Perched along the California coast between the Pacific Ocean and Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara enjoys an ideal location. Whether you are on the hunt for new outdoor activities or a palate-pleasing meal, there are things to do in Santa Barbara that will fit nicely on your travel itinerary. The region is also renowned for its wine, beach activities, and quaint neighborhoods. With a relatively small population and a boatload of charm, this Southern California destination is a perfect fit for nearly any type of traveler.…
Top 39 Things to do in Santa Barbara, California
Arrive at the driving school and begin your experience with a welcome greeting and in-depth orientation. After meeting your professional instructor, spend some time exploring the physics behind car dynamics and precision driving. Understanding the science behind exciting stunt moves helps you succeed in performing them yourself.
Strap in for the real fun after heading out to a purpose-built slalom track designed to let you test out your new skills. In the company of an in-car driving coach, speed around the track and practice a few stunt moves straight out of the movies, including Sliding 90s, Forward 180s, and Reverse 180s, all while moving both backward and forward.
End this high-octane experience with a timed drive around the obstacle course, trying out everything you've learned from the pros. Enjoy the thrill of a lifetime as you speed and spin around the track, putting your knowledge and talent to the test. Read More close
Tour the beautiful "American Riviera. " Begin your journey at the famous Stearns Wharf, where you find a collection of restaurants, specialty shops, and recreational activities. Using your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, receive clues that help you solve questions along the way.
Make your way over to State Street, where you find the historic Arlington Theater. Built in 1931 on the sight of the Arlington Hotel—after it was destroyed in the 1925 earthquake—this structure is the home to many events, including the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
With your smartphone leading the way, complete challenges, follow hints, and earn points as you meander. Follow directions and make your way around the city, famous for its arts and culture, and perhaps learn something new as your adventure wraps up. Read More close
Travel through the back roads of Santa Barbara and take in the cool country air and peaceful surroundings from an open-air Hummer. Your expert guide shares stories and history of the area to get you familiar with the Santa Ynez Valley. Savor a gourmet lunch in Los Olivos at a vineyard paired with tastings.
Four of the finest wineries await your arrival with VIP tastings. Visit vineyards with stone barrel-aging caves built into the hillside, a beachcomber vibe, stunning mountain vistas, and some with more international influence. This tour of the Santa Ynez Valley, an area that was thrust into the spotlight by the movie Sideways, will be enjoyed by all wine-lovers from beginners to sommeliers. Read More close
Meet at the train station in Santa Barbara and cruise along the coast as you avoid the region's infamous traffic problems. Take a nap on the roomy seats or stop by the Café Car. Before you know it, you've arrived at LA Union Station. Walk just a few blocks to pick up your hop-on hop-off ticket, and then the day is yours.
Visit the city's famous museums, observatories, zoos, boat rides, and unique markets. Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state of California and the western United States, a world center for entertainment, international trade, education, media, fashion, science, technology, and culture.
Travel to the city's filming locations and popular hangouts for the stars. Explore the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and see Hollywood, Downtown, and Beverly Hills. As you travel back to the center of the city, stop to enjoy a 2-course meal with VIP Priority Seating at Hard Rock Café. At the end of the day, ride the train back to Santa Barbara. Read More close
Categories: Tours & Sightseeing
Meet up with your guide and begin your wine-centric walking tour by chatting about Central Coast and Southern California varietals, and pull out your camera or smartphone to start composing portraits and pictures of the charming historic neighborhood as you walk. Your guide offers tips for enhancing lighting and composition in your images, whether you're shooting with an iPhone or a D-SLR, and shares facts about this beautiful coastal city's past.
Pop into a handful of wineries and tasting rooms in the El Paseo Collection. Try French-inspired bottles at Jamie Slone Wines, Burgundy-style pinot noirs at Au Bon Climat, handcrafted vintages at Margerum Wine Company, and complex blends at Grassini Family Vineyards and Happy Canyon Vineyards. Take Instagram-worthy shots along the way, and stop for snacks between tastings, nibbling on local and imported cheeses at C'est Cheese and German-style bratwurst at Hoffman Brat Haus. Read More close
Head to downtown Santa Barbara to get fitted with your bike rental for the day or opt for convenient delivery, directly to your centrally located hotel. After experienced staff help you adjust the seat and handlebars, get some tips on places to check out around town and pedal off to do some exploring on 2 wheels.
You might bump over the wide wooden planks of Stearn's Wharf on a beach cruiser, blast down the dedicated bike lanes of State Street, or reach far flung destinations like Montecito with the convenience of a electric bike. For those who want to escape the city's bustle, choose the knobby tires and beefy suspension of a mountain bike and head to the Santa Yynez Mountains where you can wind down dusty trails looking for lofty views of the Pacific Ocean.
When your time's nearly up, return to your hotel and enjoy hassle-free pickup or make your way to the rental office to drop off your ride in person. Read More close
After you're picked up from your hotel, settle into a comfy seat in a spacious Mercedez-Benz Sprinter with a tall roof and large viewing windows. Chat with your guides, both Level 1 sommeliers, and listen as they share information about the Santa Barbara winemaking community.
Stop at 4 hand-selected wineries known for their quality wines and excellent service, comparing tasting notes with your guides and discussing viticulture with the staff at each estate. Once you've worked up an appetite, sit down to an elevated wine country picnic at a winery with a sweeping vineyard view. Savor artisan sandwiches on focaccia bread along with tasty sides like salads, gourmet olives, roasted nuts, kettle chips, and brownies before you hop back in the van to continue your tasting tour. Read More close
Convenient delivery and pickup services make launching your boat at a variety of locations around Santa Barbara extremely easy. Start your day cruising through the waters near Carpinteria State Beach, gliding near the sprawling mansions near the shores of Montecito and Summerland, or investigating waterfront attractions along Santa Barbara's beaches.
Get tips on where to go from experienced staff and follow their directions to buoys known for attracting adorable seals and strips of sand, ideal for taking a leisurely break. When you're ready to call it a day, simply return to the prearranged drop-off point and leave your craft with staff before you head back into Santa Barbara. Read More close
Kick off your afternoon with a stop at a French bistro that specializes in flaky pastries and cakes, perfect for warming up your appetite. Nearby, stroll past the produce-packed stalls and vocal vendors of the Santa Barbara Public Market, where you can sample artisan products, consider a glass of glass of wine, and tuck into a delicious bowl of noodles topped with seasonal ingredients.
After browsing the goods at a specialty grocery store and indulging in another glass of wine, pack in more tastes with visits to a beloved Mexican restaurant, a pizzeria, and a cheese shop, making sure you save room for dessert. Before you head back to your starting point, make a quick side trip to an ice cream parlor that's been serving customers sweet treats since 1949. Read More close
Start your day as you meet up with your trip leader and head to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Get fitted with a life jacket and go over a few paddling techniques before you maneuver your boat into the water and hop in. Paddle out beyond the breakwater and cruise along the coast, enjoying views of the charming boardwalk along Stearns Wharf and scanning the ocean horizon for playful dolphins and adorable seals.
Follow your guide to uncover the shore's most scenic vantage points. Check out the affluent mansion-flecked hills of Montecito, look for the highest peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and admire the golden sands at West Beach and Butterfly Beach before you head back to the harbor. On your way in, time your paddling strokes to catch rides on small waves that break toward the shore and get tips from your guide on other waterfront places to check out when you get back on dry land. Read More close
Start your day with a convenient pickup that takes you directly from your hotel to a local bike shop, where experienced staff can get you fitted to the bike of your choice. Choose between leisurely beach cruisers, easy-to-use hybrid bikes, all-terrain mountain bikes, or zippy electric bikes. Once you're ready, strap on a helmet and follow your guide into the heart of the city.
Roll past the Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture of the Santa Barbara Courthouse and steer your handlebars down the red brick sidewalks along State Street. Near the waterfront, hop off the main road and pedal down wide boardwalks with exceptional views of the Pacific Ocean. Snap photos of the yachts anchored near Stearns Wharf and keep your eyes peeled for distant looks at the Channel Islands. If you opted for an electric bike, you might even extend your sightseeing route to the affluent avenues of Montecito.
Between stops, get insider info about local sights and landmarks from your expert guide and feel free to ask for tips on other places to check out while you're in town. When your excursion is nearly over, head back to your starting point, drop off your bike, and grab an easy ride back to your hotel. Read More close
Join your guide just outside your Santa Barbara hotel, starting your bike ride at the front door or shuttling to a nearby location better suited for your day's ride. Either way, begin with a custom fitting to make sure your carbon road bike rental is comfortable and easy to use, and then chat about the sights and landmarks you'd like to see before setting off on your personalized route.
You might roll past the shops and cafes situated on seaside streets in Carpinteria, climb into the mansion-lined hills of Montecito, or head into Summerland for breathtaking views of unspoiled stretches of golden sand beaches. Rest your muscles during photo stops and cool off with bottles of cold water as you admire sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. When you're ready to head back, shift into gear and pump your legs to reach the finishing point, where you can hop in a convenient shuttle to your hotel if necessary. Read More close
Meet up with your guide just outside your Santa Barbara hotel and begin your cycling adventure from there, or hop in a shuttle to head to a nearby starting point. Before you take off, chat about your riding experience, get fitted with carbon road bike, and don a helmet while your guide puts the finishing touches on your itinerary for the day.
Depending on your interests, you might cruise up winding canyon-lined lanes toward Gibraltar Rock, coast down the pavement of Old San Marcos Road, or zoom over Refugio Pass. Along the way, enjoy plenty of stops to snap photos of the coastline, distant Channel Islands, and surrounding mountains. Cool off with refreshing sips from provided water bottles, and then savor long downhill sections that bring you back to your hotel and the end of your tour. Read More close
Kick off your day as you meet your own private driver and cruise out through the streets of the city. Get a glimpse of the vibrant life as you make your way through the green hills of Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.
With stops at 4 different wineries, you can sample more than 20 premium wines from top-quality wineries. Listen as the winemakers explain the intricate wine making process and witness how the geography of the region makes it suitable to grow its vigorous grapes.
After you sip on your last glass, jump back in the vehicle for a comfortable ride home. With a private limo service, you are sure to enjoy a luxurious and memorable trip. Read More close
Meet up with your guide and head to the waterfront, where you can get tips on paddling techniques and chat about your day's itinerary before you don a life jacket and hop in a comfortable kayak. Push through calm waves and cruise into open water. Get your first panoramic views of the Santa Ynez mountains, whose scrub-covered peaks reach heights of up to 4,864 feet (1,483 m) and contribute to a stunning landscape often referred to as the American Riviera.
Follow your guide at a leisurely pace, getting closer looks at the bustling boardwalk along Stearns Wharf, scanning the hills in nearby Montecito for glimpses of multimillion-dollar mansions, and keeping your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and seals. Try and spot the Channel Islands as you work your way back to Butterfly Beach and get advice from your guide on other waterfront sights to visit before you part ways and head back into Santa Barbara. Read More close
Join your guide just steps away from the sandy shores of Santa Barbara's West Beach. Don a life jacket, grab a paddle, and get a few paddling tips and safety instructions before you drag your boat to the water's edge. When you're ready, hop in, adjust your seat as necessary to make sure you're comfortable, and push off into the water.
Follow your guide over lazy swells to reach a nearby buoy, where you can watch for friendly seals who like to relax on top of its bobbing base. Turn toward the shore and take in sweeping views of the Santa Ynez Mountains before gliding toward the wooden posts that support Stearns Wharf. Cruise underneath the wharf, watching out for hopeful anglers casting their lines off the side, and then loop back around to West Beach to end your excursion back on shore. Read More close
Enjoy convenient pickup directly from your Santa Barbara hotel and head to the tour office to get fitted with a helmet and a mountain bike. Listen to your guide go over the bike's shifting and brake systems, and then head out on hard-packed dirt paths that snake through stunning landscapes near the ocean.
Take a break near the trunks of eucalyptus trees and recharge with some cold water before snapping some memorable pictures of dramatic rock formations hemming golden sand beaches. When you're ready to head back, hop on your comfortable ride and return to the starting point. Read More close
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After you’re picked up from your hotel, ride through the countryside to your first destination. On the way, your sommelier discusses the principal grapes grown in the region, the way that climate and terroir impact the characteristics of the area’s wines, and how to differentiate the type of grape—both on the vine and in the glass.
At the first estate, the owner leads you on an informative tour of the cellar and winemaking facilities. Learn all about traditional viticultural methods and modern technologies, and then sample an array of the winery’s bottles as your sommelier leads a discussion comparing each glass.
All that sipping and swirling is sure to work up an appetite, so sit down to a gourmet lunch among the vines. As you nibble on fresh and local fare, chat about the art and science of selecting wines to complement various dishes and flavor profiles.
Walk off your meal with a stroll around the property, learning about the care and upkeep of the vines before a fun and thought-provoking blind tasting. Your final stop of the day is at another renowned winery, where you participate in a formal wine and cheese pairing before returning to your hotel. Read More close
Get picked up from your hotel and ride to a quiet beachfront location where you can sized up for a board and paddle that suits your experience level and body type. After you throw on a wetsuit, listen as your guide goes over the basics of balancing and propelling your buoyant board.
Practice getting up on your board in shallow water, learning to balance as you move from your knees to a standing position. When you feel stable, follow your instructor around a calm marina or quiet cove and get feedback on your paddling strokes until you're cruising like a pro.
Continue honing your skills for the remainder of your lesson, trying out challenging maneuvers and savoring views of tranquil seascapes before you head back to shore and turn in your board. After you get dried off, hop back in a comfortable shuttle and ride back to your hotel. Read More close
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Categories: Airport Shuttles & Limos
Categories: Airport Shuttles & Limos
Make your way to downtown Santa Barbara, where you meet up with your instructor for the day, get fitted for a board and wetsuit, and chat about your experience before you head out to a nearby beach. Get started by practicing some basic techniques on the sand, where you can learn about proper paddling stroke and how to read incoming swells in order to maximize your chance of choosing a good wave.
Put your new knowledge to the test as you stride into the water and paddle through the surf, getting tips from your guide as you wait for your first wave. When it comes, catch the curling lip of water and hop up on your board to cruise toward the beach. After each ride, paddle back out and look for more exhilarating waves to catch. End your day back on the sand, drying off and listening as your instructor offers up a few more tips on how to hang ten like a pro. Read More close
Categories: Airport Shuttles & Limos
Grab your camera and meet your guide in the heart of historic downtown Santa Barbara. The area known as the Funk Zone is packed with galleries, microbreweries, hip restaurants, and cool shops, making it the perfect place to drink, dine, and practice your shutterbug skills.
Your guide, a friendly local photographer, offers tips and pointers, whether you're taking pics of your plate on your smartphone or adjusting settings on your point and shoot to capture the colors of the coast. Food and photography come together on this delicious outing, which takes you between beloved local eateries and watering holes.
Pop into Enterprise Fish Company to sample fresh-from-the-Pacific lobster and pose for a pic in front of the colorful storefront of Lucky Penny before heading inside for a bite of creative flatbread. Fresh tacos await at Mony's, and freshly baked breads with homemade jams paired with local wines are on offer at Helena Avenue Bakery and Santa Barbara Wine Collective.
Wash each tasty bite down with pours of Central Coast brews at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, and top-shelf vodka, gin, and whiskey from Cuter's Artisan Spirits—the first distillery to open in Santa Barbara since Prohibition. Read More close
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Grab your smartphone on any beautiful day and open up the guide app to start your flavorful adventure. The Anacapa Street of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone is home to a number of hit tasting rooms that serve up award-winning wines and independent labels. As you walk through the area, stop at a wide variety of shops, including the uniquely themed Area 5. 1 Winery where you can warm up your palate with a flight of excellent and intriguing wines.
Continue your afternoon with glasses of wine at other popular tasting rooms. Get a chance to sample one of the many diverse varietals at Oreana Winery, or taste an award-winning bottle from Santa Barbara Winery. With 2-for-1 tasting coupons and discounts on bottles at a variety of shops, you can spend as much time as you like sampling delicious drinks and indulging your discerning tastes before your day comes to an end. Read More close
Take a weekend for yourself or spend a few days indulging in the sumptuous wines that are included with this package. Refer to your smartphone guide and make your own way around Santa Barbara's Funk Zone, a hotspot of trendy and popular tasting rooms. You can step in for a glass of wine at a number of favorite stops, including the awarded Santa Barbara Winery, swanky Drake Wines, or classy Corks n' Crowns Tasting Room.
Head to the Deep Sea Tasting Room for a robust glass of their Conway Family Wines and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. If you find a drink to fall in love with, enjoy an entire bottle of it with a loved one. Your winetasting package also includes 2-for-1 tasting coupons and discounts at a variety of shops throughout the Funk Zone, letting you make the most of your indulgent weekend. Read More close
Open up the guide app on your smartphone and head to Santa Barbara's Lagoon District for a leisurely afternoon filled with liquid gold. In addition to its honored breweries, the Lagoon District prides itself on the laid-back, down-to-earth atmosphere and casual culture that distinguishes it from other popular tourist areas. As you walk through the area, step into Third Window Brewing Company and whet your palate with a flight of their locally sourced craft beers and IPAs.
Stops in your package include community staple Pure Order Brewing Company, who keep their family and local roots at the forefront of their craft, and Telegraph Brewing Company, whose small-batch beers have earned them accolades from critics around the country. With discounts on bottles and coupons for tastings at a number of breweries in the area, you can spend as much time as you please indulging your refined tastes. Read More close
Let your phone be your guide as you begin walking through the Presidio, a former military installation in Santa Barbara. A smartphone-based app directs you to a number of local tasting rooms that serve small-production wines from vineyards in Santa Barbara County itself. As you walk from stop to stop, admire Spanish adobe structures and well-preserved buildings from the past.
Visit spots like Happy Canyon Vineyard, Margerum Wine Company, and Au Bon Climat for glasses of locally sourced and critically acclaimed wines. If you find a wine you can't put down, use your app for discounts on bottle purchases and take something delectable home with you. Many of the wineries and tasting rooms included in your tour are family-run operations that produce small-batch wines, ensuring that each vintage you taste is of the highest quality. Read More close
Set out on any day of your choice and begin walking through Solvang, smartphone in hand. A handy app guides you through the city's most beloved and honored wineries, giving you the chance to step in and sample their wares. The city, which was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes, offers a unique taste of Denmark in California, and you can enjoy sights of traditional Danish architecture and an abundance of flowers lining the streets.
Take your time exploring the enchanting, pedestrian-friendly village between stops on your wine walk. You can warm up your palate with a tasting flight at SEVTAP Winery or Wandering Dog Wine Bar, both of which serve up delightful Californian wines and superb customer service. Head to Royal Oaks Winery for a glass of sweet dessert wine, or visit Lucky Dogg Winery for a unique vintage. Also, take advantage of the app's tasting coupons and bottle discounts to try plenty of other wineries in Solvang. Read More close
Kick off your excursion at your choice of waterfront locales sprinkled around Santa Barbar's sunny shores. With convenient delivery and pickup services, you can start your day near the unspoiled coast at Carpinteria State Park, below the bustling boardwalk of Stearns Wharf, or on strips of golden sand at places like Butterfly Beach. Depending on the board you've chosen, you can head out on your own or team up with friends on Megalodon, a 15-foot (4. 5-m) beast of a paddleboard designed to hold up to 6 paddlers at one time.
Once you're out on the water, enjoy stunning views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, admire the gleaming hulls of sleek yachts at anchor in the harbor, and keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife including buoy-bound seals and playful dolphins. If you're unsure of where to go, get tips on the best routes from experienced staff happy to help you make the most of your day on the water. Read More close
Start your rental process by chatting with experienced staff about your riding style and board preferences. With both long and shortboard options, you're sure to find something that suits your needs. Once you've selected your rental, arrange convenient delivery to a nearby beach. Whether you want to seek the swells near Carpinteria State Park, ride the waves around Summerland and Montecito, or break out some tricks near downtown Santa Barbara, the choice is yours.
Get tips from local riders on local wave conditions and surfer etiquette, and then spend the day honing your skills out on the water. When you're done, simply head back to the beach and drop off your gear with rental staff before heading back to Santa Barbara. Read More close
Begin with a grand limousine pickup in Los Angeles and travel west of Hollywood to the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County, which produces grapes of the highest quality in its well-controlled microclimates and soil.
Visit top-class wineries like Jaffurs, Fiddlehead, Longoria, and Stolpman, and enjoy a large selection of wines while you learn about the process of wine making as well as various tasting techniques. As you're sampling their delicious wines, be sure to take out your camera and snap plenty of postcard-perfect images of the stunning scenery. If time permits, stop at one more winery, Andrew Murray, for your last wine-tasting indulgence.
After the tasting, enjoy a delectable lunch at a local restaurant and a stroll to explore the beautiful landscape. Hop back on your private limousine for your return to the city center, taking in acres of picturesque vineyards and ranches along the way. Read More close