With the stunning Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop, Santa Barbara is a scenic destination with upscale boutiques, local wineries and a fascinating Spanish colonial heritage. Whatever your reason for visiting, there’s something to keep you entertained. Here are some of the top things to see and do while you’re in town.
1. Los Padres National Forest
Encompassing a massive section of California’s mountains, forest and countryside, this breathtaking landscape offers endless opportunities for hiking, climbing, swimming and wildlife viewing.
2. Channel Islands
Take a quick boat trip to these secluded islands, where majestic cliffs rise from the ocean to form dramatic natural arches owed to centuries of erosion.
3. Santa Ynez Valley Wineries
Soak up the gorgeous natural scenery while touring a variety of famous wineries that offer distinctive blends and delectable small plates.
4. Hearst Castle
Built by famous businessman William Randolph Hearst, this elegant estate is considered a historic landmark, which gives grand insight into its founder’s eccentric personality.
5. Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Explore the incredible maritime history of the local coast through a compelling collection of exhibits, artifacts and events.
6. Cold Spring Tavern
This unique antique-filled, mountainside Western saloon showcases some of the valley’s best local wines, along with distinctive American fare including wild game.
7. Santa Barbara Zoo
Explore 30 acres of rare and exotic animals, including koalas, gorillas, leopards, Asian elephants, African lions, penguins, giraffes and alligators.
8. Santa Barbara Harbor
Explore a seemingly endless collection of attractions, including museums, historic landmarks and restaurants, along with all sorts of great activities, such as surfing, sailing, whale watching and shopping.