Exuding the vibe of a Spanish-style palace along the Central Coast, Santa Barbara is easily a year-round city, thanks to its blissfully mild temperatures, thriving food-and-wine scene, and a flair for luxurious experiences. But since there’s also no time like right now, especially when right now is summer, the folks at Visit Santa Barbara recruited a group of enthusiastic influencers to help test out dream trips in and around the city. The three-day trips appeal to three distinctive travel strategies: good eating (and wine tasting), scenery-filled adventure, and unabashed chilling out. Take a peek at the trio of itineraries and see which one—or a combo of elements—best suits your own vacation style.
This eat-drink-repeat itinerary—featuring husband-and-wife team, Andrew (@lifetailored) and Stephanie Wise (@ThreadTherapy) of @meetthewises—embraces the bounty of culinary options around Santa Barbara. Follow their trip and start at boutique hotel The Kimpton Goodland in Goleta, which makes an easy launching pad for Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Sustainable Vine Wine Tours takes wine lovers to small-production wineries in a Tesla, with stops at places like Brave & Maiden and Happy Canyon Vineyards.
Next, cleanse your palate over the next few days with stops at Santa Barbara’s Downtown Farmer’s Market, the farm-to-table Smithy Bar & Kitchen, the fresh bread at Oat Bakery, and caffeine fixes at Handlebar Coffee Roasters. Oh, and there’s more wine: The itinerary devotes an afternoon to the city’s tasting-room-lined Funk Zone, where you can also sample spirits (at Cutler’s Artisan Spirits), Thai-Vietnamese-fusion cuisine (at Tyger Tyger), and ice cream at Monkeyshine. The foodie finale is Bibi Ji on State Street, where the chef’s New-Indian-style tasting menu is paired with natural wines.
This three-day lineup with adventure photographer Emily Thomas (@emitoms) makes the most of Santa Barbara’s idyllic natural setting. Limber up with a beach bike path ride, using one of the complimentary bicycles for guests at The Hotel Californian. Day two brings an outing to Channel Islands National Park by way of Santa Barbara Adventure Company, which starts with a ferry ride out to the remote archipelago and culminates with kayaking in and around sea caves. On day three, go sailing with Santa Barbara Sailing Center and take breaks to SUP, kayak, and look for dolphins. After working up a vigorous appetite both days, refuel on locally sourced cuisine and fresh seafood at spots such as The Black Sheep Restaurant and Brophy Brothers.
This getaway, tested out by Monet and James Hambrick of @TheTravelingChild, has a luxurious dose of self-care as its backdrop: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. Over the course of three days, treat yourself to a meditation walk along the trails of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, an open-air ride along the city waterfront in an electric Moke vehicle (procured at Wheel Fun Rentals ), and a horseback ride on Summerland Beach with Los Padres Outfitters. You’ll still have plenty of quality downtime at the resort, including a guided “eco-hike” on the grounds, spells in the spa’s eucalyptus steam room and redwood sauna, and dinner at the on-site Angel Oak restaurant, featuring a locally produced biodynamic wine from the restaurant’s 12,000-bottle collection.