Top 8 Activities in Santa Barbara

by Tessa Huigsloot (The Netherlands) and Selina Guenzel (Germany)

Are you going to EF Santa Barbara soon and are you curious about what activities you can do in this sunny city? Then follow our tips! We are Selina and Tessa and have been staying in Santa Barbara already for three months. These are our favorite recommendations as locals:

  • 1. Visit State Street

State Street is the main street of Santa Barbara where you can find everything. Do some shopping in Paseo Nuevo, grab some lunch in one of the many restaurants, go out in one of the clubs or watch a famous sport game in one of the bars. If you want to buy some fresh vegetables, than visit the Farmers Market every Tuesday or Saturday!

Paseo Nuevo, shopping mall
  • 2. Take a beach day

The weather in California is always amazing! So visit one of lovely beaches that Santa Barbara offers. At the end of State Street, you have West Beach and East Beach. The beaches are separated by Stearns Wharf, so you have a perfect view from both of them. The two beaches are really wide and clean. A perfect spot for a sunny day after a hot school day. Do you want to learn how to skate? Than you have the perfect opportunity to do this at the skate park on East Beach.

Other beautiful beaches are Butterfly Beach, located in Montecito and Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara.

Hendry’s Beach
  • 3. Go on the adventurous whale watching trip or a romantic sunset cruise

Santa Barbara is not only beautiful from the land, but also charming from the sea! It’s perfect if you want to see some of the wildlife animals in the sea, like sea lions, dolphins and whales. The perfect time to see those animals is in September and October.

Are you looking for the perfect spot for your first date? Than we have an idea for you! The Sunset Cruise is a really romantic boat trip and it gives a gorgeous golden view of Santa Barbara. This amazing cruise is also perfect if you aren’t looking for something romantic.

Sea lions during the Sunset Cruise
  • 4. Go to the mountains and do a hike

You can do a lot of different hikes in this beautiful city. There are hikes for every level, so you will find a perfect match. Our favorites are Lizard’s Mouth and the Hot Springs.


Lizard’s Mouth is a 0.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Goleta, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. The trail is hard to follow, but quickly becomes a fun boulder scramble. At the top, you have the greatest views of Santa Barbara, especially during sunset.

Hot Springs Canyon Trail is a 3.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located in Montecito. You have to put more effort in this hike than the first one, but it will be worth it! At the end of the trail you find the 7 rock walled pools in which you can take a warm bath.

Lizard’s Mouth hike
  • 5. Visit a typical American sports game of the High school, College or University

Sport is a really huge thing in schools in America. During every game there is a great atmosphere and there are cheerleaders who support their team. There are a lot of options from which sport you can choose. At almost every school there is: American football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, water polo and ice hockey. So buy a ticket and check it out!

An American football game of the Dons (Santa Barbara High School)
  • 6. East Beach batting cages

Are you looking for a typical American sport activity? Check the East Beach Batting cages! It’s a fun place for an family-friendly activity for baseball fans! There are batting cages for players of every type. The Select-A-Pitch baseball machines pitch balls between 40 and 80 MPH with adjustable height. There are also softball machines served up high-arc slow pitches and fast pitches offerings of 40 and 50 MPH. Further, if you are hungry, there is a really lovely taco place, East Beach Tacos. Every day is a good day to take a swing!

East Beach Batting Cages
  • 7. McConnell’s Ice Cream

Do you love ice cream? Than check out McConnell’s Ice Cream in one of the stores in Santa Barbara. McConnell’s is California’s Original & Finest Ice Cream since 1949! Banana & salted caramel, double peanut butter chip and Santa Barbara strawberry: every flavor that your heart wants. The ice cream is totally fresh and the flavors change a lot.

McConnell’s Ice Cream store at State Street
  • 8. Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf of Santa Barbara is one of the most visited places. The Wharf has endured since 1872, making it the oldest working wooden wharf in California. It’s 2,300 feet long and has an area of 3.8 acres supported by 2,307 pilings. On the Wharf you can find a lot of varied shops, restaurants and a small aquarium! Also, it gives an amazing view over the water and Santa Barbara. The Wharf is also a perfect place to start a sunset boat cruise or try a traditional dish called Santa Barbara lobster.

The Wharf of Santa Barbara

re you already excited about Santa Barbara? We both love this sunny and friendly city and everyday we are surprised by this lovely place. You will not be definitely disappointed when you visit Santa Barbara.

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