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How to Spend 3 Days in Santa Barbara - page 2

How to Spend 3 Days in Santa Barbara

With three days in Santa Barbara, you’ll get a chance to explore the area’s natural wonders, immerse yourself in the local art scene, hike rugged coastal trails, and watch the sunset from the beach—and still have time to venture into the surrounding wine country. Use this itinerary to help you make the most of your 3-day adventure.

Day One: City Highlights

Devote your first day to hitting the highlights of Santa Barbara, starting with the city’s most iconic attraction: the Old Mission. Dating to 1786, this Franciscan mission features Spanish colonial architecture, a year-round rose garden, and an on-site museum featuring nine rooms filled with art, artifacts, and period recreations.

From here, head downtown to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which holds a collection of Victorian-era art along with sculptures, photographs, and other objects. The museum’s star attraction is the Portrait of Mexico Today, a mural created by Mexico’s famous David Alfaro Siquieros. To continue your exploration of art, check out some of the numerous galleries in the city’s Funk Zone neighborhood, which is equally known for its many local breweries and wine bars that showcase local treats. Finish off your day with dinner at Stearns Wharf, a pier chock-full of seafood restaurants with views over the harbor.

Day Two: The Natural World

Spend your day exploring Santa Barbara’s natural world. Start by learning about local ecosystems at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which chronicles the animals, birds, insects, and aquatic life in the area—there’s even a to-scale replica of a blue whale skeleton.

Then, hop over to the Santa Barbara botanic garden to take in Southern California’s rich plant life. The garden includes more than five miles of trails offering up gorgeous coastal views. After your visit, grab a few picnic supplies and make your way to the beach: Area options include the 15-acre Shoreline Park, full of grassy areas and viewpoints, as well as Leadbetter Beach, a popular sunbathing and surfing spot loved by locals that makes a great place to watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.

Day Three: Santa Ynez Wine Country

Finish off a 3-day trip by visiting the Santa Barbara’s celebrated local wine country. While there are plenty of wine-rich areas in the greater region to visit, each with its own appellation, the Santa Ynez Valley typically beckons most first-timers.

The town of Santa Ynez itself offers plenty of tasting rooms, as does Los Olivios to the north. Bicycle tours appeal to active travelers, but anyone planning on doing a lot of drinking is better off joining a tour with a hired driver. While in the area, stop in Solvang, just west of Santa Ynez. This town, founded by Danish-Americans looking to escape the cold of the Midwest, is full of half-timbered architecture that seems far more Californian than Scandinavian, plus all sorts of Danish shops, restaurants, and bakeries.

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29 Tours and Activities

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Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara
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Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara

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4
Relax and enjoy a wine tour with your family and friends. We work with 25+ wineries, so the route varies from day to day and is tailored to your group’s preferences. Choose up to four wineries from our list of small production and family-owned wineries, or simply tell us your wine preferences and we will do all the work for you. We visit estate wineries on this tour. *Please provide your email at the time of booking for important tour updates. *Gratuities are not included. Please tip your guide.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$375.00
From
$375.00

Private Santa Barbara Small-Production Wine Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Private Santa Barbara Small-Production Wine Tour

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There are plenty of Santa Barbara winery tours that revolve around popular commercial wineries, but this tour offers the chance to try something a bit more exclusive. Instead of standing at the bar of a crowded cellar door for your tasting, enjoy seated one-on-one tastings at a series of private small-production wineries. Customize your itinerary based on your own tastes and interests, and learn the secrets behind the wines on behind-the-scenes tours of those vineyards and barrel rooms.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$381.42
Price varies by group size
From
$381.42
Price varies by group size

Join-In Social Wine Tour from Santa Ynez

Join-In Social Wine Tour from Santa Ynez

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2
Enjoy a social, fun day in Santa Ynez wine country in this join-in wine tour. You will make new friends and taste world-class wines from Santa Barbara. You will be pick up at your hotel in Buellton, Solvang, Santa Ynez, or Los Olivos and along with other travelers visit 4 small family owned boutique wineries. The groups will be no more than 8 people in order to keep them intimate. You will meet passionate winemakers, hear their stories, and see the beautiful sights of Santa Barbara wine country. You will also enjoy a tasty picnic lunch at one of the beautiful wineries overlooking vineyards. At the end of the day, you will be taken back to your hotel for a well deserved nap from a fun-filled day. Depending on the tour, you maybe tasting wines where Miles and Jack from the movie Sideways went tasting. Pick ups 10:30 -11:00 am Taste & lunch 11:00 am - 3:00 pm Drop offs at hotels 3:30 - 4:00 pm Bottled water and light snacks included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$235.00
From
$235.00

Santa Ynez Wine Tour from Santa Barbara

Santa Ynez Wine Tour from Santa Barbara

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Grapeline is America's top rated wine tour, with more than 3,000 5-star reviews across five California wine regions and voted "Top Wine Tour Company" in USA Today. Rather than having a rigid daily itinerary, Grapeline varies its tours to give guests a "best of" experience, accounting for guest requests, winery events, weather, and many other factors. Since 2002, Grapeline has committed to do one thing and one thing only - be the best wine tour company in the U.S.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$132.31
From
$132.31

Small Group Winery Tour of Santa Ynez Valley

Small Group Winery Tour of Santa Ynez Valley

Grapeline was voted America's top rated wine tour on USA Today and has more than 3,000 5-star reviews across five California wine regions. Rather than having a rigid daily itinerary, Grapeline varies its tours to give guests a "best of" experience, accounting for gust requests, winery events, weather, and many other factors. Since 2002, Grapeline has committed to do one thing and one thing only - be the best wine tour company in the U.S.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$113.10
From
$113.10