Santa Barbara, CA

Travel Guide
Photo provided by Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission/Jay Sinclair
The American Riviera offers historic adobe architecture, plenty of art galleries, wineries and beautiful beaches.

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.

Where to stay in Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara Beach

4.5/5(1,188 area reviews)

Santa Barbara Beach is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights in the area like Stearns Wharf and MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.

Santa Barbara Beach
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Montecito

4.5/5(179 area reviews)

Celebrity-favored Montecito offers backcountry hiking trails and attractions like Lotusland and El Fureidis. Easily accessible via State Route 192 and the U.S. 101 Freeway, it's well-connected to Santa Barbara County.

Montecito
Santa Barbara showing a coastal town

Historic Downtown Santa Barbara

The beaches and abundant dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Historic Downtown Santa Barbara. A stop by Lobero Theater or Santa Barbara Museum of Art might round out your trip.

Historic Downtown Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara showing a coastal town

Downtown Santa Barbara

The pristine beaches and ample dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Downtown Santa Barbara. A stop by Lobero Theater or Santa Barbara Museum of Art might round out your trip.

Downtown Santa Barbara
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The Mesa

While visiting The Mesa, you might make a stop by sights like Leadbetter Beach and Arroyo Burro Beach.

The Mesa
Sambo’s Restaurant

West Beach

While visiting West Beach, you might make a stop by sights like Santa Barbara Harbor and Santa Barbara Carriage Museum.

West Beach
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
3.5 out of 5
202 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $253 per night from May 30 to May 31
$253
$289 total
includes taxes & fees
May 30 - May 31
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Santa Barbara. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 outdoor pools, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
8/10 Very Good! (1,092 reviews)
"The heated pool was amazing. Family and pet friendly. The staff accommodated our party by adjusting our rooms to be close to each other! Will definitely come back!"

Reviewed on May 16, 2024

Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn
Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn
3 out of 5
3850 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $129 per night from May 27 to May 28
$129
$148 total
includes taxes & fees
May 27 - May 28
Book a stay at this business-friendly hotel in Santa Barbara. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful ...
8/10 Very Good! (1,002 reviews)
"great"

Reviewed on May 16, 2024

Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn
Sandpiper Lodge
Sandpiper Lodge
2 out of 5
3525 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $143 per night from May 28 to May 29
$143
$163 total
includes taxes & fees
May 28 - May 29
Book a stay at this business-friendly motel in Santa Barbara. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff ...
8/10 Very Good! (1,006 reviews)
"We enjoyed our stay"

Reviewed on May 17, 2024

Sandpiper Lodge
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Casa Jardin
Casa Jardin
2.5 out of 5