Santa Barbara is located 95 miles north of Los Angeles and is approximately a 2 hour drive. It is known as both a beach and party town, although I am far more interested in the beach and adventure parts of it. So, below, I will go through my favorite things to do in Santa Barbara.
Island Packers Wildlife Cruises
One of my favorite things to do in Santa Barbara is to go on a Wildlife Cruise. The cruises are half day, lasting about 3.5 hours. It is $42 for adults aged 13-54, $38 for seniors 55 years and up, $30 for children 3-12, and infants under the age of 3 are free. Cruises are typically at 9:30 and 1:30 on the days they are available. And, the calendar is linked above on the text ‘Wildlife Cruise’.
The water out near Santa Barbara is very, very clear during the fall, so you can see dolphins swimming just below the surface.
It goes out to and around Anacapa Island, which is one of the channel islands, and is the closest island to the coast and is approximately 20 miles from Ventura. Ventura is approximately a half hour south of Santa Barbara.
Kayak through Channel Islands Harbor
Something else I enjoy is kayaking through the Channel Island Harbor. Kayak rentals are $12.50/hour for a single kayak and $20/hour per double kayak. On my trip, I saw sea lions. They look far away in the image, but I actually got a lot closer to them than the picture shows. Just remember though that sea lions are wild animals. So, even though you can get close to them in a kayak, I recommend keeping at least some distance between yourself and them.
Ostrichland is located in Solvang, CA, which is about an hour north of Santa Barbara. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for military, and $3 for 12 and under. It is $1 for a bowl of food to feed the ostriches.
Kayak the Caves Around Santa Cruz Island
If kayaking through the harbor is too tame for you, you can take a kayaking tour through the sea caves around Santa Cruz Island. The tour is $169/adult and $158/child through Santa Barbara Adventure Company. This only includes the tour–you must additionally purchase ferry tickets, which are also offered through Santa Barbara Adventure Company for $63 for adults and $50 for children. You can also add on a snorkel package to snorkel around the island before or after the tour. Having gone on the tour myself, I recommend staying on the island overnight or doing the shorter kayaking tour (1.5 instead of 3 hours) if you are interested in snorkeling as well. If you choose to stay overnight, please note that there are no hotels, only camping, and there are no pets allowed on the island.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Finally, Six Flags Magic Mountain is located 74 miles east of Santa Barbara, which is about a 1.5 hour drive. Tickets start at $65/person for general admission, and $119 for season passes.