Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Santa Barbara
Set between the golden, California central coast and San Ynez Mountains and winery estates, youre spoilt for choice on things to do in Santa Barbara.
We wrote this guide to help visitors decide where to stay in Santa Barbara by breaking down the best areas to stay in SB, as well as options for affordable accommodation, cheap hotels in Santa Barbara, cosy bed & breakfasts, and more.
To recap, The Wayfarer is our pick for the best hostel in Santa Barbara. This hostel is run by an awesome, helpful staff. It offers a shared kitchen, outdoor swimming pool, and clean, stylish rooms!
Casa Del Mar Inn Santa Barbara is one of the best hotels in Santa Barbara on the beach, situated within walking distance from West Beach.
Have you been to Santa Barbara? Let us know in the comments!
And dont forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. Theyre easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once youve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
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Things To See And Do In West Beach Santa Barbara
- Have dinner overlooking the harbour at Stearns Wharf
- Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural Historys Sea Center, complete with touch pools.
- Take a boat tour out onto the ocean.
- Embark on a spot of whale-watching!
- Learn about the seafaring history of the city at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
- Head up to Winslow-Maxwell Overlook for Instagram-worthy views.
- Chill out and people-watch at Ambassador Park.
- Browse the sights and sounds at Santa Barbara Fish Market.
- Simply enjoy laying out in the sun at the beach.
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Set amid 24 acres of palm-studded lawns, the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is a landmark hotel along Santa Barbara’s popular beachfront area. This mission-style property lies in a fantastic location across Cabrillo Boulevard from East Beach. From here, you can walk to Stearns Wharf, the Funk Zone, and the shops and restaurants of State Street downtown.
This is also a great family resort. It’s a short walk to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and you can rent bikes with the kids and head across the street to the popular beachfront bike path.
Spread out across the property, the large guest rooms and suites feature ocean, garden, or mountain views. All have private balconies or patios, and suites come with separate living areas, robes, slippers, and rain showers.
Dining options include an ocean-view, bistro-style restaurant with an outdoor fire pit a casual breakfast venue and a coffee shop.
Guests also love the Olympic-sized swimming pool and Jacuzzi, fitness center, tennis court, and spa. As with most Santa Barbara hotels, pets are welcome.
Address: 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard,Santa Barbara, California
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Getting Around Santa Barbara
Once youve arrived in town, getting around Santa Barbara is the easy part! An easily walkable city, most of Santa Barbara can be accessed on foot.
Otherwise, you can easily get an Uber or Lyft or rent a bike. Bike rentals are available at Wheel Fun Rentals.
Sunset in Santa Barbara photo by Passports and Preemies
Downtown Where To Stay In Santa Barbara On A Budget
Downtown Santa Barbara is a historic area known for its distinctive architecture, great food, great shopping and a generally very bustling atmosphere.
Located in and around Lower State Street, Downtown is a great spot for not just for its architecture and atmosphere, but also for its proximity to the beach. You have a little bit of everything here.
Its our pick for where to stay in Santa Barbara on a budget because you will have the most options and conveniences.
Charming red-tile roofs, diverse shopping, open air markets, galleries, wine bars and cafes make this an exciting and very pretty place to stay in and explore.
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West Beach Where To Stay In Santa Barbara For Nightlife
West Beach is the bustling alternative to its quieter eastern counterpart. Its adjacent to the busy Wharf area complete with a plethora of restaurants, shops, bars and cafes, and its also relatively close to Downtown Santa Barbara.
With a pleasant palm-lined promenade, the sand here is soft which makes it ideal for soaking up the rays.
Popular with families as well as groups as friends, West Beach is the ideal location to take some time out from the city but with a similar buzzing vibe for those who enjoy an energetic atmosphere.
A Santa Barbara Hipster Haven With Concerts Records And S’mores
What once was a Holiday Inn is now the Kimpton Goodland, renovated and turned into a funky, hip boutique, with an art gallery, a vinyl record library and poolside yoga classes.
Next to Santa Barbara Airport and close to the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Goodland is the result of a 2014 renovation that turned the budget property into a hipster paradise.
To go with the hotels âevening social hour in the lobby, there are smores kits for use at the firepits onsite at the Good Bar and Outpost, free bicycle rentals, board games and a concert series, making the resort feel like a community.
In terms of location, those free bikes can easily take guests to Goleta Beach Park and Isla Vista, home of the local University of California campus. In addition, staying in Goleta gives the traveler a head start on drives to central coast California wine favorites like San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. Meanwhile, its still only a few minutes from Santa Barbara proper and the full assortment of wineries on offer there.
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What Celebs Live In Santa Barbara
Among those who maintain, or have maintained, homes here are Oprah Winfrey, Kirk Douglas, George Lucas, Carol Burnett, John Cleese, Drew Barrymore, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kenny Loggins, Kevin Costner, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, to name just a few.
Where To Stay In Santa Barbara: Mid
Across the road from East Beach, the Spanish-style, family-owned Santa Barbara Inn offers excellent value in a superb location. From here, you can walk to top attractions, like the Santa Barbara Zoo, Stearns Wharf, and Funk Zone restaurants. Adding to the value here is the free continental breakfast an inviting outdoor swimming pool and spacious rooms.
In the heart of downtown shopping and restaurants, the pet-friendly Kimpton Canary Hotel is perfect for travelers who want to stay near all the action. This is one of the cool places to stay in Santa Barbara. Foodies will love the Finch & Fork restaurant here, which is also popular with the locals. The rooms and common areas feature elegant Spanish Mission-style decor, and the rooftop pool reveals beautiful mountain views. Feel like a dip in the ocean? You can access the beach via a five-minute shuttle ride for a small fee.
Homey and affordable, the family-owned Harbor House Inn sits in a quiet residential area a block back from West Beach and the beachfront bike path. As the name suggests, its also a short hop from the Santa Barbara Harbor, where youll find excellent seafood restaurants and the departure point for whale watching trips.
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West Beach The Best Area To Stay In Santa Barbara
As soon as you get to Santa Barbara the first thing you will want to do is find the closest beach to the downtown area, which happens to be the conveniently located West Beach. This waterfront is bounded by West Cabrillo Boulevard, which is a wonderful promenade that has tonnes of shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels and is a particularly busy place when it is sunset.
West Beach is a clean and tidy sandy beach that offers good swimming as well as some water activities with one of the iconic images of the city being right by you, which is Stearns Wharf. The wharf gives you excellent vista of your surroundings and is home to dozens of shops, restaurants and arcades with many people using it for fishing or romantic walks too.
The wharf also hosts the Natural History Museum and is where you will find many exhibit halls that display many things to do with natural history with one of the best preserved Blue Whale skeletons in the world. Other things to note is the harbour, where there is always activity going on from cruise ships to little fishing boats and is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the city.
Pacifica Suites Santa Barbara
Set amid lush gardens filled with heritage trees and rare plants, Pacifica Suites is one of the best hotels near UCSBâthe college is an easy four-minute drive away. The all-suite accommodations also make this a great hotel for extended stays. Hotel suites feature separate living areas with pull-out sofas, traditional furnishings, soft robes, mini-fridges, gourmet coffee, and balconies or terraces.
When you’re not visiting your college grad or exploring the nearby sights, you can relax by the lovely outdoor pool, soak in the Jacuzzi, catch up on work at the 24-hour business center, or celebrate a special event at the historic 1880s Sexton House.
An airport shuttle is also available.
Address: 5490 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, California
Accommodation: Pacifica Suites Santa Barbara
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Where Is Santa Barbara Wine Country
The wine region of Santa Barbara County is located north of the city of Santa Barbara and includes the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley. The Santa Ynez Valley has several small towns including Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos. Within the Santa Ynez Valley there are several AVAs : Santa Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon.
What Are The Best Wines Of Santa Barbara
Wine Regions in Santa Barbara 2014 Ojai Pinot Noir Fe Ciega. 2015 Fess Parker Pinot Noir Bien Nacido. 2014 Sanford Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. 2014 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir La Bauge Au-dessus. 2015 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten. 2016 Domaine de la Cote Pinot Noir La Cote. 2015 Dragonette Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard.
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Things To See And Do In Carpinteria
- Walk along Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve for spectacular coastal views along its trails.
- Visit the laid-back Carpinteria Bathing Beach.
- Enjoy time at the Tomol Interpretive Play Area.
- Check out the Native American artifacts at Carpinteria Valley Museum.
- Staying in Carpinteria during October? You must go to the Avocado Festival!
- Get your beach on at Rincon Beach Park.
- Admire the Wardholm Torrey Pine, an ancient majestic tree.
- Take a dip at Carpinteria Community Pool.
- Stroll around Tar Pit Park, home to natural asphalt ponds and oceanfront trails.
- Have a drink at the classic dive bar Carpinteria and Lindon Pub.
From Casual To Fine Dining
Industrial Eats in Buellton serves up wood-fired pizzas, fresh creative salads, sandwiches, and seafood in a casual atmosphere.
S.Y. Kitchen offers modern Italian dishes, cocktails, and wine in an intimate farmhouse-style setting in the town of Santa Ynez.
The Hitching Post II specializes in traditional wood-fired Santa Maria Barbecue served with their award-winning wines, made famous in the 2004 movie Sideways.
The Gathering Table at The Ballard Inn features seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients in a blend of Asian and French cuisine served in an intimate atmosphere.
First & Oak in Solvang at the Mirabelle Inn serves wine country cuisine in a style reminiscent of France, with a seasonal menu that includes fresh local seafood and produce.
The Tavern at Zaca Creek, set on a historic property in Buellton, features an onsite Fullblood Wagyu butchery, craft cocktail program, wine cellar, and extensive spirits and liqueurs selection.
V Lounge in Solvang at Vinland Hotel offers sandwiches, salads, and shareable plates in addition to late night bites, desserts, craft beers, wines, and cocktails.
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A Weekend In Santa Barbara
| February 24 2020
The idyllic city of Santa Barbara, California, just 100 miles north of Los Angeles and situated between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, has been the ultimate getaway for high-profile celebrities, politicians and the elite for more than a century. Its often called the American Riviera for its striking similarities to the French Riviera, both with red-roofed buildings and homes, pristine ocean views, a boating scene and incredible gastronomy. It was famously a favorite destination among Jackie and John F Kennedy and for Californians looking to escape the high energy of Los Angeles or San Francisco. But beyond the gated communities and sprawling mansions and estates, Santa Barbara is a laid-back scenic enclave meshing the best of Southern and Northern California in one coastal spot.
Apart from being an incredibly active destination , those who enjoy the finer things in life will relish in Santa Barbaras impressive culinary scene , wineries to rival those of Napa Valley and five-star hotels with world-class spas and unique experiences.
Santa Barbara has a unique charm that makes it hard to ever leave. Come to enjoy its Spanish colonial-style architecture, history and luxurious indulgences that arent quite the same anywhere else in California. Here is our comprehensive guide to the perfect weekend in Santa Barbara.
Right In The Heart Of Downtown Santa Barbara
If youre looking for where to stay in Santa Barbara, I highly suggest the Kimpton Canary Hotel. The property just exudes Spanish class, elegance, and quality. I can guarantee that by being in the hotel itself, it will feel like you were transported to a villa in Spain! The hotel boasts a wonderfully orchestrated lobby, with colorful furniture, exposed beams, and Spanish tiles glazing the entire property. The Spanish aesthetic in conjunction with the Santa Barbara laidback vibe worked together beautifully, instilling the best first impression to any guest that walks in.
The Kimpton Canary is right off of the famous State St., which is the iconic downtown area of Santa Barbara. Youre just a few steps away from the best places to eat, shop, and drink!
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Best Airbnb In West Beach Private Tiny Studio
Private Tiny Studio is the best Airbnb in West Beach
If youre trying to decide where to stay in Santa Barbara on a budget, this is it. This tiny but well-equipped studio is a tiny house right in the heart of the city, surrounded by shops and restaurants. It has a kitchenette and a small bathroom and is suitable for two people.
For Families At The Seaside
- Rosewood Miramar Beach is a striking, family-friendly hotel set right on the beach. With a specially-tailored kids programme, kids menus, games and specific spa treatments, this is an absolute family favourite. Expect luxurious contemporary design, innovative cocktails at three bars, an excellent spa and lots of beach activities. Glorious.
- Santa Barbara Inn is a chic, Mediterranean-style gem just moments from the beach. Interiors are spacious and elegant, with a restful white-and-cream palette. Family suites are ideal for those travelling with little ones, who will adore the two pools. The Italian food is top-notch, and the sea views breathtaking.
- Hotel Milo is a vibrant beach hotel with heaps of activities for the whole family. The vibe is lovely and laid-back, and the decor fresh and nautical, with splashes of bright blue. A fun pick for active family holidays, with attractive cabanas, two pools and a hot tub. Theres a great choice of nearby eateries.
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Explore Vintage Santa Barbara
Ever since the release of the movie Sideways, people have been bending over backwards to get to Santa Barbara wine country. And as our guest, itâs so simple: Walk out the door and let the wine tasting begin. Santa Barbaras Urban Wine Trail includes several stops immediately surrounding Kimpton Canary Hotel, as well as in the nearby Funk Zone and Midtown areas, that showcase the more than 60 varietals grown here.
In addition, Santa Barbaraâs vineyards are just a 45-minute drive away, encompassing postcard-perfect winding country roads and gently rolling hills dotted with coastal oaks. Dont have a designated driver? Experience wine country with a customized, private wine tour provided by Coastal Concierge .
Kimpton Canary Hotel is undoubtedly a favorite among Santa Barbary winery hotels. According to Travel + Leisure, there may be no better place to relax after a day of wine-drinking than in a poolside cabana under the palm trees at Kimpton Canary. And dont forget you can also make amazing local and global wine discoveries right inside our hotel, at Finch & Fork.
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Downtown Where To Stay In Santa Barbara For Culture
Downtown Santa Barbara is the center of culture, history, and business. It is also a great area to stay for its proximity to the beach and other neighborhoods. If you want to be within walking distance to the main attractions, you can choose to stay in the downtown area for its location too. Plus, the other Santa Barbara neighborhoods are not longer than 10 minutes drive!
State Street in the Downtown area is where you will find many great restaurants, cafes, all kinds of shops, Mediterranean-style architecture, and cultural sites. There really is a bit of everything for everyone in Downtown. You can find Monet paintings at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, learn about history at the Museum of Natural History, climb to the top of the clock tower at the Old Mission Santa Barbara for an amazing city view, have a wine tasting tour, and go shopping in upscale boutiques.
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