Santa Barbara, United States

Heralded by missionaries as possessing the perfect climate, Santa Barbara has become an idyllic slice of palm-shaded, tile-roofed mansions beside the Pacific. The quiet stretch of California’s Gold Coast is where many Hollywood names retreat to escape reality. The paradisiacal community doesn’t disappoint, with superb restaurants, chic boutiques and a bounty of bicycles. Those willing to wander beyond the beach town will find hike-worthy foothills, the 18th-century Old Mission Santa Barbara and a blossoming wine region within minutes of the city limits.

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When to go

There’s not really a bad time to visit Santa Barbara: it’s sunny year-round and moderate in temperatures. Late September and early October are the time to catch harvests at nearby vineyards.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is the nearest airport, 10 miles away. The small airport operates flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle and other cities within two hours. Los Angeles Internation Airport is a two-hour drive.
  • Trains

    The Santa Barbara Amtrak Station is in the center of town, and runs services from San Luis Obispo down through Los Angeles to San Diego.
  • Automobiles

    Santa Barbara is an ideal stop-off en route from Los Angeles to San Francisco, along famed Highway 101 or as a weekend trip from either city.