A Local Guide to the Best Day Trips Near Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is easily one of the most iconic and stunning regions in Southern California. Known for its jagged coastlines, pristine beaches, world-class vineyards, and that blissful Mediterranean climate, there’s an endless amount of places to explore. Plus, it’s one of the best launching points for a spontaneous day trip or two. On our latest photoshoot, we connected with a few friends in the area to find the best excursions, tours by locals, and things to do in Santa Barbara and along the California coastline.
Jalama Canyon Ranch
We recently had the pleasure of experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Santa Barbara’s countryside at the Jalama Canyon Ranch, and we can’t recommend it enough. The 1000-acre farm features rolling green hills, chirping birds, and picturesque views as far as the eye can see. It’s the headquarters of White Buffalo Land Trust, a regenerative agriculture organization that’s working toward a more sustainable future. The team offers “Field Days” throughout the year, where you can tour the grounds and hear more about the projects they’re working on. You can sign up for their events and workshops here. Make sure you wear a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and pack our super cushy Maha ‘Olu and Hila sandals for some post-tour comfort. Pro-tip: Head up early to check out the iconic Jalama Beach and hit neighborhood favorite Eye on I for lunch or dinner on your way out.
Speaking of wine, no trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a vineyard trip. Some of the best regions you can visit are Lompoc, Santa Ynez, and Paso Robles—all of which are just a short drive from downtown Santa Barbara. If you’re in Lompoc, schedule an appointment at the Sandhi Wines tasting room. They’ve been working with White Buffalo Land Trust on two regenerative viticulture blends, and are regarded as one of the best winemakers in the area. For a more unique experience head to Vino Vaqueros in Santa Ynez. They offer private horseback tours through the countryside and grapevines of Round Up Valley Ranch and Estelle Vineyards. Pasa Robles is another can’t-miss winemaking frontier that you’ll want to visit. Wineries like Adelaida, DAOU, and the solar-powered Booker Wines should be added to every itinerary. Wondering what to pack? Our elevated ‘Ilikai and Mi‘i styles look the part and will keep you supported no matter how long you’re on your feet.
Surf Breaks & Beaches
Ready for a restorative day in the water? We’ve got you covered. Pack up your surfboards, towels, and your best water-friendly sandals (we recommend Ulele and Puawe) and head for the sand. There are a ton of incredible beaches to choose from in Santa Barbara, so we’ll help you narrow things down. The top three spots you’ll want to check out are Rincon, Leadbetter, and Campus Point. These breathtaking beaches are regarded as some of the best surf spots in California, but they make an ideal location for sunbathing or tidepool hopping too. If you’re an avid surfer, Rincon is your go-to. For those who are just starting out, give the lighter waves of Leadbetter or Campus Point a try.
Channel Islands National Park
Just a short boat ride from Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands National Park is made up of five of the eight Channel Islands. The islands that make up the park are Santa Barbara Island, Anacapa Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, and Santa Cruz Island. The jaw-dropping park was established in 1980 to protect the natural and cultural resources of the islands, which are home to a variety of plants and animals, including many species that are found nowhere else on earth. The park offers a glimpse of what native California would look like, making it a popular destination for hiking, camping, diving, and kayaking. Be sure to wear clothing that’s both comfortable and functional. As far as footwear, our waterproof leather Tuahine sandal and buttery soft Kāmola slide are easy choices. All of the islands are accessible by boat via local friends or a company called Island Packers Cruises, which is located in Ventura.
Solvang & Ojai
If you’re looking for a town experience outside of Santa Barbara, our friends suggest Solvang or Ojai. Founded by a group of Danish-Americans who wanted to establish a community that reflected their heritage, you’ll find charming architecture, shops, and cultural attractions like the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and the Solvang Festival Theater. It’s a little piece of Scandinavia right here in California. Local Tip: If time allows, make a pitstop at Camino Cielo for aerial views of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. You can drive up or hop out of the car and hike to the top. More interested in a little R&R surrounded by nature? Head to Ojai. Nestled in the valley of the Topatopa Mountains, Ojai is home to breathtaking hikes, bike trails, hot springs, and spas. If you’re like us and want to experience every inch of Southern California, carve out some time in your itinerary to pay both towns a visit.