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Santa Barbara

Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Santa Barbara Nature & Adventure

Santa Barbara: Catamaran Sunset Cruise

1. Santa Barbara: Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Unwind with a relaxing early evening sunset cruise on the Santa Barbara Harbor. Admire the beauty of the scenery as you sail along the coast in a catamaran, then enjoy the romantic atmosphere as the sun sets over the water. Board the Double Dolphin catamaran at the meeting point and set off from Santa Barbara Harbor. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, otters, birds, and other coastal wildlife. Sit back and relax alongside friends or family, and put your feet up after a day of work or sightseeing. Marvel at the sunset views before returning to your original starting point.

Santa Barbara: Catamaran Coastal Cruise

2. Santa Barbara: Catamaran Coastal Cruise

Experience the beauty of Santa Barbara on this coastal catamaran cruise. Sail along the coast and breathe in the salt air, with the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Channel Islands surrounding you as the backdrop. Try to spot local marine and aerial life and relax in the sun with friends and family. Bask in the afternoon sun as you sail the Santa Barbara coastline on a catamaran. Climb aboard and set off, with the Santa Ynez Mountains calling in the distance. Over a dozen beaches and stunning villas line the ocean-carved coastline, making the best view of Santa Barbara, from the ocean. Enjoy a unique experience with family and friends, spotting California sea lions, otters, seals, dolphins, and many coastal birds. Lear, about local life and why this city is a popular place to visit year-round.

California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

3. California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

Discover the most iconic highlights of California, as well as some lesser-known gems, on this 3-day tour from Los Angeles. Drive the renowned 17 Mile Drive, explore Santa Barbara, and visit Yosemite Valley National Park or Hearst Castle. Enjoy 2 nights of accommodation and a bay cruise in San Fransisco included. Day 1: Los Angeles – Santa Barbara – 17 Mile Drive – Carmel Summer RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse in the local shops. See the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel, home to the actor Clint Eastwood. Enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Winter RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Stop at the heart of downtown at the “state street promenade” and stroll through the exclusive shops and restaurants. Continue to Santa Barbara beaches and Stearns wharf to “walk on the water” and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean. Finish your visit at the Spanish Mission Santa Barbara and continue to Solvang, “the Danish capital of America” a quaint Danish community at the heart of California. After your lunch break, head north through Silicon Valley before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: San Fransisco – Bay Cruise – Golden Gate Bridge – ChinatownSummer RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Next, return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight in Modesto. Winter RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. Then return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight at the Springhill Suites Oakland Airport. Day 3: San Fransisco – Yosemite – Los Angeles Summer RouteHead east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. See the highest waterfalls in North America, Yosemite Falls. Then head back to Los Angeles in the evening. Winter RouteStart the day with a visit to Monterey including the wharf and Cannery Row. Continue your tour of the beautiful California Coast with a visit to the town of Carmel-by-the-sea. Then head south to the world-famous Route #1 where you'll see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Then drive back to return to Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara: Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise with Bar

4. Santa Barbara: Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise with Bar

Set sail for a unique whale-watching experience in Santa Barbara. Enjoy a relaxing boat trip where you can get up close with some of the largest creatures on the planet, including Pacific grey whales, bottlenose dolphins, and California sea lions. Treat yourself to a drink from the onboard bar. Meet your guide at the harbor and climb aboard a 50' catamaran for an intimate Santa Barbara whale watching experience. Once you're settled on board, set sail to start your adventure. Every season brings something special with it and different animals to spot off the Californian coast. In winter, explore near the coast. Discover the Santa Barbara Channel, home to over 30 species of whales and dolphins. Common sightings include Pacific gray whales, common dolphins, California sea lions, and harbor seals. If you're lucky, spot orcas, blue whales, humpback whales, and pilot whales. In mid-February, spot some of the 28,000 pacific gray whales journeying through the channel on their migration north between Baja California and Alaska. See mothers and calves just a hundred yards offshore. From July through September, discover blue and humpback whales feeding on krill.

Santa Barbara: Guided Kayak Tour

5. Santa Barbara: Guided Kayak Tour

Meet your guides at the boat launch at Santa Barbara Harbor, where they outfit everyone in paddle jackets and PFDs. Guides will give a basic paddling demonstration and safety talk before setting out on the water. The launch is easy, right out of the boat launch. This is a great introductory lesson to kayaking or a nice relaxing kayak for more experienced paddlers. Once on the water, paddle approximately 1-2 miles along the coast surrounded by beautiful beaches and marine life. The group will continue through the harbor, paddling past boats, through the historic wharf, under the pier, out to buoys, and along the beach.  Keep a look out for wildlife along the way such as harbor seals, sea lions, brown pelicans, sea stars, cormorants, and seagulls.  Guides will offer insight into the history of the region as well as local marine ecology. Enjoy a relaxed pace and incredible marine life as well as taking in the views of Santa Barbara from the water.

Santa Barbara: Sunset Kayak Tour

6. Santa Barbara: Sunset Kayak Tour

Discover the beautiful landscapes of Santa Barbara on a relaxing sunset kayak tour. You will watch a basic paddling demonstration and hear the safety talk before setting out on the water. Spend 2-hours on the water exploring the Santa Barbara harbor and the shoreline. Watch the sun as it settles over the sea, creating a gorgeous backdrop of the city and the Santa Ynez Mountain range. Enjoy paddling along the coastline and soak in the stunning surrounding views of the sea. Immerse yourself into a dream-like nature experience for all sea kayaking skill levels, including beginners to advanced.

From Los Angeles: 7-Day Golden Experience Tour

7. From Los Angeles: 7-Day Golden Experience Tour

Day 1: LOS ANGELES – SANTA BARBARA – 17 MILE DRIVE – CARMEL Depart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse in the local shops. Head north to the world-famous Route #1 where you'll get to see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel and enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: SAN FRANCISCO – BAY CRUISE – GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – CHINATOWN Start your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. See great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island on your way to Sausalito. Return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight in Modesto. Day 3: MODESTO – YOSEMITE Summer Route: Head east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. After a beautiful day in the park, head to Stevenson Ranch and stay the night at the Comfort Inn and Suites Stevenson Ranch. Day 4: STEVENSON RANCH – LAS VEGAS Head east through the desert and Death Valley to arrive at the gambling capital of the world: Las Vegas. Stop for lunch at the outlet mall in Barstow and in the evening, take a tour of the strip to see some amazing hotels such as Caesar’s Palace, Luxor, Mirage, Paris, Venetian, Bellagio, New York New York, Treasure Island, and more. Stay overnight at the Harrah’s Hotel. Day 5: LAS VEGAS – GRAND CANYON – PAGE Start the day traveling through the desert and through the Navajo Indian reservation before you arrive at the south bank of the Grand Canyon. After lunch, continue along the canyon east stopping at some of the Indian market places to browse the handmade arts and crafts. Then, head to the Page and Lake Powell area for the evening where you will stay at the Quality Inn View of Lake Powell. Day 6: ANTELOPE CANYON – BRYCE CANYON Tour the lower Antelope Canyon and visit the spectacular dunes created by the wind, water, and sand. Then head west to Bryce Canyon, home to the most amazing natural sculptures in the world. Experience the unique changing of the colors during the sunset from one of the vista points in the park (this may change due to changing sunset times). After the visit, head towards the town of Kanab, where you will stay overnight at the Days Inn Kanab. On certain departures, the tour will continue to Cedar City for the night. Day 7: ZION PARK – LAS VEGAS Head into Zion Park and enjoy a short walking trail along the Virgin River that runs through the park. Arrive in Las Vegas and head towards Los Angeles for a late night.

Ventura: 1.5-Hour Private Beginner's Surf Lesson

8. Ventura: 1.5-Hour Private Beginner's Surf Lesson

Learn to surf at Mondos Beach with a private 1.5-hour beginner's surf lesson. Take advantage of the more gentle waves and generous space at Mondos Beach as you pick up the techniques and etiquette of surfing. Meet your instructor at the surf van located on Mondos Beach and get suited up in a wetsuit. Grab a longboard and walk to the sand for beach instructions. You'll be briefed on water and surf safety, etiquette, and proper technique before jumping into the ocean to catch some waves. Follow your instructor as they coach and push you into waves to give you an experience that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the gentle long breaking waves of Mondo Beach lending itself to longer rides for you. Your lesson is private so you or your group can have their own instructor and a more personalized experience.

Santa Barbara: 1.5-Hour Harbor Kayak Tour

9. Santa Barbara: 1.5-Hour Harbor Kayak Tour

Launch from the sand of Santa Barbara’s West Beach and follow your guide along Santa Barbara’s famous surf spot, the Sandspit. Admire panoramic views of the Waterfront, Santa Ynez Mountains, the Channel Islands, the Riviera, Stearns Wharf, and more. Paddle through the calm waters of Santa Barbara's harbor and enjoy views of sailboats, yachts, and fishing vessels. Learn valuable insight from your guide into the local landscape, topography, wildlife, and history of the harbor, as well as the best places to enjoy a fresh-caught meal.

Santa Barbara: City & Sand Electric Bike Tour

10. Santa Barbara: City & Sand Electric Bike Tour

Start with an easy ride along the scenic Cabrillo Bike Path, then explore the artsy funk zone of Santa Barbara. After learning a little bit about the wining and dining options of the funk zone, see some of the historic buildings in the heart of downtown. Enjoy a safe and spacious bike ride up and down lively State Street Promenade, which is reserved for bike and pedestrian traffic only. Get insider info and hear of some hidden gems from your expert guide, before heading to the beach. Ride onto the sand at Santa Barbara's Harbor and pass alongside the waves and palm trees as you glide from the beach to beach along the waterfront. Discover Butterfly Beach, Secret Beach, and Miramar Beach in the ritzy town of Montecito. End the tour with a final stop outside at the 5-star Rosewood Miramar Hotel, with a stunning view of the beaches directly on the sand.

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What people are saying about Santa Barbara

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 29 reviews

This was a really great adventure- especially for those with out much experience. My group and I had kayaked a lot before but our guides we so helpful in making the excursion memorable and unique to us all. We talked a lot about the harbor in Santa Barbara and when we went out into the open ocean for a little bit we saw sea lions!! It was a really awesome trip and would recommend to people of any ability :)

It was worth the money I spent. Jacob was the guide/coach driver and was very nice and very experienced. I enjoy the small group. Then we joined the larger group in the last 3 days. Robert too was very good. It was best experienced than explained. Very hectic, wake up early and finished late some days so as to cover many places. You will enjoy the adventure

It was a wonderful trip around Santa Barbara the sunset view was amazing, the music gave the cruise a great vibe, the staff was very nice, and the little selection of wine in the bar was very tasty. Overall if your looking for something romantic to do with your significant other this is definitely a great idea.

It was great though we did have Google maps on one phone and this app on another. V informative. I had a technical issue whicb support sorted out within minutes via chat. Only annoyance is hearing the instruction to go back to the map and follow the route for 150 times.

Very friendly guide, she took her time and explained everything very well