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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

Visit this historic landmark to learn about the colonization of the city and see a stunning reconstruction of the colonial era. 

The El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park is the foundation block of the modern Santa Barbara cityscape. Spend an hour exploring this ancient military fortress to engage with the history of the city’s formation and see some significant sights. 

Dating back to 1782, the presidio was built as a military base and governmental house to protect the settlers of the budding Santa Barbara colony from attack. Although much of the original design has been reconstructed, the authentic 18th-century American style was retained and the layout still reflects the original building plan. 

With this sense of history, take a relaxing walk around the presidio’s impressive whitewashed façades. Grab a map from the visitor center at the southern end so you don’t miss any of the intriguing sights on your self-guided tour. 

Start your walk at the Canedo Adobe or the El Cuartel, which display realistic reconstructions of the living quarters of soldiers and their families. See into the lives of other historic residents of the presidio with a stop by the Padre’s Quarters or the Comandancia, where the commander of the fortress used to make a home.

Take a journey through history in the chapel and see its bell tower, which was reconstructed based on 30 years of research on its original design. Continue to the northern end of the park to find the Cocina, a kitchen with authentic period cutlery, and a pleasant garden where you can take a moment’s break.

On your way out, stop by the gift shop, and pick up a book or unique presidio-themed trinket for those at home. 

Contact the visitor center to learn about special events where kids can see how to make an adobe brick or watch a vintage cannon get fired. For guided tours, book in advance at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

The El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, located in central Santa Barbara, charges a small entry fee and is open daily. 


Top El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park Flight + Hotel Deals

Best Lodging Options Near El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

See all 719 Properties near El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort $197
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in East Beach, this beach hotel is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Santa Barbara Zoo and within 3 mi (5 km) of Presidio Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Lotusland are also within 3 mi (5 km). Santa Barbara Station is 24 minutes by foot.

    Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach $208
    Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach

    Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach

    223 Castillo St, Santa Barbara, CA
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Santa Barbara Beach, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Santa Barbara Harbor. Santa Barbara Station is 8 minutes by foot.

      Inn By The Harbor $159
      Inn By The Harbor

      Inn By The Harbor

      433 W Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Santa Barbara Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Carriage and Western Art Museum, Santa Barbara City College, and Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Santa Barbara Harbor and Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center are also within 15 minutes. Santa Barbara Station is 9 minutes by foot.

        Hotel Milo Santa Barbara $168
        Hotel Milo Santa Barbara

        Hotel Milo Santa Barbara

        202 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Santa Barbara Beach, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and Stearns Wharf. Santa Barbara City College and Santa Barbara County Courthouse are also within 2 mi (3 km). Santa Barbara Station is 9 minutes by foot.

          Hotel Santa Barbara $148
          Hotel Santa Barbara

          Hotel Santa Barbara

          533 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Lower State, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Paseo Nuevo Mall, Casa de la Guerra, and Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. Lobero Theater and Santa Barbara Historical Museum are also within 10 minutes. Santa Barbara Station is 8 minutes by foot.

            The Wayfarer $149
            The Wayfarer

            The Wayfarer

            12 E Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, CA
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in The Funk Zone, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Stearns Wharf. Santa Barbara City College and Santa Barbara County Courthouse are also within 1 mi (2 km). Santa Barbara Station is only a 3-minute walk.

              Spanish Garden Inn
              Spanish Garden Inn

              Spanish Garden Inn

              915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Laguna, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Presidio Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Lobero Theater and De la Guerra Plaza are also within 10 minutes. Santa Barbara Station is 20 minutes by foot.

                Kimpton Canary Hotel $325
                Kimpton Canary Hotel

                Kimpton Canary Hotel

                31 W Carrillo St, Santa Barbara, CA
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Santa Barbara, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Lobero Theater, Paseo Nuevo Mall, and El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Santa Barbara County Courthouse and Moreton Bay Fig Tree are also within 1 mi (2 km). Santa Barbara Station is 17 minutes by foot.