Referred to as the “American St. Tropez,” this city has outstanding scenery because it is located at the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountains, is on the central Pacific Ocean coast, and is a neighbor of Los Angeles. When sightseeing in Santa Barbara, know that it is well known for its spectacular wine country, mild weather throughout the year, beautiful beaches, upscale boutiques, restaurants that cater to “foodies” and feature fresh-caught shrimp and other seafood, Spanish/Mediterranean-style colonial white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, world-class museums, major attractions, water sports, being on the scenic Highway 101, and other fun things and places to explore.
The Funk Zone
With a multitude of top-notch restaurants, wine tasting rooms, over a dozen studios and galleries, this is an up-and-coming section that warrants a visit.
Arroyo Burro Beach
This is a favorite with local dog owners and visitors traveling with their pooches. There are areas where the canines can go off leash, and a dog wash machine near the free parking lot is complete with a blow dryer! This public beach has great swimming, surfing, soft sand, is surrounded by hills and a cliff, is home to wildlife and many birds, and has barbecue grills for special gatherings. A restaurant right on the beach lets you enjoy fine dining with a view.
Located slightly east in nearby ritzy Montecito, this is popular even with the locals who seek a quieter and secluded beach in order to relax, get away from city crowds, and have another location to walk their dogs. There is a stair down to the widest part of the beach. When the tide is low, you can walk all the way to Santa Barbara’s East Beach. In the opposite direction, it leads to Hammonds Beach. There is also a paved bike path that is paved and comes from the Pier in Santa Barbara.
Urban Wine Trail
This stretches across two downtown neighborhoods, with the 29 local vineyard tasting rooms situated within walking distance of each other and offering their own unique wine and dining delicious and memorable experiences.
Mission Santa Barbara
Founded in 1786 and opened in 1820, the 20-acre Mission houses Spanish Franciscan friars and a museum. Nicknamed “Queen of the Missions,” the beautiful mission has beautiful grounds, amazing architecture, and a stunning chapel that still holds active masses and other religious holiday events.
Santa Barbara Zoo
Located on 30 acres near the ocean, it has been ranked a number of times as one of the nation’s best small zoos. Opened in 1963, there are 500 animals in 160 species. Some of the exhibits are Cats of Africa, Elephant Walk, The Crawford Family Penguin House, The Forest’s Edge, Elephant Walk, and more. Beautifully maintained, it also has an awesome children’s play area and lots of kids crafts and events. Remember to buy giraffe feeding tickets at the front gate because you cannot buy them at the giraffe area.
Have a wonderful time sightseeing in Santa Barbara and staying in one of the exquisite vacation rentals.
You can choose between downtown hotels and apartments, beachfront hotels, resorts for those who want to be close to the wineries and stay up in the mountains, country wine estates. guest quarters in beach homes, and other accommodations to suit any budget.