Where To Find Hot Springs Around Santa Barbara

Zack Garhart
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With sunshine year-round and a great location, Santa Barbara has plenty to offer for outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond its beaches, there are great trails for hiking and hot springs for swimming.

In this piece, we’ll help you find hot springs around Santa Barbara.

To start, we’ll head over to Montecito Hot Springs. This tucked-away gem does require a four-mile hike, so it is not for everyone. But the secluded nature of the springs makes it a hidden treasure, and worth the effort of getting there! You’ll find cascading waterfalls at the Montecito Hot Springs, plus pools that vary in size and temperature. One of our favorite things about this particular hot spring is that it has been in use since at least the 1800’s! Take a dip in the pools and experience American history by seeing and feeling what the early Western settlers felt.

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Staying in Santa Barbara, let’s move on to Gaviota Hot Springs. Roughly thirty miles away from Santa Barbara, this destination is worth the drive. This local favorite is right off a trailhead and less than a mile from Gaviota Peak. It’s a great way to unwind after hiking Gaviota Peak! The springs are not especially large, and they are also not too hot. But with a great proximity to Santa Barbara, and an easy route for access, we love the idea of taking a day to hike your way up to Gaviota Hot Springs!

Another great spot near Santa Barbara is Big and Little Caliente Hot Springs. This location is located in the Los Padres National Forest, and roughly an hour and a half from Santa Barbara. It’s off a dirt road that can get a little rough, so we recommend a vehicle that has four-wheel drive and higher clearance. Also, be prepared to cross a creek on your hike there. The hike itself is long (roughly 10 miles) and not for beginners, so consider setting up camp along the way. Lastly, watch out for poison oak during your hike. But good things come to those who work for them, and this one is worth it!

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For a more refined experience, head on over to Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Located in nearby San Luis Obispo, this is a prime spot to sit back and relax in luxury. The drive from Santa Barbara is roughly 90 miles but scenic and a great way to see another part of California. With packages that range from room accommodations to private hot tubs, Sycamore is sure to offer something for everyone.

If you see a hot spring on this list that requires a hike, consider checking out https://www.alltrails.com for information on closures and other details about the trails in Santa Barbara.

Also, this video is another great resource for information on hot springs around Santa Barbara. Check it out!

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