24 Hours In Boulder City, Nevada

While passing through Nevada on our most recent southwest road tip, we decided to make a stop in Boulder City.  The historic downtown area is filled with delicious food and friendly folks.  There are also impressive landmarks to see just minutes away, like Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.  Here’s how we spent our 24 Hours In Boulder City, Nevada!


FOOD & SIGHTS


Breakfast At The Coffee Cup Cafe

Omelets and coffee at The Coffee Cup Cafe, and enjoying the hustle and bustle of what felt like half of the town stopping in, was the perfect way to kickstart the day.

A Visit To Hoover Dam

You must check out Hoover Dam if in town as it’s so close by!  We took the tour of the power plant which provided so much interesting context to truly appreciate the construction of the dam.  The views from up top are wild!

Views Of Lake Mead

Be sure to check out Lake Mead!  It’s such a unique sight to see out in the middle of the desert.

Dinner At Big T’s Cantina

Cauliflower Tacos (cornmeal fried and seasoned, with cabbage, pico, cotija cheese, and green onion crema)

El Jefe Margarita (fresh lime juice, agave, Comisario Blanco, and Grand Marnier)

There’s no better way to end a day in the heat than with a margarita and tacos.  Big T’s Cantina has such a fun vibe, and I would absolutely become a regular if I lived nearby!


Depending on the time of year, you’ll find a variety of local events downtown (such as the Art In The Park art festival that happened to be taking place the day we arrived).  There was a true sense of community and fun around here…I’m so glad that we were able to visit!


Want more travel guides? Check these out:

Visiting Santa Barbara: A Weekend Guide

Visiting Laguna Beach: A Day Trip Guide

A Weekend in Monterey: Food and Destination Guide

Visiting Santa Barbara: A Weekend Guide

VISITING SANTA BARBARA: A WEEKEND GUIDE – OUR TOP PICKS FOR A WEEKEND TRIP!

Our first visit to Santa Barbara was in 2018 for our 1 Year wedding anniversary.  We had such a nice time that we decided to go back 5 years later for our 6 Year wedding anniversary!  Both visits fell on Memorial Day Weekend, and late May is a beautiful time to visit this coastal city.  (Yes, holiday weekends do get more crowded than other times of year, so this is definitely something to keep in mind!)

Our first visit was nothing but bright blue skies and hot sun, and the second time around it was quite overcast and cool. To be honest, I was actually happy about our cloudy days this year…It kept us from overheating during hikes and walks around the city!

If you only have a couple of days in town, check out our favorite stops below to build your list of activities as well as find the tastiest food!


ACTIVITIES & DESTINATIONS


Downtown Santa Barbara & State Street

A walk down State Street provides endless restaurant options, unique stores to explore, and the perfect opportunity to sightsee in downtown Santa Barbara!  There’s beautiful detail everywhere you look.

Reaching the end of this stretch of road will bring you straight out to the wharf, giving you a great view of the coast and the ocean!

Inspiration Point & The Santa Ynez Mountains

The hikes in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara are truly gorgeous!  To reach Inspiration Point, cars can park along Tunnel Road, and entry to the trails can be found at the Tunnel Road gate.  The trail to Inspiration Point is easy enough for beginners, only taking about 1 – 1.5 hours from the gate, but can be made into a much longer excursion by exploring offshoots of other nearby trails.

On a clear day, there are beautiful views of the Santa Barbara coast.  We happened to go on an overcast day, but the misty cool weather was actually my preference!  We didn’t get too hot and felt like we were up in the clouds.

The only trail offshoot we had difficulty finding was Seven Falls.  It was unclear at the time we were there if the trail was temporarily closed.  Be sure to look at a map ahead of time!

Santa Barbara Zoo

We spent several hours at the zoo as it was our first time there!  The Santa Barbara Zoo is an incredible small zoo and nonprofit that provides great education.  It’s a fantastic stop for kids and adults alike!  (You’ll need to reserve a time slot to visit through their website. This kept it from getting overly crowded!)

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

In Mission Canyon you’ll find the lovely Botanic Garden!  78 acres and over 1,000 species of plants – This place is beautiful!


DINING


Hook & Press

The Boston Cream Pie Donut and the Coffee Donut Holes!

If you’re a donut lover, Hook & Press is truly a must!  Their rotating flavors are seriously decadent and one-of-a-kind, with everything made from scratch using high quality ingredients.  The Boston Cream Pie Donut was everything it ought to be, and the Coffee Donut Holes were the perfect latte companion.

They also had vegan options and delicious drink choices!

The Andersen’s

Whether you’re in need of breakfast or craving dessert, Andersen’s Danish Bakery has it all!  I wish we could have tried every single incredible pastry in the place.  Our breakfast Croissants and afternoon Earl Grey Lavender Cookies were perfect.

Scarlett Begonia

We first had breakfast at Scarlett Begonia on our 2018 visit, and it was so good that we had to come back!  The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are the best part if you ask me!

Arigato

If you love sushi, try Arigato.  Everything was super fresh and flavorful!  (They even had awesome veggie rolls!)

Opal

California cuisine influenced from all around the world, Opal is a great dinner option! The Vegetable Napoleon was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten!

Tondi Gelato

Tondi Gelato has got to be some of the best gelato I’ve ever had!  Everything is made on-site from scratch, and while I didn’t manage to get a shot before it was halfway melted, the flavors were all incredible.  I picked Salted Caramel, and my husband got half Hazelnut / half Coconut.

They had both traditional dairy as well as non-dairy/vegan choices!

Convivo

We came to Convivo for our anniversary dinner!  All of their food is incredibly unique and inventive.  They also kindly gifted us an anniversary dessert (the Chocolate Caramel Bar with Salted Caramel Gelato) and a Polaroid!


We certainly plan to visit Santa Barbara again in the future as it’s only a couple of hours north of Los Angeles.  When we do, I’ll be sure to update this list!


In need of more coastal California guides? Check out A Weekend in Monterey: Food and Destination Guide and Visiting Laguna Beach: A Day Trip Guide!

Visiting Laguna Beach: A Day Trip Guide

Laguna Beach is such a gorgeous day trip destination, and if you have less than 24 hours in the area, picking a few key landmarks to explore is key!  You don’t have to be a surfer to get huge enjoyment from this coastal city, and you don’t even need a perfectly sunny day.  Between the hiking, tide pools, and delicious food, there is something here for everyone.

Whether you’re arriving from somewhere local in Southern California or from far out of town, I would highly recommend the following when time is limited:

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

The trails and views here are lovely!  We went in early April and the hillsides were covered in wildflowers.  There’s an easily accessible parking lot directly off of the main road that costs only $3, as well as a very helpful visitor center.  Inside, we were recommended the trails that would best match the length of time we were interested in hiking as well as the appropriate level of difficulty.

These coastal canyons are a must, and with 40 miles of trails on site there is no shortage of Southern California hilltop vistas!

Address: 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA

Crystal Cove State Park

This stretch of coastline is absolutely stunning for a long walk on the beach!  In between the scenic bluffs you’ll find numerous tide pools that are a blast for exploring.  Whether you’re visiting solo or with a family, you’re in for hours of beach fun here.

Address: 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA

Heisler Park

If you’re in search of a walking tour of the Laguna shoreline, this is the place to go!  This park extends along the best of the Laguna beaches while being home to picnic areas, overlooks, and colorful gardens.  Located on Cliff Drive, the park trail directly connects to the boardwalk, which is a great way to experience the active seaside scene.

Address: 375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

Las Brisas

When it comes to restaurants, Las Brisas checks all of the boxes: Convenient location, unique meals, delicious drinks, and the perfect scenery.  “California Cuisine Infused with Flavors of Mexico”, this is a festive spot to end the day with a margarita and view of the ocean.  It’s also located on Cliff Drive by the Heisler Park walkway.

My personal dinner recommendation?  The Butternut Squash Tamales!  Unbelievably tasty.

Address: 361 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

We’ll definitely be back, and in that case, I’ll be sure to add any updated recommendations here!


Exploring more of the California coast?  Check out my Monterey Guide!