Of course, we love those golden California days filled with sun, breezy beach time and outdoor adventure. When the weather turns gray, it doesn’t mean you have to hole up inside. Below is our short list of what to do on a rainy day or when the sun’s blazing bright. In city mode? Our rain or shine picks are here.
Santa Barbara: Wine, Ice Cream, Kayaks and Leisurely Strolls
- Sample the wines along the Funk Zone’s Urban Wine Trail and nab a scoop of creamy Churros Con Leche ice-cream at State Street’s institution, McConnell’s.
- For cinema buffs, check out the old 1960’s-turned-state-of-the-art Riviera Theatre, also part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which offers a rotating movie schedule.
- A short jaunt away, the 25 wine tasting rooms of Los Olivos offer an escape from lousy weather with expressive pours and seasonal plates.
- For kids, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will keep them entertained for hours.
- The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has sprawling Japanese tea garden and five miles of walking paths.
- Find stunning coastline views, easy beachy access and hiking options, venture to Summerland’s Lookout Park, best enjoyed with a picnic lunch.
- Or rent a kayak from Santa Barbara Adventure Company and glide through sea caves.
- Afterwards, a seat at Finch and Fork grants easy access to tasty cocktails like French 75’s alongside fresh West Coast oysters.
Huntington Beach: Surf Nostalgia, Farmers’ Market & Beach Cruising
- With a name like “Surf City USA,” don’t miss the International Surfing Museum, a small space offering a big glimpse into the world of surf culture with memorabilia like the original 16mm camera used for the iconic 60’s documentary Endless Summer.
- Afterwards, you might feel inspired to shop the local’s favorite, Huntington Surf and Sport for hip gear and water accessories.
- And then, pop by the Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel to view Aaron Chang’s timeless surf and oceanic photography.
- Still cloudy? Enjoy some evening musical therapy from the talented Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra.
- If you’re craving waves, sign up for surfing lessons at the HB Surf School or pedal along the boardwalk on an all-day beach cruiser (only $15).
- Downtown, Main Street has a bevy of souvenir shops, and on Tuesday night, a block-long farmer’s market is filled with local heirloom tomatoes and strawberries, honey, olive oils and vinegars.
- Feeling adventurous? Take an easy day trip by ferry to Balboa Island and don’t miss the frozen chocolate-dipped banana at Sugar N’ Spice or Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop.
Where to stay: Kimpton hotels in California