Local Scene: Pre and Post-fest Recommendations

Paperboy with black clown nose handing out Lucid newspaper to man in car
Photo by E. Clynes

On your way to Lucidity this year you just might want to consider the local gems along your path. One’s destination is often made even sweeter by the journey getting there…

The Lucidity community is returning to the beautiful scenery of Live Oak in Santa Barbara once again. As we embark on the road and to our home away from home, it is an experience to check out the local nature spots that encompass the county.

As a fellow local, I have always appreciated the area that is the Central Coast….the rolling hills, the abundant plants, and untouched land.

Here are some spots I personally recommend to stay at or stop by on your journey up to Live Oak campground this year.

Coming from the South, there are some excellent reminders of the culture that founded this land. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre botanical garden, containing over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants.

One of their missions and goals is conservation and research of the native plants and habitats. Take in one of the best angles and views of Santa Barbara from their recently constructed conservation center. Bring a camera, a picnic basket, and a blanket to soak the experience all in.

Short haired woman holding colorful umbrella up high smiling in front of the gorgeous Live Oak mountainous backdrop
Photo by Lerina Winter

Curious about the history of Santa Barbara?

One of the sacred spots in the city just happens to be down the road from our festival’s home base! The Chumash Painted Cave State Memorial Park (Santa Barbara) is some of the oldest evidence of Chumash culture in the area, with archeological paintings in the cave dating back to the 1600s.

Carved from towering sandstone boulders, the park contains some of the finest remaining rock art created by Chumash Native Americans. Experience the stunning, cherished tribal pieces on your way to or from the festival!

Growing up north of Santa Barbara, my friends and I frequented the Carrizo Plain National Monument (Santa Margarita). Around this time of the year, the land is bursting with wildflowers (especially after a good bout of rain). It’s landscape becomes a jaw dropping and unforgettable color fest of flowers.

The plain is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species, including several listed as threatened or endangered. The Painted Rock and Soda Lake are must-sees during your visit. Should you choose to continue camping after Lucidity, the land is currently under the Bureau of Land Management.

"Lucidity" sign in big block letters erected in festival grounds. Sunshine glowing upon the partly shady nook it rests on
Photo by Brieana Breeze

There are two developed campgrounds offered at Carrizo Plain, in addition to over 100,000 acres of dispersed camping areas. See the website for more information on permissible spots for camping, and be sure to leave no trace. 🙂 

If you have never seen a California condor before, drive through the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge while on your trip. Although the Refuge is closed to the public, you can see large portions of the refuge from Hudson Ranch Road between the San Joaquin Valley and the coastal mountain range.

Here you can observe vast open grassland that has provided a valuable foraging habitat for California condors and other local critters like mule deer, tule elk, California quail, golden eagle, owls, and occasionally roadrunners. This is an excellent spot and a beautiful alternative route for those who want to immerse and isolate into some glorious scenery before making the trip up or down highway 5.

I have personally loved the drive as it continues the wonderful and peaceful environment that Los Padres National Forest and the refuge provides before embarking back to society and busy traffic.

I hope that wherever you are coming from that you have a safe journey to and from the festival grounds and that you can get a chance to make the most of what Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas have to offer.

And as a friendly reminder…remember to check out some ride sharing opportunities if you are beginning to plan your trip to Lucidity!

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