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THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Santa Barbara for Couples

If you’re looking for the perfect destination for a romantic getaway, Santa Barbara has got you covered. From breathtaking coastal views to charming historic sites, this city offers an array of activities that are sure to create lasting memories for couples. In this blog, we will take you on a virtual tour of Santa Barbara and highlight the top 10 things to do for couples. Whether you want to explore the picturesque harbor, spot seals and dolphins on a kayak tour, or indulge in some wildlife encounters at the zoo, there’s something for everyone. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and romance that Santa Barbara has to offer.

Santa Barbara for Couples

Wander around Santa Barbara Harbor

Take a stroll through the charming Santa Barbara Harbor, immersing yourself in the beauty of the boats and yachts gently swaying in the clear blue waters. This idyllic setting provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic outing with your loved one, where you can admire the stunning views of the coastline and create memories that will last a lifetime. Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of Stearns Wharf, an iconic landmark where you can shop, dine, and even go on a sunset cruise. For a taste of the city’s rich maritime history, visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and explore fascinating exhibits that delve into the seafaring heritage of the area. Continue your romantic escapade with a picnic at Shoreline Park, enjoying stunning views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. Take a bike ride along the Cabrillo Bike Path, a scenic route that hugs the coastline, and discover the picturesque surroundings together. Finally, indulge in the ultimate relaxation with a couples’ spa day at one of Santa Barbara’s luxurious breweries, where you can pamper yourselves with rejuvenating treatments and reconnect in a blissful mural room setting.

Check out the Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is an awe-inspiring architectural gem, celebrated for its splendid Spanish Colonial Revival style. Embark on a self-guided tour to immerse yourself in the beauty of this landmark, admiring its exquisite murals, vibrant tiles, and verdant gardens. For an unforgettable experience, ascend to the top of the clock tower and relish panoramic vistas encompassing Santa Barbara and the majestic surrounding mountains. Enhance your visit by indulging in a delightful picnic on the courthouse’s picturesque grounds. Throughout the year, this remarkable venue hosts a diverse array of events, including captivating concerts and captivating art exhibits. Immerse yourself in the rich history and captivating ambiance of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, an architectural treasure that will leave you in awe.

Spot seals and dolphins on a kayak tour

Embark on a thrilling and romantic adventure in Santa Barbara by going on a kayak tour along the stunning coastline of Santa Cruz Island in Goleta. Explore the pristine waters and get up close and personal with the diverse marine life that thrives in this area, including whale watching. As you paddle along the Santa Barbara shoreline, keep an eye out for playful seals and dolphins gracefully swimming in their natural habitat. It’s an incredible sight that will create lasting memories for you and your partner. Experienced guides, well-versed in the secrets of the ocean, will accompany you and provide interesting insights about the local marine ecosystem, adding depth to your kayaking experience. So, grab a paddle, soak in the sunshine, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the ocean with your loved one. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, this kayak tour in Goleta is the perfect way to connect with nature and enjoy an adventurous outing together. With the breathtaking coastline of Santa Cruz Island as your backdrop, you’ll feel a sense of serenity and wonder as you glide through the crystal-clear waters. Don’t miss the chance to spot these magnificent creatures and witness their playful antics up close. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a memorable kayak tour in Goleta that will leave you with unforgettable memories of your trip to Santa Barbara.

Play with penguins at the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo offers a unique experience for couples to interact with penguins. Get up close and personal with these adorable creatures and learn about their behavior and ongoing conservation efforts. This unforgettable encounter allows you to create lasting memories while you and your partner play and engage with the penguins. Immerse yourselves in the world of these fascinating creatures, and discover the importance of conservation. The zoo provides a safe and controlled environment, making it the perfect place for romantic activities in Santa Barbara.

Check off the main sites with a trolley tour

A trolley tour in Santa Barbara is a fantastic way for couples to discover the best attractions of this beautiful coastal city. Explore the stunning Santa Barbara Mission and Stearns Wharf, iconic landmarks that showcase the rich history and charm of the area. As you hop on the trolley, the knowledgeable guides will provide fascinating commentary about the city’s culture and heritage, adding depth to your tour experience. This enchanting activity offers flexibility, allowing you to hop on and off at different stops and explore the city at your own pace, making it a perfect choice for couples looking for a romantic and informative adventure. Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Santa Barbara on a delightful trolley tour, creating unforgettable memories with your partner.

See the marine animals at the Sea Center!

The Santa Barbara Sea Center is the perfect place for couples to discover the wonders of the ocean. Immerse yourselves in the interactive displays and learn about the diverse marine life found off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Explore the exhibits and get up close and personal with captivating creatures like sea stars, sharks, and octopuses. Engage in a guided tour or participate in a hands-on activity to deepen your understanding of the marine ecosystem. Make sure to visit the rooftop deck for breathtaking views of the coastline and the chance to witness a mesmerizing sunset. Supporting the Sea Center not only provides you with a romantic and educational experience but also contributes to important marine research and education efforts.

Step back in time at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History invites couples on a captivating journey through the region’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage. Immerse yourselves in the exhibits showcasing the richness of Santa Barbara’s natural history. Take a stroll through the museum’s beautiful outdoor grounds, where you can explore a butterfly garden and marvel at enchanting dinosaur sculptures. Discover the captivating stories of the local wildlife and ecosystems through interactive displays and engaging educational programs. Uncover the secrets hidden in the fascinating artifacts, including precious fossils, stunning minerals, and timeless Native American relics. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History offers a multitude of romantic activities, such as astronomy nights and botanical walks, where couples can deepen their connection while learning about the wonders of the natural world.

Explore the city on two wheels!

Santa Barbara, the American Riviera, is the perfect place for couples to explore on two wheels. Experience the charm of this coastal city while cycling through its stunning landscapes. Rent bicycles and embark on a romantic ride along the beachfront bike path, where you can soak in panoramic views of the coastline. To add a touch of tranquility to your adventure, visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden for a scenic stroll amidst acres of native plants and wildlife. As the sun begins to set, indulge in a sunset cruise along the picturesque shoreline, immersing yourselves in the magical ambiance. Santa Barbara is renowned for its wineries and vineyards, so why not embark on a wine-tasting tour and discover the flavors of the Santa Ynez Valley? Treat yourselves to a delightful picnic in one of the city’s beautiful parks or gardens, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Santa Barbara offers a plethora of romantic activities for couples to enjoy, from cycling to wine tours, making it an ideal destination for a memorable date night.

Work on the tan at Arroyo Burro County Beach Park

Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, located in Santa Barbara, California, is the perfect place for couples to relax and unwind while enjoying their time in the sun. This expansive sandy beach offers acres of space and stunning ocean views, making it the ideal spot for couples to work on their tan and soak up the California sunshine. Whether you prefer to spread out on the grassy areas, have a romantic picnic, or even enjoy a barbecue at one of the available grills, Arroyo Burro County Beach Park has everything you need for a memorable day at the beach. For those looking for some friendly competition, the park also features volleyball courts and horseshoe pits where couples can test their skills. Take a stroll along the beach and feel the warm sand between your toes as you take in the breathtaking coastline. The calm waters of Arroyo Burro County Beach Park are perfect for swimming, surfing, or paddleboarding, allowing couples to make the most of their time by the water. With ample parking space and clean restroom facilities, this beach park ensures a comfortable and convenient beach experience for couples looking to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Go surfing!

Enjoy the ultimate thrill and excitement by going surfing in Santa Barbara for couples. This beautiful American Riviera city, nestled along the Californian coastline, offers a plethora of surfing spots suitable for all skill levels. From beginners to advanced surfers, everyone can catch a wave and experience the adrenaline rush together. Embrace the surf culture by taking surf lessons and riding the waves hand in hand with your sweetheart. Santa Barbara’s beaches, from East Beach to Butterfly Beach, provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable surfing experience. Soak up the sun, feel the refreshing ocean breeze, and admire the scenic beauty of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Create unforgettable memories with your loved one as you conquer the waves in this surfer’s paradise.

Visit the famous Old Mission Santa Barbara

Immerse yourself in the timeless beauty and captivating history of the renowned Old Mission Santa Barbara. Nestled along the stunning Santa Barbara coastline, this iconic landmark offers a perfect blend of romance and cultural enrichment for couples. Discover the allure of its Spanish architecture as you explore the mission’s exquisite gardens and courtyards. Marvel at the panoramic views of Santa Barbara that serve as a picturesque backdrop to your visit. Join a guided tour to uncover the deep-rooted significance of this historic site, which played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of California. Attend a religious service in the mission’s chapel, steeped in spirituality and grace. Delve into the enchanting world of the on-site museum, where artifacts and exhibits vividly depict the mission’s illustrious past. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of the mission’s special events and festivals, offering a glimpse into the vibrant culture of the region. Embark on a journey through time and let the Old Mission Santa Barbara leave an indelible mark on your hearts.

Stuff your belly on a food tour!

Indulge in the culinary delights of Santa Barbara on a delightful food tour, offering a gastronomic adventure like no other. Immerse yourselves in the vibrant food scene of Santa Barbara, where farm-to-table cuisine and coastal seafood specialties await. Enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants, savoring exquisite dishes prepared by renowned chefs. Delight in the flavors of Santa Barbara as you visit local wineries and vineyards, partaking in wine-tasting experiences that showcase the region’s finest vintages. Enhance your food tour with a scenic sunset cruise along the breathtaking coastline, where you can sip on fine wines and marvel at the beauty of the Santa Barbara sunset. Explore the city’s beautiful gardens and parks, ideal for a romantic stroll or a charming picnic with your loved one.

Wander down Stearns Wharf

Experience the charm and beauty of Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara. This iconic landmark offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the stunning Santa Barbara coastline. Enjoy a romantic stroll hand in hand with your partner, taking in the peaceful ambiance and scenic surroundings. Indulge your taste buds with delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants on the wharf, ranging from fresh fish to succulent shrimp. Afterward, explore the unique shops and boutiques for souvenirs or gifts to remember your trip.

For a scenic tour of Santa Barbara, hop on the Waterfront Electric Shuttle. This relaxing ride provides picturesque sights and offers insights into the city’s rich history. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or simply want to observe, fishing off the pier allows you to witness fishermen unloading their catches. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you browse through the diverse selection of shops and boutiques. Stearns Wharf truly offers a memorable experience for couples seeking romance and relaxation.

Learn a thing or two at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Explore the rich maritime history of Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. This fascinating museum showcases numerous exhibits and artifacts, offering a unique opportunity to delve into the region’s maritime heritage. Discover the importance of the California coastline and learn about the role of fishing in the local economy. You can also explore interactive exhibits that highlight local marine life, conservation efforts, and environmental sustainability initiatives. The museum regularly hosts special events, lectures, and film screenings related to maritime topics. Immerse yourself in Santa Barbara’s rich history and enjoy an educational and engaging experience at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Feel the soothing effects of the Hot Springs Canyon

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of Santa Barbara, the Hot Springs Canyon is the perfect place for couples to find serenity and relaxation. This natural oasis, located in the charming city of Santa Barbara, California, offers a tranquil escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. Take a leisurely hike through the beautiful canyon trails, breathing in the fresh mountain air and immersing yourselves in the peacefulness of nature. Along the way, you’ll discover rejuvenating hot springs, inviting you to take a dip and experience their therapeutic benefits. These soothing waters provide the ideal setting for couples to unwind and reconnect. After indulging in a warm soak, find a scenic spot to enjoy a romantic picnic, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Santa Barbara mountains and lush greenery. The tranquil ambiance and natural beauty of Hot Springs Canyon create a truly unforgettable experience for couples seeking a romantic getaway.

Send shivers down your spine with a ghost-themed walking tour

Immerse yourself in the haunted history of Santa Barbara with a guided ghost tour. Explore historic sites rumored to be haunted and hear chilling stories and encounters from residents and experts. As you walk through these eerie locations, you’ll have the thrilling opportunity to capture paranormal activity on your camera. This ghost-themed walking tour offers a unique perspective on Santa Barbara’s history and culture, making it a spine-tingling experience for couples looking for something out of the ordinary.

Experience the Old West at the Cold Spring Tavern

Indulge in a romantic dinner at the Cold Spring Tavern, a historic establishment known for its rustic charm and delectable cuisine. Experience the charm of the Old West while enjoying the tranquil ambiance of their beautiful grounds. Immerse yourself in history as you savor the flavors of their delicious dishes, prepared with care and expertise. Enhance your evening with one of their signature cocktails or explore their extensive wine list featuring the finest wines from Santa Barbara County. As the sun sets over the majestic Santa Barbara mountains, savor a romantic dinner filled with laughter, conversation, and a delightful feast.

Stop to smell the roses at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Nestled in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is the perfect place for couples to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy a romantic experience. Spanning over 78 acres, this garden showcases the enchanting flora of Santa Barbara and offers breathtaking views of the coastline. As you wander through the various gardens hand in hand with your loved one, you’ll be surrounded by vibrant flowers, towering trees, and serene pathways that create a truly magical atmosphere.

Immerse yourselves in the tranquility of nature as you learn about native California plants and their importance to the region’s ecosystem. From the colorful blooms of wildflowers to the majestic cacti of the desert garden, the botanical wonders of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will leave you awe-inspired. Find a secluded spot for a romantic picnic and savor the beauty and serenity of the garden. Don’t forget to capture the moment with stunning photos that will forever remind you of this special time.

Start the day with a walk through Shoreline Park

Begin your day in Santa Barbara for couples with a delightful walk through Shoreline Park, nestled along the picturesque coastline of Santa Barbara County. This oasis of tranquility offers panoramic views of the ocean and the Santa Barbara coastline, creating the perfect backdrop for a romantic morning adventure. Set off on a stroll along the beach, feeling the soft sand beneath your feet and the gentle sea breeze on your face. Explore the park’s meticulously maintained gardens and find a cozy spot for a romantic picnic amidst the stunning scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins, graceful sea lions, and other fascinating marine life, as they make their appearances in the sparkling waters.

Shoreline Park is not only a place of natural beauty but also a gateway to a world of romantic activities in Santa Barbara. After your walk, head over to Stearns Wharf for a relaxed seafood supper with your loved one, while enjoying panoramic views of the coastline and the Santa Barbara Harbor. Alternatively, catch a show at one of the charming theatres on State Street or indulge in an evening of live music and cocktails at one of the trendy bars in the Funk Zone. Santa Barbara offers a wealth of opportunities for a memorable date night, from wine tasting at the urban wine trail to kayaking along the scenic coastline. Whatever your preferences may be, Santa Barbara has something to offer every couple looking to create lasting memories together.

Head out on a whale-watching boat tour

Embark on an unforgettable adventure and set sail on a thrilling whale-watching boat tour in Santa Barbara, the American Riviera. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the California coastline as you cruise along the picturesque waters of the Channel Islands National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for magnificent whales as they gracefully breach the surface, offering a mesmerizing display of nature’s wonders. This is the perfect activity for couples looking to add a touch of romance and adventure to their Santa Barbara getaway.

As you step aboard the boat tour, you’ll be warmly welcomed by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about marine life. They will provide fascinating insights into the different species of whales that inhabit these waters and share their behaviors. Learn about the importance of conservation efforts and gain a deeper appreciation for these incredible creatures and their habitats. Don’t forget to capture stunning photos of these majestic whales and create lasting memories with your sweetheart.

For A Romantic Getaway Head To The Winelands

Escape to the romantic Santa Barbara Winelands for an unforgettable getaway. Explore the charming wineries nestled in the picturesque countryside of Santa Barbara County. Embark on a wine-tasting journey through the diverse flavors of the region, from rich reds to crisp whites. Wander through the vineyards hand in hand, taking in the stunning views of the California coastline. Treat yourselves to a picnic among acres of vineyards, soaking up the sunshine and sharing a bottle of your favorite vintage.

Immerse yourselves in the rich wine culture of the region, where every sip tells a story. Discover the unique varietals that make Santa Barbara’s winemaking scene truly special. With knowledgeable tour guides and welcoming tasting rooms, you’ll feel like a wine connoisseur in no time. Unwind and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of wine tasting, surrounded by the beauty of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Head to the Beach For More Romance

Santa Barbara offers a variety of romantic activities for couples, and one of the most enchanting experiences is heading to the beach. Not only can you embark on whale-watching boat tours, but you can also indulge in the idyllic charm of Santa Barbara’s beaches. The coastline, stretching for miles, provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic rendezvous. Imagine walking hand-in-hand along the shoreline, the setting sun casting a warm glow on your face. You can enjoy a romantic picnic with your beloved, surrounded by the tranquil sound of the waves. The beaches of Santa Barbara offer endless possibilities for romance, from sunbathing on the soft sand to strolling along the water’s edge as you watch the sunset together. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adventurous date, Santa Barbara’s beaches are the perfect place for couples to create lasting memories.

Free Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara presents an array of romantic activities for couples without breaking the bank. From captivating whale-watching boat tours to leisurely walks along the coastline, this California gem offers an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourselves in the natural wonders of Santa Barbara’s beaches, where you can bask in the sunset glow, enjoy a delightful picnic, or take a refreshing swim. As you explore the vibrant downtown area, wander through the charming streets lined with shops, art galleries, and captivating murals. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, an architectural marvel that offers breathtaking views of the city. For a taste of the local cuisine, head to the renowned Funk Zone, where urban wineries and tasting rooms await. Capture the essence of Santa Barbara’s artistic scene at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or indulge in a romantic dinner overlooking the harbor at Stearns Wharf. Whether it’s strolling through the manicured beauty of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden or embarking on a scenic hike in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara’s free attractions provide countless opportunities for a memorable date night.

Catch a Wave

Santa Barbara, located on the stunning coastline of California, offers a variety of romantic things to do for couples. One of the top activities is heading out on a whale-watching boat tour. These tours allow you to get up close and personal with majestic whales, dolphins, and other marine creatures in their natural habitat. As you cruise along the coastline, knowledgeable tour guides will share fascinating information about the animals and the local ecosystem. It’s a perfect opportunity to capture breathtaking moments and create lasting memories with your sweetheart.

Enjoy a Seafood Supper at Stearns Wharf

When exploring Santa Barbara for couples, one must not miss the opportunity to immerse themselves in a memorable seafood experience at Stearns Wharf. Located in the vibrant Funk Zone neighborhood, this iconic landmark offers not only stunning views of the ocean but also a variety of restaurants serving fresh and delicious seafood dishes, showcasing the best of Santa Barbara’s coastal cuisine. As the sun sets, you can indulge in a leisurely dinner while taking in the picturesque surroundings and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze. Stearns Wharf provides the perfect setting for a romantic evening, creating lasting memories with your loved one.

Immerse Yourself in the Coastal Charm of Santa Barbara

After your seafood supper, take a stroll down State Street, the vibrant heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Explore the local shops, galleries, and boutiques, where you can find unique treasures and souvenirs. For wine enthusiasts, Santa Barbara’s urban wine trail offers a delightful opportunity to taste the exquisite flavors of Santa Barbara County’s renowned wineries. Visit one of the charming tasting rooms and savor the distinctive wines produced in the region. If you’re in the mood for outdoor activities, head to the nearby coastline and enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters of East Beach. The coastline also offers beautiful spots for a romantic picnic with breathtaking views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Channel Islands.

Conclusion

Santa Barbara offers a plethora of activities that are perfect for couples looking to create lasting memories. From exploring the charming Santa Barbara Harbor to admiring the stunning architecture of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, there is something for every couple to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking adventure on a kayak tour or want to experience the magic of seeing penguins up close at the Santa Barbara Zoo, this city has it all.

For history buffs, a trolley tour is a great way to check off all the main sites while learning about the rich heritage of Santa Barbara. The Sea Center and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History offer opportunities to delve into marine life and natural wonders. And for those seeking relaxation, the Hot Springs Canyon provides a soothing escape.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, consider joining a ghost-themed walking tour or experiencing the Old West at Cold Spring Tavern. And don’t miss out on the beauty of nature at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Shoreline Park.

To make your visit truly unforgettable, set sail on a whale-watching boat tour and witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Santa Barbara has everything you need for an incredible couple’s getaway. So start planning your trip today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready to explore this romantic destination? Book your trip now and experience all that Santa Barbara has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Santa Barbara well known for?

Santa Barbara is famous for its stunning beaches and picturesque coastline. The city's Spanish colonial architecture and historical landmarks are also well-known. Additionally, Santa Barbara is renowned for its wine country, offering numerous vineyards and wineries to visit. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the city's popularity as a destination for activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Where do locals hang out in Santa Barbara?

In Santa Barbara, locals can be found hanging out at State Street, the bustling downtown area. The Funk Zone, a vibrant neighborhood near the beach, is also a popular spot for locals. East Beach is another favorite with its stunning views and recreational activities. The Santa Barbara Harbor attracts locals with its waterfront restaurants and shops.

Is Santa Barbara California worth visiting?

Absolutely! Santa Barbara, California is a must-visit destination. With its breathtaking beaches, picturesque architecture, and thriving culinary scene, you'll be captivated. Enjoy outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, and biking, and soak up the relaxed vibe while exploring the charming downtown area.

Does Santa Barbara have a boardwalk?

Santa Barbara does not have a traditional boardwalk, but it offers the scenic Stearns Wharf with shops and ocean views. Visitors can enjoy beach walks and explore State Street's shops and cafes. While lacking a boardwalk, Santa Barbara has romantic activities for couples to enjoy.

Are there any must-visit restaurants or cafes in Santa Barbara for a romantic date?

Yes, Santa Barbara offers a range of must-visit restaurants and cafes for a romantic date. The Lark, The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, and Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort are popular options known for their intimate ambiance, stunning views, and delectable cuisine. To ensure the perfect spot for your romantic date, it is advisable to make reservations in advance.

Are there any scenic spots in Santa Barbara that are perfect for a romantic outing?

Yes, Santa Barbara boasts numerous scenic spots ideal for a romantic outing. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden features breathtaking gardens and trails. Couples can enjoy panoramic ocean views and a peaceful ambiance at Butterfly Beach. Lotusland, a 37-acre garden estate, offers exotic plants and a serene environment, making it another romantic option to explore.

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