Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County is in California's Central Coast region. It is sometimes considered the northernmost part of Southern California. Although it shares excellent weather, Mission-style architecture, and beautiful beaches with the rest of Southern California, the Santa Barbara area is physically remote, and has more of the laid-back attitude of the Central Coast.


WV Santa Barbara County Map
Buellton is home to several Santa Ynez Valley wineries. Visitors will also find the ostrich & emu farm interesting, with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the giant birds.
This small oceanside town offers a salt marsh preserve, tide pools, and a seal and sea lion rookery that is active from December through May. During the first weekend in October Carpinteria plays host to nearly 100,000 visitors at its annual avocado festival, which features the world's largest vat of guacamole.
Goleta is adjacent to Santa Barbara and offers similar beaches and resorts to its neighbor. It is also home to a grove of trees that is an overwintering area for monarch butterflies, with the insects gathering in huge numbers each year from mid-November until mid-February.
This small town is primarily focused on agriculture and oil production. Travelers will enjoy visiting the neighboring Guadaulpe-Nipomo Dunes, an 18-mile stretch of beach that is one of the largest remaining natural dune areas in California. The Ten Commandments was filmed in the dunes and the sets were buried after production, but today blowing winds repeatedly reveal and then re-cover these reproductions of ancient Egypt.
Nicknamed the "City of Arts and Flowers", more than half the world's flower seeds are grown in the fields around Lompoc. The city celebrates its association with flowers every June during the Lompoc Valley Flower festival. The area is also home to Vandenberg Air Force Base, America's west coast spaceport, where rocket launches can sometimes be seen.
Santa Barbara
The "American Riviera" is a historic mission city that is an incredibly popular getaway destination. Its wide beaches, highly rated wineries, luxurious resorts, art galleries, and a large variety of excellent dining choices, enable the town of just 90,000 residents to enjoy the sort of cultural and social amenities which are usually found only in much larger cities.
Santa Maria
Santa Maria is the largest city in the county, and is probably best known as the original home of barbecue tri-tip, now referred to as Santa Maria style barbecue. The area is also one of the state's largest wine-producing regions, and has been a filming location for films ranging from The Ten Commandments to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Santa Ynez
Santa Ynez sits at the heart of the rural Santa Ynez valley, an area that attracts travelers to its many wineries. The valley was the setting for the 2004 film Sideways, and fans of the film are known to make pilgrimages to the inns and restaurants from the movie.
Nearly one million visitors travel to this small town each year to see its Danish architecture and experience its (mostly) authentic Danish culture. Visitors can enjoy Danish food, a replica of the Little Mermaid sculpture, windmills, and the horse-drawn Hønen for sightseeing. The Danish Days festival lasts through the weekend during September and has been held almost every year since 1936.

Other destinations

Get in

The main artery of Santa Barbara county is US Highway 101, a limited-access freeway.


The Santa Inez Valley, just north across the crest of the seaside mountain range, is a fairly well-known winery region. This was the locale for the popular movie "Sideways". Wineries can be found through the valley. Wine tasting is a popular activity that can be made easier (and safer) by using a shuttle for transportation. Most will pick you up right at your hotel lobby and take you out or a full day of tasting with a knowledgeable guide. The typical tour includes tasting at four wineries and a picnic lunch set up for you in wine country.


Most of the lodgings in this region are in cities. You can find their listing in the various city articles above. Rural Santa Barbara County has a few resorts, ranches, and other lodgings scattered around. Some are listed here, others are listed in the article for a nearby city.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.