Explore Santa Barbara in 3 Days


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.

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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.

Finish the day with a walk along the cliff-backed shores of Gaviota State Park before dining at one of these must-try Goleta restaurants.

Plan This Itinerary

The Bistro

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…

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Lotusland is a stunning 37-acre botanical garden in the hills of Montecito and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, many of them rare or endangered. The Garden is the former estate of well-known opera singer and socialite,…

Scarlett Begonia

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

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…

Wheel Fun Rentals

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…

Santa Barbara BCycle

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.…

Stearns Wharf

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…

In this Itinerary...