Notable Outdoor Activities in Santa Barbara
Discover the American Riviera’s mesmerizing natural wonders on foot, on wheels, and on water. The top things to do in Santa Barbara are undoubtedly found outdoors, so get outside, get active, and work up a sweat along the city’s miles of trails and acres of hills.
Hike to the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains for rewarding panoramic views of the ocean and the forests that surround you. Venture out to the nearby Los Padres National Forest and feel the wild animal awaken inside you as you traipse past oak trees and through wildflower-dotted meadows. Escape the hustle and bustle at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Admire the precious diversity of plants displayed and maintained here while strolling along the Campbell, Porter, and Woodland Trails. Discover the Arroyo, Manzanita, and Redwood Sections, or explore the Teahouse and Water Wise Home Gardens. Take all the time you need and meditate amidst the exquisite landscapes before adventure calls again.
Once your soul has been calmed, it’s time to hit the waves. Join a guided tour via kayak or stand-up paddleboard with Santa Barbara Adventure Company and explore the coast. With thousands of marine animal species—including humpback whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions—there’s a lot to see at the sanctuary. Spot brightly colored land birds—such as Allen’s Hummingbirds, Orange-crowned Warblers, House Finches, and Island Scrub-Jays—and check out the numerous seabirds including Ashy Storm Petrels, California Brown Pelicans, and Double-Crested Cormorants. Next, take the ferry to Channel Islands National Park or board one of Santa Barbara Sea Charters' ships for an afternoon of fishing, sightseeing, and whale watching.
Once you’re back on land, hop on a bike and pedal the easy 4.5-mile Cabrillo Bike Path to Butterfly Beach Trail for breathtaking ocean views. Mountain bike trough Elings Park’s 9 miles of tracks and trails, or bikepack the 32 miles between Santa Barbara to Ventura. Didn’t take your bike? Wheel Fun Rentals has you covered—from 2 wheeled bikes to Surreys for the whole family, to Moke Electric Vehicles—so you can properly explore Santa Barbara’s outdoors.
Things to do at Night in Santa Barbara