Must-see attractions in Santa Barbara County

  • Los Olivos Tasting Room

    Santa Ynez Valley

    Inside a rickety 19th-century general store, this tasting room stocks rare vintages you won’t find anywhere else. Well-oiled servers are by turns…

  • West Beach

    Santa Barbara

    Central, palm-tree-backed stretch of sand, right next to Stearns Wharf and the harbor (swimming isn't advisable). It's also the setting for large outdoor…

  • Carhartt Vineyard Tasting Room

    Santa Ynez Valley

    An unpretentious tasting room inside a red-trimmed wooden shack that leads on to a shady garden patio out back, where a fun-loving younger crowd sips…

  • Leadbetter Beach

    Santa Barbara

    One of Santa Barbara's most popular beaches, always busy with surfers, wind- and kitesurfers, joggers and sunbathers. Facilities include reservable picnic…

  • Goleta Beach County Park

    Santa Barbara County

    Good beach for sunbathing, swimming and picnicking (nab a prized shaded spot if you can), or strolling the 1500ft-long pier for views out to the Channel…

  • Chase Palm Park

    Santa Barbara

    Kid-friendly waterfront park with a shipwreck-themed playground, lake with ducks and turtles, and a carousel dating from 1916. The shuttle bus stops here.

  • Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

    Santa Barbara Wine Country

    Fishing, boating and wildlife cruises (look out for bald eagles in the winter) are all popular at this artificial but pretty lake.

  • Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

    Santa Barbara Wine Country

    This tiny, off-the-beaten path historic site shelters pictographs painted by Chumash tribespeople over 400 years ago. The sandstone cave is protected from…

  • Hans Christian Andersen Museum

    Santa Ynez Valley

    If you remember childhood fairy tales with fondness, stop by this tiny two-room museum. A larger-than-life bust of Denmark's favorite storyteller welcomes…

  • Old Mission Santa Ínes

    Santa Ynez Valley

    The 19th of 21 California missions was founded by Franciscan friars in 1804 and remains an active parish. A self-guided tour takes you through a small,…

  • San Ramon Chapel

    Santa Barbara Wine Country

    Tiny San Ramon church stands out among the vineyards of Foxen Canyon Rd. Built in 1875, the white, double-steepled church was the first building in Santa…

  • Casa de la Guerra

    Santa Barbara

    This grand 19th-century colonial adobe home displays Spanish, Mexican and California heritage exhibits. Dating back two centuries, it's been authentically…

  • El Capitán State Beach

    Santa Barbara County

    Head down from the low cliffs to enjoy swimming (confident bathers only), surfing and fishing from this pebbly beach, overlooked by native sycamore and…

  • Wildling Museum

    Santa Ynez Valley

    Need a break from boozing? This petite art museum exhibits rotating nature-themed paintings and photography that aim to inspire you to go hiking in the…

  • Sea Center

    Santa Barbara

    From touch tanks full of tide-pool critters and crawl-through aquariums to whale sing-alongs, this place is interactive, educational and bound to keep the…

  • Elverhøj Museum of History & Art

    Santa Ynez Valley

    South of downtown, tucked away on a residential side street, this delightful little museum has modest but thoughtful exhibits on Solvang’s Danish heritage…

  • California Oil Museum

    Santa Barbara County

    Tells the story of Santa Paula’s ‘black bonanza’ with modest historical exhibits that include an authentic 1890s drilling rig. It's free though a donation…

  • Refugio State Beach

    Santa Barbara County

    Fishing, swimming (lifeguards on duty) and enjoying the views out to the Channel Islands are the best things to do at this narrow beach, 20 miles west of…

  • Tocatta

    Santa Ynez Valley

    Locals gather for afternoon drinks and food at Toccata. The cosy and friendly downtown Solvang winery specializes in Italian varietals and robust Tuscan…

  • Santa Paula Art Museum

    Santa Barbara County

    Rotating painting and photography exhibitions, often with a local theme, take place in this gleaming white building in the center of town.

  • Neal Taylor Nature Center

    Santa Barbara Wine Country

    Exhibits and friendly volunteers help residents and visitors learn more about the local area and Santa Barbara County in general.

  • Thousand Steps Beach

    Santa Barbara

    Descend the cliffs on a historic staircase (don’t worry, there aren’t actually a thousand steps) for some windy beachcombing and tide-pooling (only at low…

  • Surf Beach

    Santa Barbara County

    By the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Surf Beach is, as its name suggests, popular with surfers, though fatal shark attacks in recent years mean you should be…

  • Ocean Beach County Park

    Santa Barbara County

    The closest beach option to Lompoc, but closed for half the year to protect nesting Snowy Plovers.