Santa Barbara is calling! Discover its beaches, wineries, food, and more.

Santa Barbara is famous for its expensive hotels, large mansions and trendy boutiques, but it also has beautiful beaches and many museums and festivals dedicated to celebrating the city’s past.

Be sure to visit Santa Barbara’s picture-perfect beaches. Lie on the soft sand and read a book, or grab a board and hit the surf. Conditions are great for beginners, but on the right day there are some good breaks for those of all skill levels.

Marvel at the Franciscan–Spanish architecture of the old Santa Barbara Mission. You’ll find artifacts and documents from old missionaries, a still-operating chapel, and the mission’s impressive and well-kept grounds. For more old architecture, visit the adobe Rafael Gonzalez house or the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Head up the bell tower for great views of the surrounding area. History buffs will also want to check out the Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish fortress from the 1780s.

Learn how modern-day Santa Barbara came about as you wander through the exhibits at the city’s Historical Museum. For a look at the evolution of plant and wildlife in the area and beyond, spend some time at the Museum of Natural History.

Art lovers will enjoy the city’s excellent institutions. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art has an extensive collection of European, American and Asian art, and plays host to some world-class exhibitions. For a look at more recent works, wander over to the Contemporary Arts Forum. This gallery is artist-run and funded, and is dedicated to exhibiting the highest-quality work in the region.

To enjoy other local products, organize a tour of the region’s wineries.

Santa Barbara enjoys the sophisticated charm of a much larger city but maintains a quaint, friendly atmosphere. Throw in a fascinating history, loads of cultural activities and excellent beaches, and it’s not hard to see why it attracts visitors from around the world.

Known for

Shopping, Beaches and Wineries

Explore map

Where to stay in Santa Barbara

Montecito
Home.
trover photo by Heather Kennedy

Montecito

Known for Beaches, Gardens, Dining

4.5/5(141 reviews)

Beaches and gardens are a few notable features of the neighborhood.

Santa Barbara Beach
A marshland next to a public beach. Situated about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, is being promoted as the "American Riviera" due to her Mediterranean-like climate.
trover photo by Gerard Nastor

Santa Barbara Beach

Known for Beaches, Sea, Ports

4.5/5(906 reviews)

Santa Barbara Beach is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights in the area like Santa Barbara Zoo and Stearns Wharf.

East Beach
A marshland next to a public beach. Situated about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, is being promoted as the "American Riviera" due to her Mediterranean-like climate.
trover photo by Gerard Nastor

East Beach

Known for Beaches, Zoo, Bird Watching

4.5/5(433 reviews)

East Beach is known for its stunning beaches, and with sights like Santa Barbara Zoo and Chase Palm Park, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Santa Barbara.

The Funk Zone
Santa Barbara Sunset
trover photo by Dan Alvarado

The Funk Zone

Known for Beaches, Sea, Bird Watching

4.5/5(99 reviews)

The Funk Zone is popular for its beaches, and if you're looking for more to see and do, you might think about a trip to Santa Barbara Art Foundry or MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.

Mission Canyon
2017 Spring stroll in Santa Barbara, CA
trover photo by David Berman

Mission Canyon

Known for Gardens, Nature, Relaxing

5/5(1 review)

Mission Canyon is noteworthy for its gardens, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and Los Padres National Forest.

Lower State
Santa Barbara. USA
trover photo by Melanie Hartshorn

Lower State

4.5/5(32 reviews)

If you're spending some time in Lower State, Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Reagan Ranch Center are top sights worth seeing.

Top Hotels in Santa Barbara

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Chumash Casino Resort
Chumash Casino Resort
4 out of 5
3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez, CA
$109
per night
Oct 30 - Oct 31

Situated in Santa Ynez, this spa resort is within 2 mi (3 km) of Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House, Gainey Vineyard, and Kalyra ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,313 reviews)

"Everything about the hotel was great.. very clean, modern, and great staff! The casino itself is just so so.. and the hotel room price was ridiculously high. I don't know if it's because they've got a monopoly on nice places to stay in the area.. but $499 for one night.. sorry.. but not worth that ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 14, 2019

Chumash Casino Resort
Hotel Corque
Hotel Corque
4 out of 5
400 Alisal Rd., Solvang, CA
$98
per night
Oct 23 - Oct 24

Situated in Solvang, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum and Solvang Festival Theater. Hans Christian Andersen Museum and ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (2,822 reviews)

"The architecture was very interesting The picture of the property led me to decide to stay there"…"

Reviewed on Oct 15, 2019

Hotel Corque
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
4 out of 5
633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
$174
per night
Nov 17 - Nov 18

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. ...

4/5Very Good! (1,996 reviews)

"How convenient everything was. Since we had some early tours planned, we took advantage of the quick breakfast items in the lobby. Enjoyed the wine tasting room with the free wine coupons and also the free bottled water every day. The hotel is beautiful with ocean views."…"

Reviewed on Oct 16, 2019

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Popular things to do in Santa Barbara

Mission Santa Barbara
Image for Mission Santa Barbara

Mission Santa Barbara

4.5/5(649 reviews)

Learn more about the local history when you visit Mission Santa Barbara, a well-known historical site in Santa Barbara. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Image for Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

4.5/5(355 reviews)

See the best views of Santa Barbara and enjoy a stunning variety of architectural styles at the city’s historic courthouse.

Santa Barbara Zoo
Image for Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo

4.5/5(255 reviews)

Why not visit the native and exotic animals at Santa Barbara Zoo and see why this is a favorite attraction in Santa Barbara? Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Top activities in Santa Barbara

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)
Image for Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

$40

We are a winetasting pass that is partnered with 400 wineries on the West Coast and is good for 365 days from date of purchase THE WINERIES we work with: 400+ winery partners in California, Washington, & Oregon. Regions include Napa Valley, Sonoma &

Kayaking Santa Barbara's Waterfront
Image for Kayaking Santa Barbara's Waterfront

Kayaking Santa Barbara's Waterfront

$55

Join us for a beautiful guided paddle along the Santa Barbara waterfront. Our 2 hour journey begins with paddle instruction, then takes us through the harbor, along beautiful beaches, past sea lions and kelp forests and around the historic pier.

Downtown Santa Barbara Historical Food Walking Tour
Image for Downtown Santa Barbara Historical Food Walking Tour

Downtown Santa Barbara Historical Food Walking Tour

$85

This culinary experience offers an intimate food walking tour of the mid-State Street area of downtown Santa Barbara and gives guests an up close and personal look into the local food scene.

Reviews of Santa Barbara

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1149
5 - Excellent 66.33949191685912%
4 - Good
515
4 - Good 29.734411085450347%
3 - Okay
58
3 - Okay 3.348729792147806%
2 - Disappointing
8
2 - Disappointing 0.4618937644341801%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.11547344110854503%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 17, 2019

Great place to visit. Plenty to do. Lodging and dining options to suit.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 14, 2019

You can tell that the people of Santa Barbara take pride in their city. It is extremely clean and friendly. We look forward to retuning.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Oct 14, 2019

I was not impressed

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Oct 12, 2019

Very dim street lighting

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 10, 2019

Lots to see and do. Nice beach areas scattered all throughout town. Good food options.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 8, 2019

Nice beaches, relaxing

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Santa Barbara

Whale watching in Santa Barbara
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Whale watching in Santa Barbara

Getting a front row seat to Santa Barbara's aquatic wildlife

Get stoked about the Santa Barbara Solstice
Image for Get stoked about the Santa Barbara Solstice

Get stoked about the Santa Barbara Solstice

Welcoming summer in Central California

Spring Break for Baby Boomers
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Spring Break for Baby Boomers

Enjoying legendary Spring Break trips as a Baby Boomer

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