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About Santa Barbara County

santa-barbara-county, CA

Santa Barbara is a coastal city located in southern California and is a great spot for camping since it boasts a warm-summer Mediterranean climate. Whether you enjoy urban adventures or outdoor exploration during your camping trip, you're sure to have an amazing time enjoying Santa Barbara's world-class attractions and campgrounds. 

 

Attractions 

Santa Barbara is best known for its beaches and stellar natural terrain, but it's also a great spot to explore California's history, art, history and wildlife, and a great place to discover the area's past is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art which was founded in 1941 and houses a collection of over 27,000 works of American, Asian, and European art. You can take advantage of its 40 programs and lectures, performances, seminars and guided tours. Another great spot is the Lotusland, an exotic array of unusual plants, including cycads, which were present in the era of the dinosaur. The garden is devoted to lotuses, ferns, succulents, bromeliads, aloes and topiaries, orchards, water gardens and a garden populated exclusively by plants that are blue. Get ready for regular tours, a gift shop and plenty of fun points of interest for the kids. Want more natural terrain and scenic views? The Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens is a great place for some stunning nature photos! Specializing in native West Coast flora, this botanic garden features a variety of habitats that focus on showcasing - and conserving - California's native plants, over 75 acres of terrain are desert, meadow, ridge and redwood forest vistas. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is another treat dedicated to displaying the wonders of nature. Occupying 11 acres in historic Mission Canyon, the Museum of Natural History boasts a beautiful campus, complete with Spanish-style grounds and buildings. Exhibits include a mineral and gem gallery, Chumash Indian culture center and the much admired dioramas in the Mammal Hall and is home to the area's only planetarium. And whether you're a kid or a kid-at-heart, you're sure to fall in love with the beautiful creatures that call the Santa Barbara Zoo home. Here, over 500 species are showcased on 30 lush acres overlooking the beach; special features include giraffe feedings and a giant animatronic T. Rex named Duncan, star of the show "Dino Doc." The zoo also offers several play and picnic areas, seasonal educational classes and event rental opportunities.  

For outdoor adventurers, there's tons of opportunities for outdoor skating, group bicycling, outdoor volleyball and ATV or Jeep tours. There's also plenty of space on the land and water to enjoy great hiking, scenic touring, sailing and boating tours, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and jet skiing. And be sure not to miss out of the area's breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and stargazing opportunities. 

And the area's nightlife shouldn't be taken lightly! The three biggest clubs in Santa Barbara are EOS, Tonic and Wildcat and are all located Downtown near State Street. EOS is a smaller/classier club for EDM-lovers, Tonic plays mainly Rap & Hip Hop music and is probably the biggest of the three; and Wildcat, nicknamed “The Shitty Kitty”is mostly top 40 hits music and popular among locals. These and other bars and clubs are mixed in with stellar restaurants, and for wine tasting, you can head to the funk zone where you will find several local, hipster wineries. Corks & Crowns offers a great selection of wine & beer tasting, and Area 5.1 is an alien themed wine bar that is known for its blended wines. Riverbench is also great, they're know for their Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines and cool decor. For the non-drinker, there's plenty of other options like the Blind tiger has a mechanical bull, the James Joyce has Karaoke, Zodos in Goleta has bowling, and the neighborhood has fun games like ping pong, pool, corn hole, foosball, billiards, and Big Buck Hunter. Cotillion dancing is also very popular in Santa Barbara.

 

Events 

No southern California city is complete without a ton of excellent local events and festivals; ranging from weekly community happenings to large scale festivals drawing thousands of visitors, Santa Bar1st Thursday is a monthly evening celebrating art and culture in downtown Santa Barbara has something for every type of RVer. On the first Thursday of every month, local galleries, shops and other art-related venues open their doors, offering free access to exhibits and performances, but if you want a more immersive experience, the event also showcases live music, lectures and wine tastings. 

 

Other events include: the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, a morning-to-night cinematic feast featuring films from around the globe, new releases, classics, avant-garde entries, documentaries, and both animated and live shorts; the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show brings together more than 50 orchid exhibitors and vendors from around the world; the Earth Day Festival is held every year in Alameda Park and is a celebration of our world marked with live music, organic food booths, an eco-marketplace, green car show, and sports events. The California Wine Festival is another popular event, as is the  Harbor Seafood Festival, New Noise Music Conference and Festival and The California Lemon Festival in Goleta which pays tribute to the groves of golden citrus that once blanketed this area.

 

Food

Santa Barbara is no stranger to excellent foods, brews and wines, but it's not only seafood offered in this beautiful coastal city. The city boasts influences from places like Mexico, Lebanon, Italy and even Japan. Some popular eateries include: Los Agaves Restaurant, Brophy Bros., Toma Restaurant & Bar and Zaytoon. You can also expect excellent flavors at places like Cadiz Restaurant & Lounge, Arigato Sushi and the Sandbar. And of course, no California city is complete without a long list of world-class breweries and wineries. For some truly authentic west coast tastes, head out to the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Third Window Brewing, Santa Barbara Brewing Company, Grassini Family Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery and Jaffurs Wine Cellars.

 

Campgrounds and Parks

And of course, the beautiful oasis of Santa Barbara is home to a number of excellent campgrounds, offering RVers a wide variety of sites and amenities to choose from. Ocean Mesa RV and Campground is one of the most-visited parks and is a great spot for relaxing with onsite activities such as massages, nature and wildlife viewing and even concert series'. You can also look forward to Jeep tours, whale watching, sailing and outdoor excursions just beyond the campground. Amenities onsite include: back-ins, pull thrus, RV sites and full hook-ups, tent sites, 30/50 amp sites, fire rings and grills. There's also other campgrounds such as Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park, Fremont Campground, Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort and plenty of public campgrounds with various facility-offerings and set-ups.

 

Landmarks

Santa Barbara is a diverse universe of breathtaking ocean landscapes, lush vegetation and wildlife and events, but it's also a great place to enjoy some amazing landmarks. Iconic to the area is theOld Mission Santa Barbara, a joint effort of Franciscan vision and Chumash Indian labor, an founded by Franciscan Friar Fermen de Lasuen in 1786. Architectural details were reworked until the 1830s. Referred to as "Queen of the Missions" for its graceful beauty, the Old Mission Santa Barbara is the tenth of the 21 missions built in California, and features twin bell towers and has outstanding views of the city. You can look forward to daily tours of the site's remnants of early mission structures along with sacred artifacts, and the onsite gift shop features jewelry, statues and religious artifacts.

 

The beautiful Santa Barbara Museum of Art offers a rare display of the artistic achievements of a variety of cultures and periods. The site is the proud home of over 27,000 works of art and houses a collection that rivals museums in much larger cities in both quantity and quality. Particular emphasis is given to American, Asian and Classical art, European painting and sculptures and 20th century art and photography. Also onsite is a museum store, cafe and special children's gallery and offers academic, outreach, after-school and lecture programs for all ages.

 

And of course, no Santa Barbara trip is complete without a visit to the Santa Barbara Harbor, the perfect place to stroll, eat, shop and see the sights. The breakwater was completed in 1930 and provides safe harbor for commercial and private boats, as well as a gorgeous path for pedestrians to soak in the scenic view. The harbor has a number of shops and excellent restaurants, and the headquarters of the local yacht club and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Waterfront shuttles service the area to take visitors from the harbor to Stearns Wharf and there are several beaches within walking distance.

No matter what you enjoy doing during your camping vacations, your sure to find a host of excellent activities, attractions, events and foods to take advantage of. Make Santa Barbara your annual vacation spot. Hope to see you soon!