Know Before You Go

If arriving by cruise ship, you enter beautiful Santa Barbara Harbor and dock 1.5 miles offshore from Santa Barbara Harbor’s entrance. Passengers take a tender to Sea Landing where they are greeted by our Hospitality Team, a friendly and knowledgeable group that will answer any questions you have about Santa Barbara. Hospitality tents are located along Cabrillo Boulevard, and across from Bath Street. All pre-arranged Shore Excursions also depart from this location. 

For those who prefer to explore on their own, there are several modes of transportation available. One can walk from Sea Landing to the Harbor or Stearn’s Wharf where they will find a variety of restaurants, shops and museums. On Sundays, enjoy the Santa Barbara Art Walk located along Carbrillo Blvd. Also located across from the waterfront and in downtown Santa Barbara is the Urban Wine Trail. From Sea Landing you can walk to many tasting rooms along the Urban Wine Trail. 

Getting from the waterfront to downtown Santa Barbara is a snap. You can jump on the $0.50 MTD Downtown Waterfront Shuttle or hire a pedicab – several are conveniently stationed by the hospitality tent. For the walking enthusiast, you can walk down to State Street, turn left, go under the overpass and you will reach the downtown area.

If you opt to take the MTD Downtown Waterfront Shuttle (also known as the electric shuttle), we encourage you to get off at Sola Street (the furthest drop off point) and make your way back down State Street (towards the water). Downtown Santa Barbara is 14 blocks of interesting shops, galleries, cafes, clubs, theatres and historic sites. Many beautiful paseos can be found on or near State Street, most notably La Arcada and El Paseo. Also one block off State Street you will find many of Santa Barbara’s historic sites, such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, El Presidio, and Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

While in Santa Barbara, take a side trip to one of our many neighboring cities, including Goleta and Carpinteria. Goleta is just 15 miles north of Santa Barbara and is known as "The Good Land." Here visitors can check out Fairview Gardens, Goleta Beach Park, golf courses, Stow House, Lake Los Carneros and the monarch butterflies at the Ellwood Mesa. In the other direction one will find Carpinteria, a quaint beach town 12 miles south of Santa Barbara. Things not to miss include the Carpinteria State Beach, Tomol Interpretive Play Area, Harbor Seal Sanctuary, Orchid estates, Carpinteria Valley Museum of History and the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

Santa Barbara has wonderful weather year-round, and this can be attributed to our unique south-facing orientation and protection from the Channel Islands. Santa Barbara averages 300 days of sunshine per year and daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-60’s to the mid-70’s. Click here for more information on weather.

The attire for Santa Barbara is reflective of its comfortable and casual style. However, depending on your evening outing, something dressier may be required. Layered clothing is recommended as during the day you will be happy with short sleeves (seaside areas are drier while the wine country and valley regions are hotter) but early mornings, evenings and nights are cooler enough for a sweater.


Within Santa Barbara County
Carpinteria: 13 mi / 21 km
Channel Islands National Park: 22 mi / 35 km
Goleta: 9 mi / 14 km
Montecito: 7 mi / 10 km
Santa Barbara County Wine Country: 31 mi / 50 km
Solvang: 46 mi / 74 km

Outside of Santa Barbara County
Disneyland: 111 mi / 179 km
Hearst Castle: 151 mi / 243 km
Hollywood: 89 mi / 142 km
LAX (Los Angeles International Airport): 99 mi / 160 km
Las Vegas, NV: 370 mi / 592 km
Monterey: 249 mi / 401 km
San Diego: 216 mi / 348 km
San Francisco: 337 mi / 542 km
San Luis Obispo: 104 mi / 167 km
Yosemite: 336 mi / 538 km

Check out our mobile website

The new Santa Barbara mobile website lets you plan on the go or be on the go from the minute you get to Santa Barbara. Use it to find information and images essential in planning your next visit. And while you're here, use the mobile site to find out the best places to eat, dine, stay and the activities best suited for you.