Ways to Enjoy Santa Barbara in the Winter

Zack Garhart
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Ways to Enjoy Santa Barbara in the Winter

Winter isn’t just about snow-capped mountains and frosty mornings; it’s also about sunny days, warm beaches, and vibrant experiences. If you’re seeking a winter escape that’s more about flip-flops than snow boots, look no further than Santa Barbara. Here are seven ways to enjoy Santa Barbara in the winter:

Soak in the Hot Springs

Looking for a serene way to relax? Find yourself a hot spring and soak for hours! Santa Barbara has plenty of hot springs to choose from, and many are easily accessible. Soaking in hot springs is soothing for the soul, and also good for the skin! You’ll find this experience to be refreshing and a great way to tap into nature. Some of the hot springs around town require a hike to get there, but we can assure you that the effort is worth it!

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Surf’s Always Up

Grab your board and hit the waves because winter in Santa Barbara means prime surfing conditions. With fewer crowds, you’ll have more space to catch that perfect wave along the coastline. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie eager to learn, Santa Barbara’s beaches offer something for every level of surfer. Plus, the chilly ocean breeze is sure to invigorate your senses! Some of our favorite local spots include Rincon Beach and Mondos in nearby Ventura.

Or, try your hand at standup paddle-boarding! This water activity is both calming and can be a great workout.

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Beach Bonfires and Sunset Strolls

There’s something magical about cozying up around a slow-rolling bonfire as the sun dips below the horizon. In Santa Barbara, winter evenings are perfect for beach bonfires with friends. Pack some marshmallows, grab a blanket, and get ready to lounge in comfort while enjoying the breathtaking views. Afterward, take a romantic stroll along the shore and let the sound of crashing waves soothe you.

Bar Hop Like a Local 

Regarding nightlife, Santa Barbara knows how to party all year round. Embrace the chill vibes that Santa Barbara embodies by hopping from one trendy bar to the next, sampling craft cocktails and local brews along the way. Some of our favorite bars include Dargan’s Irish Pub, and Mel’s Lounge. If dive bars are your thing, we have you covered there! Whether you prefer a laid-back beachside vibe or a chic rooftop lounge, Santa Barbara’s bar scene has something for everyone.

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Whale Watching

Winter marks the arrival of majestic gray whales along the Santa Barbara coast as they migrate south to warmer waters. Embark on a thrilling whale-watching excursion and witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and sea lions too!

Hiking Adventures in the Backcountry 

While other parts of the country may be buried under snow, Santa Barbara’s lush landscapes beckon adventurers to explore year-round. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails for an exhilarating trek through the picturesque backcountry. From rugged mountain peaks to serene waterfalls, there’s no shortage of scenic beauty for you to discover. Nearby Goleta also offers some incredible trails and state parks. It’s easy to get there, too!

Exploring Santa Barbara and want extra ideas on what to do? Watch this video!

Cultural Exploration and Artistic Escapes

Winter in Santa Barbara isn’t just about outdoor adventures; it’s also a time to indulge in the city’s rich cultural offerings. Explore world-class art galleries, wander through historic neighborhoods, and immerse yourself in the vibrant local arts scene. From live music performances to eclectic street art, Santa Barbara is a hub of creativity waiting to be explored.

Santa Barbara offers the perfect escape from those blustery, winter months, with plenty of activities and ways to experience the town!

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