Santa Barbara's Ultimate Summer Activity Guide

Get ready to bask in the sun and create unforgettable memories, because Santa Barbara's summer scene is filled with excitement! Whether you're a local seeking new adventures or a visitor eager to explore the city's charm, our Ultimate Summer Activity Guide has you covered. From relaxing beach days to thrilling outdoor adventures, cultural festivals, and family-friendly museums, Santa Barbara offers a variety of activities to suit every taste and preference. Join us as we explore the best that Santa Barbara has to offer during the sunny days of summer!


Santa Barbara has some of the best beaches in California, each offering unique experiences. East Beach is popular for volleyball and its palm-lined promenade, while West Beach is ideal for paddleboarding and kayaking near the harbor. Leadbetter Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Santa Barbara. It attracts surfers and students with its extensive beach area and surrounding grassy area. Butterfly Beach in Montecito is known for its peaceful ambiance and picturesque sunsets. Hendry's Beach, or Arroyo Burro Beach, is a dog-friendly favorite with a beachfront restaurant. Summerland Beach is also a popular beach known for its laid-back vibe and large amount of amenities. Lastly, Miramar Beach in Montecito is a local gem and a hidden spot that is perfect for beachcombing and its tide pools. Each beach caters to different interests, ensuring there's something for everyone along Santa Barbara's coast.


Santa Barbara offers a variety of hiking trails catering to all levels of hikers. Each trail provides unique experiences and stunning views. Popular trails include Inspiration Point, which offers panoramic views of the ocean and city; Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, known for its lush environment and creek; and Seven Falls Trail, featuring cascading waterfalls and natural pools. Montecito's Cold Spring Trail and Hot Springs Canyon Trail provide stunning views of the mountains and lush landscape as you make your way to natural pools to swim. The Channel Islands National Park offers remote, pristine hiking adventures accessible by boat. Santa Barbara's trails are perfect for exploring the area's natural beauty.

Water Activities 

Santa Barbara, located by the ocean, offers various water activities such as swimming, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, and whale watching tours. The city has beaches like East Beach, West Beach, and Leadbetter Beach, which are great for swimming, while spots like Arroyo Burro Beach and Goleta Beach are perfect for surfing. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, popular options include kayaking and paddleboarding along the coastline or in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

In addition, there are companies offering sailing excursions and whale watching trips, allowing you to observe marine life in its natural setting. Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, Santa Barbara's water activities cater to all preferences and skill levels, ensuring an enjoyable experience by the sea.


Santa Barbara is a great place for people who love biking. There are many different paths for all levels of riders. You can see the ocean, mountains, and city views while you ride.

The Cabrillo Bike Path is a good choice for a relaxing ride along the coast from Leadbetter Beach to Butterfly Beach.

If you like a challenge, you should try the Gibraltar Road climb. It's steep and hard, but the views of the city and ocean are worth it.

Santa Barbara has many places to rent bikes and guided tours. E-bikery, our partner, can bring a bike right to your vacation rental. Whether you're a casual rider or serious cyclist, there are plenty of great routes to explore on two wheels.

Wine Tours

Wine tours in Santa Barbara provide a delightful way to explore the region's renowned wine country, nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. These tours typically visit several wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, known for its diverse microclimates and grape varietals, where you can taste an array of wines and learn about the winemaking process.

Coastal Concierge offers a variety of wine tour experiences, including a horseback wine tour. When you book an excursion with Coastal Concierge while staying in a Wanderlust Luxury Rental, you'll receive a free bottle of wine.

For a more urban experience, the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara features numerous wine-tasting rooms within a walkable area, perfect for sampling local wines without leaving the city.

Overall, wine tours in Santa Barbara offer a memorable way to enjoy the region's vibrant wine culture, stunning landscapes, and exceptional hospitality, catering to both seasoned wine enthusiasts and curious novices.

Enjoy a Picnic

Having a picnic in Santa Barbara is a great way to enjoy the city's beauty and nice weather. There are many parks, beaches, and scenic spots where you can have a perfect picnic. You can choose to have your picnic at parks like Shoreline Park, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, or Elings Park. They offer beautiful greenery, great views, and places to sit and eat. You can also go to picturesque beaches like East Beach or Butterfly Beach. They are perfect places to relax with the sound of ocean waves in the background.

Whether you're having a romantic outing or a family get-together, a picnic in Santa Barbara will be a memorable and enjoyable experience. If you want to make your picnic even better, our partner, The Picnic Place, can help you plan the best picnic. When you stay with us, you can get 10% off your picnic experience.

Kid-Friendly Activities

Santa Barbara offers numerous kid-friendly summer activities, ideal for families in search of fun and adventure. From beach days and water activities to visits to attractions such as the Santa Barbara Zoo and MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, there's something for everyone. Families can also explore parks and gardens, enjoy educational experiences at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and visit the Santa Barbara Sea Center. Don't miss the Free Summer Cinema at the Courthouse for outdoor movie nights under the stars. With so many options, Santa Barbara ensures a summer filled with cherished memories for families.

Santa Barbara Summer Events

Santa Barbara has a variety of summer events for everyone to enjoy, including cultural festivals, outdoor concerts, and food fairs. The Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration features a colorful parade with elaborate costumes, floats, and performances. The California Wine Festival offers special wine tastings on the beach and is one of the country's most popular wine festivals. The 5-day Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebrates the city’s history, spirit, culture, heritage, and traditions. Throughout the summer, there are outdoor music concerts, art exhibitions, and wine festivals, providing ample opportunities to immerse in the city's vibrant cultural scene.

Book your Santa Barbara Vacation Rental

As you plan your summer trip to Santa Barbara, don't forget to secure the perfect vacation rental to complete your experience. Whether you're seeking a luxury oceanfront rental or pet-friendly vacation rental, there's a rental property waiting to become your home away from home. Booking a vacation rental will not only enhance your comfort, but also provide convenient access to all the incredible activities and attractions Santa Barbara has to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Book your luxury Santa Barbara vacation rental today and get ready for a summer filled with endless fun and relaxation in paradise!