Santa Barbara has an undeniable effect on the senses that’s both singular and sublime. The natural beauty is immediate, and bordering on the supernatural. Soaring mountains cradle the cobalt Pacific in a rare, dramatic embrace. Yet on this golden crescent of coast, beauty is only the beginning. Here, rich culture and history blends effortlessly with modern cuisine and hip hospitality, as if at the hand of one of the region’s world-class vintners. At once bohemian and luxe, the locals’ welcoming spirit is warming beyond the unmatched Mediterranean climate. To travel the area is to immerse oneself deeply into a world that’s more than beautiful…it’s Santa Barbara.

Where other destinations have cuisine, Santa Barbara stands a James Beard Award-winning sommelier tableside to explain pairings with your urchin biryani. Where some escapes have outdoor activities, Santa Barbara invites you to kayak a national park marine sanctuary amongst a humpback whale migration. From the viniculturally adventurous Urban Wine Trail in downtown’s eclectic Funk Zone to the ethereal and historic Spanish Colonial Mission, this all-senses-go paradise gives you next-level reasons to return time and again.

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Santa Barbara

On the Mission Trail

By Bill Warner
Since its beginning back in the late 18th century, Mission Santa Barbara has made about 233 trips around the sun. That might not seem like much compared with some of the older architecture in Europe. Next to the pyramids of Egypt or Mesoamerica, 233 years is a droplet in the Pacific. But as far as buildings go, the Mission in Santa Barbara is far older than anything else in town, with the lone exception of the Presidio, the old Spanish fort up on East Canon Perdido Street. In fact, if you compare the Mission with everything else in town, everything else in town begins to look a bit ephemeral.
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Santa Barbara Off the Beaten Track

By Rachael Quisel
Yellow sunshine warming your skin, palm trees bobbing by the wharf, soft sand massaging your feet, that seafoam scent that smells like vacation — Santa Barbara offers all of this and more. But, beautiful places can come with a downside: crowds. It’s hard to enjoy the beach when your personal space keeps getting invaded. Likewise, it doesn’t matter how sweet the raspberry notes in the local pinot noir are, when you have to wait forever to taste one. Outside of the beaches, tasting rooms, dining, and shopping, Santa Barbara has a lot to offer its many yearly visitors. With my insights, you’ll be glad you ventured off the beaten track.
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Santa Barbara

The Spirit of the Central Coast: Craft distilling along the 101

By Zachary Rosen
With the rich agriculture and lush landscapes lining U.S. Highway 101, it’s no wonder that the wineries and breweries along the way have become known worldwide. With about 20 craft distilleries dotting the 101 between Camarillo and Paso Robles, there is now a whole new group of craftspeople capturing the spirit of these cities and putting these regions on the craft distilling map. Although distillery tasting rooms are currently limited to only serving 1 1/2 oz per person, always remember that liquor is much stronger than beer or wine. Never drink and drive.
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Santa Barbara

Central Coast Golf Trail

By The Unknown Golfer
If you are a golfer of any kind and you find yourself traveling along Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County, there’s an abundance of beautiful public golf courses awaiting your arrival. Along with my trusty golfing companion, Jason, we visited three highly-recommended Santa Barbara County courses and discovered three gems.

Jason and I set off to play Rancho San Marcos, La Purisima, and the Alisal River Course.
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Holiday season on the Central Coast

By Misty Hall
The holiday season is here! (Unless you’re a pumpkin spice fan, in which case you kicked things off in August at Starbucks.) The Central Coast plays host to hundreds of holiday events, from haunted houses to winter wine walks, so get out there and celebrate!
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Santa Barbara

Sleeping with the Ghosts of the Central Coast

By Rachael Quisel

These chilling accommodations are a great place to rest your head. Just keep one eye open...

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