A Fall Day in Solvang

Confession: as much as there is to explore in LA, I cannot stand the traffic. Don’t get me wrong, I manage plenty of city adventures with Mabel. But, since moving to Ventura County, I love being closer to northern destinations like the Santa Barbara and Solvang. It can take me longer to get to Orange County than it does to Solvang. Since it’s one of my favorite towns, I’m not complaining. 

With the weather finally cooling off, Mabel and I enjoyed an impromptu road trip to the “Danish Capital of America.” It’s officially fall and a gorgeous season to spend in Solvang. Although we didn’t do a lot, we enjoyed just hanging out like a local. For an easy day trip with a toddler, here’s our itinerary! 

Nojoqui Falls Park

As we cruised up the 101, I made my usual shortcut off the highway to catch Alisal Road. This is a beautiful and desolate road that passes by working farms and vineyards. We even saw pigs, cows, horses, and llamas. Just a little further up is Nojoqui Falls Park. There are camp hookups, picnicking, and plenty of wide open space. The park is most famous for, you guessed it, its waterfall. 

This 10-minute trail is ideal for introducing little tykes to “hiking.” This was my second time with Mabel and both times we had a ball. She got to explore and walk on her own and loved checking out all of the trees. We talked about tree bark and tracing its roots back to the tree. It felt like a true “nature hike.” 

We made our way to the waterfall which was more like a trickle but it was still a tranquil, relaxing experience. Be warned, there’s no phone signal and the bathrooms are very dark and what you expect at a public park. We love enjoying the natural habitats but then headed to Solvang when we needed civilization. 

Good Seed Coffee Boutique & the Scarecrow Festival 

Since mommy lived in Solvang for a while, Mabel endured my driving around old haunts. Afterward, I parked just off Mission Drive and headed to Good Seed Coffee Boutique. I’ve mentioned this awesome coffeehouse before. Since Solvang doesn’t have the greatest gluten-free selections, Good Seed has been a gem to discover. They roast their coffee and I decided to treat myself to a now-rare cup o’Joe. It was just as good as I expected. A smooth and strong Guatemala blend. It paired well with the famous Monkey Bread Mabel and I shared. 

From here, we explored their Scarecrow Festival. All around town, Solvang storefronts have been decorated for the spooky season with fun scarecrows and displays. Our pick for taking home first place? We loved the Little Mermaid out front of the Book Loft. I was disappointed many windows were bare and looked to not be participating. The handful of scarecrows we did encounter were great fun, though. 

Jule Hus & Hans Christian Andersen Park

After poking in and out of shops along Copenhagen Drive, we headed towards the Jule Hus. Solvang’s very own Christmas shop has been a favorite of mine for years (no surprise there). I began a tradition when I was pregnant with Mabel to buy an ornament from them each year. With her very curious about this store, it’s no surprise we zeroed in on their Rugrats ornaments. Of course, we chose Angelica.

Since we had parked near Good Seed, that meant we were close to the park. Mabel had enjoyed strolling and dosing while I browsed, but I decided to let her run around a bit. I’ve loved Hans Christian Andersen Park since I was young and it’s special bringing Mabel here. Their playground is fun but given the wide patches of grass and small trails to explore, she hardly played on the equipment. 

The Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch

To think, I had planned to spend the morning in Solvang and then head to the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. It was now going on three, and we still needed to check out the Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch. 14 acres of pumpkins and a corn maze await visitors on Alamo Pintado Road. While the weather had been great for our excursion, the patch was very sunny and warm. No shade in sight and with a cranky toddler throwing off her hat, I wanted to go easy. 

Their pumpkin selection is large, ranging in all sizes. Kids (mine, especially) will get a kick out of the wagons to wheel around the patch as you collect your goods. There are several cute photo ops. The maze is eight dollars and select nights even have an evening walk-through. Given the sun and Mabel fading fast, I was too nervous to attempt a gigantic corn maze with her. Nevertheless, this is an adorable pumpkin patch and a “must” for Solvang in the fall.