Try Irvine Station on your next vacation

by Ellen Bell

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner train makes the dream of a car-free vacation a reality.

It only takes a few hours to travel from the Irvine Station up the coast to Santa Barbara. As soon as you board, just settle in for the ride, open a book, or enjoy the free Wi-Fi service.

The dining options available in the Sea View Café offer hand-crafted sandwiches and freshly made salad. You can also order a craft beer or glass of wine to enjoy as you bypass L.A. traffic.

After a relaxing trip along the coast, you arrive in Santa Barbara, just two blocks from the beach, and your vacation begins as soon as you step off the train.

Visitors who arrive in Santa Barbara by train are eligible for all kinds of discounts thanks to the Santa Barbara Car Free Project, which features

specials on train tickets, hotels, bicycling, sailing cruises, wine tasting, dining and shopping.

Santa Barbara is easy to navigate on foot, with many of its attractions just steps away from the station.

Stearns Wharf is the perfect spot to sample fresh seafood and search for a seaside souvenir. The boutiques, cafes and galleries of the Funk Zone arts district are a short walk away. It’s easy to follow the self-guided Urban Wine Trail and sip some of Santa Barbara’s best vintages.

Don’t let the idea of a long trip through Los Angeles deter you from a relaxing weekend in Santa Barbara. The convenience of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner makes leaving the car at home a breeze.