Travel Advisory

Last updated: 12/29/20 @ 11:20 a.m.

Thank you for your interest in traveling to the Santa Barbara South Coast. We know that travel limitations have been hard, especially for you avid travelers and adventurous spirits out there. We are right there with you! We too can’t wait to see you back here, and we thank you for your patience while we wait for public officials to give leisure travel the green light once again. 

Our hotels and businesses community have continued to work hard to ensure that all travelers experience a safe and responsible stay, with our community’s health in mind. We will continue to provide safe travel guidelines as travel resumes. So, when you’re ready to take a social-distancing-friendly escape, you can rest easy knowing that the Santa Barbara South Coast will be the ultimate place for you and your loved ones to retreat. 


As Santa Barbara waits to welcome you back, it’s important to know what is and isn’t allowed during California’s regional stay at home order. Before traveling, here are a few important FAQs you should be aware of:

When is the right time to visit Santa Barbara?

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 within Southern California, Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 6, 2020. During this time, leisure travel to Santa Barbara and Southern California is restricted. 

I am an essential traveler, coming for work, quarantining, or caring for others. Am I allowed to travel to Santa Barbara?

If you fall within the category of “essential traveler,” including medical first responders, workers in essential sectors, those self-isolating/quarantining, or caring for vulnerable people, you are allowed to travel to the Santa Barbara South Coast and stay in open hotels and other lodging properties. 

I am a leisure traveler, coming for a vacation or an overnight stay. Am I allowed to travel to Santa Barbara?

If you are not an essential traveler, you are NOT permitted to visit the Santa Barbara South Coast until the most recent regional stay at home order has been lifted. Before traveling, we encourage all future visitors to confirm all reservations and travel plans directly with their service providers, businesses, and attractions.

I am a traveler visiting from out of state. Am I allowed to travel to Santa Barbara?

Within the Regional Stay at Home Order, travel from out of state residents is NOT permitted, unless you fall within the category of “essential traveler.” Reservations at area lodging properties for non-essential travel, cannot be honored unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired.

What is currently open in Santa Barbara?*

  • While hotels and other lodging properties are allowed to remain open under this order, non-essential services are restricted throughout Southern California.
  • Restaurants with delivery, to-go, and curbside pickup. For a complete list, click here.
  • Retail stores and shopping malls are allowed to reopen for shopping at 20% capacity and may offer curbside pickup.
  • Wine Tasting, bars and breweries,  rooms offering delivery, to-go, and curbside pickup. For a complete list, click here.
  • Most outdoor recreation is permitted as long as you are able to maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet and gather only with members of your household. This includes:
    • Public beaches and parks
    • Most bluffs, hiking trails, and parks**
    • Outdoor playgrounds
    • Outdoor recreational facilities operating without any food, drink, or alcohol sales
    • Healthy activities such as running, cycling, kayaking, surfing, yoga, skateboarding, etc. 
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport 
  • Amtrak
    • Reservations aboard Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will be required  Wednesday, December 23 through Monday, December 28, 2020.
  • Roads and highways
  • Public restrooms are open throughout the city of Santa Barbara, including at parks, on Stearns Wharf, at the Santa Barbara Harbor, and on State Street near the corner of State Street and Canon Perdido Street*

*Please check with individual businesses and locations to confirm business hours, available services, and individual guidelines. Many indoor operations are offering limited capacity.

**Please check the Los Padres National Forest, California State Parks, Santa Barbara County Parks, and City of Santa Barbara Parks websites for the most current information. Kindly note that restroom and trash services may be limited or non-existent, so be sure to plan ahead and pack out any trash.

What is currently closed in Santa Barbara? 

  • Museums, Zoos, and aquariums
  • Campgrounds for overnight use
  • Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries
  • Indoor playgrounds
  • Indoor recreational facilities
  • Hair salons, barbershops, and other personal care services. 
  • Theatres, movie theatres, and performance venues
  • Nightclubs
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Arenas, banquet halls, conference, and convention centers
  • Indoor wedding services
  • Fairs, festivals, and public exhibitions
  • Organized sports, sports stadiums, and facilities
  • Most events and festivals, including sporting events and shows at theatres, are canceled or have been rescheduled, due to the state order prohibiting large gatherings. 

How can I prepare for a trip to Santa Barbara? 

As we wait to welcome leisure guests back to Santa Barbara, there are a few things you can do to help prepare for your upcoming stay.

Plan in Advance

Know the Basics of Responsible Travel

  • Per the California Department of Public Health and Santa Barbara County, all individuals over the age of three are required to wear a face mask when inside of, in line to enter, or when conducting business through a car window or walk-up counter with any businesses including but not limited to restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, laundromats, pharmacies, and government agencies. Additionally, a face mask must be worn when in line for and while using public transportation, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.
  • Please keep your distance and remain 6 feet apart at all times. 
  • From November 21 through December 21, 2020, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health have prohibited non-essential work, movement, and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., per the state’s limited Stay at Home order. This order includes gatherings and activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households.
  • Any form of gatherings or mixing with individuals outside of your household is not permitted. A “gathering” or “mixing” is considered an event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.
  • When traveling on State Street, in Downtown Santa Barbara between Gutierrez and Sola blocks, vehicular traffic has been restricted. Please use the street for walking and use caution, as many restaurants have expanded service onto the sidewalks and streets. Bikes are asked to proceed slowly.
    • While face coverings are required outdoors when social distancing is not available, on the 500 block of State Street, face masks are required at all times and will be enforced. This stretch of State Street is also limited to pedestrian-only traffic.  
    • If you are attending a Tuesday Farmers Market along State Street, a face mask is required.
  • Vehicular traffic has also been restricted on Victoria Street from State Street to Chapala to allow for an expanded walkway and outdoor dining.

Follow Healthy Practices

  • The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has advised the following list of best health practices, including:
    • Isolate at home and practice social distancing if you are feeling sick
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick
    • Wear a face covering or mask
    • Wash hands often
    • Cough into your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
    • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Avoid gatherings of any kind

Need more information on Coronavirus and travel?

Please note that worldwide and throughout the U.S., conditions around COVID-19 are rapidly evolving.