Ocean, mountains, art, culture – Santa Barbara has everything a visitor could possibly want in a vacation spot. The first stop on the itinerary should be a walk along the Red Tile Walking Tour. You’ll go down Victoria, Chapala, Ortega and Santa Barbara streets which pass by many of Santa Barbara’s main landmarks. Along the way is the County Courthouse which was built in 1929 and is surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens. You’ll pass all sorts of adobes and finally reach El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Then, for only a quarter, you can board the Downtown Waterfront Trolley to take you the entire length of the Red Tile district to see the other sites.
Goleta Rail Museum features a mini train where you can ride with the kids. They’ll especially love the antique caboose. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden displays not only flowers but seasonal special events as well. The Santa Barbara Historic Museum features indoor and outdoor entertainment and is a close walk from downtown Santa Barbara. Not one of the most popular museums, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a must-see place for those with children. Located in the harbor kids will not only enjoy the view but also the features of the museum itself. Also visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History and the Zoological Gardens.
After viewing the town scenery head towards one of Santa Barbara’s many fabulous beaches. East Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area, where volleyball tournaments are almost a daily thing. West Beach in Santa Barbara is located across from the Veteran’s Center and is quiet. No food is offered on this beach but there are some vendors within walking distance. Leadbetter Beach is a great family place west of the Santa Barbara Marina. There are areas for picnics and barbecues making it a perfect spot for a nice family outing. Mesa Beach, Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s Beach), and More Mesa are also great destinations.
Come nightfall you’ll want to visit some of the hopping clubs around the city. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, Club 634 and the Calypso Bar & Grill are only some of the places where you can have a few drinks, unwind, and listen to great music. Others include Indochine a local popular nightclub, Q’s where the sushi is magnificent, Copa Cabana featuring a tropical theme, and Sharkeez where you can party amongst the fish and sharks.
There are plenty of guided tours around the city. Land and Sea Tours offers a 90 minute adventure aboard the Land Shark. Personal Tours takes you on a guided tour of the American Riviera: Santa Barbara, Montecito, Santa Ynez Wine Country and The Gold Coast from LA to Hearst Castle. SB Old Town Trolley is a narrated tour that stops at many different locations in town. A ticket is good for the entire day where you can shop, visit historical sites, taste the cuisine and visit the other main attractions.
Hungry? Amongst the 5-star Restaurants are Quantum, Morishima, Chef Karim’s, and Azuma. No matter what type of food you’re craving, you’ll find it in Santa Barbara, including Chinese, Japanese, American, French, Italian, Mexican and more.
California is wine country and there are many vineyards where you can go for wine-tasting events and vineyard tours. Among the most famous wineries are The Buttonwood Farm Winery, Cellar 205 Winery & Marketplace, East Beach Wine Company, Gainey Vineyard and Kahn Winery. There are many, many more so go easy on the wine at each stop!
Hiking trails are everywhere around the city and they’re spectacular. Romero Canyon Trail and Little Pine Mountain Trail are great places for mountain biking. Some spectacular wilderness hikes are Cold Springs Trail, Hot Springs Trail, Rattlesnake Canyon Trail and Tunnel Trail.
There are plenty of online resources for booking a nice vacation in Santa Barbara or you can just wait until you get to the city and plan your itinerary using pamphlets found in restaurants and hotels. You’ll find plenty to see and do so allow enough time in the city to see as much as possible.