When you come to Santa Barbara this year, set aside some time between beach visits and seafood delights to delve deeper into the culture of the city. There are some hidden gems here of a unique nature that you’d love to see while you’re in town. Anyone can tell you to visit the beach, but only Santa Barbara locals know about these secret treasures:
Santa Barbara Surfing Museum
As a city famous for its beautiful and active coastline, surfing has long been a favorite pastime here for locals and tourists alike. Take a beach day to try surfing while you’re here, and afterward, take the family to get acquainted with the history of surfing at the interesting Santa Barbara Surfing Museum. The sport of surfing is actually very ancient—dating back all the way before 1000 BC—and you’ll get to explore this rich cultural history in one of the most unique museum experiences you’ll ever encounter. This is definitely one of the best Santa Barbara activities that you should experience!
This is a popular hiking destination, but you won’t be coming here just for plant life or water, like so many other hikes. This hike is special. At one point in time, the Santa Barbara Hills were home to a rich tycoon whose house fell to a forest fire in 1940, just weeks after he sold it. What was left behind after the fire was only the haunting skeletal structure of a once beautiful building. Today, it provides you with an excuse to go on a fun day hike in a lovely natural environment, and an interesting place to stop and eat your lunch at once you arrive. You don’t often get to explore the ruins of an age gone by.
Santa Barbara Orchid Estate
Orchids are one of the most beloved flowers out there, and for good reason. With their gorgeous white and royal purple color palette and the pleasant aroma they give off, they’re popular around the globe. Check out the collection here at the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, which has been open since 1957 and houses over a thousand varieties of orchids. Feel free to explore the estate, which spans over five acres, and buy your loved one an orchid to take back and keep in a pretty vase in your rental home during your visit.