When you imagine Southern California, you may think of sprawling cities, free-spirited communities, or miles of coast lined with mansions. It’s a place where your imagination can run wild—and all your wildest dreams can come true. Santa Barbara is the embodiment of that California dream: part laid-back beach town, part upscale escape, and all sunshine and sea breezes. Meant for those who know how to enjoy life, Santa Barbara—with the Pacific Ocean in front and the Santa Ynez Mountains in back—is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. In town, the architecture, casual pace of life, and ample activities make you feel as if you're living it up in the Mediterranean. It goes without saying that you'll be impressed by this city, so start looking for a Santa Barbara vacation package and get ready to let your worries float away.
If this chilled out beach community is on your radar for your next vacation, you may already have some activities in mind. Namely, soaking up some sun, some culture, and definitely some wine. You’ll discover that Santa Barbara has plenty of all of those things on offer, plus more. Stretch out on the white sands at East Beach and listen to the swish of palm trees above and children playing in the crystal clear waters. The Fess Parker, A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort, is just steps away if you need to reapply your sunscreen or enjoy a snack at one of the five on-site restaurants. To the east, the quaint seaside shops and restaurants of Stearns Wharf beckon travelers of all types, whether you seek unique ocean-inspired souvenirs or a relaxing day spent casting your line off the pier. A friendly tip: the complimentary beach cruisers from Hotel Milo will get you there in true Santa Barbara style. And if you’re in search of a beach vacation in Santa Barbara that involves nothing more than total seclusion and romance, look to the luxurious resorts even further to the east, such as Bacara Resort & Spa.
Certainly beautiful beaches are not in short supply here, but Santa Barbara has plenty of cultural offerings as well. Santa Barbara Mission—one of the state's best—is a must-visit site. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum are worth seeing, too. If shopping is your thing, peruse State Street's boutiques. You'll be entertained every step of the way, but you won’t have to go terribly far from your room, as many hotels are right next to these attractions.
But we cannot forget the wine. For oenophiles, no Santa Barbara getaway is complete without exploring the vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley. The wine tour package at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore gets you a full-day VIP pass to the area’s best wineries.
Santa Barbara is truly a year-round destination, whether you’re longing for some beach time or want to shop till you drop. To add another dimension to your trip, plan your vacation in Santa Barbara around one of its excellent festivals or events. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes place each year in late January or early February and is an eleven-day extravaganza of films from around the globe. From screenings of the classics to avant-garde experiments, cinephiles come from all over for this world-class festival. The Summer Solstice Celebration in June is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, also attracting a huge crowd of like-minded revelers. The next month, on the weekend of Bastille Day (July 14) the French Festival is another popular event—because of all the delectable dining, of course. Croissants, crepes, quiche, and more are all on offer at this two-day feast. From April to October, check the Santa Barbara Bowl calendar for top talent from rock and pop to jazz legends and classical concerts. Whenever you decide to visit, there is always something going on.
Whether you are “California dreaming” from a faraway village or looking to get away from the big city, Travelocity is ready to make your beach dreams a reality. Peruse our incredible Santa Barbara vacation deals and find the one that is right for you. Then all you have to do is point and click, and we’ll see you in Santa Barbara.
Some travel experiences can change our entire way of thinking. So if you feel like you've been going round and round in circles lately, get set to jump into some eye-opening adventures.
So you've crammed your Santa Barbara itinerary with experiences — that's great! If you're hoping for a couple more ideas, here are some recommendations: