Santa Barbara, CA

City of Santa Barbara, California, USA

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Santa Barbara, in brief

Set on the Pacific with 100 miles (160 km) of sweeping coastline, Santa Barbara and its environs, including the Santa Ynez Mountains, tasty wine country and seaside cities, lie just 92 mi/148 km north of Los Angeles and 332 miles (534 km) south of San Francisco. Visitors can arrive via scenic Highway 1, daily stops on Amtrak or via air service to Santa Barbara Airport or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) .

Santa Barbara County encompasses the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Montecito, Summerland, Channel Islands National Park, Ballard, Buellton, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez and Solvang. The city of Santa Barbara is 18.9 sq. mi/49 km sq. with a population of 92,325. County population: 399,347.

Year-round Mediterranean climate with an annual average of 300+ days of sunshine and fresh ocean breezes. Santa Barbara's unique east-west coastline (the only one from Alaska to Cape Horn) provides soothing year-round southern exposure. Average temperatures range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.

Eighteen beaches stretch nearly 100 mi/160 km from the coastal cities of Carpinteria to Guadalupe. Sunbathing, diving, kayaking, whale watching, parasailing, jet skiing, surfing, volleyball, beachside biking and in-line skating are common play.

County-wide, Santa Barbara offers nearly 100 properties, ranging from deluxe to budget, including 35 beachfront hotels and one hostel. The area is known for its historic B&Bs, with 15 properties. Guest ranches are also available.

Full-service conference and convention facilities dot the area with 120+ meeting sites, ranging from 200 sq. ft. to 40,000 sq. ft. World-class beach-front venues, horse ranches, intimate wineries and skyline meeting sites are available.

Santa Barbara Airport is 8 miles (13 km) north of downtown. American Eagle, America West Express, Delta Airlines, Delta Connection and United Airlines Express service the airport. Non-stop flights are available from Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. Express bus service is available from major airports via Santa Barbara Airbus,  and SuperRide Shuttle. The Old Town Trolley runs throughout the city from 10am to 5pm daily, departing from Stearns Wharf; the electric shuttle serves the downtown area, the Waterfront and Coast Village Road in Montecito.

Architecture - The city's Red Tile Walking Tour showcases Santa Barbara's oldest and most fascinating architectural landmarks (see Visitor Guide). Historic adobes and missions dot the area, including the "Queen of the Missions," Mission Santa Barbara.

Gardens - Delve into acres of orchids and tropical plants at one of the areas gardens or public parks. Top picks: Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, Casa del Herrero, Lotusland, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens and Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.

Museums - The Maritime Museum at Santa Barbara Harbor offers an in-depth look at the region's maritime roots. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art boasts an outstanding collection of American, Asian and European art. The Museum of Natural History is nationally renowned, with an enormous whale skeleton marking the entrance. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, the Historical Museum and the Carriage Museums are also great bets.

Performing Arts - Santa Barbara is home to more than 200 annual classic and contemporary stage productions, including drama, comedy, dance and musical theater. Santa Barbara Symphony, State Street Ballet and PCPA Theaterfest are just a few of the entertainment options.

Wine Country - 60+ wineries and 20,000 planted acres of vineyards make this region a flavorful trip. Located within the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys, just a 45-minute drive north of Santa Barbara via Highway 101 or 154. Tasting rooms dot Los Olivos and winery facilities offer tours and picnic sites. Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association.

The area offers whale watching, eagle tours, sailing excursions and rentals, direct service from Santa Barbara Harbor's Sea Landing to the Channel Islands, hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains and seven 18-hole championship golf courses, including the top-rated Sandpiper Golf Course, Glen Annie Golf Club, River Course at the Alisal and Rancho San Marcos Golf Course. Santa Barbara also offers three horseback riding ranches, sea kayaking, windsurfing, beachside bicycle and in-line skating paths and seasonal spectator polo (Sundays) at Santa Barbara Polo Club.

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