Top 6 Eco-Friendly Hotels in Santa Barbara

Photo courtesy of El Capitan Canyon

These days, sustainable travel can be found anywhere, and at any capacity. Whether you opt to take an Amtrak train to Santa Barbara instead of your car, choose to bike or walk throughout our easily navigable city, order the locally caught fish entrée over the steak or simply take the time to properly recycle your trash while here—you’re already thinking green.

Just in time for Earth Day, we’ve come up with a list of Santa Barbara’s top eco-friendly hotels, ranging from beachfront accommodations to rugged-yet-elevated glamping in a canyon. Each of these eco-friendly hotels take a unique approach to sustainability, some with the founding of onsite nurseries and others with the implementation of environmentally friendly practices throughout the hotel grounds. We invite you to go green during your next visit to The American Riviera®.

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Ramada by Wyndham Santa Barbara

As the first hotel between Santa Barbara and Goleta to receive the Green Business Certification from Green Business Santa Barbara County, Ramada by Wyndham Santa Barbara is certainly giving the green thumbs up to sustainable hospitality in The American Riviera®. Energy-reducing measures that this hotel has taken includes a solar water heater, electric vehicle charging stations and energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures in all rooms. Additionally, Ramada by Wyndham Santa Barbara has installed high-efficiency rotating nozzles and rain sensors on its irrigation systems to optimize water use throughout the property.

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Santa Barbara Inn

Along Santa Barbara’s iconic Cabrillo Boulevard you’ll find Santa Barbara Inn, a boutique hotel perfectly situated across the street from the calm oceans and vast stretches of sand at East Beach. Santa Barbara Inn boasts environmentally conscious practices like the installation of water- and energy-efficient equipment (including charging stations for electric vehicles), implementation of a meticulous recycling program throughout the property and being a member of Santa Barbara Car-Free, offering exclusive incentives to guests who opted to leave their cars at home. Another eco-friendly tidbit: The hotel used recycled bricks from a 100-year-old street throughout the hotel’s exterior design.

Photo credit: @randallallday via Instagram

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El Capitan Canyon

This unique hotel is off the beaten path and immerses guests into the natural beauty of the Santa Barbara South Coast. Located roughly 20 minutes north of downtown Santa Barbara, eco-friendly El Capitan Canyon is a stay fit for nature-lovers and glamping enthusiasts alike. And, these rugged yet elevated accommodations don’t leave a stone unturned when it comes to environmental stewardship. The “Native Vegetation Enhancement Project” boosts native plant biodiversity through the use of its onsite nursery, where plants are grown from seeds, cuttings and transplanted propagates of local canyon stock. The “Canyon Poolside Renewable Energy Project” established the use of solar heated swimming pool systems throughout the property, and the “Urban Timber Salvage and Recycle Program” repurposes trees that could end up as firewood or in a chip yard and turns them into many of the furnishings found around the property. (Think: picnic tables, railings, stairs, signs and more.)

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Hotel Milo

Located across the street from West Beach and a short walk from Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor, Hotel Milo is at the hub of many major destinations within Santa Barbara, leaving little-to-no need for a car during your stay. As a hotel that belongs to the Independent Collection Hotels & Resorts portfolio, it has implemented an eco-conscious corporate program, EarthView, which delivers environmental and conservation initiatives that positively impact Hotel Milo and its guests. These initiatives include the use of an energy-efficient hot water system, HVAC system and light bulbs, participation in Clean the World, refillable amenity dispensers. The hotel also provides complimentary bicycles for easy navigability around the city.

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Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

As one of Santa Barbara’s largest properties, Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort sure does pull its weight in remaining as environmentally conscious as possible. Efforts to go green at this 360-room hotel include using reclaimed water for irrigation; low-flow aerators, shower heads and toilets; energy-efficient equipment like chillers and boilers; and a solar-heated pool. The housekeeping department also participates in the “Clean the World” initiative, which includes practices such as sending the used bars of soap to an offsite company that recycles the soap to give to underprivileged communities.

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The Eagle Inn

As a recipient of the Green Business Certification from Green Business Santa Barbara County, The Eagle Inn continues to take great strides towards minimizing its carbon footprint through many of its daily operations and thoughtful amenities. In addition to its energy-efficient AC and heating units, double-paned windows (for increased insulation), low-flow shower heads, a robust, hotel-wide composting system and motion and infra-red sensors that detects movement (and, hence, doesn’t operate unless a guest is present in the room), the casitas at The Eagle Inn boast environmentally friendly touches like providing reusable metal water bottles in each room that guests can use (and take as a souvenir) and a filtered water dispenser located in the lobby.

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More ways to go green: Travel with an eco-conscious lens the next time you visit Santa Barbara and check out this guide to sustainable wine tasting or this list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants.