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Jan 1, 2014 03:04 PM

road trip from Cambria to Santa Barbara

We will be driving from Cambria to Santa Barbara with our dog and wondered if you could recommend any places to stop for lunch (this trip will happen when it's warm).

Ever heard of Jalama Beach Store at the ocean outside of Lompoc? great burgers?

We cannot check into our house rental until 4 PM in Santa Barbara and need an interesting detour and a good lunch (not fancy or expensive)

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  1. Jalama Beach makes a great off the beaten path drive and they have a good classic, 5 napkin burger. Worth doing. Tell them at the park entrance you are just going for the burger and they give you a special pass for a limited time. So if you want to stay longer and hike around the stunning beach scenery you will need to pay full fare at the park entrance. The amazing Jalama store where they make the burgers has limited indoor seating with views, or picnic tables, depending upon the weather.

    Can't pass up my own favorite in Pismo Beach where Highway One and 101 join at the edge of the ocean - the Philthy Phil ribs at Mo's BBQ on their main street that goes out to the pier. A funky, honky-tonk kind of beach town but we love those ribs with all the fixings.

    Another spot along the way if you head instead to Buellton and Highway 101 is Firestone Walker 805 for great burgers and fries in an industrial chic warehouse setting.

    Taking Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass will take you to Cold Springs Tavern, an old stage coach stop a short distance off the main road which could make a lovely route and place to spend some idle time before you get to Santa Barbara - check their website for hours. Their chili is great as well as their lunch salads. (Caution when driving 154- too many accidents on this often two lane but very scenic road.


    Solvang is a visual delight of a town in this same area if you have not been there - Danish village and they did a good job keeping it low-key and fun to browse its many unique shops and pastry places. Kitsch food for the most part but worthy of a taste adventure - sausages, meat balls, red cabbage and abel-skeivers for dessert.

    So while some of these technically are not on Highway One, they are short driving distances away if you want to kill some time. You are about 2.5 hours away from Santa Barbara from Cambria.

    3 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      your reply was exacting what I was hoping for. Thanks so much for giving so much detail. I am glad you confirmed Cold Spring Tavern as worthwhile (I am saving that for a destination during our house rental in Santa Barbara). I have been looking for a reason to stop in Pismo beach--Mo's menu sounds amazing. I am hoping they have a pet friendly patio ?? I think ribs sound better than the Jalama beach store (I don't like big juicy thick burgers). We take the same road trip yearly (from Denver) so will saveyour other options for the future.

      1. re: JudyDenver

        We always like to top off our Mo's BBQ in Pismo with a trip down the street towards the pier to HotLix for some coffee-flavor salt water taffy and/or some pecan nougat rolls.

        There are other casual places in Pismo Beach that get good reviews too if you search this forum. Another favorite for us are the steak pieces appetizer and potato skillet you can order at the the big horseshoe bar of McLintocks which is in several locations serving lunch, but only dinner in Pismo Beach

        There are a few outdoor sidewalk tables in front of Mo's and dog-friendly seems to be the new trend in these parts.

      2. re: glbtrtr

        Solvang! Ahhh..... I haven't been back in a while now but we went a few times a year and always loved the bakery- some great cookies and fresh breads. Easy to kill time wandering the little village when it's nice out.

      3. Jalama Burgers are delicious and worth the drive- and are not thick/huge patties. It is 40 minutes off Hiway 1, so it isn't a quick jaunt either. WORTH THE DRIVE!

        1. Try Ruddell's Smokehouse in Cayucos - or just run down there for lunch one day while you're in Cambria. Right on the waterfront, delicious smoked fish tacos or burritos. BYO beer or wine if you wish and eat and drink at the outside tables, there's no place to sit inside.