In 2011 I was lucky enough to move to Santa Barbara on a student exchange program.
Now I make sure I come back and visit every couple of years to see my old friends [Like I really need an excuse right? Have you seen how beautiful this place is?] Let me show you how we do…
1. Hit the Beaches
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! The Santa Barbara Coastline is home to numerous beautiful beaches which are nowhere near as crowded as those in Los Angeles and San Diego.
2. Go Wine Tasting!
You’re in California wine Country here my friend! The Santa Ynez valley is about a 40 minute drive from Santa Barbara and there are a seemingly infinite number of vineyards here that you can stop by to try the produce.
Santa Barbara itself has a bunch of wineries – check out ‘The Funk Zone’ on lower Anacapa street. A lot of these places offer discounts/coupons so check with the Santa Barbara Tourist Centre by East Beach.
I like ‘Oreana’ Winery in the Funk Zone – you can try about 7 wines for only $10 a person and they are not stingy with their portions! For Wine with a view, check out Deep Sea Winery on the Santa Barbara pier.
3. Rent a Boat
I know it looks glamorous but those pictures only depict the first twenty minutes of my venture out to Sea. The remaining 40 were spent leaning over the side of the boat vomiting with my friend holding my hair back and reassuring me “You don’t look THAT ugly to say you’ve just been sick” Always full of flattery that one. Seasickness is a B*tch.
I was lucky enough to have a friend who had just bought himself a boat take us out on the Sea, but if there is a group of you, you can rent one from the Boat Harbour at a decent price.
You can also get across to the Santa Barbara Channel Islands in 30 minutes – uninhabited islands that apparently look how California would look if it was, well… uninhabited!
It was our plan to go there but unfortunately Vomit McGee here was the reason we had to turn back early… some other day!
4. Hit State Street
Visually, State Street is beautiful – all of the architecture in Santa Barbara has a Spanish Colonial style and it gives the town a Mediterranean feel.
High end stores, frozen yoghurt parlors and Independent Restaurants line the streets.
A number of parades and festivals take place down State St. for various events throughout the year – Cinco de Mayo, Summer Solstice, etc. They also have a Farmer’s Market every Tuesday which sells great local produce and baked goods.
5. Polo in Paradise
They call it ‘Polo in Paradise’ for a reason – just look at that backdrop! The Santa Barbara Polo club is sponsored by Maserati so you can imagine the glamorous clientele it attracts. That said, there was no essence of pretentiousness here and it makes for a great day out.