On one side of Santa Barbara stand the Santa Ynez Mountains. On the other side lies the vast Pacific. In between, there’s a gorgeous metropolitan area that’s long been popular with California day-trippers and out-of-state tourists.
Santa Barbara highlights abound. Children love the Santa Barbara Zoo ― don’t miss the condors if you go there ― and many families cherish Carpinteria State Beach, which boasts tide pools and outstanding birdwatching opportunities. The city’s visitors can also enjoy horseback riding trails, botanical gardens, and Old Mission Santa Barbara, a grand edifice that was completed in 1820. The Santa Barbara Bowl, mean time, is an idyllic outdoor venue, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center provides face-to-face encounters with some delightful creatures of the ocean.