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With temperatures hovering in the upper 60s throughout winter, the town of Santa Barbara is a great location for enjoying the beautiful California coastline and all of the winter activities in Santa Barbara!

Celebrate the Holidays

With twinkling holiday lights strung between Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings, Santa Barbara becomes even more charming in winter. Enjoy the town’s lights with a ride aboard the delightful open-air trolley. With darkness blanketing the town and a chill in the air, sipping hot cider and singing carols aboard the trolley is a quintessential holiday activity. Taking place in early December, you won’t want to miss Santa Barbara’s unique annual boat parade of lights and the experience of celebrating the holidays along the coastline. Stake your claim on a viewing spot at Stearns Wharf or the breakwater, and watch as over 30 decorated boats sail, motor, and paddle by. Stay afterward for the colorful fireworks show and experience one of the best winter activities in Santa Barbara!

Observe Whales and Monarch Butterflies in Migration

With whale watching season falling from December to April and monarch butterfly season falling from mid-November to mid-February, winter in Santa Barbara is ideal for viewing these magnificent creatures. Whale watching cruises off the coast are popular ways to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Head to one of the area’s butterfly groves to see thousands of delicate monarch butterflies fluttering about. Usually seen clustered on pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees, their distinctive orange, white, and black patterns are remarkable to see in such large quantities.

Get Active

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy during a Santa Barbara winter. Take advantage of the cooler weather to tackle one of the many hiking trails in the area. Surfers will enjoy the larger swell that winter months bring, especially the challenge at Rincon in Carpinteria for more advanced surfers. Beginners can start at Ledbetter or Santa Claus Beach and enjoy the thinner crowds during the off season.

Book a Stay to Enjoy These Winter Activities in Santa Barbara

At Paradise Retreats, we specialize in luxury vacation rentals in Santa Barbara and Montecito, California. Whether you’re looking for a waterfront property with a private pool or a quiet retreat tucked away in wine country, we have a wide variety of options.

We live in paradise every day of our lives and you would think we would get used to the perfection of Santa Barbara, maybe even begin to take it for granted, but the longer we live here, the more we realize how lucky we are. Perfect weather, perfect scenery, perfect restaurants, and probably our most favorite perfect of all, perfect spots for shopping in all of the country; our perfect paradise has it all! And because we know how much fun it is to lug back suitcases filled with treasures we have hunted down on our vacation getaways, we are providing this list of the best Santa Barbara shopping spots, so you can find your own perfect haul!

Lovebird Boutique & Jewelry, 535 State Street

As much as everyone loves their hometowns, sometimes it takes awhile for the latest trends and fashions to make it to your neck of the woods, so a trip away can be a godsend for your closet—especially when you visit Lovebird Boutique & Jewelry. Offering the latest trends at budget-friendly costs, it’s also a great place to pick up a sweet-smelling candle for your Aunt Debbie who stayed home to watch your precious pooch!

Plum Goods, 909 State Street

Speaking of picking up gifts for the folks back home, Plum Goods is another spot we love to browse. Specializing in organic, American, and upcycled goodies, you can feel good about spending your vacation dollars on a stained-glass moon to hang from your kitchen window, or those darling beaded earrings your mom will want to wear every day!

Warbler Records, 131 East De la Guerra Street

Remember the good old days when you would sit in your room listening to your favorite singers perform their hearts out on vinyl? The good news is that records are coming back in style—even better is the news you can buy the best of your childhood from Warbler Records. Even today’s stars are praising the virtues of vinyl, and you can buy whatever you like at this vintage store, a unique place in our Santa Barbara shopping spots.

Punch Vintage, 1223 State Street

If we didn’t have to work to earn money for our shopping habits, every spare moment of our day would be spent right here, perusing the aisles for treasures we can’t live without! This award-winning antique/vintage shopping spot offers everything from the smallest of trinkets to the grandest surprises; you may not be able to purchase that mid-century modern coffee table you’ve been dying to own, but there’s plenty of room for that art deco brooch in your carryon!

Paradise Retreats Offers More Than Just Santa Barbara Shopping Spots!

When it comes time to pick out your vacation home away from home, you’ll want to choose the best. Choose Paradise Retreats and discover how the luxury amenities and comfortable extras we provide make all the difference in your vacation experience. Reserve yours today!

Even if you have never been to Santa Barbara, you still probably know all about the wonderful things there are to do here in paradise. From hiking trails to surfing the swells to fine art, fine dining, and community theater, our oceanside town is an exciting and vibrant place to visit. And as if that weren’t enough, when you combine the standard activities with some of the following special events, your California vacation promises to be one that you will never forget. Here’s a list of some of our favorite upcoming Santa Barbara Attractions that should not be missed!

Nam June Paik: TV Clock

This ongoing video art show is scheduled to end soon, so if the art of Nam June Paik interests you, you should be sure to visit soon. Held every day except Mondays until October 14, this innovative show will make you stop and think. Found at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, ticket prices range from free to $10, making this show a treat that fits into any vacation budget.

USPA President’s Club Final, September 23

September is a big month for Santa Barbara attractions and the US Polo Association President’s Club Final is a big deal! Starting at 2:30PM at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, the ball drops at 3:00PM and the fun continues late into the night. Ticket prices start at $12 for General Admission and can skyrocket up to $500; an afterparty held in the main clubhouse allows the opportunity to let your hair down and dance like there’s no tomorrow.

Santa Barbara’s Vintner’s Celebration of Harvest Weekend, October 12 – 14

Held at the Old Mission Santa Ines, this fall celebration offers it all: food, wine, entertainment, wine, the I Love Lucy look-alike contest, more wine, and of course, the infamous grape stomp to help make more wine. Vacationing in wine country has never been so great!

Cancer: The Urgency of Now, November 2

Isn’t it great when you can do something fun and do a good deed at the same time? This benefit show, with the proceeds going towards the fight against cancer, features the piano stylings of David Bowie’s pianist, Mike Garson. It is a two-hour celebration held at the Lobero Theater. Ticket prices begin at $45 and top out at $200; this worthy benefit may just end up being the highlight of your entire vacation.

Choose Paradise and Enjoy More Santa Barbara Attractions These Time of the Year!

Paradise Retreats offers a vacation experience that you’ll never forget through our stylish houses that still maintain a sense of home, luxury amenities, and the chance for more family bonding experiences. Reserve yours today!

California—and Santa Barbara in particular—is known for incredible weather year-round. However, like other cities on the west coast, Santa Barbara can still receive the occasional rain shower that might reduce your time outdoors for the day. When that happens, do not let it ruin your day; instead, find some fun activities to do indoors in the city! Here are some awesome Santa Barbara rainy day activities to enjoy:

Find the Museums

Santa Barbara is a city rich with history that can easily be explored in one of the many museums nearby, whether it is exploring the natural history of the region or the art movements that have occurred locally. You can find an educational, yet exciting activity at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. This museum is next to the historic Old Mission, so you cannot miss it. You will be able to interact with unique exhibits that will keep you and the kids busy for hours. They will come out knowing so much more about the local fauna and flora from Southern California. Or make a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where you can learn and view the different pieces of art that come from all over the world. History has never been so exciting!

Catch a Flick

There is nothing wrong with catching your favorite film on the big screen during your vacation. The Riveria Theatre is a single-screen theatre that plays independent films from all over the world. The hip teenager in your family will be thrilled to try something different. Or if the latest summer blockbuster is more your style, you can catch screenings every hour at the Arlington Theatre in its historic location downtown.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Of course, with Santa Barbara being so close to the ocean, you can expect to find all kinds of freshly caught seafood at nearby restaurants. After enjoying some of the many Santa Barbara rainy day activities available, grab a bite to eat! For fine Italian dining, check out Toma Restaurant and Bar and their incredible harbor views. Other local favorites include Los Agaves, Bouchon, Mony’s Mexican Food, and more.

Staying with Paradise Retreats, and Enjoying Great Santa Barbara Rainy Day Activities

You will find world class vacation rentals at Paradise Retreats, one of Santa Barbara’s most premier rental property management companies. We offer an incredible selection of luxury vacation rentals that will make your Santa Barbara vacation getaway one you will never forget. Give us a call today and we will find you the perfect vacation rental for your next trip.

So you’re planning some things to do in Santa Barbara and you have 48 hours to fill, but just aren’t sure how to do it? There’s no problem when staying in a Paradise Retreats vacation escape, because our helpful staff just lives for challenges like this one. Because we love our guests, we have compiled this list on how to best spend your 48 hours in Santa Barbara!

While It May Be Tempting to Sleep a Little Longer

When the sun begins to awaken you with its rays, you more than likely will be tempted to pull the pillow over your head and go back to sleep—but don’t! You only have 48 hours in paradise, and we’re going to fill as much of those waking moments as possible. Besides, you want to start your day out right with a hearty and filling breakfast at the Scarlett Begonia! Serving their famous Yukon Gold Cinnamon Roll and a large selection of breakfast goodies, their foods will keep your “engines” stoked for the next few hours of adventures.

After all that good food, a hike through the canyons of Parma Park will help burn off the extra calories consumed, and the views from the trails that traverse the park will feed your soul. Located off Stanwood Drive, it’s places like this that continually remind us that we do live in Paradise.

A quick lunch at Pickles & Swiss will stave off hunger pangs, but eat light; you want to save room for tonight’s romantic dinner at Bouchon Santa Barbara. The afternoon of your first day is meant for relaxing at Ledbetter Beach and resting your tired feet. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara in day 2.

Day 2 – Things to do in Santa Barbara

Day two is also divided into two parts, with the morning spent at Stearns Wharf. Start with breakfast at On the Alley, then continue the morning by visiting the stores and shops that make the Wharf so popular! Pick up souvenirs for your family, a cute new bikini for you, and if the mood strikes, check out the fishing equipment for rent at Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle. Fishing off the pier is allowed, and who knows, you may even catch tonight’s dinner! Families with children will love spending the afternoon at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Hang around until 5PM and the animals get really active for feeding time!

As the Sun Sets on Another Gorgeous Day in Santa Barbara

Dinner on the patio of your Paradise Retreats home away from home is a grand experience, especially if you’re grilling up the catch of the day. Watch the sun set over the mountains in the background as you chat with your family about your fun-filled 48 hours in paradise and be thankful that you were able to spend a good portion of your time in one of the most comfortable and stylish vacation homes in all of California. Reserve yours today!

The grace period is over. Summer has officially arrived all over the world! Planning a vacation during the hot and muggy months of summer can often be an experience you wish could have taken place in the cooler months, but when you plan a Santa Barbara vacation, you’re guaranteed an awesome time, no matter what the temperatures are outside! It doesn’t hurt, however, that summer in Santa Barbara is temperate and even cool, but on those days when the red line does climb over the 85 degree mark, these will be the best things to do in Santa Barbara to keep you cool and happy!

Head to the Beach

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the water is perfect at the beaches of Santa Barbara, beaches that are the most beautiful in the world. Can you give us any reason why you shouldn’t spend a day or two enjoying the cool sensation of ocean water against lightly tanned skin? We didn’t think so, and if you’re feeling the burn of abnormally high temperatures, there’s nothing cooler!

Visit a Museum

The history of Santa Barbara is a rich and compelling one, and getting a peek into our past with a museum tour is one of our favorite ways to kill some hours on a hot summer afternoon. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History lets you explore our natural side and if art is more your thing, The Museum of Contemporary Art will keep you enthralled for hours!

Grab a Beer

Cold beer and a hot summer day goes together like peanut butter and jelly; each are fine on their own, but mix them together and you create something magical! The Lama Dog Tap Room & Bottle Shop is our current favorite, but every brewery in the area has something special to offer, so if you’re out and about and happen to see one that piques your interest, go ahead and check it out!

Rent a Paradise Retreats Home with a Pool

Nothing beats a swim under the stars, and if you have rented one of our homes with pools, you can enjoy their cool comforts ANY time of the day. Greet the morning with a splash or say farewell to the day with a quiet float as the stars twinkle overhead; there’s never a wrong time to take a dip when the pool is in your own backyard!

Rent Your Own Piece of Paradise Today!

The best vacations can be made better with the right vacation homes. Reserve yours today with Paradise Retreats and discover the difference!

One of the best things about living in Santa Barbara is practically having summer temps year-round, and because those temps range between the high 60s and the high 70s, our visitors never have to worry about being too hot or too cold. Our weather is perfect, and when you’re planning a large group event—be it a family reunion, a college reunion, or a special destination wedding—Santa Barbara and our Paradise Retreats vacation escapes are where your thoughts should turn! And because you and your guests probably won’t want to stay home the entire trip, we’ve compiled this list of the best Santa Barbara summer activities for your entire group!

Horseback Riding, Captain Jack’s Tours & Events

Captain Jack’s is the go-to tour group for any group tours of Santa Barbara, but for a truly Western experience, their horseback tours are unbeatable! For an hour and a half your group can experience the wonders of waterfalls, the majesty of the mountains, and breathtaking beauty of the ocean from atop a glorious steed. If you do nothing else during your stay in Santa Barbara, the group horseback ride from Captain Jack’s should not be missed! Kids 7 and over are invited to take in the tour as well!

Grapeline Wine Tours

Personally, we couldn’t imagine a better way to experience the beauty of Santa Barbara than by wine tour—Grapeline Wine Tours, to be exact! Offering a variety of tours of the best vineyards in Santa Barbara, this activity is for the 21 and over crowd only, but don’t worry; there’s plenty of other activities that your littles can take part in! This adventure is perfect for a bachelorette party weekend or your sorority reunion!

Whale Watching Cruises, Condor Express

If you have never had the breathtaking experience of watching a whale break through the waves, this trip to Santa Barbara is where it all changes! Condor Express offers summer tours lasting 4.5 hours that take you to where the humpback and blue whales are known to congregate; you might get to watch some dolphins frolicking as well! Perfect for kids of ALL ages, the memories made in the waters of the Pacific Ocean will last a lifetime.

Santa Barbara Summer Activities

To be perfectly honest, our Paradise Retreats vacation escapes are designed to be a vacation experience you will want to never end. Spend hours by the pool, play a game of charades in front of a roaring fire on a chilly summer night, or create a gourmet meal in an outdoor kitchen as you laugh, talk, and soak in the beauty of another Santa Barbara night. The options for fun for your entire group are endless. Contact us today to reserve your vacation rental and start making memories this summer when you enjoy Santa Barbara summer activities!

One of the best parts of any vacation, in our humble opinion, is trying out the food that is special to the region we are visiting, such as Texas barbecue, Mexican food in Arizona, or any of the southern specialties that can be found in our southern states. When visiting New York, the opportunity to sample food of all nationalities makes us salivate, but at the end of the day, it’s the food you can taste right here in California that makes us the happiest. Offering a giant selection of international foods, homestyle American comfort foods, and even some of the sweetest treats from the sea, our Santa Barbara restaurants are amongst the best in the nation, and these upcoming food festivals allow you to experience them all!

Santa Barbara Vintners Festival, April 19th – 23rd

For over 35 years, Santa Barbara Wine Country has been the place to taste the latest wines and delicious foods prepared by top chefs from all over the world. Prices range from $25 for nondrinkers to $100 for early entry. For an additional $50, you can purchase a Vintner’s Visa and taste the goods at 12 different Santa Barbara Wine Country tasting rooms. Offering a bubble room for champagne, cooking demonstrations, and all the wine you can drink, this festival has become an annual tradition for a reason!

Roar and Pour Festival, May 5th

If you notice a trend in these festivals, it’s probably about the wine; we live in wine country and firmly believe that if you’ve got it, flaunt it! The Roar and Pour Festival is held at the Santa Barbara Zoo and allows attendants to stroll through the zoo watching the animals at their most lively while sipping wines offered from 30 different wineries and enjoying the creative creations of our local food trucks. Food truck meals are extra, but a VIP ticket can be purchased which offers appetizers to go along with the wine tastings.

Taste of Santa Barbara Food Walking Tour, May 5th – May 27th

Lasting for three hours and leading the way to six shops and restaurants, this walking tour allows you to burn calories as you sample the best our ocean town has to offer. Offering everything from chocolates to pastries and cheeses to Italian dishes, the Taste of Santa Barbara Food Walking Tour costs $85; reservations can be made by calling (805) 295-6867.

Life is too short to keep making lists and never crossing the items off, and now that the mudslides have been cleared away from Highway 101, it’s the perfect time to get that pen out and GO! The weather in Santa Barbara right now is as close to perfect as you can get, and if you’re not sure of where to start on your California bucket list, we have compiled this list of exciting places for you to experience!

Explore the Architecture of Santa Barbara and its Surrounding Areas

Mission Santa Barbara was founded just 10 years after the birth of our country, and if you love old churches, this is one building you should definitely make the time to visit. On the other end of the spectrum, The Santa Barbara Courthouse is a sterling example of California mission style architecture and is famous for the lavish murals that grace its walls.

Take the Time to Have a Drink

The Cold Spring Tavern was once a stagecoach stop; today, it’s famous for its game meat dishes, blues music, and its beer! Also famous throughout Santa Barbara is The Hitching Post II; if it looks familiar, chances are you have watched the movie Sideways. This wine country favorite was a scene stealer in that movie dedicated to our favorite beverage!

Man Can Not Live on Drinks Alone

Obviously, you need to eat as well, and when in Santa Barbara, you have to try La Super-Rica Taqueria, famous not just for its tacos, but for acclaimed chef Julia Child’s love of the place! For dessert, we suggest a trip to nearby Solvang and the Solvang Restaurant for their world famous aeblskivers! We may not know how to pronounce the name of this Danish delicacy, but we can tell you that this pancake/waffle dessert is one of the tastiest treats we’ve ever tried! Maybe you could add learning how to pronounce aeblskivers to your California bucket list?

Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch

If you have seen the Lonely Little Horse commercial on television, you’ve probably found the urge for owning a miniature horse of your own, and we can’t blame you. The Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch in Solvang offers the opportunity to purchase these adorable creatures-or at the very least, allows you to get some really high-quality pictures of them!

Cross Off Your California Bucket List!

Living in the lap of luxury during your Santa Barbara vacation ensures that this trip will be the one you never forget! Reserve your beautiful rental house from Paradise Retreats today and start crossing off those California bucket list items!

Santa Barbara is normally depicted as a beautiful coastal area with sunshine and sandy beaches, but believe it or not, every once in a while, there are Santa Barbara rain clouds. These clouds force us to seek alternate plans from lounging on the beach. But much of what makes this area great is the multitude of other outdoor activities not requiring sunshine. Here are a few ideas for fun on those less than perfect beach days.

Go to the Beach

Even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy the beach. Grab an umbrella, raincoat, and some boots and head down to the water’s edge. There is plenty to do at the beach even when the sun is not shining. As long as it’s not raining hard, take a walk, hunt for shells, play Frisbee, or make sandcastles. For your safety, stay out of the water, but otherwise enjoy your time in the sand!

Hang Out with Painters Like Monet

If you rather spend the day out and about, go downtown to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. This renown museum features works by Dali, Monet, and Rousseau among more modern masters. You won’t find better company anywhere. Take a look at some of the most influential works of art available at this amazing museum.

Grab Some Quality Craft Beer

Probably the best activity on this list—in our humble opinion, anyway! Head to The Press Room and enjoy a frothy pint in this cozy, local bar, or pull up a stool at the James Joyce and enjoy a drink while watching the world pass by on busy State St and shell a few peanuts; they have barrels of them there to kick up your feet.

Eat Like a Local Even in the Santa Barbara Rain

The locals do this every other day of the week, so why should a Santa Barbara rainy day be any different? If you’ve just left the James Joyce, make a sharp right turn and head directly into Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop for a hearty taste of England. Joe’s Cafe and the Dutch Garden Restaurant are two other solid choices for delicious, heaping servings of warm comfort food. There are so many restaurants in the Santa Barbara area that are amazing; these are just a few to get you started.