Santa Barbara is known for its temperate weather year-round as well as its beautiful scenery. This SoCal city is situated between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, which makes it the perfect destination for a variety of outdoor adventures. Below, I have listed five of the top-rated outdoor activities when visiting Santa Barbara.


More Mesa

More Mesa is a 300-acre stretch of land that has many trails to explore and several climbs down to a secluded beach. The paths are steep but there are steps to help keep your footing, and it is well worth the effort! You will get great views of the cliff-side and ocean. A little forewarning: the More Mesa Beach is considered clothing-optional! That being said, this spot is great for those who like to try things off the beaten path.

Red Rock Pools

These “pools” are extremely popular in the Spring and Summertime when the river is flowing. It is perfect for those looking for hot, sunny weather and a dip in fresh water. “Red Rocks” swimming holes are located in a bend of the Santa Ynez River, and a 20-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara. You will find several large swimming areas along the trail, the first one being 1/2 mile from the trailhead with more secluded pools found further upriver.

Sunset Cruise

The “ultimate Santa Barbara evening”. If you are new to town, visiting for the weekend, or just need a change of scenery, I highly recommend taking a sunset cruise from the Santa Barbara Harbor. The views of the coastline are breathtaking and you are guaranteed to witness some wildlife: whales, dolphins, and seals have all been spotted on one of these cruises.! You can choose between a couple of companies for your sailing adventure by clicking here .

Franceschis Park

It is not your typical park setting, but Franceschi Park offers one of the best, panoramic views of Santa Barbara. To get there, you will need to drive up the winding Riviera (a famed neighborhood for its spectacular houses and sights of the Pacific). It’s a small park that is perfect for a picnic and exploration of the abandoned mansion that sits on the grounds. Trust me – it is definitely worth a visit!

Grab a Drink … Al Fresco

Whether it’s a cocktail at The Boathouse for happy hour, a coffee at The Daily Grind, or a beer on the beach! I would say it is considered a local pastime to relax on your favorite outdoor patio with a drink. Not to mention there is a diversity of options for all tastes and ages. You absolutely have to enjoy the Santa Barbara sunshine with a libation of choice, it’s a must!


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