With Summer in full swing, we took a last minute family road trip to Solvang a few weeks ago …and had the best time! Have you been to Solvang? We’ve only made pit stops to eat and see the ostriches, so this was our first time exploring the town. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, that’ll make you feel like you’re in Europe (sorta)…this little STAYCATION is for you.
Keep in mind that our 3 day visit was from Monday-Wednesday, so it was less crowded. Our past pit stops have been on a weekend, it was definitely much busier and we couldn’t do much since there was a long wait time to eat.
Road Trip To Solvang
Known as the “Danish Capital of America,” the small town of Solvang is about 3 hours away from Los Angeles. Nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, about 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara.
Founded by Danish immigrants in 1911, Solvang boasts authentic architecture, thatched roofs, old-world craftsmanship and traditional windmills.
So if you’re already planning a day trip to Santa Barbara or to wine country, Solvang makes the perfect pit stop!
Where To Stay
I booked a last minute stay (and got a great deal) at the Royal Copenhagen Inn. We chose the Loft Suite room since Danny was working remotely…it was very spacious for our family of four. Besides the Danish decor…I loved the location of the motel! It was close to everything, so we walked everywhere and didn’t need our car. Plus they offer FREE continental breakfast, that’s delivered right to your door. Its the perfect family-friendly stay with a pool and other amenities like a small putting green. We’re definently going to stay there again!
For more info about our stay, click here! (affiliated link)
Things To Do With Kids
My main purpose of this trip was to get out of LA and explore a new place with the kids while Danny worked. I thought 2 nights/3 days was the perfect amount of time to do that…and to relax. Solvang business hours are short, most places are open from 10am. to 6pm., so when you’re planning your trip – look at the hours of operation.
Hans Christian Andersen Park
We started our first day in Solvang at the Hans Christian Anderson Park, which was about a 20 minute walk to the beautiful castle arch entrance. It’s a big park with large oak trees, hiking trail, fun play structure (we had it all to ourselves), picnic tables, and there’s also skate park.
This is our favorite place to eat whenever we’re in Solvang and we definitely worked up an appetite after our morning at the park. We love trying new things at this outdoor beer garden, they’ve got an extensive menu of beers and sausages. Be sure to ask them which condiment tastes best with your order.
This is the place I’ve wanted to visit with the kids…and finally got the chance to do so. It’s a small, dedicated museum located inside The Book Loft. It’s free to learn about the legendary author’s life and work. I’ll never forget the look on Caiden’s face when he learned the original story of “The Little Mermaid.” Disney definitely made it kid-friendly.
Plus its a great excuse to shop at local bookstore after you’ve toured the museum. We took our new books to Solvang Park for a reading break (next to a HCA statue) before we headed back to the motel.
Okay, this part shop, part museum was a fun visit! The kids loved it as mush as we did. Inside you’ll find the Solvang Amber Museum inspired by its “sister-museum” in Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Amber Museum. We got to learn the history of Amber…with its beautiful displays. Of course my dinosaur loving kid, Ronan, loved that there was small Jurassic Park display.
There’s also a LEGO room in the back with collectable items …and they were expensive (this is my warning to you). Danny loved the Danish Viking exhibit, it features the huge statue of Solvang’s protector, Holger Danske (Holger the Dane).
You can’t leave without getting some treats. We ate at Solvang Restaurant and treated ourselves with æbleskive, Danish snacks that are spherical in shape, tastes like a doughnut hole/pancake. It’s so good. You don’t have to eat inside the restaurant to try these. There’s an outdoor kiosk to order the treats to go!
You’ll find other bakeries throughout the town as well. We stopped by Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery, since it was next to our motel, and picked up some treats for the road.
Don’t forget to take photos by the windmills!
During this trip we didn’t make it to the Ostrich Land, so if you’ve never been, I highly recommend visiting! It’s quit an experience to feed those creatures.