Santa Barbara is the quintessential California beach town, complete with picturesque palm trees and Spanish buildings with red tile roofs. Just 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has all the beauty of Southern California with the welcoming, laid-back ambiance of the Central Coast. Staying in Santa Barbara coastal homes gives you the freedom to fully experience the region's charms. You’ll also have access to convenient amenities like parking, Internet access, washing machines, hot tubs and outdoor grills.
Santa Barbara's coastline is home to some of California’s best water recreation. Enjoy a spirited game of beach volleyball at East Beach; surf at Refugio State Beach, or test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding at Leadbetter Beach.
Beautifully preserved, Mission Santa Barbara is often called the Queen of the Missions. Fascinating local history is explored in the mission’s nine-room museum and its expansive stretch of historic gardens. Hundreds of local Native American gravesites are honored in the mission’s cemetery, including one for Juana Maria, whose life inspired the popular novel, "Island of the Blue Dolphins."
From the skeleton of a massive Blue Whale to fossilized mammoth remains, the Natural History Museum is a delight for visitors of all ages. You can explore the galaxy at the museum’s planetarium or enjoy hands-on sea life exhibits at the museum’s Sea Center on Stearn’s Wharf. Santa Barbara Zoo offers another day full of fun and learning. For glimpses into California history, head to El Presidio, where families can explore the old Alta California military outposts.
At the heart of downtown, there’s nothing cookie cutter about State Street. It's the unique place to go for browsing chic boutiques and upscale chain stores, eating at local bistros and enjoying lively bars and pubs. Historic Arlington Theater and Granada Theatre are also located on the historic street, providing a full calendar of live performances.
Santa Barbara’s wine region is one of California’s gems, and it stretches all along the Central Coast. Just northwest of Santa Barbara is the prolific Santa Ynez Valley wine region, offering more than 120 wineries producing varietals like Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
Santa Barbara is blessed with a temperate coastal climate and nearly 300 days of sunshine a year. Summers see average highs in the 70s, and daytime winter temperatures stay comfortably in the mid- to high-60s. May and June often bring in the May Gray and June Gloom marine layer, but temperatures usually remain in the 60s and 70s. To experience the city at its sunniest and least crowded, the best time to visit is in the spring and autumn.
State Route 101/Highway 1 runs directly through Santa Barbara, so it’s easy to get here via private car or rental car. If you’re driving up from Southern California, the most scenic route involves a drive north along the Pacific Coast Highway until it merges with 101. If you’re coming from San Francisco, it’s a straight shot down 101. If you want to enjoy the ocean views without the responsibility of driving, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner runs along the coast and drops you in downtown Santa Barbara. If flying is more your speed, Santa Barbara is home to an easily navigated and convenient airport.