A Breath of Fresh Air: Outdoor Activities in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is the perfect vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts. And if you're lucky enough to live here, so much the better! With year-round temperatures averaging between 60 and 75 degrees, weather woes are not a concern and almost any day is a fine day for a picnic.

There are parks, beaches, hiking trails and outdoor activities galore in Santa Barbara. This list will take you on a tour of 10 of the best, but it represents only a very small fraction of the whole.

If you're traveling with kids, you won't want to miss Chase Palm Park and the Santa Barbara Zoo. Both are located in close proximity to the beach, but that's not all that recommends them. In addition to fun trails and play areas, Chase Palm Park has working antique carousel. A ride on this magical amusement of yesteryear costs only $2.

The zoo has over 500 species of animals. A small train carries visitors around the property. You can even feed the giraffes!

Not a landlubber? No worries. Board the Condor Express for a whale watching tour and keep your eyes peeled for Humpbacks and Gray Whales. Or rent a kayak and charter your own little boat around the Santa Barbara Harbor



Set your sights on the high seas and charter the ship that suits your fancy! The Santa Barbara Sailing Center rents water vehicles of all kinds - from kayaks and cruising yachts to stand up paddle boards. If you don't feel like being the captain...  Read More



Possibly the most wonderous of all natural wonders in Santa Barbara, California. The Coronado Butterfly Preserve is a place where - from late October through early March - monarch butterflies migrate to spend the winter. They hang in clumps and...  Read More



One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Santa Barbara area, Inspiration Point offers a scenic view of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands beyond. Although there are several place to pick up the trail, the most...  Read More



No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a visit to the Santa Barbara harbor! This is a great place to stroll, eat, shop and see the sights. The breakwater was completed in 1930 and provides safe harbor for commercial and private boats. It...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara is a great place to go whale watching, and the Condor Express is one of the best loved tours around. For over 30 years, the Condor Express crew has been setting out to sea in search of Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Orcas and more. During...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Alameda Park
Photo courtesy of Nico Lette


Kids are especially enthralled by this downtown park, which boasts plenty of playground equipment and open spaces. Trees punctuate the greenspace, and a gazebo shelters musicians who play when the weather's warm. Alameda Park is a great...  Read More

Santa Barbara


This 10-acre park's landscaped grounds stretch along Cabrillo Boulevard and incorporate both an older footprint and a new addition. Trails accommodate bikers and rollerbladers, a skateboarding park is nearby, and beautifully landscaped open...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Elephants, flamingos, lions and even penguins... some of the most intriguing members of the animal kingdom are waiting for you at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Over 500 species are showcased on 30 lush acres overlooking the beach. Special features...  Read More

Santa Barbara


A Santa Barbara leisure-time favorite, this busy beach offers recreational opportunities in spades. A children's playground, rollerblading trails, food vendors, picnic facilities, a bathhouse, showers and open lawns hint at the amenities....  Read More

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden


Specializing in West Coast flora, this stunning botanic garden features a variety of habitats that focus on showcasing - and conserving - California's native plants. Across 75 acres of terrain are desert, meadow, ridge and redwood forest vistas....  Read More


Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva