Home Lifestyle Weekend Getaway: Santa Barbara, California 

Weekend Getaway: Santa Barbara, California 

by AshleyC
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While California is certainly synonymous with sun and fun, there is so much more to do in its coastal towns than to play on the beach. Santa Barbara tops the list as one of the coolest spots on the coast and is aptly nicknamed “The American Riviera” so it’s no doubt oozing with charm.

Situated about 115 miles from Los Angeles and tucked between the celebrity drenched Montecito {Oprah takes up residence here} and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara packs a lot of punch. Whether you’re a foodie, a wine lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, there is no shortage of things to do. Keep reading for everything you need to know about a Santa Barbara weekend getaway. 

How to Get There

santa barbara airport

There are a few ways to get to Santa Barbara which has a small and charming municipal airport. When flying United Airlines from Newark Liberty International Airport, consider flying nonstop to Los Angeles International Airport or San Francisco International Airport for a short layover and an even shorter flight to Santa Barbara {about 20 minutes}. If small regional jets are not appealing, connect through Denver or Chicago on larger jets. While it’s possible to just fly in and out of LAX, the notoriously insane LA traffic may make you want to reconsider.

Where to Stay

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara {1260 Channel Drive}

four seasons santa barbara

Picture an old Mediterranean-style building with quaint passageways and ivy that scales the sides of the low, two-story buildings. Intricately painted wooden beams hang above in the common areas alongside brightly painted tiles and eccentric artwork. The atmosphere certainly embodies that American Riviera feel and one can almost imagine old Hollywood movies being filmed on the property. No two rooms are the same, even within the same room category which adds to the charm of the whole place.

Take a stroll up the street on the pedestrian path {which will lead you all the way to downtown Santa Barbara about three miles away} and you’ll pass the hotel owner’s magnificent home which looks like it came straight out of Great Expectations {the Gwyneth Paltrow movie version}. It may also be surprising who owns the hotel — a man by the name of Ty Warner. While his name might not ring a bell, everyone is familiar with the product that made him very wealthy — beanie babies. Now it’s no longer a mystery why the tags on beanie babies and many other plush toys have a tag that says “Ty.”

Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club {1281 Channel Drive}

coral casino santa barbara

Across the street is the Four Seasons owned and operated Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club with stunning views of the beach and the coastline. While locals pay a pretty penny for a yearly membership, guests of the Four Seasons can buy day passes at $200 per room. The story goes that the original property owner built the pool just shy of Olympic standards so that it could not be used for swim practice which adds to the exclusive feel of the place.

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito {1759 South Jameson Lane, Montecito}

miramar santa barbara

While technically in Montecito, the stunning Rosewood Miramar Beach is a quick walk to the Santa Barbara border. Opened in early 2019, the resort evokes an almost New England feel in its architecture. The property, with its sprawling and perfect lawns, is impeccable and boasts Malibu Farms among its dining roster and even has a goop store. The interesting thing about this resort is that there are train tracks that run right through the property. Amtrak and other trains come whizzing by every hour, but astonishingly no one seems to really notice. Fun fact: the hotel has hired staff to guard the gate which leads to the walkway that crosses over the paths. It is their sole job to ensure everyone crosses the tracks safely and the whole process gives the property a vintage, old-world feel.

See More: Your Guide to a Nashville, Tennessee Getaway

Where to Eat

Not only is Santa Barbara a wine lover’s paradise, it’s also a foodie paradise. Walking down State Street {the main street in town} nearly every few storefronts are restaurants. It can seem impossible to decide where to go, but here are a few that are top contenders.

The Lark {131 Anacapa Street} 

Located in the trendy Funk Zone neighborhood, The Lark offers up a seasonal menu which changes frequently and is served family-style.

Bouchon {9 West Victoria}

While there’s no relation to the Bouchon of Thomas Keller fame, this establishment dishes out fine California French cuisine.

Loquita {202 State Street}

Sometimes it’s just more fun to share and this joint makes it easy with a farm-fresh Spanish tapas-style menu

Jane {1311 State Street}

Think fresh farm to table ingredients {with salads in bowls bigger than is humanly possible for one person to eat} and crisp wine in a super cozy setting to enjoy at this locale.

Barbareño {205 West Canon Perdido Street} 

The New York Times said it best: “as California as it gets without being too Califoooorneeeaahh.” This local restaurant boasts savory options like the Santa Maria BBQ made with Wagyu tri-tip beef, oak tagliatelle, and more.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams {multiple locations} 

For something sweet, this spot is not to be missed and with a few locations in town, it’s easy to scoop up a large cup of their best flavors like salted cookie caramel. 

What to Do

After you’re done eating to your heart’s content, be sure to check out some of these fun things to do in the area, too. 

Take a Wine Tour

sunstone winery santa barbara

^ The view from Sunstone Winery! 

While everyone is familiar with Napa Valley, most don’t know too much about the wine region near Santa Barbara.  About an hour’s drive from downtown Santa Barbara lies the Santa Ynez Valley which is peppered with wineries that produce a wide array of varietals. In order to make the most out of a day of wine tasting, consider hiring a private driver that also serves as a guide to the area. Coastal Concierge offers this service and will even reach out ahead of time to talk wine with clients and see what your preferences are. From there, they will customize the agenda for the day and even set up reservations at some of the smaller vineyards. Since you have a driver, there’s no need to worry about road safety either, which is a huge bonus.

Read More: Weekend Getaway:  San Juan, Puerto Rico

Spend A Day on the Water

Fishing, catamaran tours, stand up paddleboarding, surfing, and even a day trip out to the Channel Islands are all a great way to see the Santa Barbara area from a different perspective.  With a marina located adjacent to the famed Stearns Wharf downtown, it’s easy to get out on the water.

Visit the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

pedestrian path santa barbara

With nearly 30 tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara, an entire day could be devoted to sampling the region’s offerings. The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail was created by area winemakers to make it easier for people to figure out where to go. They’ve curated a map, broken down into five different Santa Barbara neighborhoods, which is downloadable from their website. Getting between each of these tasting rooms is a breeze -— whether you walk, bike, or Uber it’s all pretty simple. Pricing varies by the tasting room, but generally, are about $15 for four to five samples.

Warning: there is so much to do in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area that it may lead to wanting to plan more trips back.

Have you visited Santa Barbara yet? What are your local recommendations? Let us know in the comments! 

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