With a backdrop of the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains, nature enthusiasts will love strolling through the Botanic Gardens. History buffs can appreciate the City’s Spanish colonial heritage, and view its Mediterranean style red-tile roofs with white walls. Art lovers will have a chance to chat with up-and-coming artists, and take home a unique souvenir of your visit. State Street’s one- mile pedestrian road ticks boxes for both shop-a-holics wishing to check out upscale boutiques, and foodies wanting to enjoy local wines at the wide range of restaurants.
Without any further ado, let Feet Do Travel show you why Santa Barbara is more than just beautiful beaches.
Admittedly there is more to Santa Barbara than its beaches, but it would be remiss of me to not talk about them! There are around seven in total, but I will discuss four which offer something to suit all beach-lovers’ needs. If you need help with an itinerary, Santa Barbara Travel can help. For solo travellers wishing to share their experiences, click here.
West Beach – Located adjacent to State Street, it’s the perfect place to chill after a few hours shopping. Visitors for Fourth of July or New Year will be treated to a spectacular firework show and music display at 9pm – a sight not to be missed.
East Beach – If topping up your tan is a priority; this is the best beach for you. It’s location further away from downtown means less crowds and more space to relax. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bathing towel, this website has an excellent selection of fast water-absorbing towels.
Leadbetter – The most popular beach for learning to surf and SUP, it’s closest to the harbour, and a great place for families and friends with reservable BBQ and picnic sites.
Summerland Beach – A dog-friendly beach! Pack up your pooch and enjoy a day a relaxing day. For sunset horse-back riding tours can be arranged. What a perfect day!
Art Walks – Held every Sunday since 1966, this weekly city-sponsored event attracts around 200 local artists. Open from 10am to dusk, you can admire local artwork, talk with aspiring artists, and take home a unique souvenir.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art - The diversity of artwork and exhibits in this small gallery is enough to keep art lovers happy. There are permanent collections of American, Asian and European art which include not just paintings but prints, sculptures and ceramics.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 5pm; Cost: $10 for adults, $6 for kids aged 6 to 17, seniors and students with ID, Under 6’s are free
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden – The ultimate place for nature lovers! With stunning mountain views, a stroll around the gardens doesn’t just mean looking at plants unique to Central California! Listen to birds singing, the swaying of trees, and watch chameleons as they run around. Bliss!
Open daily 9am -5pm, Cost: $12 for adults; $8 kids 13-17; $6 for kids 2-12
El Presidio de Santa Barbara - A 6-acre state park built in 1782, and has 17 restored buildings from the last Spanish military settlement. Learn about the Chumash Native American who settled here over 13,500 years ago, and the Spanish colonization of the land.
Open daily 10am - 4:30pm, Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, Under 16s are free
Santa Barbara County Courthouse – You may wonder why a visit to a Courthouse is so special, that is until you climb to the top which boasts stunning views of Spanish Colonial architecture.
Open Mon-Fri 8am -5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm, cost - free
You may find a visit to Santa Barbara isn’t enough, so if you are inspired to buy one of Spanish Colonial houses you saw earlier, this website can help make a trip more permanent!
Getting to Santa Barbara
Nearest Airport – Santa Barbara Airport
From Los Angeles Airport (LAX) – 90 minutes’ drive north-west
By Train – Amtrak run multiple daily trains from various California locations
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