Unlock the Unexpected in Santa Barbara

Adventure abounds in Santa Barbara. But adventure can be so much more than a thrilling parasailing flight above the Pacific Ocean. Adventure can be trying a new food, meeting a new friend or even sitting still and meditating. All it takes is the willingness to open yourself up to new experiences. So grab a friend, a family member or your better half and combine activities that get everyone comfortable outside of their comfort zone, making deeper connections and unforgettable memories along the way.

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Serene & Sophisticated

An extended escape in Santa Barbara is the perfect opportunity to unplug and take a step back from the hustle and bustle of notifications, obligations and responsibilities. For travelers seeking a serene setting, a relaxing spa day has a way of calming even the most restless minds. And in Santa Barbara, unique retreats that refresh the senses are available in spades. The Sacred Space in Summerland, a quick 10-minute drive south of Santa Barbara, is a spiritual oasis complete with all the crystals and spiritual trinkets needed to embark on a soulful journey. Offering patrons the opportunity to relish in its lush gardens and reflect with a cup of tea, it’s also among a handful of destinations that offer guided sound baths that envelop the body and soul in soothing tones. Float Luxury Spa offers a variety of high end massages, facials and other rituals in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Salt takes guests into an underground salt and crystal cave for a healing journey with the help of Himalayan salt and essential oils. Opt for solo meditation time in the cave’s zero-gravity chairs or book a massage, facial or sound bath session. 

For most, tea might be limited to something to grab in the morning on the way to the next destination, or a way to wind down in the evening after a day of play. But in Santa Barbara, we encourage you to make an event out of every sip and savor the moment. Indulge in the high art of afternoon tea at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel. Featuring custom blended teas that match your zodiac sign and delightful treats served on a tiered platter it’s an afternoon you won’t soon forget. For a more rustic, but no less glamorous afternoon tea experience, make your way to San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito.

Wild & Freeing

Santa Barbara is full of adventures unlike anything found close to home. For those looking to spend their vacations walking a bit on the wild side, Santa Barbara has plenty to offer. Start the day serving up a lettuce breakfast to friendly giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo from the elevated feeding platform. From there, head 15 minutes north to El Capitan Canyon. Come for the hiking and glamping, but stay for the up-close-and-personal encounters with the canyon’s resident llamas. Can’t get enough of the area’s wildlife? Spend some time at the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary in Summerland, chit-chatting with the resident parrots in the shade of the tropical gardens.

After communing with nature, look inward and find balance with the help of guided yoga practices. Get your sweat on practicing Vinyasa Yoga in a heated studio at Power of Your Om. Or step outside for some beachside breathing and movement with Santa Barbara Beach Yoga. Before you wipe off the sand, enjoy some more seaside sports and activities by checking out Paddle Sports Center, Santa Barbara Surf School or Cal Coast Adventures.

Unexpected Connections

Wherever one sits on the adventure spectrum, there are plenty of activities that make vacation fulfilling and memorable for everyone. Explore at your own pace and see new sides of the region while horseback riding. Los Padres Outfitters makes it easy to enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches for breathtaking sunrise and sunset rides. For a more rugged experience, Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables pairs riders up with an expert cowboy to explore the stunning backcountry, just a few miles from the coast.

At the end of any trip, it’s always fun to take stock and relive memories while they’re still fresh. A stroll through one of Santa Barbara’s iconic parks and gardens gives visitors a chance to slow down and absorb all they’ve accomplished together on vacation. World-famous Lotusland showcases rare and exotic flora across a historic, 37-acre estate, while Santa Barbara Botanic Garden boasts more than five miles of paths to stroll along while celebrating renewed connections between each other. No matter how you fill your itinerary during a Santa Barbara getaway, remember that everything is more memorable together.