Santa Barbara is a gem of the central Californian coast, and it's no surprise that travelers flock to visit, especially in the summer. If you're planning your California getaway, you might be wondering where to stay in Santa Barbara that will place you in the center of your planned activities. There are a few main areas to stay - now you get to choose!
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The areas in the East or West Beach neighborhoods are by far the most popular areas to stay in Santa Barbara. Located along Cabrillo Boulevard, these neighborhoods are serene while still being walking distance from many main attractions, restaurants, activities, transportation, and nightlife.
The center of East and West Beach is Stearn's Wharf (the pier), lined with seafood restaurants, ice cream shops, wine tasting, and the Santa Barbara Sea Center. In this neighborhood, you're within easy walking distance from the Funk Zone, shopping on State Street, many beach activities including kayak rentals and bike rentals, the MOXI Museum, and more.
Try Cabrillo Inn at the Beach, Blue Sands Inn, Lavender Inn by the Sea, or Harbor View Inn.
Downtown Santa Barbara, characterized by its red Spanish roofs and red brick sidewalks, is a great area to stay due to its walkability and proximity. State Street runs through the center of Santa Sarbara, offering shopping centers like Paseo Nuevo, dining experiences, bars, activities, and theaters. Walk to a show at the Arlington Theater or the Granada, dine at Jane, and grab a drink at the Good Lion. Downtown Santa Barbara is still a quick bike ride to the beach, or you could hop on the downtown trolley.
Try Kimpton Canary Hotel, Spanish Garden Inn, or De La Vina Inn.
Montecito, nestled in the mountains overlooking Santa Barbara, is known as one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, a haven for celebrities like Oprah and Ellen, full of peaceful gardens and gated estates. Staying in Montecito will offer a heavy dose of luxury and leisure to your vacation, from views overlooking the Spanish red roofs and the ocean, to boutique shopping on Coast Village Road, to winding roads leading to your lodging.
Try Coast Village Inn, Montecito Inn, or the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara.
Goleta, or "The Good Land", is home to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and is where the Santa Barbara Airport is located. Goleta is a slightly less expensive place to stay in Santa Barbara, though you'll most likely need a rental car to get where you need to go.
In Goleta, you'll be close to the airport. You can check out UCSB's ocean-front campus, as well as experience Isla Vista, the university's college town (make sure to stop at Freebird World Burrito). The Goleta Butterfly Grove is calming and photogenic, the Goleta Park Beach is beautiful, and you can wander out onto the Goleta Pier.
It's about a twenty-minute drive to downtown Santa Barbara, and you probably won't be able to walk where you want to go.
Try Residence Inn by Mariott Santa Barbara Goleta, Hampton Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta, or Pacifica Suites.
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