Fun things to do in Santa Barbara abound, and it doesn’t hurt that the city enjoys some of the best weather in the country. The Mediterranean climate invites residents and visitors alike to spend lots of time outdoors, and there are surely plenty of active pursuits to consider. Examples include, but certainly aren’t limited to, surfing, bodysurfing, kayaking, and bike riding. When a break from outdoor fun is in order, there are plenty of interesting places to duck into. The city’s healthy array of shops, restaurants, and spas alone can justify the urge to spend some time indoors. It only gets better when you also consider Santa Barbara’s historic mission, its terrific Museum of Art, and its various other manmade attractions.
Finding things to do in Santa Barbara is easy. The city boasts so many great attractions. Among the main attraction standouts are the Santa Barbara Mission, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Zoo. Enjoying sweeping views from the open-air tower of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, visiting the historic Presidio of Santa Barbara, and checking out the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are just a few other ideas for things to add to the agenda. Numerous parks only serve to increase the allure of a Santa Barbara escape, and it can be a joy to go biking and sightseeing on the scenic UC Santa Barbara campus. Complementing these and the other fine attractions in Santa Barbara are the city’s array of annual events. Every year, Santa Barbara plays host to a number of fun celebrations, including the Summer Solstice Parade & Festival (June) and the Old Spanish Days Festival (August).
Santa Barbara Beaches
Santa Barbara Beaches
Santa Barbara, as any good Southern California coastal town should, has some fantastic beaches. Perhaps the best of the bunch is East Beach. It’s certainly a favorite among locals and tourists. This popular stretch of sand extends from the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens to Chase Palm Park and the wharf. Towards the pier, there are open lawns to relax on and plenty of facilities to take advantage of. Among the facilities are such things as barbecue grills and showers. Heading to the eastern side of East Beach, numerous volleyball courts and the Cabrillo Pavilion figure among the main installments. The Cabrillo Pavilion dates back to 1925 and is a major Santa Barbara landmark. Other Santa Barbara beaches that can also make for great places to spend the day are Leadbetter Beach and Hendry’s Beach. Leadbetter Beach can be found near the harbor and is popular with surfers. Hendry’s Beach can be found at Arroyo Burro Beach County Park and is known for its picturesque appeal and great waves.
Santa Barbara Wineries
Santa Barbara Wineries Image: Jay Sinclair, SBCVB & FC
It’s no secret that California produces some of the best wines in the world. The majority of the state’s top wineries are found near the coast, so this bodes well for coastal Santa Barbara County. Numerous wineries are found in and around the city of Santa Barbara, with examples including such rural operations as the Kalyra Winery, Firestone Vineyard, the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, the Rusack Winery, the Sunstone Vineyard & Winery, and the Sanford Winery. You don’t have to leave the Santa Barbara city limits to find a good winery, however. Situated in town are Jaffurs Wine Cellars and Kalyra by the Sea. Many of the Santa Barbara wineries, regardless of their locations, have tasting rooms and/or offer tours, so the city can make for an excellent vacation destination for wine enthusiasts.
Teeing it up for a rewarding round of golf is just one more option for things to do in Santa Barbara. Found within Santa Barbara County are some excellent courses, including the renowned Sandpiper Course (pictured). This is the only oceanfront golf course between Pebble Beach and Los Angeles, and it consistently ranks high among the very best public courses in the country. Other public courses in the general region include the Santa Barbara Golf Club Course, the Rancho San Marcos Course, the River Course, and the La Purisma Course. Public nine-hole courses can also be found in the area, with examples including the Ocean Meadows and Twin Lakes golf courses. For those who wish to work on their game, many of the Santa Barbara area golf courses have driving ranges and putting greens. There’s also the Tee Time Practice Center, which boasts ample facilities and PGA-certified teaching professionals.