Top 10 Things to Do in Santa Barbara
From State Street to Sandpiper
Home to pristine beaches, missions, wineries and butterflies, Santa Barbara is a feast for the senses. Browse our guide to the top 10 things to do in Santa Barbara and experience the best this coastal destination has to offer.
Top 10 Things to Do in Santa Barbara, CA
Experience fine dining, distinctive shops and a variety of cultural venues in downtown Santa Barbara including galleries, performing arts, historic sites and museums.
Santa Barbara Beaches
Beach volleyball, kite flying, tidepooling, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, picnicking and whale-watching are just some of the activities you can enjoy at Santa Barbara beaches such as El Capitan State Beach, Goleta Beach County Park, Carpinteria State Beach, Refugio State Beach and many more.
Santa Barbara Wine Country
There is something for everyone from the novice to the aficionado in Santa Barbara Wine Country; take a professionally guided tour or simply visit the wide array of tasting rooms, wineries and vineyards at your own pace or trace the steps of the characters from the film Sideways to have your own experience worth writing home about.
552 University Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Public research university, The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers' college, UCSB is the third-oldest general-education campus in the University of California system.
Ellwood Butterfly Grove
In early evening, the owls come out against a backdrop of a beautiful sunset and in mid-morning the butterflies are waking up providing a range of beautiful sights at the Ellwood Butterfly Grove. Please note, the best time to visit this gem among Santa Barbara attractions is in the winter (December to January).
The 29 acres of Goleta Beach are often a destination for bicyclists traversing the area’s paved trail system and are also famous for its long fishing pier and sunbathing beaches. Volleyball courts, horseshoes and children's playgrounds lay between the bustling restaurant and BBQ picnic areas. Take in the appealing view of the Pacific coast from the 1,500-foot pier in Goleta Beach County Park, out boating, fishing or going for a stroll.
Sandpiper Gold Club
7925 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
With 18 holes designed by Mark Mahanna and 27 holes designed by Ron Garl at neighboring Falcon Watch, Sandpiper Golf Club has been a favorite golfing destination since 1968. The Oaks, the Palms and the Lakes nines are some of the golfing attractions you can find.
Santa Barbara Mission
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, California 93105
Old Mission Santa Barbara is a world-class destination for anyone interested in how Santa Barbara began. It has something to offer everyone from the museum and mausoleum to the retreat center and splendid church, it is no wonder this is an icon of Santa Barbara.
1212 Mission Canyon Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
These gardens feature over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants positioned on 65 acres in historic Mission Canyon.
Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Ninos Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
More than 180 species are represented in the 400 animals that are housed on the 30 acres of the Santa Barbara Zoo. Opening times are daily from 10am to 5pm.