This elegant city hugs the coastal hills, classic Spanish architecture gives the region a sun-washed European look straight out of the Riviera, all helping create the perfect setting. Tucked into the side of Santa Ynez Mountains and protected from the brunt of Pacific wind and waves, “The American Riviera” enjoys a dreamy Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunny days and mild winters. One of the most beautiful towns in California, Santa Barbara is an idyllic destination with its wide beaches (including East Beach, Leadbetter and Butterfly Beach), colourful palm tree lined streets, large variety of shops, restaurants and cache of culture.
Away from the beach there are a variety of things to do also. Santa Barbara Mission is a fantastically preserved Franciscan station, its church dating back to the 1800’s. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is well regarded for its collection. Enjoy a tranquil and relaxing afternoon with a meander through the Botanic Gardens. For a great family day out head for Santa Barbara Zoo. Set over 30 acres the zoo has a beautiful setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. From the city you are just minutes away from the Santa Barbara wine country. Take a day trip to the scenic wine country and enjoy some wine tasting whilst taking in the spectacular surrounding views.
The Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, is one of most diverse grape-growing regions in the county and ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
Where to go? Why not start at Sunstone Winery. It has a cool wine cave, sustainably grown grapes, and a spectacular limestone chateau available for overnight stays. Another tip: buy a pass from Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association to save on tastings at 15 participating boutique wineries.