Are you looking for top tourist destinations? You cannot go wrong with Santa Barbara! This is a beautiful coastal town and a popular weekend destination in Southern California, known for its excellent beaches, parks, free attractions, family activities, day trips, beautiful wedding venues, restaurants, breakfast spots, RV parks, and romantic Pacific Ocean views. Here are the Awesome Things to Do in Santa Barbara, California, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the US.
Awesome Things to Do in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo provides open, naturalistic habitats to more than 500 animals from 146 species of reptiles, mammals, birds, and insects. The zoo is located on thirty acres of lush botanic gardens that feature many native plants, ornamentals, trees, cacti, succulents, and exotic species. The zoo is considered one of the best small zoos in the country and is one of the best things to do in Santa Barbara with kids.
Since its opening in 1963, the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens has been fulfilling its mission of preserving, conserving, and enhancing the natural world through research, education, and recreation. The zoo organizes numerous special events and programs such as Zoo camp and monthly multidisciplinary hands-on activities for kids such as Be A Zookeeper for a Day
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Old Mission Santa Barbara is an incredibly elegant and graceful attraction that was completed back in 1786. It is currently the only mission in all of California that continues to be lived in by Franciscans, making it one of the best places to visit in California.
Unfortunately, the original chapel was destroyed in an earthquake in 1812, and the new church that you see today was finished in 1820 by Chumash Indians. Much of the architecture of the old mission was inspired heavily by other buildings in Santa Barbara at the time. Visitors can get a real Tree by examining the double towers (which are unusual in mission structures), a facade inspired by Roman design, and a variety of sculptures and art dating back to the Colonial era. Within the building, you can also find a museum that is packed with artifacts and art from all the times. Surrounding the complex is the gorgeous La Huerta Historical Garden that looks like it was ripped straight out of a Colonial setting.
So if you’re looking for what to see in Santa Barbara and you love history, this might be a good bet.
Have a five-star dinner at The Lark
Your family-style dinner at this lauded New American restaurant will probably come out looking more like a piece of art than an edible arrangement. But then you’ll get over it, and realize that your plate is filled with ingredients so fresh they were probably picked from the farm that morning. The cocktail program (which uses seasonal fruits and veggies) is on-point, too. The Lark offers outdoor seating on the newly extended patio in the parking lot which shares space with their sister restaurant The Lucky Penny, best known for wood-fired specialty pizzas. Reservations are highly recommended as this place can get busy.
Completed in 1872, Stearns Wharf is the oldest wooden wharf in continuous use in California. In the past, it was used for passenger and freight services for about 25 years, and it is named after its builder, John P. Stearns. The wharf is located at the end of State Street and is one of the most visited places in Santa Barbara.
Today, there are 17 businesses on Stearns Wharf including shops and restaurants, a shellfish market, and two educational facilities: the Channel Islands Exhibit Hall and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, which is an interactive facility for the ocean education. Visitors also have the option of taking cruises and water taxis from the wharf.
Located in the upscale Montecito, Butterfly Beach is one of the most popular places near Santa Barbara.
Here you can swim, surf and enjoy the idyllic atmosphere. Montecito is also a home to many rich and famous people, so there’s a chance you could spot a celebrity here.
Santa Barbara has some of the best surfing conditions along California’s Central Coast for beginning surfers, and Butterfly Beach is that place!