Although Santa Barbara may be a popular travel destination in the region, the town of Goleta offers visitors a diamond in the rough. It’s the perfect place to relax with small restaurants and a peaceful beach park. Once you land at the Santa Barba Municipal Airport and are driving your Thrifty rental car around the city, you might want to enjoy some of the nearby attractions, including Goleta Beach Park, Noodle City and Three Pickles Goleta.
Goleta Beach Park
To get off the beaten track and away from the crowds, drive your Santa Barbara Airport rental car over to Goleta Beach Park for a day in the sun. It’s the ideal destination for a quiet family outing or a long sunset stroll. Bring your fishing pole and enjoy the old wooden pier, free of commercial buildings. You might even catch a lobster. Parking is free and the nearby amenities include a restaurant and snack bar, volleyball nets, restrooms and large areas for group picnics. This beach park is close to the airport, but ground traffic is very minimal. To get here from the 101, take the 217 almost the end. Then, take the airport exit and turn left at the bottom of the ramp. Go under the bridge and turn right into the parking lot.
Grab a Bite at Noodle City
If you’re hungry enough to leave the beach park, take a drive over to Noodle City in your Thrifty rental car. This restaurant is a mom and pop Vietnamese noodle shop located in Old Town Goleta. While the place is small, busy and loud, it does serve up the best pho in the area. You’ll see fresh pots of bubbling broth on the stove in the kitchen as you walk in, with real Thai basil as a garnish. There are plenty of other Vietnamese and Chinese specialties on the menu, including vegetarian selections. Don’t worry about the abrupt service as this place caters to hungry students, local professionals and tourists alike. Expect to find it especially packed around lunchtime.
Three Pickles Goleta
In the mood for a sandwich like you’ve never had? Then blaze a trail over in your Santa Barbara Airport rental car to Three Pickles Goleta. These sandwiches are the talk of the town and, once you enter, you’ll see why. This place is packed during lunch hour with hungry locals and visitors all looking for a way to satisfy their cravings. They make perfect deli stacks and decadent, messy specialty sandwiches, along with a big-fixings bar. Free parking makes this place an easy choice.