Santa Barbara Travel Guide

Browse 68 travel reviews, 28 travel blogs and 1,337 travel photos from real travelers to Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Overview

A place that is often described as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a coastal city on one of the only east-west sections of coastline in the state, directly between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the ocean. Santa Barbara is a major tourist destination for many reasons, not the least of which is the beautiful countryside, the pleasant beaches, and the constantly mild climate which has been referred to as Mediterranean in nature by many people. Between the wineries, the scenery, the beaches, and the luxury accommodations, this is possibly one of the best places in California to just get away from it all and relax in a place where indulgence is the only item on the menu.

Being on the coast, the weather is very mild. Average temperatures run from the low sixties in the winter to upper seventies in the summer and night-time lows are very mild as well. Only 15 inches of rain per year and 300 days of sunshine.

The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) is a popular undergraduate and graduate destination for American as well as international students. Apart from UCSB there are the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), Westmont College as well as the Brooks Institute.

State street is famous for its shops and upscale restaurants. When the evening rolls in, its transforms into the hot spot for having drinks, hanging out and clubbing.

Santa Barbara has a reputation for being a playground for the wealthy and elite, and while it’s true that the prices of property and otherwise are somewhat higher than other places in the state, the actual residents of the city are upper middle-class Americans, which means it’s possible to enjoy a somewhat-budgeted trip here if you are strapped for cash. And while most people spend all their time on the beach, there are plenty of sites to see within the city itself, ranging from the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden to the Museum of Natural History or the Santa Barbara Courthouse, complete with its tower overlooking everything. Beyond the borders of the city on the opposite side of the beach, however, loom the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Los Padres National Forest, and a wide variety of remote wilderness areas that are just perfect for the hiking and outdoor enthusiast. Not to mention, the views from atop the hills looking down over the city and out over the ocean are simply phenomenal.

Popular Nearby Destinations

Goleta is a new city, developed from the sprawl and growth of Santa Barbara. Being so close to the ocean the weather is very mild. Goleta is home to college students attending UCSB (Unive…
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