Santa Barbara definitely needs more than three days to explore and savor its beauty. But sometimes all you have is a long weekend to spend. In this case, our guide will help you plan your short vacation and get the most out of it, especially if you have only 3 days in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has a lot to offer, and with a good plan, you can turn those three days into an exciting vacation packed with entertainment and activities.
3 Days in Santa Barbara – Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara is a famous landmark that should be on every tourist’s bucket list. It’s blessed with great beauty and stunning setting. The architecture is mainly a reflection of the city’s overall design. Founded in 1876, the mission has been part of the Franciscan Order ever since. Today you can find some Franciscan friars living there and keeping the place tidy and neat. Chumash Indians built the church sometime around 1820 and included a Roman temple facade, twin towers, and art and sculptures from the colonial times. Don’t forget to visit La Huerta Historical Garden and the cemetery where over 4,000 notable Indians and Spaniards lay buried. If you have only 3 days in Santa Barbara, this is the place to go!
Stearns Wharf is at the end of State Street. Once you get there you’ll be met with the harbor, the beaches, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Built in 1872, this wharf was the deepest water harbor in the area at the time. The wharf is home to restaurants, shops, museums, and the Sea Center. You can spend the whole day here shopping and exploring the museum. You can do some fishing at the pier. No license is required. There is a bait and tackle shop nearby.
Santa Barbara Zoo
The zoo is always a favorite place to visit, especially if you’re traveling with your whole family for a short 3 days in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Zoo covers around 30 acres and has lots of attractions. The botanical garden with palm trees is a nice place to have a peaceful walk. The animals include lions, leopards, elephants, condors, gorillas, and other exotic animals.
Whale Watching Tours
Watching whales is the ultimate marine experience. Many visitors come here just for these exciting tours. The Santa Barbara Channel attracts over 27 species of whales and dolphins. Humpback and blue whales come here between May and November of every year. Sea lions and orcas also prefer this area and you can spot them on any good day.