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Travel Itinerary – Three Days in Carpinteria, CA

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Staycations are our new jam, and apparently I have a hidden knack for planning itineraries that I just discovered. Our trips have been a whole lot better since I started meticulously planning them before hand!

When I shared our trip along the way in stories I got tons of questions about the places we were going and what we were eating ( I am gluten and dairy free & I bet a lot of you are too!). Today I’m putting it all here! Traveling with food allergies can be hard and seem overwhelming. It used to stop me from even bothering to travel because eating out is half the fun of trips. I do a ton of food research in my planning and test it all out for you before I share it here!

I should preface this with the disclaimer that I am pregnant and terribly sick most days, so I probably would’ve packed in more fun/food if I wasn’t being cautious about pushing myself too much and ruining the day. Feel free to take whatever sounds fun from this trip and make it your own…add in a hike or something more adventurous!

Alright, enough rambling…let’s get to it…

Where we stayed…

I can’t say enough good things about this cute little place!! We found it on VRBO and will 100% be back!

It’s the cutest cottage style building thats totally renovated to a beachy modern vibe. I did a little walk through video tour of our unit on instagram that’s saved to my “Travel” highlight if you want to see!

Each unit has it’s own outdoor dining area, firepit, and grill. We used these every single day and spent most of our trip just lounging out here, talking or reading or whatever we felt like. It was perfect.

This place also has 2 and 3 bedroom units available for bigger families and groups! You can check them out on Instagram here!

Day One

We packed up and headed out around noon, stopping in Santa Claus beach for a late lunch at Padaro Beach Grill! This place was recommended to us by a sweet friend for the fun outdoor experience. It’s got picnic style tables and umbrellas and its half grass and half sand! Plus it’s right on the beach!

I checked their menu before planning this stop and found some great options. They offer a lettuce wrap on all of their burgers and sandwiches making them gluten free. They also label what’s naturally GF on their online menu which you can find here! Their fish and shrimp tacos are both GF, just ask about their sauces to see if they are dairy or mayo based! You could always substitute the sauce for a simple guac!

I ordered the Padaro burger which comes with bbq sauce AND a spicy mayo and it was AMAZING. I subbed out the red meat for a turkey patty, skipped the onion ring and cheese and got it lettuce wrapped! I still have dreams about that burger ( pregnancy probs šŸ˜‰ ). Cam ordered the tri tip sandwich and scarfed the whole thing. He also ordered fries, but be warned that these are fried in the same oil as the gluten items so they are not cross contamination safe.

All in all we loved this place and can’t wait to go back!

After lunch we popped into a few of the local shops and then hopped in the car for the ten minute drive to our cute little cottage in carp! We unpacked, headed to the grocery store to pick up some essentials and spent the first night in cooking dinner on the grill, eating by the fire, and chatting with our sweet elderly neighbors!

When we finished eating we walked the one block down to the beach to watch the sunset before heading to bed. It was a great first day!

Day Two

We planned for this to be a beach day, but the weather had other plans. We made it work though and it was still a great day…

We started with breakfast at The Worker Bee! This little place ended up being a favorite of ours and we ate there THREE times. They have a great selection of gluten free options that are also dairy free which is hard to find in my experience. They have a huge menu where they even list the other ingredients of the GF options in case of other allergies. Super helpful! You can find it here! They even do online ordering and pick up which is what we opted for so that we could enjoy breakfast on our patio again.

I ordered the GF pancakes with two eggs and bacon. I just opted out of the butter and used my own for the pancakes. Everything else was totally safe! I wish I could rave about the pancakes, I have yet to find the perfect fluffy GF/DF pancakes, but these were pretty good. Just a little dry.

We also ordered lunch take out at the same time and packed it up for our day at the beach! Cam ordered the chicken strips and curly fries and raved about them. I had a BLT with gluten free bread – fries are off limits here because of cross contamination, but the sandwich was SO GOOD.

The beach ended up being freezing and windy so we ate our lunch and packed up to head out, but we did get to see a whole pod of dolphins swimming super close to shore and that was fun.

We decided to head to the seal preserve earlier than planned instead…we parked in a free parking lot at the start of the trail and walked on a mostly flat trail for maybe 10 minutes before getting to the look out point. It was a super easy trail and if I can do it sick and pregnant I promise you it’s not a “hike”!

100% bring binoculars on this outing! I read this tip while planning our trip and I am so glad I did! I purchased this $40 pair from amazon and got them next day. They were perfect. It made seeing the seals way more fun for us!

After the seal preserve we headed back to the house and ordered dinner. We planned to eat AT this italian place and their cute outdoor patio, but I wasn’t feeling very well so we ordered in instead!

There’s this classic italian restaurant called Giovanni’s that has gluten free pizza with great reviews! I wasn’t in the mood for something heavy like pizza because I was feeling sick but Cam ordered the works. He ended up with a caesar salad, the lasagna, and some cheesy bread. It looked and smelled so dang good, I was drooling from across the table. Highly recommend. I opted for a homemade baked potato because it was all the sounded good. I actually found the BEST recipe for amazing baked potatoes that I shared in stories on Instagram…you can find it in my “Recipes” highlight.

Day Three

We were so sad to wake up to our last day, we definitely didn’t want to leave!

We had breakfast at the house just to be quick this day and packed up to head out. We stopped at The Worker Bee Cafe again for lunch on our way out and both had the same things as the day before…that’s how good they were!

Then we headed 15 minutes up the freeway to Santa Barbara for a day at the zoo! We packed some snacks before we left the house because the zoo doesn’t have any allergen friendly food unfortunately.

Make sure you book your tickets ahead of time, they require reservations now and they can book up especially on weekends! Be warned that a lot of the exhibits are being remodeled as of May 2021 so a bunch of animals are missing which was annoying. But we still had fun! Something we didn’t know about until it was too late was that you can feed the giraffes here! Something I will definitely plan for at our next visit!

After the zoo we went to state street to grab smoothies for the road from Blenders in the Grass. They have dairy free options here and I love the blue banana with carob added!

That’s a wrap! Three perfect days celebrating my favorite guy for his birthday and it was a great getaway. We can’t wait to go back! Until our next trip….

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June 7, 2021


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A photographer of all things life & love. Dog mama to two tiny pups that have my whole heart, and married to my best friend of 13 years. Together, we share a little house on Lemon St.

Iā€™m Shannan Leigh.

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