7-Day Itinerary in Santa Barbara, CA

7-Day Itinerary in Santa Barbara, CA

Greetings! Join me on an exciting journey as we explore Santa Barbara, the enchanting coastal city known as the American Riviera. Packed with stunning beaches, captivating wine regions, and a charming downtown, Santa Barbara offers an unforgettable week-long vacation experience. Whether you’re a beach enthusiast, a wine connoisseur, or a history lover, this 7-day itinerary will ensure you make the most of your time in this coastal paradise.

Ready to dive in? Let’s embark on an incredible adventure in Santa Barbara, exploring its attractions, indulging in its activities, and immersing ourselves in everything this captivating city has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the stunning beaches of Santa Barbara
  • Experience wine tasting along the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail
  • Explore the natural wonders of Channel Islands National Park
  • Visit the historical Santa Barbara Mission
  • Indulge in shopping and culture in Montecito

Day 1: Beaches and Wine Tasting

On your first day in Santa Barbara, start by exploring the beautiful Santa Barbara beaches that the city is known for. East Beach, Butterfly Beach, and Leadbetter Beach are popular choices for swimming, surfing, and enjoying the sunset.

After a day at the beach, head to Stearns Wharf, the oldest working pier in California, for stunning views of the coastline. Take a leisurely stroll along the pier, soak in the ocean breeze, and capture memorable photos.

Before the day ends, indulge in a delightful Santa Barbara wine tasting experience. Visit the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, where you can sample wines from the nearby vineyards. Discover the unique flavors and aromas of the region while enjoying the charming ambiance of the local wineries.

As you unwind and savor the local wines, reflect on the beauty of Santa Barbara’s beaches and the serenity of the ocean. Day one sets the stage for an incredible week of exploration and relaxation in this coastal paradise.

Day 2: Outdoor Adventures and Historical Sites

On the second day of your Santa Barbara getaway, immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history of the region. Begin your day by visiting Channel Islands National Park, a pristine island archipelago located off the coast. This national park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking, allowing you to explore the unique ecosystem and breathtaking landscapes. Take in the stunning views, spot rare wildlife, and embrace the tranquility of this hidden gem. Don’t forget to capture unforgettable moments through your camera lens.

If you prefer to stay on land and experience the majesty of marine life, embark on a memorable whale-watching excursion. Santa Barbara is renowned for its diverse marine wildlife, including humpback, blue, gray, and killer whales. Observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and learn from experienced guides who will provide interesting insights about their behavior and conservation efforts.

In the afternoon, venture into the Los Padres National Forest, a vast wilderness offering a myriad of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the network of trails amidst towering trees, scenic viewpoints, and cascading waterfalls. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the forest caters to all skill levels. Camping and fishing are also popular activities in this pristine natural retreat.

End your day with a visit to the Santa Barbara Mission, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Spanish colonial era as you explore the beautifully preserved grounds and the impressive church. Admire the architecture and artwork that reflect the city’s cultural heritage. The Santa Barbara Mission serves as a testament to the region’s past and the enduring legacy of its founders.

Activities Channel Islands National Park Whale Watching Los Padres National Forest Santa Barbara Mission
Whale Watching
Historical Sites

Day 3: Montecito and Shopping

On the third day, I took a delightful venture to Montecito, an upscale neighborhood nestled just south of Santa Barbara. This charming village is known for its celebrity residents and offers a unique opportunity to explore a blend of Southern California and Latin American aesthetics.

As I strolled through Montecito’s picturesque streets, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the local galleries showcasing exquisite artwork and fine craftsmanship. The art scene in Montecito is thriving, with galleries that exhibit a diverse range of styles and mediums, including paintings, sculptures, and photography.

To immerse myself in the spirit of Montecito, I visited Lotusland, a hidden gem that boasts a magnificent 37-acre garden. The meticulously designed landscapes feature rare and exotic plants, creating a visual feast for the eyes. From vibrant blooms to tranquil ponds, each corner of Lotusland exudes tranquility and natural beauty.

After indulging in the serenity of Lotusland, I couldn’t resist exploring Montecito’s boutique stores. The shopping scene here is a haven for those seeking unique and upscale pieces. From high-end fashion boutiques to curated home decor stores, Montecito offers a shopping experience that caters to varied tastes and preferences.

Before concluding the day, I decided to treat myself to a relaxing evening in one of Montecito’s renowned restaurants. These establishments take inspiration from the rich culinary history brought by Spanish and Mexican settlers in the region. From locally sourced seafood to farm-fresh produce, the regional cuisine of Montecito is a delightful fusion of flavors.

In summary, Montecito provides a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of Santa Barbara. With its charming village, vibrant art scene, unique shopping opportunities, and delectable dining options, this third day of my itinerary was truly memorable.


In conclusion, Santa Barbara offers a wealth of opportunities for a memorable 7-day itinerary. Whether you’re a beach lover, a wine enthusiast, or a history buff, this coastal paradise has something to offer for everyone.

Start your trip by exploring the beautiful beaches that Santa Barbara is known for, such as East Beach, Butterfly Beach, and Leadbetter Beach. Take in the stunning coastal views from Stearns Wharf, the oldest working pier in California. Don’t forget to indulge in Santa Barbara’s vibrant wine scene by visiting the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail and sampling wines from nearby vineyards.

Embrace outdoor adventures on day two with a visit to Channel Islands National Park, where you can kayak, snorkel, and hike in the picturesque island archipelago. Alternatively, embark on a whale-watching excursion to spot magnificent whales off the coast. Immerse yourself in history at the Santa Barbara Mission, a remarkable landmark showcasing the city’s Spanish colonial past.

On day three, venture to the upscale neighborhood of Montecito and explore its charming village. Discover local galleries and shop at boutiques that offer a blend of Southern California and Latin American aesthetics. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Lotusland, a breathtaking garden featuring rare plants and stunning landscapes. End the day with a delightful meal at one of Montecito’s outstanding restaurants, where you can savor regional cuisine influenced by Spanish and Mexican settlers.

By following this itinerary, you can make the most of your trip to Santa Barbara and indulge in its beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, cultural heritage, and exquisite gastronomy. Pack your bags and get ready to create lasting memories in this captivating coastal city!


Can I swim at the beaches in Santa Barbara?

Yes, the beaches in Santa Barbara are perfect for swimming, surfing, and enjoying the sunset.

What can I do at Stearns Wharf?

Stearns Wharf is the oldest working pier in California and offers stunning views of the coastline. You can also find shops, restaurants, and attractions to explore.

Where can I sample wines in Santa Barbara?

Visit the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, where you can sample wines from the nearby vineyards and experience the vibrant wine scene of the region.

What outdoor activities can I do in Santa Barbara?

You can kayak, snorkel, hike, and go whale watching in Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands National Park and Los Padres National Forest offer opportunities for outdoor adventures.

What historical site should I visit in Santa Barbara?

The Santa Barbara Mission is an iconic landmark showcasing the city’s Spanish colonial history. It’s worth a visit to learn about the region’s rich heritage.

What can I do in Montecito?

Montecito is known for its upscale neighborhood and offers a charming village, local galleries, and excellent shopping. Don’t miss a visit to Lotusland, a breathtaking garden filled with rare plants.

What kind of cuisine can I find in Montecito?

You can enjoy regional cuisine inspired by Spanish and Mexican settlers in Montecito’s excellent restaurants. Try the fusion of Southern California and Latin American flavors.

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