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.
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, take a ride on a Santa Barbara BCycle bike (equipped with pedal assist!) 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, seafood 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 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, salt water and fresh sea air, all of which define its coastal vibe. Discover these seven can’t-miss Santa Barbara beaches.
Start with a walk along Cabrillo Boulevard and pay a visit to the pristine public East and West Beaches. Next, catch a game of pickup volleyball or watch the local fishermen bring in their Saturday catch.
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 Brophy Bros. or Toma Restaurant & Bar before heading north to Goleta, where miles upon miles of sandy beaches await. Learn more about popular Santa Barbara restaurants on the beach.
Goleta, also referred to as The Good Land, is one of Santa Barbara’s best-kept secrets. Home to University of California, Santa Barbara, a handful of welcoming craft breweries, delicious local dining and the stunning The Ritz-Carlton Resort, Bacara Santa Barbara, this hideaway didn’t have to work hard to earn its moniker.