Diamonds? Jewels? Cars? How about time? That is the most precious gift to give anyone, especially your Mom. Get ready for a fun and unique way to spend this Mother’s Day. Bring along a few comfort items, then leaving the driving and dishes to someone else.
What to Bring
Pack a small day backpack with some water, games or cards, camera, and a light jacket. Bring along anything else you might need for an all day excursion.
Amtrak station is in downtown Los Angeles at 800 North Alameda Street. Many Metro link, Metro, and other bus lines make connections through Union Station. Parking is available at several secure nearby lots.
The waiting rooms are covered with polished marble and terra cotta tile. Stately polished wood and padded chairs line the main waiting area. It is an interesting place for people watching.
The bagel shop is a great place to pick up a morning bagel and coffee. Other books, magazine, snacks, and drinks may be purchased at a couple of other places as well. While you are free to bring on snacks, note there is also a café car on the train.
The train seats, café cars, and restrooms are usually kept clean. Many cars offer seats with tables on which to rest your snacks and drinks. There are also have electrical outlets to plug in things like phone and computer chargers.
According to Amtrak, the Pacificsurf Liner begins the northbound trip around 7:35 a.m., with trains also leaving at 9:05 a.m., and 10:15 a.m. The trip takes just over 2 and a half hours. It is an enjoyable and relaxing ride that leaves Los Angeles and travels through the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, and out to coast at Camarillo. There is a lot to see as the train passes through cities, hills, and along the coast. Spend time doing something or nothing. Read, talk, play games, or just watch the scenery unfold outside of your window.
As the train makes its way north, it winds though the acres and acres of farmland that produces fresh strawberries, citrus, and other fragrant vegetables. The fresh scent of the produce can often be smelled from the train as it passes through these areas.
Once along the coast, the train skirts along the coast passing through Oxnard, Ventura, and Carpentaria, before arriving in Santa Barbara.
The train lets you off at the Santa Barbara Train Station, right at State Street. Your options are endless from this location. The station is a couple of blocks from the pier. The Sunday Arts and Crafts vendors line Cabrillo Blvd. at State Street on Sundays from 10 a.m. until dusk.
A short shuttle ride for a nominal fee is available to take you to the Santa Barbara Mission and the Botanical Gardens. Not far away is the lovely 30-acre Santa Barbara Zoo. The zoo is open every day except Christmas until 5:00 p.m. There are several lunchtime meal options, which are very tasty. Maybe pick up dinner for the train ride home or you can eat on the train.
Return to Los Angeles
The last two weekend trains headed south back to Los Angeles can get crowded. Be ready to board the train quickly so you can get good seats. One train leaves Santa Barbara about 4:30 p.m. and returns to Los Angeles Union Station at 7:15. Another leaves Santa Barbara at 6:59 p.m. and returns at 9:45.
Whichever you decide to take, sit back and enjoy the relaxing ride back to Los Angeles. Having done this day trip four times, it is a wonderful way to spend Mother’s Day or any other day with people you love!
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