Visit Santa Barbara County - Along the Coast in Chumash Country

Many colonists on the expedition marveled at Pacific Ocean. They saw waterspouts thrown up by whales, and passed through land of the Chumash peoples, whose skills impressed them. From these natives, they obtained some baskets, cups, trays, and many varieties of fish in exchange for glass beads. Going further, they crossed the Santa Maria River near the town of Guadalupe at the northern boundary of Santa Barbara County.

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Driving Directions for Auto Route

Continuing on the route from Ventura County, go north on US 101 to the City of Santa Barbara. Take the Carrillo Street exit east to Cañón Perdido Street and the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. The park offers exhibits on the history of the American Indian, Spanish, and Mexican periods. As you continue north on US 101, stop at Goleta Beach County Park or one of the state beach parks (El Capitán, Refugio, or Gaviota). A trail connects El Capitán and Refugio State Beach Parks. At Gaviota, the historic route continues along the coast, but the road turns north through Gaviota Pass. The auto tour route follows US 101 to CA 1 and the town of Guadalupe. Continue on US 101 to CA 1. Follow CA 1 through Lompoc and turn east on CA 249 and follow signs to La Purísima Mission State Historic Park. This site is not on the original Anza expedition route, which followed the coast, but allows one to experience a Spanish Mission community. Continue north on CA 1. Stop near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Continue north on CA 1 towards Guadalupe. From the area south of Guadalupe northward to Missions San Luis Obispo and San Antonio, the auto route closely follows Anza's. To continue on the route, see San Luis Obispo County.

Hiking/Biking Ideas

The Pacific Coast Bicycle Route from Ventura connects with bikeways in the City of Santa Barbara, and connects to this bike route north through the county.  A hike and bike trail, the Aniso Trail links El Capitán and Refugio State Beaches. "Aniso" means seagull in Chumash. The Andree Clark Bird Refuge (on Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara) gives hikers opportunities to see local wildlife at the coast.

Points of Interest

Expedition Campsites
  • La Rinconada - Expedition Camp #75
    Traveling past a village they called La Carpintería, camp was made on February 24, 1776 at La Riconada near the border with Ventura County. Here, Font describes the Native Americans, their skills, houses, sweathouses (temescals), money and boats (called tomols). The site of the camp is preserved in Rincon County Beach Park. Carpinteria State Beach is a few miles to the west, and offers Chumash interpretive programs.
  • California State and County Beaches - Expedition Camp #76-78
    Goleta Beach County Park, the U.C. Santa Barbara campus, and the Santa Barbara Airport are the sites of the Chumash villages of Mescalitán (Camp #76). Font writes, "Here there are three large villages on the banks of the estuary, the largest one being on the road which we are traveling." Mescalitán is commemorated with a plaque along the Coast Route Trail at South Patterson Ave. and the Atascadero Creek Bikeway in Goleta. Along Anza's route, El Capitán, Refugio, and Gaviota State Beach Parks provide opportunities to interpret the natural environment and the native cultures at the time of the Anza expedition. Jalama County Beach offers an experience of the land and sea as the expedition might have seen it.
  • Vandenberg Air Force Base - Expedition Camps #79-80
    Camps #79 and #80 are on Vandenberg Air Force Base, and access is restricted. The base offers weekly bus tours of the facility, much of it on Anza's route. Amtrak's Coast Starlight route from Ventura to San Luis Obispo is on the historic route. From Gaviota through Vandenberg Air Force Base, the train is the only way most members of the public can see the landscapes that Anza saw.
  • El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
    Encompassing the original site of the 1782 Presidio, the park interprets life in California under Spanish rule. Some soldiers of the original garrison were members of the 1775-76 Anza expedition. It offers exhibits on the history of the Spanish and Mexican periods, and includes the Buenaventura Pico Adobe built by Anza expedition descendants. The address is 123 East Cañón Perdido St. in Santa Bárbara.
  • Goleta Beach County Park
  • La Purísima Mission State Historic Park
    This camp is at the mouth of today's Santa Ynez River and is within Ocean Beach County Park. Up the river to the east is Mission La Purísima. Although it's not on the historic Anza route and wasn't constructed until after the expedition, it's on the auto tour route. Visitors can see animals and plants of the missions and exhibits on the life that the Spanish settlers brought to the indigenous people. It is located at 2295 Purisima Road near Lompoc.
  • U.C. Santa Barbara

Additional Resources

  • Amtrak's Coast Starlight - tel.: 800-872-7245
    209 State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • California State Parks Channel Coast District Headquarters - tel.: 805-585-1847
    911 San Pedro St., Ventura, CA, 93001
  • El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park - tel.: 805-965-0093
    123 E. Cañón Perdido St., Post Office Box 388, Santa Barbara, CA 93102
  • La Purísima Mission State Historic Park - tel.: 805-733-3713
    2295 Purisima Rd., Lompoc, CA 93436
  • Santa Barbara County Parks - tel.: 568-2461
    610 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105
  • South Coast Railroad Museum - tel.: 805-964-3540
    300 North Los Carneros Road, Goleta, CA 93117
  • Vandenburg Air Force Base - tel.: 805-605-0748
    30 CES/CEVPC 806 13th St., Suite 116, Vandenburg AFB, CA 93437

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