Art, nature, and beaches in sunny Santa Barbara, California.

By Travel + Leisure
August 31, 2012
Courtesy of Bacara Resort

Santa Barbara, California, has a perfect climate, plus art, nature, and beaches. Its pretty downtown, filled with boutiques and open-air restaurants, is set against a string of beautiful stretches of sand and the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Slip into your suit and hit the beach (or the water—there’s lots of opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and surfing), hike along miles of trails, or simply explore the botanic gardens. It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but feel good while you’re there—thanks only in part to the year-round warmth of the sun.

Bacara Resort & Spa

Mediterranean-style oceanfront villas sprawled over 78 lush acres between the Pacific and the Santa Ynez Mountains, offering a laundry list of activities.

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

Check out the Japanese teahouse and wander through the 65 acres of over 1,000 species of plants and flowers.

Bouchon Bakery, Santa Barbara

Sample the freshest area produce and meats, including wild boar and colorful local heirloom tomatoes, escargots, pepper-crusted venison.

Los Padres National Forest

Hike the trails in this national forest.