- There Is No “Bad Time” To Visit Santa Barbara
- Where To Stay In Santa Barbara
- What To Do, It's Not Just Beaches!
- Where To Eat In Santa Barbara
- How To Get Around The City
- The Best Beaches
- Tips For Budgeting While Visiting Santa Barbara
- A Perfect Day In Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara sits along California’s iconic Route 1 right on a stretch of iconic coastline. Every year, travelers flock to this incredible coastal town to enjoy its luxurious accommodations as well as its aesthetic coastline.
Santa Barbara is more than just home to hotels and lovely beaches. There is a great deal of things for travelers to discover here. So here is the ultimate travel guide on what to expect in beachy Santa Barbara.
There Is No “Bad Time” To Visit Santa Barbara
Most importantly, there is no bad time to visit Santa Barbara. When travelers are looking for the best time to visit, they can be quite flexible. The beaches are at their warmest and sunniest during July and August, however, this is also when the crowds show up.
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Spring and fall are still however great times to visit the beach. Winters may be a little rainier, but attractions and hotels will be a fraction of the cost with little to no crowds.
Where To Stay In Santa Barbara
An aerial shot pf Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is a popular travel destination, so it has its fair share of fine hotels to select from. To help travelers out, here’s a look at three of them.
El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel
A view of palm trees in Santa Barbara at sunset.
El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel can be found on the American Riviera. This hotel is for travelers seeking ideal luxury during their visit to Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.
Found atop the hillside with dominating vistas of Santa Barbara. The property consists of seven acres of terraced grounds and 92 California-style bungalows.
- Accommodation: El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel
- Address - 800 Alvarado Place Santa Barbara, CA
- Amenities - Paid private parking on-site, Free High-Speed Internet (WiFi), Pool, Fitness Center with Gym/Workout Room, Bar/Lounge, Babysitting, Children Activities (Kid/Family Friendly), Pets Allowed (Dog/Pet Friendly)
- Cost - $$$
A view of rooftops near Santa Barbara's coast.
Located quite close to the beach, Castillo Inn is an upscale motel that offers its travelers great value just half a block from Santa Barbara Harbor and West Beach.
The hotel is a popular stop for traveler road tripping up Route 1.
- Accommodation: Castillo Inn
- Address - 22 Castillo Street Santa Barbara, CA
- Amenities - Free parking, Free High-Speed Internet (Wi-Fi), Wi-Fi, Complimentary tea, Children's television networks, Non-smoking hotel
- Cost - $$
A lady dining on her hotel balcony in Santa Barbara.
Travelers will enjoy the traditional Spanish-style architecture, the stunning courtyard with outdoor pools and gardens, and especially the peace of mind provided by this hotel’s reasonable cost.
This 122-room oceanfront hotel takes inspiration from Santa Barbara's most prolific hotelier, Milo Potter.
- Accommodation: Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
- Address - 202 West Cabrillo Blvd. Santa Barbara, CA
- Amenities - Premium Wi-Fi, Use of Hotel Milo bicycles, based on availability, Outdoor pools, Mini-bar on demand, Milo Market, Chad’s Café
- Cost - $
What To Do, It's Not Just Beaches!
A beachy view of Santa Barbara.
Though Travelers will likely want to take a visit to one of Santa Barbara’s beaches during their time there, Santa Barbara offers far more. Home to incredible museums, architecture, and natural beauty, there is so much to explore in Santa Barbara.
A stunning view of Santa Barbara's coastline.
Convenient and accessible, with parking for those with cars, Shoreline Park is a great destination for spending a few hours soaking up the sun and coastal views.
If travelers visit on Sundays, the park fills up with artists that display their work. It is a great deal of fun to check out.
- Address - 1377 Shoreline Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
An image of theSanta Barbara County Courthouse
This iconic Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse is not only one of the most beautiful structures in Santa Barbara, but it is also often considered one of the most beautiful government buildings in America.
Travelers will have the ability to tour this structure experiencing its incredible aesthetic beauty.
- Address - 1100 Anacapa Street Santa Barbara, CA 93121
Arroyo Burro County Beach Park
An image fromArroyo Burro County Beach Park
Better known to locals as, Hendry’s Beach. Arroyo Burro Country Beach Park is a popular destination to meet for both breakfast and cocktails in the evening.
It is a wonderful destination for a sandy stroll, whale watching, fishing, and its unpredictable surf.
- Address - 2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Where To Eat In Santa Barbara
An aerial shot of Santa Barbara and its harbor
Santa Barbara, being the popular up-scale tourist destination that it is, has more than a few great places to grab a bite to eat.
To help travelers out, here’s a look at three must-try foodie destinations.
East Beach Tacos
A delicious image of tacos
Found close to the batting cages, Travelers will love stopping by East Beach Tacos. They are home to a fantastic collection of both taco flavors and local favorites.
This popular destination delivers and is a definite must-try.
- Address - 226 S Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3608
- Contact - (805)770-2761
- Cost - $
- Fan-Favorite - Gangnum Style Taco
Cold Spring Tavern
A delicious shot of molasses bread
Once a stagecoach-stop dating back to 1886, Cold Spring Tavern now serves its guest traditional American cuisine made with fresh local ingredients and is always joined by their famous home-baked molasses bread.
Their dishes are game-inspired and severed under the glow of gas lanterns. Their lunches offer more casual options, and they are also a good choice for breakfast!
- Address - Cold Spring Tavern 5995 Stagecoach Road Santa Barbara, CA 93105
- Contact - (805)967-0066
- Cost - $$-$$$
- Fan-Favorite - Molasses Bread
Related: The Ultimate Foodie Guide To California's Mexican-Inspired Cuisine
A delicious image of a burrito
This Michelin Star destination is the home to some of the best Mexican food that can be found in Santa Barbara.
Travelers may be intimidated by the queue that sometimes extends out the door, however, it moves quickly, so they shouldn’t hesitate to jump in line.
- Address - 600 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3027
- Contact - (805) 564-2626
- Cost - $$-$$$
- Fan-Favorite - California Burrito
How To Get Around The City
A road map of the area of California containing Santa Barbara
Travelers often pass visit Santa Barbar by car heading along route one. Yet the city is also accessible by Amtrak. When it comes to getting around the city itself, having a car is recommended, but it is a beautiful and scenic area that is easy to walk and cycle.
A view of Santa Barbara's roads at night
Travelers visiting Santa Barbara are recommended to bring a car. There is public transit, but the city is much easy to navigate if travelers have their own vehicles. Those flying or riding will find cars to be easy to rent.
By Taxi, Uber, or Lyft
An image of a gas station near Santa Barbara
Travelers who need a quick lift somewhere will be able to rely on Uber and Lyft, but will also have access to the city’s numerous taxis. All of these are good choices for a quick safe ride somewhere in Santa Barbara.
By Foot or Bicycle
A lovely shot from the town of Santa Barbara
With a Walk Score of 88 and a Bike Score of 98, Santa Barbara is an incredible place to just walk or ride around. Along California’s aesthetic coastline and good year-round weather, travelers will take pleasure in strolling around this city.
Related: 10 Best Boardwalks In America, Ranked By Fun-Factor
The city is also convenient with its layout so travelers will never have too far to walk. Perhaps they could even include a detour through Louise Lowry Davis Recreation Center or Bohnett Park and Spencer Adams Park.
The Best Beaches
An image of rocks on the beach in Santa Barbara at sunset
Inevitably, Travelers are going to want to go to the beach during their stay in Santa Barbara. Here is a look at two of what are regarded as Santa Barbara’s best beaches.
An image of East Beach, Santa Barbara
East Beach is a popular destination for more than just beachgoers. Located east of State Street, East Beach is home to a great deal of shopping and dining.
Stearns Wharf is worth checking out while visiting, it is the oldest working pier in California. East beach has volleyball courts and a grass park with picnic tables as well as bikes for rent.
Arroyo Burro Beach
A beautiful image fromArroyo Burro Beach
This before mentioned park is also home to a fun, flat, and dog-friendly beach. It can be found off Cliff Drive. It is where Arroyo Burro Creek meets the coast, and lies overlooked by the Santa Barbara coastal bluffs.
Less busy than East Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach is a fun laid-back destination.
Related: 10 Beaches Near Anaheim That Are Perfect To Visit Year-Round
Tips For Budgeting While Visiting Santa Barbara
A view of the wharf in Santa Barbara
When Travelers think about Santa Barbara they probably imagine luxury and expense, but it doesn't have to be like that. Here are three tips for planning a budget trip to Santa Barbara.
First, Hiking and Going to Museums Are Free
the stunning coastline of Santa Barbara
Travelers looking to enjoy what Santa Barbara has to offer without spending too much should consider all of the hiking trails and museums that the city has to offer.
A bit of a center for art, there are a few amazing museums in Santa Barbara. There has been enough said about its nature, taking a hike through it is totally worth it.
Second, Try a Budget Hotel
A love shot of East Beach from the water.
For young people traveling through Santa Barbara, choices like the Orange Tree Inn can be quite popular, especially during spring and summer breaks.
A little more costly choice, but with a few more amenities and a bit quieter is the Mason Beach Inn. This one even comes with a continental breakfast!
Third, Avoid the Classy Upscale Restaurants
The Harbor Restuarant in Santa Barbara
Travelers looking to enjoy what they eat without spending much should money should avoid the high-class formal restaurants that have popped up to cater to a high-spending crowd.
Santa Barbara has a lot of great cheap eats. The places mentioned in this article are quite affordable options.
A Perfect Day In Santa Barbara
A sunny beach in Santa Barbara.
A perfect day in Santa Barbara starts with a walk in Arroyo Burro County Beach Park. While there, travelers can find a bite to eat and perhaps a caffeinated beverage to help start the day off. As the day get’s closer to lunch, travelers should head in the direction of East Beach.
Related: 10 Most Beautiful West Coast Beaches To Add To Your Bucket List
However, before they arrive they should stop at East Beach Tacos for a quick bite. After a day at the beach, travelers should make their way to Cold Spring Tavern for a special and unique meal to end the day with.
Q: What is there to do in Santa Barbara?
The city of Santa Barbara is also known as the 'Spain of the central coast of California,' and for a good reason. The stunning Santa Ynez Mountains, sandy turquoise blue sea waters, and its unique downtown area, reminiscent of a Mediterranean village, are some of the reasons why millions of tourists flock here year after year. In roughly a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, tourists can have an endless number of adventures on the "American Riviera."
Q: Is Los Angeles to Santa Barbara a good road trip?
Anyone looking for a fun and scenic road trip will love the drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Close enough to be a fun day trip, yet scenic enough to become an epic weekend adventure, the drive is one of the best ways to explore the lovely California coastline. Every stop along the way has something fun to see, whether it’s a beautiful beach or just a great place to grab a bite and take a stroll. So buckle up and hit the road for one of the loveliest road trips around—Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.
Q: Is Santa Barbara a good road trip destination?
California, the Golden State, home to long coasts, high mountains, and desert ecosystems, is a wondrous destination for more than the obvious reasons. The home of Hollywood and the entertainment of the capital of the US, California is a must-visit destination. Travelers will love a five-day road trip through magical California.