California Missions Road Trip Day 3: Ventura to San Luis Obispo

For day three of the missions tour, I would recommend that you get an early start to try and fit four missions into the schedule. I recommend this because Mission San Luis Obispo will not take you very much time and it is better to do four today then tomorrow since there is a lot more driving tomorrow. If you are not able to fit in four that is fine, just start with San Luis Obispo right when it opens tomorrow.

Details

  • 126 miles from the Ventura to San Luis Obispo

Breakfast: Lucky Llama Coffee

missions trip food-3

Since you stayed in Ventura or Carpenteria, then I would suggest going to Lucky Llama Coffee House for a coffee and an acai bowl ( my favorite is the moon bowl). There are tons of great coffee places in Ventura, Carpenteria, and Santa Barbara though if you want to select another one.

Mission Santa Barbara

mission santa barbara-21

I would recommend getting here right when it opens. This is one of the most busy missions on the entire drive, and it is not strange to see an entire tour bus or two stopping here with people ready to see the sights. If you get there early you will usually have the mission to yourself for at least 15 minutes which gets you ahead of the crowds and lets you have some relaxing time walking the grounds or in the chapel. This is an incredible mission so make sure to take your time. You can read more about it here.

  • Time needed: 1 Hour
  • Highlights: Large Bay Fig Tree, Chapel, Exterior views
  • Read more here

To get to Santa Ines, I would recommend taking the mountain route instead of Highway 101. This route is a much more scenic way to travel, and if you are hungry you can stop at one of my favorite little spots for breakfast or lunch called Cold Springs Tavern.

Mission Santa Ines

mission santa ines-21

This mission is located right on the outskirts of the Danish town of Solvang. It is located on a beautiful property and it is another great mission to explore. I find this to be a good compliment to Mission Santa Barbara as it is usually much less busy so it gives you time to walk slow and relax without all of the crowds. Read more about it here.

  • Time Needed: 45 minutes – 1 hour
  • Highlights: Cemetery, chapel, gardens, crucifixion walk outside
  • Read more here

If you are ready for lunch then the town of Solvang has you covered, it is full of great options and its a fun city to just walk around in. If you are not looking for a full lunch then stop by Olsen’s Bakery on Highway 246 and grab a Danish Waffle (filled with creme and raspberry), it is to die for.

Ostrich Land

Ostriches-next-to-bite-sign

On the way over to Lompoc, and about 5 minutes out of the town of Solvang, I highly recommend you stop by Ostrich Land and pay to feed the ostriches. This is such a fun spot that I pretty much do it every time I am in the area. Sure it costs $5 for only 30 seconds of fun, but how often do you get to feed ostriches? I guarantee it will be more intense then you think. Read about it here.

  • Time needed: 15 minutes

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

Lompoc Mission 5

After a 20 minute drive you will arrive at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, which is the mission in Lompoc. This mission is a California State Park and in that it is one of the best missions you will visit on this trail for understanding what life on a mission was like. La Purisima Mission State Historic Park is like living history, and you can walk all around the grounds (recreated in early 1900’s) and see animals in their pens, gardens, a blacksmith shop and two chapels. It is one of those missions that you can easily spend 2-3 hours at and be prepared to walk as it is a lot more spread out then the others.

Original Lompoc Mission

original lompoc mission-8

The original mission in Lompoc was actually built 4 miles South before it was destroyed and moved to the current location. While there is not much left, there is still a plaque and a few pieces of the old walls that you can see at the end of South F Street in Lompoc. I would recommend going over there as it is close by and it’s unique for history, but you can skip it if you don’t have time.

From here you will drive for about an hour to reach San Luis Obispo. If it is too late, you can just grab dinner and see this mission in the morning, but if you have time (you don’t need too much for this mission), then you can knock it out today.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

mission san luis obispo-23

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. It is surrounded by popular restaurants and stores. The mission itself is one of the early ones but it is not as exciting as the other three you saw today. This mission is free to enter though and you can walk through a small museum, small courtyard, and an interesting L-shaped chapel. Read more about it here.

  • Time Needed: 30 minutes
  • Highlights: L-shaped chapel, old bells, exterior, gun display
  • Read more here

For tonights hotel, I would recommend grabbing a spot in San Luis Obispo. This is a great town to be in for dinner as there are a bunch of great options, the same goes for breakfast / coffee in the morning before setting out on the drive as well.

Some of the spots I recommend for dinner are:

  • Firestone: A big sports bar with lots of flavorful and well-priced options. I like the tri-tip sandwich and french fries.
  • Splash Cafe: My favorite spot for clam chowder in California
  • Eureka Burger: Great sit down burger spot

After dinner, get some much-needed rest from the long day of four missions and be sure to read on for day 4 of the missions drive here or all of the missions here.

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly posts recap!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.