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Santa Barbara

With a nickname like ‘The American Riviera’ Santa Barbara conjures images of beaches, promenades, and palm trees, and while this is essentially what you’ll see here, the reality is even better!

This city on the Pacific Ocean is a great place to spend a few days during a road trip of California. Its laid back and quieter atmosphere makes this a great change of pace from the buzz and traffic of Los Angeles, so pack up your car or RV and take in the ocean and mountain views around you! The year-round mild weather means Santa Barbara will make a great stop whatever time of year.

The city is well known for the historic Santa Barbara Mission, a wonderful display of California’s Franciscan Spanish architecture, and well worth the tour. Kids in your family may not see what all the fuss is about and prefer a trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo instead! Stearns Wharf, however, should appeal to all ages – built in 1872 this is the longest deepwater pier between LA and San Francisco and features some great little shops and restaurants, and one of the most fantastic views of the California coastline.

When a walk up the pier just doesn’t cut it, Santa Barbara’s many parks are the perfect place to go for a walk or a hike. There are numerous parks within the city limits, and just outside there’s the popular hiking area of Rattlesnake Canyon, or visit the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park to see some impressive cave paintings dating back as far as 1000 years.

With its coastal location, you can also be assured of plenty of beaches to enjoy in the Santa Barbara area, great for a relaxing swim in the Pacific Ocean before you head back out on your family road trip.

Quick Facts
  • Santa Barbara is remembered by many for the popular 1980’s soap opera that was based within the city!