouse.
Things to do
Gaviota State Park
A nearly 3,000-acre park extending from the ocean to the mountains, with hiking, swimming & fishing. This park is the most beautiful part of Goleta, Ca right outside of Santa Barbara. There is so much hiking in and connected to the Los Padres mountains as well as beaches and coastal access. The trails and caves as well as hot springs to be found in this area are beautiful and not as crowded or well known.
Gaviota Wind Caves
Gaviota Wind Caves is one of the best hikes in this area and has the best views of the valley and ocean in the distance. This is a 2 mile trail that is a moderate level. The hills are green and come alive with yellow wildflowers in the spring. I have never been on this trail with more than a few other people at a time and it always amazes me. The trail is pretty steep and you are rewarded with coming to a series of about 5 caves to explore and get amazing views from above. The hike has beautiful wind sculpted caves up on the hill and the best coastal views. This hike has FREE PARKING on the road. No fee or permit is required to hike to the Gaviota Wind Caves!!!
Miles: 2 miles
Elevation: 492 feet
Type: out & back
Parking/Trailhead: After exiting the road at Gaviota Campground you will keep right to go up the hill from the campground entrance. When you reach the top of the hill you will immediately park on the right hand side right next to the mountain lions sign and the above gate.
Trail: The trail begins by following an old road along Gaviota creek moving inland. This part is mostly flat with lots of riparian birds. As you head towards the hills, you can see the final destination as a series of holes in the sandstone outcroppings ahead. After about 3/4 of a mile you will start the ascending switchback, which is very well-maintained. Continue along the ridgeline and you’ll come to the first wind cave. Cross through the wind cave and the trail gets much steeper with a couple of switch backs until you reach the bottom of the second cave. There is a trail to your left, or you can scramble straight up. The views from the top are beautiful.
Gaviota Hot Springs
Gaviota Hot Springs is a rustic and primitive rock walled tub in the Los Padres National Forest along the central coast of California. This hot springs is also known as Las Cruces Hot Springs and is clothing optional and day use only. Gaviota Hot Springs accessibility is good. You can drive up to the hot springs parking area. There is a fee for parking. Once at the hot springs it is about a mile hike uphill on a dirt road. This spot is difficult to find I will admit and it took me quite some time. There are not many clear signs or marking which is why this is a more private and less trekked spot which makes it nice and peaceful.
Location: From Santa Barbara, California it is 35 miles or a 40 minute drive.
Directions: From Santa Barbara California take US-101 N. Take exit 132 from US-101 N 32 min (34.9 mi) Drive to Gaviota Park Boundary
1 min (0.3 mi)
Hot Springs: Gaviota Hot Springs has two hot springs areas. The main hot spring is a cemented rock walled tub. It fits about 6 people. The hot water comes out of the hot springs like carbonated soda water. The temperature of the hot springs is about 100 degrees, The temperature varies according to the season. The hot springs area is the runoff from the main pool. It is about 95 degrees depending on the season.
Tips: There are lots of bugs in the spring when I went so be sure to bring bug spray! This hot springs is managed by California State Park. Gate for parking closes at dark. Nearest camping is Gaviota Beach State Park. This is a sulfur hot springs so there is a smell that is pretty strong so come prepared. Dogs and pets are allowed but must be leashed and should not enter the springs.
Point Mugu Hike
This is the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains and has a carpet of wildflowers in the spring all the way to the top of the summit. This hike is in the southern part of Point Mugu State Park. Low rolling mountains, sweeping meadows of native grass, spectacular coastal views, and a few sections of steep ascent make this a great way to spend a morning. Highly recommended in the spring for the wildflowers in full bloom almost the whole trail.
Miles: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 1255 ft gain
Type: out and back
Time: around 3 hours
Trail: Point Mugu State Park starts in Ventura County through some of the most glorious parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It’s one of my favorite places to hike in Southern California, because of the wildflowers, areas of rare native grassland, and an extensive trail system.
This loop around Mugu Peak starts on the southern end of the park, just outside the Point Mugu Naval Academy Base. In fact, the trailhead is just across the Pacific Coast Highway from the rifle range — which can sometimes hear from your hike. The dirt parking lot can be easy to miss as you’re coasting down the PCH, so be sure to slow down when you’re getting close to the Navy grounds.
There’s only one trail from the parking lot, and it’s marked with a large distance sign, as well as the requisite warning about ticks (even in mid January, I spotted a handful of the bloodsuckers waiting on grass along the trail!). Tighten your laces, pull up your socks, and start climbing up the Chumash Trail. The parking lot is free.
The Chumash Trail makes a steep ascent up the first incline, rising 870 feet in the first .65 miles. If it’s hot out, you’re going to feel this section — but it’s the steepest part of the entire loop, so don’t get discouraged.
If you’re just aiming for a quick trip to the peak, climb up this very steep trail for .4 miles and return the way you came. But if you’re here for the loop, veer left at the intersection with the Mugu Peak Trail and ignore the use trail that climbs the north slope of the peak, instead continuing east on the Chumash Trail.
This the La Jolla Valley Natural Preserve, a jaw-dropping series of rolling meadows. You can make out the prominent and aptly-named Boney Ridge almost immediately on the trail as I have pictured above.
Santa Barbara Leadbetter Beach
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Where the mountains and the sea collide. Two of the best places!! So fun to hike the Los Padres mountains one day and gaze upon them from the sea the next knowing you were way up there 🙂 #breakingspring2015 #mountains #beach #santa barbara #findyourpark #westcoastbestcoast #neverstopexploring #sheroams #andshesdopetoo #outdoorwomen #theoutbound #radgirlscollective #adrenalist #alpinebabes
Leadbetter Beach is one of the central and most beautiful beaches in Santa Barbara. This is the main city beach offering both white sand & a grass lawn, plus picnic areas, showers & restrooms. In the spring there are wildflowers growing in patches on the beach greenery as well and it is beautiful! On this beach is the wharf and harbor as well that you can walk around and look at the boats. There are mountain views of the Padres from the beach street in the background in between tall palms. This area is so fun to walk around and explore.
Shoreline Park Beach Caves
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I can apparently find a cave anywhere my spidey cave senses call to my inner cave woman hahahahahahah #cavewoman #santabarbara #breakingspring2015 #findyourpark #westcoastbestcoast #neverstopexploring #sheroams #andshesdopetoo #outdoorwomen #theoutbound #radgirlscollective #adrenalist #alpinebabes
Shoreline Park is a popular park overlooking the water offers a playground, grassy areas, walking paths & beach access. This beach in Santa Barbara has large caves that in low tide are really cool spots to explore and seek shade from the sun. The caves from the main park area are south near Santa Barbara Point and coming to the edge of Leadbetter Beach.
Topanga Overlook Hike
Topanga Overlook hike is inside Topanga State Park and is an amazing view of the Santa Monica mountains and reaches what is referred to as Rosas Overlook. This is a concrete graffiti art slab in the middle of the mountains with panoramic views that are beautiful.
Trailhead: Santa Monica Mountains. From Pacific Coast Highway, take Sunset Blvd. 0.3 miles to Paseo Miramar. Go left on Paseo Miramar, which is a winding, narrow street, and follow it to the end where there is on-street parking before a vehicle gate. If necessary, park a little farther down on Paseo Miramar; pay attention to the signed restrictions.
Trailhead address: 23300 Saddle Peak Road, Topanga Canyon, CA 90290
Miles: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 1100 feet gain
Type: out & back
Time: around 2.5 hours
- More information: Trip descriptions here, here (with the addition of the Los Liones Trail) and here; area trail map here; Everytrail report here
This hike includes some of the best ocean, mountain and city views around. The Topanga Overlook (also known as the Parker Mesa Overlook) is challenging, climbing over 1,000 feet, but navigation and terrain are easy. If you are looking to explore the Santa Monica Mountains, this hike is a great place to start.
From the end of Paseo Miramar, begin a steady ascent on the East Topanga Fire road, passing a junction with the Los Liones Trail at 0.2 miles (hikers who want more of challenge can start at the beginning of that trail, 1.3 miles and 600 feet lower.)
At about 1.3 miles, you reach a crest where the trail makes a brief descent, passing some of the only shade trees on the hike. You reach a pleasantly secluded meadow before beginning another ascent to a junction (2.2 miles.) The trail continues toward Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park, 2.5 miles away. To get to the overlook, however, turn left and follow an undulating ridge half a mile south.
At the overlook, your efforts are rewarded with a panoramic ocean view. You can sit on either of two benches and enjoy the scenery, which includes the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island in the distance.
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Good morning Los Padres mountains. I'm coming for you! Snuggle sunrise from blankets In tent 😍😁🙊 HAHaHAHAHAHA #iwokeuplikethis #snugglelife #findyourpark #westcoastbestcoast #neverstopexploring #sheroams #andshesdopetoo #outdoorwomen #theoutbound #radgirlscollective #adrenalist #alpinebabes
This is a central camping spot in prime location between the Los Padres mountains in the Santa Ynez valley and the California coast in beautiful Santa Barbara. The campground has easy access to fun day trips in this part of California that I have details about below in things to do nearby. This is a pretty budget camping spot for California that offers beach, mountains, hiking, water activities and cute small town explorations. Cachuma Lake is a 30 minute drive away on the way to the Los Padres mountains north of Goleta, CA. Cachuma Lake is a campground area with recreational water activities such as boating and kayaking and fishing on the lake.
Hike Figueroa Mountain
The Figueroa mountain is a part of the San Rafael mountain range in southern California in Santa Barbara County. This mountain is located within the Los Padres National Forest. The mountain is gorgeous and has wild beautiful views of the surrounding mountain range. The trail is filled with green hills full of wildflowers. Purple lupins are abloom all over the mountain if you hike at the right time of year magic. A trail that showcases Californian wildflowers better than most other trails. There are lots of trails and hikes in this area such as lover’s loop that has gorgeous views of the Santa Ynez Valley and wildflowers. This is one of my top 2 favorite wildflower hikes in California.
Visit Solvang, little Danish town
Velkommen to the cutest little Danish town hidden in a blooming green valley near the Los Padres Mountains. Solvang was founded by Danish immigrants in 1911. There is still a large Danish community that lives here and runs the tourist part of town. The town draws people from all over to see the little Denmark of California.