Begin the day with a cup of fresh coffee from Dune Coffee Roasters. This Santa Barbara cornerstone is guaranteed to start your day off right before driving just south to the coveted coastal enclave of Montecito.
Winding just moments south of Santa Barbara on Highway 101, you’ll find yourself in Montecito, home to famous faces like Oprah, Jeff Bridges, Rob Lowe, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kelly Slater.
Once here, a trip to Lotusland is a must. This 37-acre historic estate features more than 14 distinct gardens uniquely intertwined to create one of the most spectacular botanic experiences in the country.
As the afternoon winds down, head back up to Santa Barbara for a sunset cruise along the nearby coast. You won’t be disappointed.
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Dinner is up to you. Feeling like tapas, Latin fusion, fresh sea urchin (a local delicacy), or French fare? These options are all at your fingertips as you make your way along State Street—Santa Barbara’s famous mainline for dinner, drinks, tasting rooms and galleries.
Your second day in Santa Barbara is sure to find you craving more. Head to Scarlett Begonia for a brunch that combines a food-centric perspective with Santa Barbara flare. The fresh, local flavors are only a hint of what is in store.
The beauty of Santa Barbara is the ease with which you can access everything you want to experience. From Scarlett Begonia, hop on the open-air trolley (a 50-cent ride from downtown to the water) or simply walk down to Stearns Wharf. California’s oldest working wharf extends from Cabrillo Boulevard into the Pacific and is home to souvenir shops, fish-n-chips restaurants, and Deep Sea Tasting Room, which overlooks the wild blue.
The beauty of Santa Barbara is the ease with which you can access everything you want to experience. From Scarlett Begonia, hop on the open-air trolley (a .50-cent ride from downtown to the water) or simply walk down to Stearns Wharf. California’s oldest working wharf extends from Cabrillo Boulevard into the Pacific and is home to souvenir shops, fish-n-chips restaurants, and Deep Sea tasting room, which overlooks the wild blue.
While Santa Barbara County wine country is a must for aficionados and newbies alike, it’s just as easy to experience the variety of flavors and award-winning wines along the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail. This series of more than two dozen downtown wine tasting rooms extends into the Funk Zone—the area spanning from the ocean to Highway 101. Tasting rooms are all within steps of each other, downtown and the beach, making for a leisurely stroll. Or if you’d prefer a scenic ride, you can hop on a rental bike from Santa Barbara BCycle or an iconic surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals.
Transition from afternoon to evening with dinner at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel. This luxury hilltop resort invites you to take in the view while enjoying some of the area’s most sensational flavors.
It’s time for the beach. Or should we say, beaches? Santa Barbara doesn’t shy away from sand, sun (300+ days every year), salt water and fresh sea air, all of which define its coastal vibe.
Along the waterfront, stop at Stearns Wharf for ocean views, shopping, dining and more. Start with a cruiser bike ride along Cabrillo Boulevard, then stop off for a walk along the pristine public East and West Beaches. Next, catch a game of pickup volleyball or watch the local fishermen bring in their Saturday catch, sustainably harvested from the nearby Santa Barbara Channel.
If you decide this is simply where you’d like to spend the rest of the day, no one will judge you. In fact, you’ll be in great company, surrounded by other beachgoers looking to do the exact same thing.
However, if you find yourself needing some nourishment, enjoy a bite along the waterfront at Santa Barbara FisHouse before heading north to Goleta, where miles upon miles of sandy beaches await.
Goleta, also referred to as The Good Land, is one of Santa Barbara’s best-kept secrets. Home to University California, Santa Barbara, a handful of welcoming craft breweries and eateries, a drive-in movie theater and the stunning The Ritz-Carlton Resort, Bacara Santa Barbara, this hideaway didn’t have to work hard to earn its moniker.
Finish the day with a walk along the cliff-backed shores of Gaviota State Park before dining at The Bistro at Bacara, named one of the “Top 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America” by OpenTable.
The perfect marriage of authentic Italian and Mediterranean flavors to those of the American Riviera, Chef Justin Purpura presents a fresh take on casual California Coastal cuisine. Offering a menu of traditional fare for breakfast and lunch, the…
A sublime dining experience is guaranteed at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel. Playing host to some of the best restaurants in southern California, our passion for artisanal ingredients and exceptional flavors matches the region’s culinary…
Bask in Santa Barbara’s botanical beauty on a visit to Lotusland, a stunning 37-acre Montecito estate once owned by the late Madame Ganna Walska. A well-known opera singer and socialite, she purchased the property in 1941 and spent the next…
Scarlett Begonia always strives to have thoughtful food. Menus change weekly with an innovative fresh look at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with their famous weekend brunches, nightly specials, and happening happy hours.
Gaviota State Park takes its name from the Spanish word for seagull, given to the area by soldiers of the Portola Expedition who supposedly killed a seagull while camping here in 1769. Marked by a tall Southern Pacific railroad trestle that…
There's no better way to explore Santa Barbara than with Wheel Fun Rentals. We have two locations to serve you. Our flagship store at 24 E Mason Street is stocked with our iconic surreys, city bikes and other pedal powered fun, while our Electric…
Located in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara BCycle LLC delivers a best-in-class bike share system for the City of Santa Barbara and is committed to providing an environmentally sustainable transportation alternative for cities.…
Enjoy the seaside sights and sounds of Stearns Wharf, one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic landmarks. Named for builder John P. Stearns and located at the end of State Street, it is California’s oldest working wharf and the perfect spot…
With plenty of great shopping also comes excellent thrifting, antiquing and vintage shopping in Santa Barbara. Whether you’re searching for a secondhand item to make your home look a little more timeless, add to your vintage jean collection or find the perfect, personalized souvenir, look no further than this roundup of businesses, each more multifaceted than the next. Dig into what The American Riviera’s secondhand scene has to offer.
The seaside town of Goleta, located approximately nine miles north of Santa Barbara, is home to much more than the University of California, Santa Barbara. Known agriculturally for its avocado and lemon tree farming, this slice of the Santa Barbara South Coast is not-to-be-missed during your vacation to The American Riviera®. Explore the great outdoors, discover delectable new restaurants and…