Whilst driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to San Francisco along Route 1, I stopped at Santa Barbara for a couple of hours to walk along the seafront and grab a bite to eat at the harbour.
Parking at the visitors centre was easy and it was a great location for access to the beach and the harbour if you’re doing the same drive (1 Garden St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101). Out of the car, we made our way across to the beachfront and walked towards the harbour.
Santa Barbara beach
From my experience of visiting California, all of the beaches were stunning and the one at Santa Barbara certainly didn’t disappoint either. It was clean, well maintained, really wide and more than inviting.
Making your way along the beach the first place you arrive at is Stearns Wharf which is essentially some retail outlets and restaurants on a pier. With only limited time to spend in Santa Barbara on our flying visit we didn’t make the trip along the pier to take a proper look however there was plenty to do there is you made time for it.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Arriving at Santa Barbara Harbor (Harbour!) was exactly as you would expect. Filled with boats and smelling like the sea!
It was more than pleasant and once past the main area of the harbour, presented a number of different restaurants and cafes to grab a bite to eat and drink at. With it being a premium location in the town do be prepared however to pay a bit of a premium as some of the restaurants here looked a little pricey!
We stopped at the Breakwater Restaurant as it offered reasonable prices and outdoor seating which was perfect. Being near the sea we had to eat some fish and what was served tasted excellent.
Santa Barbara was a really nice little town to stop at along our Pacific Coast highway drive. I’m sure the town has a huge amount to offer beyond the beach front that we didn’t get to explore however the beach and harbour alone were more than enough to create a positive impression on our road trip.
I really enjoyed our stop at Santa Barbara and if you’re making the same trip that I did driving along Route 1 then I’d certainly recommend adding this to your itinerary.