Top 60 attractions you must visit in Santa Barbara County
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About Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County, California, officially the County of Santa Barbara. Whether you enjoy hiking, fine-dining, water sports, lazing on the beach, culture, or a great night-life, Santa Barbara has something for you. Its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and colorful culture make Santa Barbara a premier resort destination.
Attractions in Santa Barbara County
This is a narrow beach below homes high on East Mesa bluffs. The dilapidated concrete stairs, originally constructed in the 1920s, show their age. It is not particularly popular for sunbathing but can enjoy fun tide pool exploration and beachwalking.
Alameda Park is a two-block park in downtown Santa Barbara. As one of the city's oldest parks, it is home to a variety of rare trees and plants. These horticultural treasures include the soapbark tree, the white ironwood, and the bunya-bunya tree, just to name a few.
Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is a stunning park spanning a square block in downtown Santa Barbara. There are 75 different tree and plant species and you can enjoy walking paths, picnic areas, and a picturesque Gazebo. The park also has a koi pond where you’ll find visitors feeding resident ducks.
This is a 42-acre saltwater marsh, is one of the largest wildlife refuges in Santa Barbara County and is managed by the City of Santa Barbara Parks Division. The refuge has a 29-acre freshwater/brackish lake, an artificially modified estuary that is usually about four feet deep, which drains through East Beach into the Pacific Ocean. Three islands are located in the lake. A great overlook of the Bird Refuge is available at the neighboring Santa Barbara Zoo, below the Condor Exhibit.
This is a long sandy beach that runs along picturesque bluffs, adjacent to the Douglas Family Preserve. It is good for swimming, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and more. It has a reputation as a dog beach and is a popular location for dog owners to walk their pets off leash.
The Art, Design & Architecture Museum , formerly the University Art Museum, is located on the campus of the UCSB in Goleta, California. It was originally a gallery for art education at UCSB. Today the AD&A contains a fine art collection of over 8,500 works. It also possesses over 1,000,000 architectural drawings, historic photographs, writings, scrapbooks, and three-dimensional objects in the Architecture and Design Collection.
Butterfly Beach is located along Channel Drive in the upscale community of Montecito. This is a popular beach with locals, many with dogs. Students are known to pack the beach at times. There are stairs to the widest and most popular part of the beach at Butterfly Lane, and another set of stairs in front of the Biltmore.
A beautiful surfing beach in Santa Barbara. It offers a fun scene with college students and families gathering and relaxing, while kids play in the sand and water. This latter beach is narrow at high tide and is shaded in the afternoons.
This was the residence of the fifth commandant of the Presidio de Santa Barbara, José de la Guerra y Noriega, founder of the Guerra family of California. It is now a popular site for community and private events.The site is currently owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation as a historic house museum. The address is 15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, California.
Casa del Herrero is a home and gardens located in Montecito near Santa Barbara, California. It was designed by George Washington Smith, and is considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and made a National Historic Landmark on January 16, 2009.
Chase Palm Park along the Pacific Coast, in the heart of Santa Barbara, with its palm trees, is a very pleasent park for walking, running, and biking. This is an extensive park that encompasses much of both sides of East Cabrillo Boulevard and includes a palm tree-lined park adjacent to East Beach. An oceanfront bike path and walkway runs the length of Chase Palm Park from Stearns Wharf along East Beach.
Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park preserves centuries old Native American artwork that graces the wall of a sandstone cave in the Santa Ynez Mountains behind Santa Barbara. The smooth and irregularly shaped shallow sandstone cave contains numerous drawings apparently depicting the Chumash cosmology and other subjects created in mineral pigments and other media over a long period ranging from about 200 up to possibly 1000 years or more.
Coal Oil Point, located just west of the UCSB campus, is an ecologically important area that is home to a number of endangered and threatened species.Largely undisturbed coastal dunes support a rich assemblage of dune vegetation and has become a nesting site for the endangered Snowy Plover.
The 70-acre Douglas Family Preserve is located near the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in the Mesa neighborhood. The property spans 70 acres of undeveloped ocean-front land, and represents the largest area of coastal open space within the city limits of Santa Barbara. A walking trail loops the park perimeter, with many smaller trails across and along the interior. There are several bluffs overlooking the beach, popular for watching whales, dolphins, and birds.
East Beach located in Santa Barbara, California, United States, is often the first beach seen upon entering the city limits. It is separated from West Beach by Stearn's Wharf, and is proximal to downtown Santa Barbara. East Beach is the primary beach for tourists, as some of the major Santa Barbara hotels face this beach. The stretch of beach is not frequented as a surfing destination. East Beach is also home to the Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguards, who operate for seven weeks during the summer.
Elings Park is a 230-acre private park. It is one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful gathering places for nature, athletics, and culture. It hosts weddings, special events, recreation activities, sports leagues, and more. The park consists of sports fields, hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, wedding/special event venues, and landscaped walkways. The park is a hub for mountain biking, youth sports, paragliding, and other outdoor activities.
Franceschi Park is a 15.78-acre public park located at the intersection of Mission Ridge. The site hosts a small picnic area, a large patio that serves as a group picnic area, restrooms, some trails, and a parking lot; and further serves as a resource for the pioneering horticultural work undertaken by Italian horticulturalist Dr. Francesco Franceschi.
Goleta Beach County Park offers visitors a little bit of everything, including beautiful beaches, a 1,500 ft. fishing pier and miles of paved biking trails. There are walking trails on the bluff top west of Goleta Beach Park which lead to the UCSB Lagoon and Campus Point Beach. The 1500-feet long fishing pier is a long walk in itself with views back toward the mountains.
This is a train station building in Goleta, California constructed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1901. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources and is the centerpiece of the South Coast Railroad Museum.
The Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove goes by several names including Ellwood Main Monarch Butterfly Grove as it is signed when you get there. It is located next to Ellwood Beach just west of Santa Barbara. This is one of several monarch butterfly groves in California that are home to tens of thousands of butterflies during the winter months. In November to February you can find these eucalyptus trees covered in bright orange butterflies. It is quite spectacular to see in person.