Santa Barbara

Best Things To Do In Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, a beautiful and scenic city on California’s central coast, is well-known for its Spanish colonial architecture, gorgeous beaches, and breathtaking mountain vistas. Santa Barbara offers a variety of activities for tourists to choose from, including discovering the city’s fascinating history, unwinding on the beach, and hiking in the adjacent mountains.

The Santa Barbara Mission, a historic Spanish mission established in 1786, is one of the city’s most well-liked attractions. The mission has exquisite churches that are still in use today, as well as lovely grounds and a museum. The city’s major retail and dining center, State Street, is nearby and is dotted with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

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Santa Barbara offers a variety of beachside recreation activities for beachgoers. Leadbetter Beach is an excellent place for surfing and paddle boarding, while East Beach and West Beach are both well-liked locations for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can go to Butterfly Beach in the exclusive Montecito district for a more private beach experience.

Santa Barbara is recognized for its options for outdoor recreation. Excellent hiking and mountain biking paths, including the well-known Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, may be found in the adjacent Santa Ynez Mountains. Kayaking and sailing are popular pastimes in the Santa Barbara Harbor for individuals who want to experience the outdoors on the water.

Winters in Santa Barbara are chilly and wet, and summers there are warm and dry. Santa Barbara normally has summertime temperatures between the mid-60s and the mid-70s Fahrenheit from June through September. It’s a popular time for beach activities and water sports because the ocean is comfortable and warm. Santa Barbara experiences lower temperatures from December through February, with highs in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and lows in the mid-40s. Santa Barbara offers pleasant spring and fall seasons, with temperatures between the mid-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The mild weather, fewer tourists, and lower prices make these seasons typically regarded as the ideal times to visit Santa Barbara.

Visit the Historic Old Mission Santa Barbara 1786

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Photo by Earl Wilcox on Unsplash

Old Mission Santa Barbara, also known as Santa Barbara Mission, was founded on December 4, 1786, by Spanish friars of the Franciscan order. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in California, as well as the oldest religious structure in the state. The mission was established as a religious center to convert the local Chumash people to Catholicism and to support the Spanish colonization of the region. Today, the mission is a museum and an active parish church, and it remains an important part of Santa Barbara’s history and cultural heritage. Tours are available so make sure to open this activity in the Tripio App and access the website. 

Whale Watch, Snorkel, and Kayak the Channel Islands 

Whale Watch, Snorkel, and Kayak the Channel Islands

Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

Channel Islands Expeditions has adventures of all levels for you to enjoy. Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Whale Watching, Kayaking, and Cave exploring are among some of the top choices. Check out their website to see what adventures are the best fit. If you are wanting to make sure this gets added to your Custom Tripio Itinerary, make sure to select Moderate and Intense Adventure. 

Happy Canyon Vineyard

Happy Canyon Vineyard is a family-owned and operated estate vineyard and boutique winery on the central coast of California that has gained esteem with our award-winning Bordeaux varietal wines. Their Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Room is located in the heart of downtown. While walk-in service and tasting experiences are available, they encourage and highly recommend reservations to ensure they are available to give you a one of kind wine tasting experience.

Rockclimb the Panic Town Wall

Rockclimb the Panic Town Wall

Photo by Brook Anderson on Unsplash

Panic Town Wall is a series of five sandstone walls arrayed up the canyon behind Arlington Ridge. The area is reminiscent of San Ysidro with a shaded base under oaks, sycamores, and bays then breaks out into towering south-facing crack systems; the difference being that these are all gear-exclusive, long trad lines that require good anchor-building skills. What makes this truly worth the 30-40 minute hike, is that after several hours of climbing, you can exit the canyon, turn left, and be swimming in the spring-fed pools in a couple of minutes.

Santa Barbara Bowl

Santa Barbara Bowl

Photo by Vishnu R Nair on Unsplash

Santa Barbara Bowl was built in 1936 and is one of the premier outdoor music venues in the country. The venue is known for its intimate and picturesque setting, with views of the surrounding Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It’s recommended to arrive early and can take up to 30 mins to walk from your car to your seat. Check their website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Rent a Segway or Polaris and Explore Santa Barbara

Explore Santa Barbara on a Segway

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Take a tour of Santa Barbara on a Segway PT with one of their experienced guides and see the hidden gems it takes locals years to find. For those that would prefer to guide on their own,  rent a Segway PT by the hour and explore Santa Barbara your own way. They recently added Polaris Slingshots to rent as well. Reservations are required so make sure to reserve your spot online. 

Fish, Swim, Kayak, and Kiteboard at Leadbetter Beach

Leadbetter Beach

Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Leadbetter Beach is a popular beach located in Santa Barbara Harbor. It’s a popular spot for swimming, fishing, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboards. Windsurfing and Kiteboarding are great here as well due to their strong winds and favorable conditions. There are restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and barbecue grills, making it a convenient place to spend a day at the beach.

Santa Barbara Trolley

Santa Barbara Trolley is Santa Barbara’s original and longest-running trolley. They offer a 90-minute tour of Santa Barbara as well as private events. Visit local hot spots such as the Santa Barbara Courthouse, Santa Barbara Zoo, Museum of Natural History, the historic Santa Barbara Mission, and more, all fully narrated by their energetic and knowledgeable tour guides. 

Superior Court Of California County Of Santa Barbara

Superior Court Of California County Of Santa Barbara

Photo by Yifan Ma on Unsplash

The Spanish Colonial Revival-style Santa Barbara County Courthouse was built in 1929 and was designed by William Mooser III. The 85-foot “El Mirador” clock tower features elevators for visitors to access the top, where annotated photos illustrate what the viewer is looking at in all directions. It is a fully operating trial court, just with the best exterior and history inside.

Inspiration Point Trail

Inspiration Point Trail

Photo by Michael Aleo on Unsplash

Inspiration Point Trail is about 3.3 miles with a 935-foot elevation gain. The terrain can be rugged at times especially if there has been recent rain. At the end of the trail, you will find Inspiration Point, a popular spot for pictures of Santa Barbara. Plan on up to 3 hours to complete depending on how many breaks you take along the way. 

Soak at the Montecito Hot Springs

Montecito Hot Springs

Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash

Montecito Hot Springs is accessible, features a scenic hike and has the best pools for soaking. Getting to these hot springs includes a 4-mile round-trip hike of moderate difficulty. The hot springs are located about halfway through the hike in a canyon. Multiple pools are available for soaking, with the hottest water being located at the top and cooling as it flows down.

Thank you for reading, remember, adventure awaits you on the Tripio App. Travel has never been so easy!

Interested in more of what the United States has to offer, check out: Best Things To Do In Destin, Florida

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-Catherine Mortimer, Tripio Guru

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