Royal Scandinavian Inn - Solvang
I first discovered Solvang as a college student in Santa Barbara. Having grown up in Northern California, I had not been well-acquainted with the treasures that lay along the central coast. Once I came upon this town, about an hour north of my college, I went there every chance I could. It allowed me a sense of escape to an old, charming world of windmills and European romance. A quiet and authentic Danish town filled with coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and shops, the town exuded a sense of serenity and an air of fantasy. This ambiance I enjoyed then is what makes Solvang an ideal spot for traveling families today.
When you visit Solvang, you will want to stay right in the village so that you can push your stroller or walk with your youngsters into the town, to browse through the shops and dine in the restaurants. The Royal Scandinavian Inn meets this need as it is located in the heart of the town. An old Danish village with cobblestone sidewalks, windmills, and high shingled roofs, the town of Solvang is like a Disneyland for children. Solvang, which means "sunny field" in Danish, is situated in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Established as a Danish village in 1910, Solvang continues attracting Danes from all over the United States and Europe and has become a community committed to the Danish heritage and culture. One-and-a-half million visitors annually find their way to Solvang and, in September, the town celebrates their own Danish Days Festival and theaterfest.
This little hamlet is filled with interesting windmills and Danish shops which include numerous candy shops, toy shops and children's clothing stores. The many outdoor cafes create a refreshing atmosphere for families with babies and young children, and enable parents and youngsters to enjoy the festive, casual environment, and the fresh air. Mom and Dad, as well as the youngsters, will love sampling Aebleskives--Solvang's signature Danish dessert--a delicate pastry served hot with jam, syrup, or powdered sugar. Much of the town's street illumination is provided by old-fashioned gas lamps. Those well-lit streets, combined with Solvang's extremely low crime rate, make walking with children and babies safe and inviting in the evenings.
At the Royal Scandinavian Hotel, rates vary slightly according to seasons, but it remains a generally economical hotel.
Note: We found the absence of in-room refrigerators and the small size of the rooms not so baby-friendly. When staying at the Royal Scandinavian Inn, you will need to make accommodations for these inconveniences for instance, by bringing a large cooler filled with ice and also packing very lightly.
Many Solvang travelers don't realize that, beyond the shops and restaurants, the Santa Ynez Valley offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking. This one, located behind the Royal Scandinavian, was very stroller-accessible for my family.