Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Travel Guide

The city calls itself the American Riviera, and if you travel to Santa Barbara you'll see why: This central coast city, which sits on an idyllic stretch of coastline and is sheltered by the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains, has a Mediterranean-like climate and a civility that feels downright European. In fact, it once was European: the Spanish settled the city in the 1600s, and the Mission Santa Barbara is still one of the city's most treasured landmarks. Given the city's sophisticated charm—and high prices—many celebrities have made a Santa Barbara visit over the years, from Charlie Chaplin, who built a hotel, to Oprah Winfrey, who has a house nearby.

Things Not to Miss in Santa Barbara

Read our Santa Barbara travel guide to explore this jewel on the Pacific, and be sure to visit some of the most popular attractions, including:

• Mission Santa Barbara
• El Presidio State Historic Park
• Tasting Santa Ynez wines
• State Street
• Lotusland
• Butterfly Beach
• Santa Barbara Zoo

When to Go to Santa Barbara

Luckily, there is not a lot of variation in temperature over the course of the year, so any day can be a gorgeous day in Santa Barbara. But here are some factors to consider:

• The Santa Barbara travel season peaks in summer, both in terms of crowds and prices. July through September will have the warmest temperatures for swimming, while June can be iffy, thanks to the higher chance of fog (locals call it June Gloom).
Early fall can bring summery swimming weather, and the prices drop a bit, too, making it a good time to visit. The only weather risks come from the falls of Santa Ana and "sundowner" winds, which can be strong.
Winter and early spring carry the highest likelihood of rain and cooler temperatures—sometimes it's downright chilly at night—but the season also has the lowest prices.


Video: Santa Barbara Weekend Getaway

Articles about Santa Barbara

The thing you tend to forget when you're planning a road trip with young kids is that they don't like to leave the places they like. Children are natural-born Buddhists—fervent in their devotion to the here and now. Whatever the next roadside attr...
Related:More VideoT+L’s Bucket ListWhere to Rent Celebrity Homes
It makes sense that Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of winter; after all, what’s more romantic than escaping the cold and cozying up with a loved one?And when you’re with someone special, a ski chalet with a roaring fireplace is every bit as w...
Place California, Island Hotel Newport Beach, Newport Beach The Deal Stay and Play: one night in a room with a private balcony; two rounds on the Ocean North or the Ocean South at Pelican Hill, both of which reopened late last year after upgrad...
Read the article Having problems downloading the file? Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
What you pay for your hotel depends on when—and how—you book. We tested seven methods (from online travel agents and aggregators to the hotels’ own reservation channels) on five different U.S. hotels over a six-week period. The lessons learned? Al...
See our list of 20 Great American Beaches. It’s no surprise that this summertime, American travelers are planning to stick close to home. But that’s no cause for disappointment: the United States has 95,000 miles of shoreline, including plenty of...
Unlike Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach, two of the hotter hot spots on the southeast coast of Florida, St. Pete Beach—on the central west coast of the Sunshine State—is lazy and low-key, quiet and calm, unpretentious and unassuming. More old...
Hey, squirt, how about some mac and mascarpone?It's on the kids' menu (yes, the kids' menu) at the Bacara Resort's Bistro (8301 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, Calif.; 805/571-4217 ), along with heirloom-tomato soup and petit filet of beef with pom...
It's a starry night, and i am sitting in an ancient ranch house tucked deep in the Lompoc hills, two or three miles down a dirt road from El CaminoReal, the purported route of the padres. The house, set beneath a spreading oak tree with a pickup t...