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There is no recep­tion in Par­adise or on most of Par­adise road rather. Because of that, Par­adise Road is a great place for a tech-free Los Ange­les fam­i­ly week­end get­away or day trip. Or, ditch the kids and take a roman­tic retreat away from the city. Either way, you’ll have a few days sur­round­ed by nature at a loca­tion close to Los Ange­les and San­ta Bar­bara. Par­adise Road is in the moun­tains of San­ta Barabra sand­wiched between Lake Cachu­ma and Knap­p’s Castle. 




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camping, paradise, red rock, santa barbara, los angeles, family, getaway

This is one of the beau­ti­ful camp­sites at Upper Oso Camp­grounds off of Par­adise Road. My fam­i­ly loves the wide-open space each camp­ground offers.



Our favorite way to enjoy Par­adise is camp­ing for the week­end. Par­adise Road is sat­u­rat­ed with dif­fer­ent camp­grounds that each have their own vibe so you can go hun­dreds of times and have a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence every time, depend­ing on the camp­ground you choose and time of year you go. 

You can make reser­va­tions in advance on the Recreation.gov web­site or app. It is $30 a night to camp at most of the camp­grounds and if you can’t make a reser­va­tion in advance, then there are usu­al­ly walk up or over­flow camp­sites avail­able. How­ev­er, if you are going on a hol­i­day week­end, then I would def­i­nite­ly try to pick in advance. My fam­i­ly loves to stay at the Upper Oso Camp­ground because you set up camp in a beau­ti­ful val­ley. You get to enjoy an abun­dance of wide-open space at each camp­ground because they are well spaced out and each one has a pic­nic table and a fire pit. We love to make fires most nights, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the spring or fall, to make our house­hold favorite, Smores que­sadil­las. The Sub­ur­ban Soap­box has a deli­cious and easy recipe you can fol­low to make your very own Smores Que­sadil­las. The key ingre­di­ents are corn tor­tillas, semi-sweet choco­late chips, marsh­mal­lows and gra­ham crack­ers. My fam­i­ly also loves to add banana slices and caramel sauce.  After, we sit around the camp­fire and dad­dy plays songs on his acoustic guitar. 


PRO TIP: If you are going to camp for the week­end, then I would def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend get­ting all the gro­ceries you need before com­ing up the 154 because there are not many stores around once you get fur­ther up the moun­tain. If you for­get fire­wood at the gro­cery store, don’t fret because many of the camp­site man­agers have fire­wood you can purchase. 



Red Rock


camping, paradise, red rock, santa barbara, los angeles, family, getaway

Red Rock is a beau­ti­ful place to spend the day and enjoy the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia sun with your fam­i­ly. When the water is high enough, you can even go cliff jumping!



If camp­ing isn’t real­ly your style, then you can make a day trip out to Red Rock from Los Ange­les or San­ta Bar­bara. Par­adise Road will guide you to Red Rock. Grow­ing up in the big city of Los Ange­les, Red Rock always made me feel like I had a lit­tle taste of what it would be like to grow up sur­round­ed by nature. A short hike from the park­ing lot off Par­adise Road, brings you to a serene water­ing hole. Our fam­i­ly always makes a day out of going to Red Rock when we come camping. 


Wear a bathing suit, pack some sun­screen, snacks, drinks, tow­els and a speak­er and you can make a day out of head­ing to Red Rock as well. Depend­ing on the time of year and how much rain we’ve had, you can even go cliff jump­ing at Red Rock. My favorite part about Red Rock is that you see a lit­tle bit of every­one enjoy­ing it with you. There are peo­ple of all ages, includ­ing small kids, enjoy­ing Red Rock. If you don’t want to spend the day in the water, then there are also oppor­tu­ni­ties to horse­back ride, go atv­ing or hike. 


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Santa Barbara


santa barbara, beach, southern california

Expe­ri­enc­ing a sun­set on a San­ta Bar­bara beach after a deli­cious meal is always a high­light of our trip.



A stay in San­ta Bar­bara is a good option if you plan to vis­it Red Rock for the day. If you choose to stay around State Street ver­sus camp­ing, then I would def­i­nite­ly take the time to check out some of the deli­cious restau­rants on State Street. One restau­rant we nev­er miss when we go to San­ta Bar­bara is Via Maes­tra 42. Via Maes­tra 42 is an Ital­ian Restau­rant where you can find your favorite Ital­ian clas­sics. If you go, try their gnoc­chi because it real­ly is some of the best gnoc­chi we’ve ever had. 



Knapp’s Castle


views, castle, california, family

Knap­p’s Cas­tle is anoth­er beau­ti­ful place to enjoy the sun­set not too far from Par­adise Road.



When we spend the week­end on Par­adise Road, we usu­al­ly make our way to Knap­p’s Cas­tle. Knap­p’s Cas­tle is a unique scenic point in San­ta Bar­bara that you can see over the moun­tains sur­round­ing Par­adise Road. Knap­p’s Cas­tle actu­al­ly used to have rope and tire swings scat­tered around, but the last time we went it was gat­ed off. I would still rec­om­mend mak­ing the short 15 minute trip to Knap­p’s Cas­tle from Par­adise Road because the view is incred­i­ble and you can get a lit­tle bit of a hike in! 



Lake Cachuma


If you enjoy fish­ing as much as we do, then I would also rec­om­mend check­ing out Lake Cachu­ma. Lake Cachu­ma is also a great place to spend the day because you can take a boat out on the lake, fish off the fish­ing piers or check out the nature cen­ter. The lake is also only about 15 min­utes away from Par­adise Road. 






solvang, food, travel, local

Going to Solvang is a lit­tle taste of Europe only a few hours away from Los Ange­les and def­i­nite­ly worth check­ing out for the waffles.



Once you are done mak­ing mem­o­ries on Par­adise Road, then you can choose to take the long way and pass through Solvang on your way back to Los Ange­les. Our fam­i­ly likes to add a lit­tle bit of extra time on our jour­ney back because the waf­fles you get in Solvang are more than worth it. Our favorite waf­fles in Solvang are at The Bel­gian Cafe! Hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see the quaint lit­tle town of Solvang is also an expe­ri­ence and good oppor­tu­ni­ty to see a wind­mill if you or your kids haven’t seen one before! 


Par­adise Road tru­ly is a lit­tle piece of par­adise to enjoy with your kids, your part­ner or even a group of friends. Par­adise Road is also our lit­tle dog, Mil­lie’s, favorite place in the world. So if you have a fur­ry friend, bring them too! Spend­ing the day or week­end on Par­adise Road gives you the chance to con­nect with the peo­ple you love because your kids or your part­ner won’t spend most of the day glued to their phone or tablet.


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When You Go



Red Rock is about 2 hours and 20 min­utes from Down­town Los Ange­les tak­ing the 101 North free­way to the 154 (which you can get to by tak­ing the State St. exit) , unless you leave Fri­day after­noon. We usu­al­ly try to head up to Par­adise Fri­day morn­ing if we are plan­ning on spend­ing the week­end there so we can avoid some of the Fri­day after­noon traf­fic. Par­adise Road is right off of the 154!

Lake Chachu­ma is also right off of the 154 about 10 to 15 min­utes past the entrance of Par­adise Road. 

Knap­p’s Cas­tle is about 10 to 15 min­utes before the entrance of Par­adise Road on the 154. To get to Knap­p’s Cas­tle off the 154 you would turn right on Camino Cielo. 


Where to Stay


Upper Oso Camp­ground - Obvi­ous­ly, this is our num­ber one way to go. You can make reser­va­tions on Recreation.gov


Hotel Milo is one of my favorite hotels in San­ta Bar­bara because it is in the heart of every­thing and makes it easy to enjoy every­thing State Street has to offer as well as the beau­ti­ful beach­es of San­ta Bar­bara. Hotel Milo is about $200 to $300 a night depend­ing on the time of year you go. Hotel Milo is also fair­ly kid-friend­ly if you want to bring your kids along!



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Ash­ley McGul­lam is an avid trav­el­er who loves to share her expe­ri­ences. She has found her way around the world adven­tur­ing for plea­sure and busi­ness with friends and fam­i­ly. Ash­ley was a Health Edu­ca­tion Vol­un­teer in Cameroon for the Peace Corps and stud­ied Social Wel­fare with an empha­sis in Pub­lic Pol­i­cy at UC Berke­ley, which brought her to research in Chile and Argenti­na. Ash­ley is now work­ing as the Direc­tor of Devel­op­ment & Com­mu­ni­ty Rela­tions for Meals on Wheels West based in San­ta Mon­i­ca, but finds time to trav­el local­ly when­ev­er she can with her love­ly fam­i­ly, friends and dog, Mil­lie. Ash­ley spent most of her child­hood in Los Ange­les so she will help you find many unique adven­tures around the Los Ange­les area.