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Photos by Reeve Woolpert

Area Overview

Europeans first anchored in Santa Barbara at the Gaviota Coast at Rancho Dos Pueblos in 1542, and it is no surprise that it has become the international hot spot it is today. Known as the “American Riviera”, tourists flock from around the world to enjoy our year-round sun, endless outdoor activities, world-class wineries, food and entertainment. Whether you are new to the area, just visiting, or lucky enough to call yourself a Santa Barbarian, we are happy to show off the many fantastic points of interest in our “little town”. Santa Barbara serves as the central locale “for those who insist on elbow room”, the luxurious Ranch Lifestyle that can now be found in three counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

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Santa Barbara

Population 91,196
Santa Barbara is the seat of Santa Barbara County. Named after Saint Barbara by its first Spanish settlers, and made famous on the soap opera Santa Barbara (which is still aired around the world!), the American Riviera sits snug between the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains and sparkling Pacific Ocean. A short 1.5 hour drive north from Los Angeles, it’s temperate Mediterranean climate and accessible, varied topography offer stunning mountain-to-sea vistas, delicious farm to table cuisine and a plethora of outdoor adventures. Classy yet laid-back, Santa Barbara bursts with the offerings of a metropolitan city, while retaining its easy going and friendly small town appeal. As a world class destination, and home to many a grateful local, there is something for everyone including history, arts & culture, nightlife and entertainment, dining and shopping.

Montecito

Population 10,000
As early as the 1880’s, the world’s elite have enjoyed Montecito’s perfect climate and beauty, and as one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, it’s now home to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe. With the area’s most stunning stretch of coastline including Fernald’s Point, Miramar Beach, Hammond’s Point and Butterfly Beach, Montecito is the perfect spot to take in the sunset. Whether it’s dining on a sunny patio or shopping along Coast Village Road and the Upper Village, paddle boarding at Miramar Beach, hiking one of the many nearby trails or walking the dog off-leash at Butterfly Beach, there is something for everyone in Montecito.

Carpinteria

Population 13,700
Carpinteria derived its name, “carpentry shop”, from the Spaniards in the 1700’s when they discovered the native Chumash building their canoes along the beaches. Located 12 miles southeast of Santa Barbara and known today by the locals as “Carp”, this charming coastal town has much to offer. It’s main drag, Linden Avenue, boasts several mom-n-pop shops and restaurants, and a short stroll down the street to the sand you’ll find Carpinteria State Beach, named the “world’s safest beach” and home to the harbor seal rookery. On the other side of Hwy 101 toward the foothills are dozens of flower nurseries, greenhouses, polo fields, avocado farms and horse ranches. And just a short drive south is Rincon Point, one of the world’s premiere right point surf breaks.

Goleta & Gaviota Coast

Goleta population 77,400
Goleta and the Gaviota Coast reside make up 12 beautiful miles of the Santa Barbara coast. Home to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the Santa Barbara Airport, it is known as ‘the Good land’ for it is here you will find sprawling ranches, fertile farms, lemon orchards and sustainable gardens that supply area restaurants and farmers’ markets year round. From the Goleta pier to Point Arguello, this area is a recreational paradise! Try fishing off the pier, hiking the bluffs, surfing Campus Point or get up close and personal with wildlife while kayaking in the Goleta Slough There is something for everyone.

Buellton/Lompoc

Buellton, population 4,500. Lompoc, population 41,100
From its quaint, small town feel and tasting rooms to its rolling hills and vineyards, it’s no wonder fans fell in love with Buellton in the movie Sideways. It put the Santa Barbara Wine Country on the map! Fans and locals alike can enjoy Ostrich Land and check out the Days Inn windmill made famous by the film. Or enjoy renowned fine dining at the Hitching Post II, the infamous “Home of the Original Split Pea Soup” at Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant, or tour the wineries on their own or with one of the many organized tours. Travel west on Hwy 246 from Buellton and you’ll arrive in the Lompoc Valley, gateway to the cool-climate appellation of Santa Rita Hills wine country which produces world-class pinot noir and chardonnay. To enjoy these fine wines, visit Lompoc’s best kept secret, the Wine Ghetto, a cluster of boutique wineries and tasting rooms located downtown. The area erupts with colorful meadows and hillsides from May to September when the wildflowers bloom, and farther west you’ll find Jalama Beach and Ocean Beach, two rugged and pristine county parks.

Santa Ynez Valley & Los Olivos

Santa Ynez Valley, population 11,160. Los Olivos, population 1,000
Santa Ynez still looks much like it did back in the 1800’s. On its main drag, Sagunto Street, what were once blacksmith shops and feed stores are now restaurants and home décor shops. Much slower in tone and mood than its neighbor Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez is home to many celebrities and beautiful sprawling ranches. From antiquing to fantastic restaurants, wine tasting and concerts at the Chumash Casino Resort & Spa or camping, hiking, swimming or fishing in the surrounding Los Padres National Forest, there’s something for everyone. Los Olivos, like Santa Ynez, still retains much of its quaint, Old West charm as well. However, with a stroll along its casual main street, Grand Avenue anchored with its vintage flagpole, you’ll now find the welcomed addition of upscale galleries, boutiques, cafes, hotels and over a dozen wine and specialty food tasting rooms.

San Luis Obispo County

Population 45,119
Located about 1.5hr north of Santa Barbara tucked between the Coast Range and Pacific Ocean, right in the middle of Central Coast Wine Country, San Luis Obispo offers all the best in California lifestyle. Enjoy the restaurants, shopping and nightlife in charming downtown, surf, kayak or beachcomb Morro Bay, Avila Beach or Cayucos, wine taste in Paso Robles, or go antiquing in Cambria and try Linn’s famous Olliberry pie. With its a unique microclimate and 300+ days of sunshine, the area has perfect growing conditions for world-class wine grapes, olives, strawberries and a variety of produce that supply the local farmer’s markets, farm stands and ‘you-pick’ farms in the area.

Hollister Ranch

A 14,600 acre community, Hollister Ranch is one of the most beautiful and pristine nine miles of coastline in California. Preserving the traditional California lifestyle for generations, this private subdivision comprising 130+ one-hundred acre parcels, common areas and equestrian boarding facilities and trails was once part of the famous 1794 Spanish land grant, the Rancho Nuestra Senora del Refugio, and served as a working cattle ranch for nearly 100 years before it was acquired in 1860 by the Hollister Family. Subdivided in 1971, the Ranch continues to maintain the spirit of Western exploration and adventure. (info from Rick Sawyer’s website)