Settled into the pristine central California coastline, Santa Barbara is a scenic and welcoming destination for travelers longing to come and explore a sunny locale. Surrounded by the stunning Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara enjoys an upscale and inviting atmosphere thanks to its Mediterranean-inspired architecture, luxurious boutiques, delicious dining stops and of course, appealing wine scene. Whether you’re one for a sensational collection of Colonial stucco buildings or can’t wait to hit the beach in style, Santa Barbara enjoys a wide variety of options to choose from. While travel to Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities is currently on pause in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, those with a passion for travel will find a long-list of at-home entertainment and exploration available. Here are a few to keep your mind engaged until it’s time to travel again.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Virtual Visit

Being isolated at home has a way of making everyone long for the great outdoors. When you can’t get out and smell the flowers, at least take some time to view them from afar thanks to the virtual tours being held through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Virtual walk-arounds are accessible on Director of Education and Engagement Scott Pipkin’s Facebook page. Visitors to these virtual visits will enjoy the scenery as well as encounters with bees and hummingbirds.

Santa Barbara Zoo Virtual Tours

A highlight of any trip to Santa Barbara is definitely a stop at the infamous Santa Barbara Zoo. While the zoo doors may currently be closed to the public, the virtual doors are wide-open and ready to welcome guests during these distant times. Keeper talks and behind-the-scenes videos are quickly becoming a popular alternative to an in-person visit and can easily be accessed via the zoo’s main website. With a new baby giraffe gracing their lineup of animals, you won’t want to miss the chance to get a peek at the zoo from the comfort of your own home.

UCSB Virtual Tours

Prospective students with their future hopes set on admission to the University of California Santa Barbara who can’t currently visit the campus can now take a virtual tour instead. This option is just as fun for those who are simply interested in learning more about this iconic academic institution. 360-degree panoramic views are yours for the enjoying and exploring as you “walk” your way through the dining halls, residence halls, recreation centers, University Center and beyond.

Wildling Museum of Art and Nature

Longing to get out and discover the best of the city’s innovative art exhibits but can’t leave home? The next best thing is to take a virtual tour of the Wilding Museum of Art and Nature in your free time. Simply check the museum’s website to take a virtual tour of their newest displays and additions and get ready to be inspired by all that’s creative. Nathan Huff’s painting installation titled Starry Nights is also currently available for viewing digitally and promises to please.

Hiller Hangar Talks

Travel beyond the boundaries of Santa Barbara and into the vast blue sky when you make it a point to participate in a Hiller Hangar Talk hosted by the team at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos. We might not be able to board a flight anywhere for the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about our future sky-high travel plans. The museum is excited to host a series of aviation-focused talks presented by flying enthusiasts and aviators on the Zoom platform during these unprecedented times. Talks run anywhere from 20 to 30-minutes total, are free of charge and include time set aside for questions and answers at the end.

COVIDfit

While virtual tours and attractions are sure to be inspiring, there are times during lockdown when it’s just as important to get up and get moving. To that end, those with a focus on fitness and health will be thrilled when they make the most of the resources available through COVIDfit. This site, created specifically for these challenging times, is filled with resources, videos, and options for making the most of at-home workouts. From yoga and ab-focused routines to virtual at-home boxing classes, COVIDfit is quickly becoming a wonderful virtual gathering space for those with a passion for fitness who are hoping to keep up with wellness in a time of uncertainty. This site also includes links to healthy smoothies and protein shakes that are sure to keep your energy up at home.

California Calling

At Paradise Retreats, we’re committed to creating unforgettable California getaways for all of our guests. Normally, we’d be booking up and preparing to welcome you to this sunny destination with arms wide open, however, we understand and appreciate the importance of staying home at this time. Please rest assured that we are with you from a distance as we all face these challenging moments together. When the country and world is open to travel once more, we’ll be here to make sure your Santa Barbara adventure is truly one of a kind.