Things To Do In Santa Barbara, CA
If you’re searching for romantic things to do in Santa Barbara for couples, you’ve come to the right place.
There are so many romantic vacation spots for couples worldwide!
Make time to explore and experience new things.
Santa Barbara – often called the “American Riviera” – is the perfect setting for a dreamy vacation with your partner.
This gorgeous city is considered romantic for several reasons.
The city’s Mediterranean-style architecture, palm trees, and beautiful beaches create a charming and intimate atmosphere.
The city’s year-round mild weather also makes it an excellent destination for couples looking to escape cold winters.
Since so many couples choose to vacation in this coastal destination, we’ve created the ultimate list of the best romantic things to do in Santa Barbara.
For that, we turned to Kyra, an actress based in Los Angeles and founder of Sea To Sequoia.
As a Californian native, we knew she could create the perfect list of romantic things to do in Santa Barbara.
The picturesque California city is located on the state’s Central Coast.
It has gorgeous beaches and palm tree-lined streets and is home to world-class restaurants, bars, and wineries.
There are also activities for all couples, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, rest, or something in between.
It’s no wonder there are so many couples honeymooning in Santa Barbara!
It’s the perfect bucket list spot for couples wanting to learn more about different cultures and try new things.
We received so many great questions for couples wanting to visit Prague.
Here are the top questions:
What can couples do in Santa Barbara?
What are the best date ideas in Santa Barbara?
What are some fun things to do in Santa Barbara?
If this sounds like something that will interest you, keep reading.
If you’re ready to plan the ultimate romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, check out our guide on the top activities you’ll want to do in the area with your partner while on vacation.
So, what are the most romantic things for couples to do in Santa Barbara?
Before we get started on romantic things to do in Santa Barbara, we wanted to have you follow us on Facebook for more tips! We also want to tell you that our blog uses affiliate links. If you purchase anything using our association, we might make a commission.
15 Best Romantic Things to Do in Santa Barbara, CA
You can’t go wrong with this city if you are looking for the perfect romantic getaway.
Santa Barbara has everything for every couple!
This charming city is full of exciting things for couples to do, whether it’s a first date, weekend escape, or vacation.
Kyra has discovered all the hidden romantic spots in Santa Barbara, making it easy for couples looking to make the most of their time together.
Let Kyra guide you through the city’s most romantic locations.
Get ready to experience the ultimate romantic escape in Santa Barbara!
Whether you plan on visiting Santa Barbara for a weekend getaway or a more extended vacation, these are some of the top activities you’ll want to include in your itinerary.
1. Watch the Sunset at the Beach
If you’re looking for free things to do in Santa Barbara with your partner, nothing beats watching the sunset at one of the beautiful sandy beaches in the area!
You can’t go wrong enjoying the sunset at any Santa Barbara beach, but let’s highlight a few top options.
First up is West Beach, which is within walking distance of the downtown area.
It is also where Stearns Wharf is located.
Either watch the sun go down from the sand or stroll down the pier to take in the views.
Another beautiful place to enjoy the sunset is Butterfly Beach, located in the small town of Montecito (a short drive from Downtown Santa Barbara).
This beach tends to be a bit more private than West Beach, so it’s a great spot to enjoy peaceful alone time with your partner!
Last, there is Arroyo Burro Beach – also known as Hendry’s Beach.
It is the perfect place to watch a romantic sunset out on a date.
This spot is about a 10-minute drive from Downtown Santa Barbara and is known for its beautiful coastal cliffs.
2. Stroll Through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Be sure to add a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to your well-planned travel itinerary.
This is one of the most romantic places in Santa Barbara – especially for couples who love to spend time in nature!
The garden has a 78-acre property that features a diverse array of native plants.
There are 11 sections of the property, including a redwood grove, a desert garden, and the Island View garden (home to plants native to the Channel Islands).
Keep in mind that tickets need to be purchased in advance online.
Be sure to book your time slot before visiting!
3. Set Sail on a Sunset Cruise
For those looking for romantic things to do in Santa Barbara at night for couples, this is for you.
There is no better way to finish a day of exploring Santa Barbara than taking a romantic sunset cruise on a catamaran.
As you sail along the beautiful coast, you can relax as you take in the waterfront views, the Santa Ynez Mountains, and the Channel Islands.
If you’re lucky, you may even see some sea lions, seals, dolphins, and otters!
Dress in comfortable clothes and shoes.
And don’t forget to take photos.
4. Visit the Mission Rose Garden
Is Santa Barbara romantic?
One of the top attractions in Santa Barbara is the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara.
Just across the street from the mission is the stunning Mission Rose Garden – free to visit!
If your partner has a green thumb (or appreciates plants!), they’ll love the impressive range of rose varieties.
Beyond the garden, there’s an expansive open lawn where you can view the mission’s flowers and the front.
If you want to increase the romance factor, pack a lunch and bring a blanket to enjoy a picnic among the roses!
5. Go Wine Tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley
Santa Barbara offers some of the best wines.
We suggest visiting wineries while you are here.
The Santa Ynez Valley – located in Santa Barbara County – is one of the most romantic destinations in the area.
It’s quieter than Downtown Santa Barbara and the surrounding area and is the perfect spot for couples looking to relax and unwind.
Santa Ynez Valley is home to Santa Barbara’s wine industry, and there’s no shortage of great wineries to explore.
Some of the top options in the area include Sunstone Winery, Roblar Winery, and Andrew Murray Vineyards.
Enjoy some wine tastings with your partner as you soak up the sun and take in the sweeping views of the beautiful vineyards!
Remember that many require reservations, so book your appointment before visiting.
Couples that would prefer to have a professional guide can also consider taking a wine tour of the region.
Many tours offer pick up and drop off at your hotel, so you can kick back as you enjoy the scenic 45-minute drive to the valley.
So grab your partner for a day of wine-tasting fun in the Santa Ynez Valley.
6. Spend a Day in Solvang
Solvang is located in the Santa Ynez Valley and is well worth a visit if you’re already in the area for wine tasting.
This charming and unique town has been dubbed the Danish capital of the United States.
There are many things to do with your partner as you spend a day in Solvang.
As you stroll through town and admire the Denmark-inspired architecture, you’ll want to snap a photo of the Solvang Windmill.
History buffs will also appreciate the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which is free to visit.
While it’s tiny, it offers some great insights into the life and work of this iconic author.
If you and your partner love sweets, you must stop by one of the local Danish bakeries to pick up a baked good to share.
You can also stop by Solvang Restaurant to enjoy some Ebelskivers (which are delicious fluffy Danish treats!).
For couples that want to enjoy some adult beverages while in town, Solvang Brewing is a great stop worth adding to your itinerary.
I recommend this fantastic food and photography-focused tour if you stop in Solvang.
7. Hike the Inspiration Point Trail
There are many great things to do in Santa Barbara for couples who love to spend time in nature.
For the hikers, one of the best trails in the area is Inspiration Point Trail.
This trail is 3.4 miles long and moderately rated – bring your hiking shoes!
As you hike along the course, you will get beautiful views of the mountains, the ocean, and the town of Santa Barbara.
This trail eventually takes you out to an incredible viewpoint.
It’s the perfect spot to snap a photo of you two together to remember your getaway!
8. Go on a Waterfront Walk
The Santa Barbara Waterfront trail can’t be missed for couples looking for a more low-key (but still active!) outdoor activity.
This easy out-and-back walk is 4.8 miles long, but you can enjoy as much or as little as you’d like.
This walk starts at the Santa Barbara Harbor and then leads you by West Beach and Stearns Wharf.
Soon after, you will walk by Chase Palm Park – an extensive, palm-tree-lined park that parallels the beach.
If you continue on the walk, you’ll eventually hit the Santa Barbara Chromatic Gate.
You’ll want to snap a photo of this vibrant, permanent art installation!
9. Enjoy a Candlelit Dinner at Bouchon
One of the best date night restaurants in Santa Barbara is Bouchon, located in the heart of downtown.
The space is warm, welcoming, and timeless; the food is some of the best you can get in the city.
Bouchon inspires French and Californian cuisine, featuring decadent dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant is also well-known for its extensive wine list, which solely features wine from vineyards in the southern Central Coast of California.
It gives diners a great opportunity to appreciate the Santa Barbara wine industry!
After dinner, split a creme brulee or a lava cake (or both!) with your partner.
This is a popular spot, so make your reservation in advance online.
10. Sip Cocktails in the Funk Zone
The perfect date night in Santa Barbara ends with cocktails in the Funk Zone.
This industrial district is the heart of Santa Barbara’s arts and culture scene and is home to some incredible cocktail bars.
One particularly great spot is Pearl Social.
This dimly lit cocktail bar is cozy and romantic, with fabulous boozy creations and some excellent mocktails.
They also frequently have live musicians playing.
Another fun bar in the Funk Zone is Test Pilot.
This vibrant tiki bar offers an incredible selection of tropical drinks in creative-themed glasses.
You can also go to Topa Topa Brewing Co. if you prefer beer over cocktails.
So, Is Santa Barbara Romantic?
That’s it for romantic things to do in Santa Barbara for couples.
Do I think Santa Barbara is good for couples?
Santa Barbara is a romantic destination with plenty of activities and sights for couples, as seen in this post.
With its stunning beaches, picturesque mountains, and charming downtown area, Santa Barbara provides a perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.
Its rich history and culture also contribute to its romantic charm.
For those who enjoy wine, Santa Barbara’s wine country offers numerous vineyards and wineries to visit.
The city’s Spanish colonial roots are evident in its architecture and landmarks, giving it a unique and romantic character.
These factors combined make it a popular destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway.
Don’t forget about accommodation.
Let’s look into romantic places to stay in Santa Barbara next.
Romantic Places to Stay in Santa Barbara
Of course, a getaway isn’t complete without a charming place to stay.
Couples looking to be within walking distance of the main attractions in Santa Barbara should aim to stay around the downtown area or near the Funk Zone.
One of the most romantic hotels in Santa Barbara is Kimpton Canary, which is located right off State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
The luxury, Spanish-style hotel is artfully designed and has an incredible rooftop pool. It is the perfect option for couples who want to soak up the sun!
Another excellent option near Downtown Santa Barbara is Palihouse.
The charming boutique hotel has a great pool and other outdoor spaces to relax with your partner.
It’s a quieter area, a few blocks away from State Street.
One of the best hotels for couples that want to be super close to the beach is the Santa Barbara Inn.
It’s right across the street from East Beach, so that you can wake up to beautiful ocean views!
The Mediterranean-inspired hotel has a great outdoor pool and an on-site Italian restaurant.
If you don’t mind being a bit farther away from the action, one of the top-rated (and most romantic) luxury resorts in Santa Barbara is El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel.
The Spanish Colonial-style hotel has a beautifully landscaped property that offers breathtaking views of the area.
There’s also an incredible outdoor infinity pool and an excellent spa on-site for couples looking to relax and recharge fully.
When is the Best Time to Visit Santa Barbara?
So you’re sold – you will vacation in Santa Barbara with your partner!
But when should you visit?
Good news, there isn’t a wrong time to visit.
The California destination has excellent weather year-round, so booking a Santa Barbara vacation is always a good time!
That said, for couples that want to prioritize soaking up the sun at the pool or beach, the best time to visit will be between the late spring and early fall.
During this time, the weather is warm, the sun will be out, and there’s a low chance you’ll deal with rain.
Of course, since this is a popular vacation destination, the summer months can be busier.
The sweet spot for many couples is September and early October, when school is back in session, but the weather is still warm.
Remember that the weather is still mild at other times of the year, so couples can comfortably explore the area outside these months.
In December and January – the coldest months in the area – the average daytime temperatures tend to be in the mid-60s.
It can be lovely to be in Santa Barbara around the holidays, and the city tends to get quieter in January – which is excellent for couples that want to avoid crowds!
Just be aware that you may run into rain, so you’ll want to bring an umbrella!
And that’s it for things to do in Santa Barbara!
Will you be taking a romantic trip soon?
No matter what you choose to do, the city offers a variety of romantic activities that are sure to make your trip unforgettable.
We stand behind the fact that Santa Barbara is an excellent choice for a romantic escape, whether looking for a relaxing weekend or an exciting adventure.
So grab your partner and explore these romantic spots in Santa Barbara; you won’t be disappointed.
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