Last updated: August 4, 2021 at 9:14 a.m.
We’ve missed you and are thrilled to welcome you back! Our hotels and local business community have been hard at work preparing for your return, and you can rest easy knowing that the Santa Barbara South Coast is the ultimate place for you and your loved ones to retreat this summer.
To prepare you for your next escape, we’ve created this guide to provide you with essential need-to-know information. From local rules and regulations to insider tips, read on to make the most of your time in The American Riviera®.
What is open in Santa Barbara?
In a word, everything! The Santa Barbara that you know and love is open for business. Our restaurants, wineries, breweries, and bars are open for outdoor and indoor service and are eager to serve you. Shops and retailers have carefully curated this season’s most fashionable finds, while area attractions, museums, and performance venues have designed a lineup of can’t-miss exhibits and live performances. And as always, our outdoor offerings are more robust than ever.
If you need assistance planning what to see and do, we’ve curated itineraries for almost any type of vacation, whether it’s your first or fifth visit. Or, see what’s happening when you’re in town by viewing our calendar of events.
Do I have to wear a face mask?
In accordance with Santa Barbara County Public Health, all individuals ages 2 and older are required to wear a face covering in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, as of August 6, 2021.
Here’s where a little planning will go a long way. Before arriving, we encourage you to make activity and dinner reservations in advance, as many restaurants and outfitters are experiencing increased demand. To ensure you experience everything on your travel “to-do” list, be sure to call or book reservations online, wherever possible.
State Street Goes Pedestrian
We are delighted to share that State Street in downtown Santa Barbara is closed to car traffic from Sola to Gutierrez Streets. This makes it even easier to see sights of downtown—and State Street makes for a lovely pedestrian promenade. When traveling on State Street, please use the street for walking rather than the sidewalk. If you’re biking along State Street, proceed slowly. Cross streets will remain open to vehicle traffic, so please be mindful of traffic lights.
Explore our Neighborhoods
Pack your bags, throw on those shades, and hit the streets for an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether you’re wine tasting, getting out on the water, or digging into a culinary feast, experience all sides of Santa Barbara by exploring area neighborhoods like a local.
Craving the healing powers of nature and fresh air? Fortunately, we have an abundance of outdoor environments and activities awaiting you. Here are eight great ways you can experience Santa Barbara al fresco:
Beeline to the Beach: Our beaches are one of our community’s most prized resources. Whether you want to catch the sunrise or sunset on a beach walk, take a refreshing dip in the Pacific or relax on our sandy shores, you’ll have miles of coastline to explore and enjoy. Here’s a guide to seven not-to-be-missed beaches.
Bike Around: Rent a bike or borrow one from your hotel and feel the refreshing ocean breezes on your face as you cruise along the Cabrillo Bike Path. More experienced road cyclists will revel in the challenging terrain of Gibraltar Road, while mountain bikers can tear it up on trails running through the Los Padres National Forest. See our biking resources to learn more.
Surf & SUP: Surf culture is in Santa Barbara’s DNA and we’ve got a line-up of stellar breaks, from the mellow waves of Leadbetter Beach to the more challenging windswept Jalama Beach County Park. If stand up paddle boarding is more your speed, rent a board to cruise around the Harbor and Stearns Wharf. Click here for the scoop on all things surf/SUP.
Go Kayaking: Paddling around the Santa Barbara waterfront is a rewarding adventure, between the serene coastal views and the marine life sightings. Rentals, guided excursions, and lessons are available through our local outfitters.
Tee Off on the Green: All area golf courses are all up and running and just as pleasant as ever.
Horse Around: See the sights of Summerland on horseback, one of the best ways to enjoy the area’s diverse landscape. From relaxing sunset beach horseback rides on low tides to remote backcountry getaways, it’s easy to hop in the saddle and experience a new side of Santa Barbara.
Self-Guided Tours: Familiarize yourself with Santa Barbara’s architectural and historic landmarks on a self-guided tour. While you might not be able to go inside every building, you can appreciate their exterior beauty and elegance from the outside. You can also see how a local architect Jeff Shelton interprets Santa Barbara’s signature style through a contemporary lens on a scavenger-hunt style tour of his projects located in the downtown core. Lastly, take an oceanfront tour of Santa Barbara’s iconic coastline with a waterfront sailing or whale watching cruise.
Local Medical Resources
Should you do end up feeling ill while visiting Santa Barbara, here is the need-to-know hospital information:
- Please call your doctor for guidance if you develop symptoms, or visit Cottage CareNow for a COVID-19 assessment and guidance.
- Call ahead if you are going to visit a healthcare provider in person, so precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of germs.
- If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
- Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 seeking care at our hospital emergency departments will be screened and triaged based on symptoms.
These are the main hospitals in our county:
- Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital: 400 W. Pueblo St., Santa Barbara; 805-682-7111
- Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital: 351 S. Patterson Ave., Goleta; 805-967-3411
- Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital: 2050 Viborg Rd., Solvang; 805-688-6431
Even vacations can be stressful at times. If you are in distress, Santa Barbara offers a free, confidential health and human services hotline available 24/7 in multiple languages. Call 2-1-1 or 800-400-1572 to talk to specialists in areas including mental wellness, substance abuse, and more.