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/ December 18, 2020

Where to stay in Southern California

One of the best parts about our trip was finding places along the way that felt like home.

We used Airbnb to book all of our homes. It was our first time using Airbnb and we were really happy with all of our homes, especially given everything going on in the world. To be in homes that felt clean, safe and we could feel at “home” is the only thing that made this trip possible for our family.

I’ll share a post soon about our drive out west and our exact itinerary as I know many of you are considering doing something. As well as a post on Southern California, our favorite towns, beaches, hikes and places for great takeout. We found so many little gems I can’t wait to share with all of you.

But for the sake of this post, I’ll just focus on the actual homes we stayed in as that was the question I got most on this trip.


Both of the homes we stayed in were on Balboa Penninsula, which is such a family-friendly neighborhood.  You could easily bike or walk everywhere.  It felt safe, laid back, and super friendly.  Plus all the beaches in Newport are flat, big, and easily accessible from just about everywhere, so it made life easy for me with kids.  We could walk out of our patio and be at the beach within minutes from both homes.  

This was the first house we stayed in.  It was perfect for our family, and probably our favorite house.  It wasn’t the largest or necessarily the nicest, but the combination of the layout, the outdoor space, the extra amenities (like wet suits, bikes, and boogie boards), and the location made it an amazing combination and the house we’d rent again if we went back to Newport.

Plus, the street is kind of magical.  It’s on a street with neighbors who live there full time and are all super friendly.  We loved the large stackable doors on the first floor and the combination of heaters/fire pits made it easy to have indoor/outdoor living.  

This is the second Newport home we stayed in.  I’d definitely rent again, but we missed not having outdoor heaters and a fire pit.  The upside of this house is the rooftop deck and the extra bedroom.  It also had bikes, towels, and boogie boards (but no wet suits, so something to keep in mind if you plan on going in the water….you need wetsuits).  

Del Mar

This was probably the nicest Airbnb we stayed at.  It was gorgeous and on a very private street that deadened into the Pacific, and just a short drive or walk to the beach.

The house itself is stunning.  Every detail is well thought out.  It’s a two-bedroom home, but is spacious enough and laid out so that there’s plenty of room (including a very large lower level family room with a pull-out couch that we used as a third bedroom).  

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is such a beautiful town.  We loved exploring there, but actually ended up staying in Summerland and I’m so glad we did. 

Summerland is a two-minute drive out of Santa Barbara, next to Montecito, and is a little quieter.  It’s a small town filled with chic boutique home, garden, and antique stores.  The beach was really quiet and secluded.  It’s the type of beach you see people riding their horses along.  Super picturesque and beautiful.  

The home we stayed in was so spacious and comfortable.  The property itself was gorgeous, had great sunset views,  a hot tub the kids LOVED, a fire pit, and was a 5-10 minute walk to the beach.  

Palm Springs

Our final stop was Palm Springs where we stayed in the kid’s favorite house because of the pool, of course.  Our home in Palm Springs was perfect for our family.  It had a fantastic heated pool and hot tub, a fire pit, a “game room” for the kids, and even a pin pong table in the garage.  It was the perfect house for us to just “play” and hang as a family.  We never left and ate just about every meal outside around the pool.  It was just easy.  

Overall I loved ALL of the homes we stayed in and would book them all again.  I know travel is something so many of us are missing right now.  And while I can’t say this is for everyone, it felt so good for our family to get away and do it in a way that felt easy, clean, and most importantly safe.

If you’re thinking about doing a little getaway yourself and have any questions about where we stayed, our drive, or anything about our trip, feel free to reach out with any questions.  I absolutely LOVE talking about travel and happy to help any way I can.  

We all loved the patio of our first airBNB.  

And the amazing indoor/outdoor feel.  Late night dinners after the beach with the fire pit in the background made cooking so much more fun.

….and of course, we took full advantage of the wet suits that came with the house

Loved being able to walk home from a day at the beach after the sun had set and the moon was up.

Morning coffee from the rooftop deck watching the sunrise

Midday e-learning breaks at the beach

The Del Mar beach

The beach at the end of the street from our Del Mar house

Picnic lunches in Del Mar

e-learning around the kitchen table in Del Mar

Horses on the Summerland beach

walks with this guy in Summerland

Our yard in Palm Springs

Where we spent every moment in Palm Springs





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