CA Central Coast Trip

Old Nov 2nd, 2020, 04:31 AM
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Looking at Airbnbs. We'd like to be walking distance to restaurants and shops and somewhere we feel safe walking at night.

Is there a better neighborhood - Lower State, Upper State, West Side, East Side, East Beach, West Beach, Funk Zone?

In one of the rental reviews, someone said she had never been to SB and her rental was listed as a 10 min walk to State St, but she didn't realize it wasn't the "good part" of State St. (it was on the West Side @ Bath/W. Anapamu, De La Vina and W. Figueroa). She said the "good" part of State Street to stay would be down by the Funk Zone.

Which area would you recommend for first-timers? Also, did the Spanish Garden Inn close?

Last edited by wanderer1; Nov 2nd, 2020 at 05:23 AM.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2020, 07:07 AM
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Spanish Garden Inn is closed for renovations until 4/1/21.

We don't do AirBnB but stay in hotels or regular BnBs. We've stayed in various chain hotels and multiple times at the Bath Street Inn, the Cheshire Cat and the Upham Hotel. These three properties are "west" (actually SW) of State Street, and the Upham isn't far from the block you describe. I don't know why someone would downgrade this particular area. Anyway, SB isn't very big. The three places I mentioned are less than 2 miles from the Funk Zone, and there isn't much distance between all the areas you list (Lower State, Upper State, East Beach, West Beach, etc.).

The Funk Zone is very lively in normal times, and traffic can get heavy, parking a little hard to find on weekends, etc., but I don't know what the overall atmosphere is during Covid. It doesn't appeal to me as an area to stay in, but, as I mentioned before, my visits to SB are not as a tourist.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2020, 07:20 AM
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I would probably avoid "Downtown" (eg State Street north of the freeway) although I haven't stayed there. Too many panhandlers.

Why Air Bnbs?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2020, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
I would probably avoid "Downtown" (eg State Street north of the freeway) although I haven't stayed there. Too many panhandlers.

Why Air Bnbs?
Doesn't that rule out all of State Street then? So that would leave East Beach, West Beach and Funk Zone? Which would you recommend as a safe area for first-timers? I have read that East Beach is quieter, West Beach busier and Funk Zone more for nightlife which we aren't into.

We are looking at Airbnbs because 1) you get a lot more with them - space to spread out, full kitchen in most so we can get up and make coffee, have snacks in the fridge when we want them, shop the farmers markets and cook in at night if we want to save $ or just don't feel like venturing out after a long day, and we get a whole house or apartment vs just an overpriced room, and 2) the prices on Airbnbs are WAY cheaper. We can get a whole small little house or a 1200 sf penthouse, or 2 BR apartment for $153/night vs upwards of $300+/night for a standard hotel room, much, much more - $500+/night in good hotels with central locations. Spliting a house or apartment with friends is an even bigger bargain.

We've almost always rented apartments when we've traveled. We've stayed in some stunning places all over Europe and the US and have met some of the most wonderful owners who are still friends with us to this day who showed us places they loved to eat and shop - hidden gems - because they were really great places the owners frequented and loved. For us aside from the cost it's a much more personal, relaxing experience.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2020, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Spanish Garden Inn is closed for renovations until 4/1/21.

We don't do AirBnB but stay in hotels or regular BnBs. We've stayed in various chain hotels and multiple times at the Bath Street Inn, the Cheshire Cat and the Upham Hotel. These three properties are "west" (actually SW) of State Street, and the Upham isn't far from the block you describe. I don't know why someone would downgrade this particular area. Anyway, SB isn't very big. The three places I mentioned are less than 2 miles from the Funk Zone, and there isn't much distance between all the areas you list (Lower State, Upper State, East Beach, West Beach, etc.).

The Funk Zone is very lively in normal times, and traffic can get heavy, parking a little hard to find on weekends, etc., but I don't know what the overall atmosphere is during Covid. It doesn't appeal to me as an area to stay in, but, as I mentioned before, my visits to SB are not as a tourist.
Thank you. It appears the Spanish Inn was bought. Their website now says "Palisociety" and the Santa Barbara location says "Coming Soon".

We looked at the Cheshire Cat. It looks like a nice place. We weren't sure if there were enough restaurants/shops to walk to from there. Or if we should stay down near the beach our first time. In reading more about Funk Zone I'm not sure it's our style for staying - we're not big nightlife/party people.

I realize that places are fairly close together, but we like to walk to dinner since we don't want to chance driving after a glass or two of wine. So we're looking for an area that isn't party central, and walkable to shops and restaurants and safe to walk at night. One of the things we love when we stay places is to be able to step out our door and have shops and restaurants around the corner. Would you recommend either East Beach or West Beach over the area I mentioned or the area where the Cheshire Cat is located?

We would not be traveling during COVID, whether that's this year or next, as we are both high risk for contracting COVID.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2020, 08:53 AM
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I think mlgb is referring to the Lower State area.

My relatives all live in East SB, and we usually stay a mile away on the other side of State in the Upper State area. I never really think about walking distances or worry about safety. I don't particularly like the walk from the Funk Zone to areas north of the freeway, but in normal times there are pedicabs you can book or hail. IMO, there are more nice restos with good ratings in the Upper State area, but who knows what will survive the Covid era. At least one long-time, mainstay restaurant in the Funk Zone (Enterprise Fish Co.) is closed, possibly forever.

The age-old debate over AirBnb is strictly personal preference, but there are many charming inns and hotels in SB. You may have the same minimum stay requirements with any lodging choice.

FYI, the SB farmers markets are Saturday morning on E. Cota and Tuesday night on State Street, both in the Lower State area.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2020, 11:44 AM
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Jean, doesn't Santa Barbara have some kind of short term rental law outlawing short term rentals of less than 30 days in many areas? OP might have to look for a suite hotel.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2020, 04:07 PM
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jamie99, I'm not up on the different coastal cities' STR regulations any more, and I advise travelers to do their own research. My beach town had its STR rules shot down this year by the Coastal Commission except for a small geographic area. I think our city council plans to try a new approach because the majority sentiment is against STRs. Some towns have nearly total bans, and others have varying degrees of tolerance. Meanwhile, the shortage of available and affordable housing in California continues, and nearly every election cycle brings one or more initiatives seeking voter approval to nibble at the problem.

Here's a not very up-to-date summary of SB County's ordinances. Further research is advised.

https://www.countyofsb.org/plndev/pr...%20Development.
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Old Nov 4th, 2020, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
Jean, doesn't Santa Barbara have some kind of short term rental law outlawing short term rentals of less than 30 days in many areas? OP might have to look for a suite hotel.
Almost all the Airbnbs I've looked at do not require a 30-day stay.
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Old Nov 4th, 2020, 03:58 PM
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I'm not confident that all AirBnBs are completely honest about local regulations. Just because they don't require a 30-day stay doesn't mean they are operating legally under local ordinances. AirBnB fans usually don't care, but before you put down any money you might want to investigate. Or not. Your choice.
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Old Nov 4th, 2020, 08:42 PM
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"Almost all the Airbnbs I've looked at do not require a 30-day stay. "

Almost all airbnb listings 'do not require a 30-day stay'. That has nothing to do with whether they are legal or not. ABNB doesn't exactly play by the rules - they list illegal properties all over the world (even in cities where all short term rentals are 100% prohibited)

In SB the rules/regs are different depending on the exact location of the property.
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Old Nov 5th, 2020, 11:24 AM
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janis and Jean are right, AirBnB often lists short term rentals (normally defined as less than 30 days) in places where they are illegal. New York City comes to mind, and in fact AirBnB has been sued by NY at least once over this issue.
Many California beach cities have outlawed or restricted short term rentals so as to keep housing affordable for people who live and work there.
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Old Nov 5th, 2020, 01:04 PM
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For Santa Barbara, the last couple of times we stayed at the Villa Rosa, which is like a B&B with quaint, funky rooms, great morning coffee and breakfast, great late afternoon wine tasting. I'd recommend it if you like that kind of vibe, and it it a short walk to the pier, state street, and a lot of great places. I would not go there right now, or even shortly after the end of the pandemic only because right now I'm into total sterilization, and neither an Air BnB nor quaint gives me that sense of sterility. Easy street parking.

The first time I ventured out of Covid hibernation and stayed at a hotel/motel, it was early June in Paso Robles for a mini-break with a couple of friends. My friend booked us rooms at the Adelaide Inn, and since it has been open to first responders, it was as clean and sterile as it gets. But what a great room! Big, comfortable sparkling clean beds/linens, big tv, big room; fabulous bath and bath area, and fridge, microwave and keurig-style coffee maker. Free parking. Across the street from a Starbucks and nice pool. And very affordable (cheaper on line at the website than using something like booking.com). It was also close to what ultimately became our favorite winery -- Parrish. Went back there in August with my husband, as we were doing a 35 year anniversary road trip to San Francisco then Yosemite. Husband loved this place! Then, this October, went a third time for my sister's birthday and second trip to see the Field of Light. So much to do in downtown Paso! Anyway, something for you to consider.
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Old Nov 5th, 2020, 07:31 PM
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Adelaide Inn. If they are booked, we have stayed across the way at Best Western Plus Black Oak.

When our daughter was at Cal Poly, we liked staying in Pismo Beach at Cottage Inn by the Sea, Spyglass Inn(ocean front only!), and Sandcastle Inn. These are all part of the Pacifica .Hotel Group. They have hotels up and down the coast, including Cambria.

https://www.pacificahotels.com
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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 05:13 AM
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Is San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay/Cambria worth taking a day trip to from Santa Barbara?

Is Amtrak a viable way to do that? (to SLO - I don't think it goes to Morro Bay or Cambria)
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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 07:12 AM
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SB to Cambria as a day trip? Not for me. At least three hours each way. Cambria as a stop on the way from SB to Paso (or reverse)? Yes. Cambria and Paso are only 30 miles apart and that part of Hwy. 46 is pretty.

No Amtrak. Too infrequent, timing is too unreliable.
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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wanderer1 View Post
Is San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay/Cambria worth taking a day trip to from Santa Barbara?

Is Amtrak a viable way to do that? (to SLO - I don't think it goes to Morro Bay or Cambria)
There is a connector bus (Amtrak) that leaves Santa Barbra at 5:20AM and gets to SLO in about 2.5 to 3 hours. I think it runs every day. On the days that it runs (currently 3 days/week) the Coast Starlight leaves SBA at 12:40PM and takes about 3 hours to SLO. There is a late Pacific Surfliner train that leaves SBA after 5PM and gets into SLO about 8:30PM if you want to spend the night in SLO.
After Biden is President, I expect the schedules and frequencies of Amtrak trains and buses to improve nationwide.
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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 08:01 AM
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I'd rather do a stop in Santa Barbara and stay in Morro/SLO/Pismo, myself, as I said above.

Agree re Adelaide Inn in Paso during COVID, especially the remodeled motel style rooms where you don't have to go into common hallways etc during COVID. The front staff was very pleasant and the lobby has a high ceiling. I stayed there when I went to Sensorio (website says extended through January 3 2021). Then drove down to Morro Bay for the next two nights. There are many inexpensive motels in the town and even the top rated ones are cheap (especially outside of summer weekends).

I don't really like the town of Pismo Beach although the beach and views from the cliff are nice as they are in many places on the Central Coast, such as Cambria. Pismo has some big hotels on top of the bluff. I have never stayed there but had dinner a few times at Lido at Dolphin Bay which is technically at Shell Beach. It's been so long that I have no idea how the food and service are these days. The interior is VERY noisy (deliberately) so ask about patio seating.

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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wanderer1 View Post
Is San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay/Cambria worth taking a day trip to from Santa Barbara?

Is Amtrak a viable way to do that? (to SLO - I don't think it goes to Morro Bay or Cambria)

I would not do it as a day trip. It works best to or from the Paso part of your trip.

The train would be fun if you had more time, but you donít and you are renting a car anyway.
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Old Nov 8th, 2020, 09:13 AM
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It would take a crystal ball to know what the train and bus schedules will be 6+ months from now. Nothing magical is going to happen when Biden is sworn in, and there are too many other variables, including Covid.
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