For a day of fun in the sun, head down to the Santa Barbara waterfront, where walking paths, bike trails, clean beaches, and the palm-tree-lined Shoreline Park await. The harbor is the launching point for guided kayak tours of the waterfront as well as kayak and SUP rentals. There are three beaches within easy reach here: Leadbetter Beach, known for its surfing; plus East Beach and West Beach, which are separated by Stearns Wharf.
Visitors can stroll the wharf boardwalk for a great view back over the city, and stop at one of the restaurants or wine tasting rooms along the way. Stearns Wharf is also home to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center where younger visitors will enjoy the chance to interact with sea life including manta rays, sea urchins, and anemones.
Things to know before you go
- East Beach is a world-famous beach volleyball destination—join a pick-up game if you dare.
- Remember to pack sunscreen and a hat if you’re heading to the beach.
- The Cabrillo bike trail along the waterfront is wheelchair-accessible.
- Walk to the end of the wharf for a great photo opportunity of the city with the Santa Ynez mountains in the background.
How to get there
Santa Barbara’s Waterfront stretches along the edge of downtown from Leadbetter Beach to East Beach. The Cabrillo bike path—also accessible to walkers—runs along the top of all three beaches. It’s easy to walk or cycle to the waterfront from downtown, or alternatively, you can take a taxi. For kayak or stand-up paddleboarding rentals and tours, head to the harbor.
When to get there
Santa Barbara has a pleasant climate all year round, although the town is busiest during the vacation months of July and August, so you’ll find it easier to book hotels and restaurants outside of these times.
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- Santa Barbara Kreuzfahrthafen
- Stearns Wharf
- Santa Barbara Museum für Naturkunde Sea Center
- Funk Zone
- Leadbetter Beach
- Gerichtsgebäude von Santa Barbara County
- Santa Barbara Kunstmuseum (SBMA)
- Santa Barbara Zoo
- Alte Mission Santa Barbara
- Naturhistorisches Museum Santa Barbara
- Botanischer Garten Santa Barbara (SBBG)