This journey takes you far from the sprawling City of Angels to Fresno. We are not even considering the shortest route here as that would leave out too many wonderful sights and experiences. And after all, isn't that what road trips should be all about?
California is a state absolutely packed with things to do. So much so, in fact, that even a short trip can bring you within striking distance of some worthwhile attractions. Gorgeous scenery, great weather and a multitude of food and drink options all combine to make one unforgettable trip.
On your way to Fresno, stick with the coast for a while so you can take in some amazing sights, enjoy some great food and even get to experience some of the wines for which the area is so famous. The trip might be short, but there's plenty of fun to be had here.
Often referred to as the valley of vineyards, this is one area where no oenophile would ever forgive you if you didn’t stop. There are thirty-four vineyards and tasting rooms to tempt you. Although it was only incorporated in 1905, the city’s history extends back to 1870 when it was originally founded.
The warm sunny climate makes it a near-perfect area for producing vines and that same weather gives a longer growing season which really boosts wine quality. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah are the three main grapes on which this area has built its wine-growing reputation.
The Rancho Sisquoc Winery has been crafting fine wines for more than forty years. Part of a 37 000 acre cattle ranch, they have three hundred acres of vines and have won many different awards for their product. They are situated on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, 14 miles east of Santa Maria. The tasting room is set in delightful rolling hills and besides giving you the opportunity to try out their wines, they offer picnic sites which you might want to take advantage of before moving on.
The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is set in 78 acres and offers a fabulous insight into unique native plants. The garden is divided into different areas and one of these is the Mission Dam and Aqueduct which was first built in 1807 to supply water to Santa Barbara. There is also an authentic Japanese tea house nestled among the rocks and trees and a redwood forest whose first trees were planted in 1926.
One unexplained feature of these gardens is the massive boulders that are dotted in various places. It is thought that they might have once been chunks of the surrounding mountains that were carried there by now extinct rivers.
The gardens themselves would be stunning anyway, but they are made all the more so because of the awesome backdrop provided by the Santa Ynez Mountains. With six miles of paths for you to wander, you won’t be short of things to explore. The biggest problem you are likely to have is tearing yourself away to continue your journey.
There may have been shorter routes to Fresno but hopefully, this one will demonstrate that quickest is not always best. Road trips are adventures and unless you treat them as such, you are simply getting from A to B without enjoying all the little extras that make life more colorful.
Fresno now awaits you and here, too, there are adventures to be had. If nothing else, you should try to visit their underground gardens. It took one man forty years to make them. They are proof that with a little ingenuity man can conquer even the desert.