If you are contemplating a getaway to Santa Barbara, but find the sheer number of choices overwhelming, help is on the way! We have put together a perfect 3-day itinerary in Santa Barbara, CA to get you started. Pull out your calendar, pick your dates, and book your stay at the Eagle Inn. Do you want a private casita, or one of our classic rooms? Don’t forget to add some romantic touches that will start your getaway in a special way! Now that the hub for your stay is set, here are our suggestions for things you can do during your stay!
With over 300 days of sunshine, palm trees, and red-tiled roofs, let’s get real: the true reason for your California getaway was access to the Pacific Ocean! Let’s start with that! Get out and stretch your legs for a couple of blocks to Cabrillo Blvd, and then stroll along the sandy coastline. Maybe you want to rent a bike to ride on the bike path instead of walking. It is 4.5 miles long from Shoreline Park to Butterfly Beach. Keep an eye open for the Chromatic Gate; it makes for a perfect Instagram photo!
The next decision is whether you want to hang out on the beach, or get out on the water! The three closest beaches are West Beach, East Beach, and Leadbetter Beach. Stearn’s Wharf is between West and East Beaches, where you can pick up some souvenirs, grab a bite to eat or take a ride on Lil Toot. But, back to the beaches. We have some favorites, but it really depends on whether you want to sunbathe, swim, or get out on the water.
We have a guide for all of the local watersport outfitters! Pick your sport, be it paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, or diving! After a day of fun, you must be hungry! Here is a list of several fun spots for dinner around Santa Barbara! With a full day of activity, a couple’s massage may be just the thing you need to relax. Be sure to plan ahead to schedule a session in the privacy of your room.
As you wake up on your 2nd day, we’ve added some fun options that will share a little about our local Santa Barbara history. Start the day with our delicious breakfast, then head out to the Old Mission Santa Barbara. Founded in 1786 by Spanish missionaries, there are both guided and self-guided tours available. Don’t miss the gorgeous grounds and gardens! The rose garden, when in bloom, is particularly beautiful, as are the views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.
From there, visit the Spanish Colonial Revival Santa Barbara Courthouse. Again, both the interior and exterior are equally stunning. There are docent-led tours that last about an hour. Don’t forget to either take the elevator (or the stairs) to the top of the clock tower. The climb is worth it with the spectacular 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean around to the majestic mountains and everything in between!
The next adventure on your agenda is a Funk Zone Food and Photo Tour! This is a small group tour that visits local eateries, wineries, and breweries in the popular Funk Zone. There are also great tips for taking the best photos on your smartphone. Grab that selfie stick and create your Instagram story.
Moving on we suggest a stop at the MOXI (Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation). This is no ordinary museum — it’s a hands-on experience you’ll want to explore! The exhibits are engaging, drawing you in to play and discover just like you did as a kid.
As the day draws to a close, you can stroll along the Paseo Nuevo, and do some window shopping (or actual shopping). For dinner, you may have found a spot on your stroll or choose from our list of restaurants near the Inn.
Your last day! We’ve packed in so many adventures and now we’d like to give you three options for Day 3: a tour of the gardens, visiting the animals at the zoo, or sipping your way through the wineries. If you’re still up for it, why not try two out of the three?
If you love the beauty of flowers and foliage, we have some extraordinary gardens. Visit the Botanical Gardens which have 78 acres with over 1,000 species of plants. Another amazing place is Lotusland, which is recognized as one of the World’s Top 10 Gardens!
Perhaps a day at the Santa Barbara Zoo is an outing that is more to your liking! Rated as one of the nation’s best small zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo has more than 146 species that are exhibited in natural environments in a park extending over 30 acres.
If you want to visit the wineries, and don’t want to drive, we can arrange a tour leaving the Inn at 9:30 am and returning around 5 pm. If you prefer to drive yourself, please use our guide to the wineries!
How will you end your perfect 3-day itinerary in Santa Barbara? We suggest a Sunset Cruise followed by dinner at one of our favorite fine dining restaurants! You can’t beat a gorgeous sunset and a fine wine.
Whew! We loved putting a perfect 3-day getaway for you. It’s jam-packed with adventures, but there is still so much more that you can see and do in Santa Barbara. We didn’t even mention festivals or concerts! Our picture-perfect scenery and superior weather will have you planning your next trip before the first one is even finished! Book your stay early, and remember to call us with any questions that you might have! We hope to see you soon.