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7 Cities in Santa Barbara County For Every Personality Type
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7 Cities in Santa Barbara County For Every Personality Type

Confused about which cities in Santa Barbara County you’d enjoy visiting best? Let your personality guide the way.

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5 min read

August 22, 2021

A getaway to Santa Barbara is a great idea any time of year. Pristine beaches, verdant mountains, plenty of history, and gorgeous architecture dotting each and every town—choosing your own adventure is totally doable on the American Riviera. Confused about which cities in Santa Barbara County you’d enjoy visiting best? Let your personality guide the way and pick a spot that speaks to you and your interests most accurately.

The Coolest Cities In Santa Barbara For Every Type Of Person

There are incredible cities in Santa Barbara beyond this list. Feel free to do your own research before booking your visit and you might find hidden gems in Santa Barbara that we forgot to mention in the list. We’d love to hear all about your favorite towns near Santa Barbara as well!

If you're looking for a unique getaway, the Danish village of Solvang offers the best of the Santa Ynez Valley in a relaxed and peaceful setting.

The Santa Barbara City For Nature Lovers

Solvang

Nature is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Solvang; it’s definitely the European charm of the city that makes it stand out most. However, we opted to make this Dutch town near Santa Barbara the go-to spot for nature lovers purely based on the fact that the headquarters for Los Padres National Forest is located in its premises.

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With diverse landscapes, towering redwoods, ragged semi-deserts, ocean views, and lush meadows bursting with wildflowers, Los Padres National Forest is truly a hiker’s paradise. Nature lovers won’t be able to resist the charms of this gorgeous locale and will definitely have a grand time exploring its diverse terrains. 

After hiking to your heart’s desire, go back into town in Solvang and enjoy an array of other fun things to do in this Santa Barbara city. You’ll find friendly people, quirky architecture, and delicious eateries—these might cancel out all your workout progress, but we won’t be talking about that.

No trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without a healthy dose of shopping. And shopping here comes with its own distinct flair.

The Santa Barbara City For Shopping Enthusiasts

Santa Barbara

There are a lot of boutiques and shopping centers to explore in the cities near Santa Barbara County. But none other than the city of Santa Barbara itself stands out as the best fit for shopping enthusiasts. 

State Street, The Funk Zone, and Paseo Nuevo are the top three destinations in town for shopping. In Downtown Santa Barbara’s State Street, you’ll find plenty of surf shops and boutiques, as well as other stores and brands you already know and love. Paseo Nuevo offers a similar vibe and feel and is basically an open-air shopping mall featuring great stores and some delicious restaurants. The Funk Zone, on the other hand, is more eclectic in its offerings. Here, you’ll come across boutique tasting rooms, cafes, galleries, and shops that cater to Santa Barbara’s contemporary and cultural side.

After you’re done with your retail therapy, check out everything else the City of Santa Barbara has to offer by discovering its hidden gems.

Built into the oak and eucalyptus-laden foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Montecito boasts world-class resorts and celebrity residents.

The Santa Barbara Town For Beach Lovers

Montecito

Montecito is oh-so-luxurious. With celebrity residents, beautiful nature, affluent mansions, and great shopping and dining spots, this serene slice of paradise is getting more and more time in the spotlight every year. 

This effortlessly chic Santa Barbara town just so happens to host some of the county’s most breathtaking beaches. Fernald’s Point, Miramar Beach, Hammonds Point, and Butterfly Beach are all gorgeous stretches of shoreline in Santa Barbara, and they're all conveniently located in Montecito. Check into an eco-friendly hotel and swim, stroll, and surf all day—life can’t get much better than this. 

Isla Vista is home to a student housing cooperative, the Santa Barbara Student Housing Coop, as well as a food cooperative, the Isla Vista Food Co-op.

The Santa Barbara City For Extroverts

Isla Vista

The reason why we’ve highlighted Isla Vista as the best city in Santa Barbara County for extroverts is for its famous student and beach culture. A total college town by nature, Isla Vista’s residents are mostly students at the nearby University of California, Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College—you best believe this town doesn’t sleep.

Besides the regular buzzing nightlife, busy coasts, and great hangout spots, Isla Vista also hosts major events throughout the year. Earth Day and Chilla Vista Festivals, Island View Classic bike races, and more fun traditions take place at this Santa Barbara town throughout the year. If you organize your visit to coordinate with one of them, you’ll definitely be living an extrovert’s dream.

Summerland is a little pocket of paradise perched right on the coast off Highway 101 south of Montecito, boasting a super slow-paced lifestyle.

The Santa Barbara City For Introverts 

Summerland

On the other end of the spectrum you have Summerland, a charming small town by the beach serving your serenity and seclusion. Nestled between Montecito and Carpinteria, this quaint city in Santa Barbara County is a great place to unwind.

Residents enjoy dining at local eateries, visiting boutique shops and antique stores, and going on beautiful outdoor excursions. While the natural assets of Summerland cannot be beaten, one other thing people most visit this beautiful Santa Barbara town for is a unique shop known as The Sacred Space. The owners of this store travel around the world to obtain furniture, statues, art, and textiles that foster tranquility. You’ll find plenty to touch, smell, and see here—you can even enjoy a cup of tea while you’re browsing. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, this cool shop will fill you with an unmatched sense of tranquility. 

Introvert or not, sometimes we all need to get away and get in touch with who we are at our core, and Summerland is just the Santa Barbara city for that.

Goleta's Old Town is now home to some of the area’s most coveted restaurants, bars, and quick bites; you wouldn't want to miss out.

The Santa Barbara Town For Foodies

Goleta

Goleta didn’t earn the nickname “The Goodland” for no reason. Once an area completely covered in agricultural land, this beautiful coastal town still has a thriving farm-to-table culinary scene, and true foodies love fresh finds. Besides delicious organic eats, you’ll find great Japanese, American, Mexican, and seafood restaurants in this Santa Barbara town.

While the tasty treats of Goleta are great in their own right, don’t let them completely distract you from the fact that this Santa Barbara city has much more to offer. Parks, beaches, spas, shopping hotspots—a Goleta getaway is a good idea.

The Channel Islands have always been separate from the mainland, which is why they have unique plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.

The Santa Barbara City For Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Channel Islands

Yes, we are well aware that the Channel Islands aren’t really grouped as cities in Santa Barbara County. But, we also couldn’t let our fellow outdoor enthusiasts miss out on all its amazing nature, wildlife, and fun activities.

Take a boat out to the islands and discover the distinct personality of each one. Follow our guide to the Channel Islands for easier navigation and check a few adventures off your bucket list. Hiking, camping, biking, wildlife watching, and more awesome activities await here, and you’re going to have an amazing time discovering them all. 

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