In December of 2017, devastating wildfires swept across southern California, including areas surrounding Santa Barbara. More than 280,000 acres were scorched in the state’s largest wildfire on record. Following the wildfires, massive mudslides pushed across the compromised terrain.
While the area is still recovering from the destruction, travelers should not be dissuaded from visiting. Much of Santa Barbara and surrounding destinations were unaffected — and the entire region needs the support of travelers more than ever.
Cities are always searching for new ways to improve or expand, yet with Santa Barbara’s year-round mild weather, gleaming Spanish colonial buildings, and laid-back surf culture, it’s hard to think of anything that could really improve this California destination.
Indeed, some even refer to Santa Barbara as the “American St. Tropez.” A vacation here requires very little planning: from downtown, you’ll be within easy reach of restaurants and shops at Stearns Wharf (the city’s most visited landmark), not to mention other fun things to do, whether it’s world-class museums, or Santa Barbara’s famous Urban Wine Trail — a consortium of local vineyards, with 29 tasting rooms all situated within walking distance of each other.
Whether you’re seeking a laidback beach getaway or a sophisticated cultural experience, Santa Barbara has something for every type of traveler.
Where Is Santa Barbara?
At the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is framed by exquisite scenery — lush wine country on one side, the rippling, blue Pacific Ocean on the other. Connected to other coastal California towns by scenic Highway 101, a road trip is one of the best ways to visit Santa Barbara, though Amtrak also has a route going from San Francisco to San Diego, with a stop in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara’s Top Attractions
The majority of visitors are drawn to Santa Barbara’s white sand beaches and easy-to-navigate downtown area, but the options for what to do extend well beyond just swimming and shopping. There are dozens of points of interest scattered around Santa Barbara’s scenic harborfront and bustling State Street, with a heavy focus on fine art, kid-friendly activities, and architecture.
At the newly opened MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, kids finally have a reason to get excited about hanging out in a science museum. With hands-on exhibits (like build-your-own racecar tracks, and musical instruments powered by the wind and the sun) spread over the building’s three floors and panoramic rooftop, the prospect of choosing just one station to explore can be daunting.
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SOURCE: (Travel and Leisure)