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Santa Barbara is a charming city with strong Mediterranean Spanish influences. Located on California’s Pacific central coast, it is graced with wonderful white sand beaches, and its history is preserved in beautiful old buildings.
The city’s most outstanding feature is its beaches. East Beach and West Beach are both extremely popular, with designated picnic areas and volleyball courts adding to their natural attractions.
Santa Barbara’s historical highlight is the Santa Barbara Mission, built by the Chumash Indians over 200 years ago. It is perched on a hilltop, with wonderful views over the city and the Pacific Ocean. The building itself is a superb blend of Spanish and Indian architectural styles, and is aesthetically pleasing.
Another point of historical interest is El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, where the oldest building in Santa Barbara &endash; and the second oldest in California &endash; is located. More contemporary attractions are the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, featuring the Gladwin Planetarium, and the gorgeous Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.
The Santa Barbara waterfront area is home to Stearns Wharf, the state’s oldest functioning wharf, and to the Waterfront Arts and Crafts Show, held every Sunday. This is an excellent place for shopping, with arts and crafts of all descriptions on display. Alternatively, the wharf is a great place to observe the comings and goings of the fishing boats, or to take a gentle stroll.
Just outside of the city are Leadbetter and Arroyo Burro beaches, both offering great bodysurfing and surfing. Arroyo Burro Beach is an exquisite white crescent beach nestled below rugged cliffs.
Los Angeles is easily accessible from Santa Barbara, and is only an hour away by car. This fabulous city has unlimited offerings to excite and delight visitors, with delectable restaurants, endless entertainment venues, and the enticing suburbs of Hollywood, Malibu, Venice Beach and Beverly Hills all within its limits.
Santa Barbara is located on US 101, the fastest direct route to the city from the north or south. I-5 and I-10 are alternative routes into the city. Santa Barbara is serviced daily by Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses, both of which have extensive networks across the country. Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is located in Goleta, about 10 minutes north of central Santa Barbara. Additionally, Los Angeles’ airport is also located nearby.