When the horns and haze of LA overwhelm, seek respite up the coast in slow and serene Santa Barbara...

Just a ‘kini fling from the hustle and bustle of Tinseltown, and aptly nicknamed the American Riviera, Santa Barbara packs a refreshing punch with all the things California does best: magnificent mountains, sublime coastlines, swaying palms, temperate climes and relaxed vibes. So hop in your ride, and make the 1h30 scenic coastal drive along the 101.

EAT

On your way into town, your first port of call should be sweet, iconic streetside brunchster Jeannine’s. Although it has three locations (Downtown, Uptown and Westlake Village), we love Jeannine’s Montecito branch the best, a cottage-cute vision of white picket fencing, creeping foliage, and Parisian-style alfresco seating. The menu spans classic and healthy breakfast dishes, but we say skip the side order of guilt and get friendly with the epic breakfast burrito. Your hips won’t thank you, but your lips sure will.

SHOP

Post feasting, just a couple of doors down you’ll find exotic treasure box Maison K, the chic fashion, lifestyle and decor collection of globetrotting owner/curator Kimberly Phillips Hayes. Sourced from buying trips spanning Paris to Istanbul to Morocco and beyond, Maison K’s booty is a textural wonderland of neutral hues and raw materials, including Syrian shell mirrors, Mexican felted silk scarves, Italian blown glass vases, Nepalese cashmere, plus dreamy leathers, silks, woods and Astier de Villatte ceramics.

EXPLORE

Besides all things sun, sand and sea, Santa Barbara is also renowned for its off-water activities, not least hiking in the Santa Ynez hills, meandering through the town’s myriad heritage sites and neighbourhoods, and sampling locally produced wines. There’s no shortage of glorious pockets of nature, character and flavour to be discovered, so best get clicking ahead for some expert direction at santabarbarahikes.com, sbcountywines.com and santabarbarawalkingtours.com.

Jeannine's American Bakery / 1253 Coast Village Rd / +1 805 969 7878 / 6.30am-3.30pm daily / jeannines.com

Maison K / 1253 Coast Village Rd / +1 805 969 1676 / 10am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, noon-5pm Sun / maisonkstyle.com