Smart, friendly Santa Barbara sits between the steep Santa Ynez Mountains and the roaring Pacific Ocean, a city with a beautiful Mediterranean climate so good it's called the 'American Riviera'. You can fully expect 300 days of glorious sunshine per year and it's home to the stunning Channel Islands National Park, one of the most unusual, unique and breathtakingly lovely places in the entire state.
Chart topping superstar singer Katy Perry was born and raised in Santa Barbara.
Solvang, a quaint village known as America’s Danish Capital, was built by a bunch of homesick Danes in 1911. It's just one of a host of exceptional local attractions. Here are some more.
Sample the typical American pub Irish-style at The James Joyce
Visit the beautiful Painted Cave off Highway 154, a haunt of the ancient Chumash tribe
Relax in the shade of the massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree, the USA's biggest
Don't miss the Channel Islands. All five islands are a wonderland of natural diversity with some of the finest scuba diving in California, watched over by sunbathing sea lions, pods of dolphins and migrating whales.
Best of California From £3159.00 (inc flights and hotels)
As well as feature-packed touring days to some of Cali’s best loved destinations, enjoy two-night stays in San Fran and LA, enabling you to explore two of the world’s most spectacular cities on this fantastic trip.
Santa Barbara County makes some of the US's best-loved wines. Head downtown for a spectacular choice of wineries and wine tasting rooms, plus a fascinating Urban Wine Trail to explore on foot. What else is there to do in and around Santa Barbara? For a start the glorious Santa Ynez Mountains are well worth climbing for breathtaking views of the Channel Islands from the top.
Discover vibrant Spanish-style fiestas and gorgeous Spanish-style architecture
Head for State Street on Tuesday nights for one of the best Farmer's Markets in California
Marvel at the Coronado Butterfly Preserve
Get all three under your belt then treat yourself to a Santa Barbara classic, a beachside burger from the locals' favourite Jalama Beach Grill. Now you've got that Santa Barbara vibe.
Close your eyes, face the sun and you could almost be on the French Riviera, with that legendary mellow vibe born of brilliant sunshine.
Everywhere you look, Santa Barbara is beautiful. It's so lovely the average property price is an extraordinary one million dollars. Lotusland is stunning, a series of botanical gardens to die for. The 30 acre Santa Barbara Zoo is exceptional. Stearns Wharf is the city's biggest attraction, studded with great shops and restaurants. And, facing the shimmering, blue Pacific Ocean, Shoreline Park is one of the city's finest public parks. The excellent Santa Barbara Historical Museum reveals fascinating relics from the indigenous Chumash people plus Spanish, Mexican, Yankee, and Chinese artefacts. And President Reagan's old stamping ground, the Rancho del Cielo, sits high in the Santa Ynez Mountain range, north west of the city.
Fancy some unforgettable road trip drama, California-style? Take the fabulously dramatic San Marcos Pass through the Santa Ynez Mountains, which connects the city with Los Olivos and the sleepily beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. If you want to mellow out watching colourful boats, large and small, coming and going from the harbour, West Beach is your prime destination. While it isn't quite the most beautiful beach in the area it's a vibrant place, lively and fun, perfect for volleyball and roller-blading. With acres of white sand, endless sea views and excellent people-watching opportunities, it's a big holiday hit.
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