Santa Barbara is like a bright tapestry, woven from time, and enriched with the colors of history and culture.
Some cities grow old and then slowly die. Santa Barbara never grows old, just more elegant and appreciative of its past.
Words cannot begin to describe the intimacy and sophisticated flavor of this city, only experience and a stay here, can do that.
In 1925 a devastating earthquake left the downtown in ruins. Santa Barbara rebuilt itself and changed its overall look and feel almost overnight. The downtown was restored in a classic Spanish-Moorish style of white-washed buildings and red tiled roofs, today best seen in the massive County Courthouse.
As a four-season playground this town has something special to offer everyone; it is a world-class destination.
Santa Barbara is far enough south to be considered a part of Southern California. However, its not quite far enough south to be lost in the congestion of urban sprawl that is so often associated with this part of the state.
I am drawn to a town that has either character or class; Santa Barbara is all about class. State Street, the pulse of Santa Barbara, has world class shopping, gourmet restaurants and museums normally found in cities of much larger size.
Santa Barbara boasts some of the best year round climate in the United States and as a result is a breadbasket for growing tropical fruits and rare and exotic plants. Fragrant smells abound – even in the middle of wintertime. Plumes from luxurious hibiscus emit a subtle sweet honey smell that hangs in the air no matter where you are and bright bougainvillea drape their colorful paper-like blossoms over warm sunny walkways.
Always within reach of natural inspiration Santa Barbara is a hub for the outdoor enthusiast. Within twenty minutes of downtown you can be high on a ridge staring straight at the top of an incoming fog bank blowing over you while at your back lies a winding river valley a thousand feet below. In the same amount of time, you can be participating in any of a myriad of other outdoor activities.
In the evenings the smooth outcroppings of rock that rise above the steep chaparral lined slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains become more pronounced. As the sun sets over this Mediterranean Shangri-La these rocks slowly fade from light brown to yellow to red and then finally to a hint of orange as the sun drops from the sky. It is this particular type and color of rock that creates such a unique backdrop for the city of Santa Barbara – found nowhere else in the world.
If all of this wasn’t enough, sooner or later everyone who visits Santa Barbara is drawn to the harbor front. The magical dolphins, three noble bronze sea creatures, guard the entrance to Stearns Wharf. The harbor front is a mixture of palm-lined walkways, wide open sandy beaches, opulent beachfront resorts, glimpses of the Channel Islands, and magnificent views of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Sights such as these truly define Santa Barbara California as the quintessential Southern California coastal resort town.
Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) is one of our favorite small airports. Convenient, small and easy parking makes a visit here a stress free experience. This airport is located just north of Santa Barbara in Goleta almost adjacent to the UCSB campus and within a very short drive of several beaches. This airport replaced an older one and opened in 2011; it is designed in the quintessential classic style of today’s Santa Barbara architecture.
Most cities of this size would drool to have an airport that looks like this. Aside from the beautiful building – the airport itself is fairly small with just a few gates. When clear there are great views of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands and the Santa Ynez mountains upon landing or takeoff. For more information visit: www.flysba.com
I have often said that Santa Barbara may have the best weather in the world. Driving coastal route 1 is one of those treats that no one who loves a scenic drive should miss. From Malibu to San Francisco and beyond, one of the most beautiful coastlines you will ever find, and I have seen beautiful coastlines throughout my world travels. Although the bulk of my adventures as an international house sitter are outside of the United States, I would return to enjoy the California coastal route through Santa Barbara in a heartbeat.
Teresa – yes, on average – it certainly has one of the most temperate climates year round. Coast CA is blessed with rugged beauty and scenery – between San Luis Obispo and Monterrey is particularly beautiful. Hope you get a chance to return again 🙂
Penny Sadler says
I go to Santa Barbara every summer. I love it and never feel like I’ve “been there, done that.”
By the way, those first three paragraphs introducing Santa Barbara, are exquisitely written.
Good to hear from you Penny – yea, when I retire, I will seriously look at living in the hills just north of town – above Goleta. Love the access to LA w/o actually living in LA and good access to the Central Coast. Can’t beat the weather either 🙂
Dave – Thank you for sharing this post. In my opinion Santa Barbara has the best weather in the world. Its one of my favorite places to visit – we used to go to Santa Barbara every summer when we were kids – now living in New York, its a bit more challenging and expensive of course to take the family there annually. But we have been back once or twice. Thanks for keeping the memories alive!
Drew | The Hungry Partier says
This post is spot on!! My best friend went to a University of California, Santa Barbara, so I went there many times. It’s absolutely incredible and the weather is the best in the world. I hope to go back soon!
Cheers and happy travels 🙂
Drew – yes, Santa Barbara is one of my most favorite places in the state. There is certainly good partying in Isla Vista to – I was up there last year a few times – you know your in Isla Vista when you see all the outdoor beer pong stations, haha!