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Things to do in
Santa Barbara

Our most recommended things to do in Santa Barbara

USA: eSIM Data Plans with 1GB to 20GB Options

1. USA: eSIM Data Plans with 1GB to 20GB Options

Stay connected during your travels in America. Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of New York, enjoying the scenic beauty of Colorado, or lounging on the beaches of Hawaii, this eSIM data plan will allow you to use all of the online services that you need. Wherever your travels in the USA take you, you'll be able to share your favorite moments in real time, navigate new places with ease, and connect with family and friends from afar. With various options available, you can choose the eSIM package that best suits your travel plans, simplify your trip, and bid farewell to roaming fees.

Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

2. Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! NOTE: This 88+mile-long tour covers the essentials of Lake Tahoe in 2-3 hours. Explore your way on this self-guided driving tour of Lake Tahoe. See the entire lake and all the best vistas, hikes, and swimming spots using an app that functions as a guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Enjoy a tour by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists. Begin your tour in Stateline on the southern shore. From there, take a clockwise loop around the lake. While driving, learn about the heated debate between California and Nevada over who technically owns the lake. Visit the summer home of a man who insisted people called his cabin the Vatican. Then, see a few more impressive homes along the shore, including some inspired by Viking longhouses. Next, visit Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel. This bay offers stunning views of the water and the mountains beyond, as well as swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and any other water activities you could want. If you’re in the mood for a waterfall, stop by the Eagle Falls trailhead to see the only waterfall that flows into the lake. Hear the spooky tale of how Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette, is supposedly haunted. As you continue, learn about the Washoe tribe who lived here long before any European explorers put it on a map. Next up, see Meeks Bay, a perfect white sand beach to catch some sun. Get the scoop on a presidential visit to the lake, famous residents who occupy the houses along the shore, and learn about the lake’s origins. Pay a visit to Carnelian Bay, where boat racing used to be a big deal in the '30s and '40s. Then, say hello to Kings Beach on the north shore, a perfect picnic spot with views that will make you feel like a royal yourself. Pass by the Cal Neva Casino next, which straddles the border between California and Nevada and was once owned by Frank Sinatra. See more stunning estates along the way. Then, learn about some of the area’s wildlife. Visit the Secret Cove, a perfect spot for those looking for some secluded serenity. Nearing the end of the tour, visit a 300-foot-high vista point for perfect photo opportunities. Conclude your tour by Cave Rock, a remnant of the lake’s most ancient history.

LA: SF, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas 7-Day Trip

3. LA: SF, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas 7-Day Trip

Day 1: LOS ANGELES – SANTA BARBARA – 17 MILE DRIVE – CARMEL Depart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse in the local shops. Head north to the world-famous Route #1 where you'll get to see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel and enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: SAN FRANCISCO – BAY CRUISE – GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – CHINATOWN Start your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. See great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island on your way to Sausalito. Return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight in Modesto. Day 3: MODESTO – YOSEMITE Summer Route: Head east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. After a beautiful day in the park, head to Stevenson Ranch and stay the night at the Comfort Inn and Suites Stevenson Ranch. Day 4: STEVENSON RANCH – LAS VEGAS Head east through the desert and Death Valley to arrive at the gambling capital of the world: Las Vegas. Stop for lunch at the outlet mall in Barstow and in the evening, take a tour of the strip to see some amazing hotels such as Caesar’s Palace, Luxor, Mirage, Paris, Venetian, Bellagio, New York New York, Treasure Island, and more. Stay overnight at the Harrah’s Hotel. Day 5: LAS VEGAS – GRAND CANYON – PAGE Start the day traveling through the desert and through the Navajo Indian reservation before you arrive at the south bank of the Grand Canyon. After lunch, continue along the canyon east stopping at some of the Indian market places to browse the handmade arts and crafts. Then, head to the Page and Lake Powell area for the evening where you will stay at the Quality Inn View of Lake Powell. Day 6: ANTELOPE CANYON – BRYCE CANYON Tour the Antelope Canyon and visit the spectacular dunes created by the wind, water, and sand. Then head west to Bryce Canyon, home to the most amazing natural sculptures in the world. Experience the unique changing of the colors during the sunset from one of the vista points in the park (this may change due to changing sunset times). After the visit, head towards the town of Kanab, where you will stay overnight at the Days Inn Kanab. On certain departures, the tour will continue to Cedar City for the night. Day 7: ZION PARK – LAS VEGAS Head into Zion Park and enjoy a short walking trail along the Virgin River that runs through the park. Arrive in Las Vegas and head towards Los Angeles for a late night.

From San Francisco: Highway 1 Self-Drive Audio Tour

4. From San Francisco: Highway 1 Self-Drive Audio Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 555+ miles-long tour covers the essentials of Pacific Coast Highway in 5-7 hours. Hop in your car and enjoy this self-guided audio tour along the Pacific Coast Highway. Start in San Francisco or LA, and simply follow the GPS guide to explore one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal road in the world. Take your time driving through Monterey Bay, artsy Carmel and more. Your virtual audio guide will share interesting facts and insights as you drive. Admire views of rocky headlands, jewel-like coves, waterfalls and the famous bridges of Big Sur as you explore California’s coastal highlights. Your downloaded guide will give you plenty of opportunities to pull off the road and explore local beaches, wildlife and towns on foot. Wander through San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Ventura & Malibu before wrapping up the tour in Los Angeles. You will receive an email with the audio tour app link and a unique password from the local supplier Immediately after booking. Once the app is downloaded, take the tour whenever you would like. Just head to stop number 1 and begin exploring.

From LA: California Highlights 3-Day Trip with Accommodation

5. From LA: California Highlights 3-Day Trip with Accommodation

Discover the most iconic highlights of California, as well as some lesser-known gems, on this 3-day tour from Los Angeles. Drive the renowned 17 Mile Drive, explore Santa Barbara, and visit Yosemite Valley National Park or Hearst Castle. Enjoy 2 nights of accommodation and a bay cruise in San Fransisco included. Day 1: Los Angeles – Santa Barbara – 17 Mile Drive – Carmel Summer RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse in the local shops. See the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel, home to the actor Clint Eastwood. Enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Winter RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Stop at the heart of downtown at the “state street promenade” and stroll through the exclusive shops and restaurants. Continue to Santa Barbara beaches and Stearns wharf to “walk on the water” and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean. Finish your visit at the Spanish Mission Santa Barbara and continue to Solvang, “the Danish capital of America” a quaint Danish community at the heart of California. After your lunch break, head north through Silicon Valley before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: San Fransisco – Bay Cruise – Golden Gate Bridge – ChinatownSummer RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Next, return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight in Modesto. Winter RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. Then return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight at the Springhill Suites Oakland Airport. Day 3: San Fransisco – Yosemite – Los Angeles Summer RouteHead east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. See the highest waterfalls in North America, Yosemite Falls. Then head back to Los Angeles in the evening. Winter RouteStart the day with a visit to Monterey including the wharf and Cannery Row. Continue your tour of the beautiful California Coast with a visit to the town of Carmel-by-the-sea. Then head south to the world-famous Route #1 where you'll see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Then drive back to return to Los Angeles.

California Audioguide for Self-Drivers (English & German)

6. California Audioguide for Self-Drivers (English & German)

After booking you receive a separate Email from us with the instructions on how to install the app and the guide! You can ignore the "Ticket" Email from Get Your Guide. Please also check your spam-folder for our Email and please get in touch with us if something does not work! Complete your road trip around California with an audio guide featuring 169 locations and 3 hours of audio in 1 app. Listen to the recordings as you take in views at Yosemite, Mt. Whitney, and Zabriskie Point, experience the unique cultures of Silicon Valley, Santa Monica, and Hollywood, and drive down Highway 1. Feel at ease taking in the views while the app uses GPS to find your location and suggest stops. From famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge to lesser-known gems like Moss Landing, appreciate the wealth of beauty and history in California with detailed audio descriptions. Stop and start your journey as often as you please, there’s no constraints once you download the app and activate your audio guide. If there’s a specific site you’d like to visit, manually choose audio guides from the built-in map or from a list.

Santa Barbara: Sunset Kayak Tour

7. Santa Barbara: Sunset Kayak Tour

Discover the beautiful landscapes of Santa Barbara on a relaxing sunset kayak tour. You will watch a basic paddling demonstration and hear the safety talk before setting out on the water. Spend 2-hours on the water exploring the Santa Barbara harbor and the shoreline. Watch the sun as it settles over the sea, creating a gorgeous backdrop of the city and the Santa Ynez Mountain range. Enjoy paddling along the coastline and soak in the stunning surrounding views of the sea. Immerse yourself into a dream-like nature experience for all sea kayaking skill levels, including beginners to advanced.

Santa Barbara Surfing Lesson

8. Santa Barbara Surfing Lesson

This is a simple introduction for a first-time surfer or someone who has tried surfing a few times and needs some pointers. The instruction starts with beach lesson reviewing: how to position yourself on the board, paddling techniques, and proper stance. Once in the water students will get pointers on maneuvering waves, balance techniques, and surf etiquette. Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s surf lessons offer students a great foundation for this exciting sport. Our knowledgeable instructors have over 25 years of combined experience and will use their skills to point out the finer points of catching waves. Instructors choose surf sites based on the current swell and tide conditions, finding the best breaks for successful learning. Lessons require a minimum of four students.

Santa Barbara: Chocolate Bar and Art Box Making Workshop

9. Santa Barbara: Chocolate Bar and Art Box Making Workshop

Join a chocolate-making workshop in Santa Barbara. Venture into El Mercado to a chocolate shop hidden in a corner, halfway underground. Upon entering, hang your belongings, put on an apron, and make your way to the factory area. Find a variety of chocolate bar molds, a choice of 30 inclusions, and 3 chocolates – 60% dark, oat milk, and a flavored white (strawberry, mango, and lemon flavors). After designing your chocolate bar, pick the size of your wooden box and head over to The Art Bar to further your creativity. Allow the chocolate to harden while you add personal touches to the box. Paint, stain, stencil, stamp, and detail your wooden boxes with stickers, transfers, and washi tape to your heart's desire. Finish off by removing the chocolate from its mold, wrapping it in foil or biodegradable cello bags, and putting it in its newly created wooden box.

Santa Barbara: Electric Bike City Tour

10. Santa Barbara: Electric Bike City Tour

Discover the best bike routes, historical landmarks, and viewpoints of Santa Barbara on an electric bike with an expert guide. Choose between a customizable private tour or a shared group tour where a route is decided by your guide. Start with an easy stroll along the scenic Cabrillo bike path and quickly venture into the artsy area of Santa Barbara. Check out the delicious wine and dine culture of this area. Let your tour guide show you the must-see historic buildings in the heart of downtown. As you bike through downtown, enjoy a safe and spacious bike ride up and down the energetic State Street Promenade allocated for bike and pedestrian traffic only. After downtown, your guide might have a few secret gems that he or she will show you before heading back along the waterfront. The finale of this tour will take you through the bike path that winds through the Santa Barbara Harbor and along the boardwalk back to the bike shop.

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Top sights in Santa Barbara

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Frequently asked questions about Santa Barbara

What are the best day trips and excursions from Santa Barbara?

The best day trips and excursions from Santa Barbara are:

Solvang

What are the best inexpensive tours in Santa Barbara?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Barbara

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What people are saying about Santa Barbara

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 139 reviews

nice guide, bus & accomodation, effective route but the time was short for each place due to 3 days trip schedule, especially in winter. recommended for those who have limited time to explore san fransisco from LA

Fantastic! Mike did wonderful job of showing us parts of the city and biking along the beach. Really enjoyed the trip!

Very good, the truth is that they fill you with surprises with additional places. I recommend it

I enjoyed doing an activity with my husband and with his favorite thing, chocolate:)

Our guide, Steven, took us to some magnificent views.