Santa Barbara is one of America’s best kept secrets. Sitting 323 miles south of San Francisco and 95 miles north of Los Angeles in an oceanfront location on the Pacific Coast Highway, it’s a perfect stop on a California coastal fly drive itinerary. Fondly recognised as the Mediterranean of the US, with its tiled terracotta roofs and white stucco buildings you’d be forgiven for forgetting you were in America. Blessed with glorious sunshine, framed by the San Ynez Mountains and breathtaking coastal scenery, Santa Barbara is a perfect destination at anytime of the year!
There’s so much to see and do in the Santa Barbara region, no matter what your interests. Here’s just a few ideas to help you fill your days whilst visiting this beautiful part of southern California.
If you’re interested in gardens, Santa Barbara county has a fabulous range for you to visit from the botanical gardens of Lotusland and Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens to the Orchid trail gardens of Cal-Orchid, Westerlay Orchids and Gallup & Stribling Orchids.
Family Friendly Attractions & Activities
Santa Barbara county has something for the whole family. Chase Palm Park is a 10 acre waterfront park that’s perfect for kids with playground areas, biking and rollerblading trails, music pavilion and carrousel and most evenings there’s some kind of musical, sporting or picnicking activity going on. The warm Pacific waters off the coast of Santa Barbara are a great place to experience whale watching so try a whale watching cruise with Condor Express. Enjoy a fun 15 minute trip on-board Santa Barbara’s water taxi or visit the Santa Barbara Zoo. Learn about the natural world at the Ty Warner Sea Center or rent a bike or a Segway and explore the streets, beaches and parks of the region.
Wine Tasting & Tours
Santa Barbara has an abundance of vineyards and winery’s. There are plenty of tours available for you to enjoy, from the Urban Wine Trail; which is wine tasting in the heart of the city, to the San Ynez Wine Tour; which visits three of the winery’s in the region and includes lunch to complement the wine tasting.
The options are endless! From ATV tours where you get to drive to deep sea fishing, glider flights, horseback riding, kayaking, paragliding, hiking and rock climbing…to name just a few!
Theatres & NightlifeWhatever your taste in nightlife, Santa Barbara’s got it covered. Cultural options such as opera, ballet and the performing arts are found at The Granada Theatre, The Lobero Theatre or The Santa Barbara Bowl and if you’re looking for a great place to eat and then dance, Santa Barbara has a vast range of restaurants to suit all palates and pockets as well as a fabulous choice of nightclubs and lounges.
We all love to eat so why not try one of the regions culinary tours. There’s anything from a 2 hour food tasting and photography walking tour along the Santa Barbara waterfront to half and full day tours to organic farms and farmers markets.