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

Get Ready to Get Wet!

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Central Coast Botanical Gardens

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Santa Barbara

Life’s a Beach

Beach life is the best life. Especially on a warm summer evening. From the dramatic outcroppings of Shell Beach to the watersports haven of Surfer’s Point, 
our sun-drenched Central Coast offers some of the best stretches of beach in California. Let photographer Chris Meugniot inspire your next visit with these knock-out images.
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Santa Barbara

Karen Bezuidenhout
: When South Africa meets Santa Barbara

Painter-muralist brings the moods of Africa to the Central Coast

By Amelia Rose Simpson Photos by Mariana Schulze Artist Karen Bezuidenhout can’t remember life without horses. “They were always there. One of my first memories of pain was from a horse stepping on my bare foot when I was five,” Karen joked. Born at a racehorse farm outside of Cape Town in South Africa, Karen grew up riding. “My sister and I would have crazy adventures on our Welsh ponies, falling off and racing around. My sister, who still lives in South Africa, is also a horse fanatic. She’s a huge influence in my life.”
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Quilty Pleasures

By Misty Hall
Quilting: it ain’t just granny’s game anymore. I mean, sure, there are plenty of quilters who happen to be grandmothers. But they are also soccer coaches, motorcycle riders, pre-teens, and scientists. And they are no longer “just” quilters, weavers, or knitters, either — collectively, they are becoming known as fiber and textile artists. And increasingly, these arts are entering the mainstream art world, stretching perceptions, pushing boundaries, and expanding definitions with every stitch.
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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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