La Mesa Park
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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La Mesa Park is our refuge on those rare summer days when it gets in the high 80s or 90s and our house is boiling hot! There is an abundance of shade, a huge lawn, and the breeze off the ocean is wonderfully cool. It can be 96 degrees somewhere else in Santa Barbara and 75 degrees here, at the same time!
Birthday parties are nice here because of the long row of BBQs and picnic tables near the playground. The playground has slides, musical chimes, cable to tarzan on, baby and regular swings, and bouncy horses to ride. Behind the playground is a magical eucalyptus grove where you can see owls at night! Monarch butterflies flutter here in the winter sunlight. My daughter loves to be a butterfly fairy in rays of light amongst the flowers under the tall trees.
Across from the playground is a fantastic lawn that extends out to deep blue ocean views. This is where we got married! A Monterey cypress frames the view on one side- I love that tree! People come to this spot in the morning to do yoga or taichi on the grass, and lovers sit on the bench overlooking the water. There's a great pedestrian bridge that leads over to a Mesa neighborhood and the Edgewater Way Walk. The bridge is wonderful for inspiring the imagination of kids- it's high and you can look down through the bars under your feet at the vegetation way below. Oh, the views from the bridge! And those lucky folk who have mansions with deck chairs looking out over the water to the islands beyond! The Coast Guard has some housing to the left as you look out- those guys are lucky too!
Walk across the bridge and all the way to the Mesa Lane Steps, steep steps that lead down to a ribbon beach. If you walk even further, you will come to Douglas Family Preserve, a wilderness area on cliffs high above the ocean where dogs run happily free. From there, you have a birdseye view of Hendry's Beach and Hope Ranch.
La Mesa Park is probably the best picnic spot in Santa Barbara. Buy your organic picnic at upscale Lazy Acres Market, across the street up the hill. Kids like to get an orange and cucumber juice at the juice bar- it might be the only greens they eat all week!
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La Mesa Park is located at 295 Meigs Road, Santa Barbara CA 93109. It is nicely secluded because although it is on a main road, you can't see it from the road. That's why not too many people know about it! The entrance can be hard to find.
Exit Highway 101 northbound at Carrillo St and turn left. If coming southbound, exit at Carrillo St and turn right. Head along Carrillo St up over Santa Barbara Heights. The views are great coming down! At the bottom, the road changes name to Meigs Rd at the Cliff Drive intersection. Continue on and you will pass a set of stores on your right and then a townhouse complex. After that, you will see some grass on your right. Park there along the road or turn in at the La Mesa Park sign on your right. There is a semi-circular driveway and some parking spaces.
There are restrooms.
Lazy Acres Market, 302 Meigs Road, Santa Barbara CA 93109, call (805) 564-4410.
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|I remember when the bridge was built. As a kid, I think I rode my bike over the bridge a thousand times.|