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How to Spend 3 Days in Santa Barbara

How to Spend 3 Days in Santa Barbara

With three days in Santa Barbara, you’ll get a chance to explore the area’s natural wonders, immerse yourself in the local art scene, hike rugged coastal trails, and watch the sunset from the beach—and still have time to venture into the surrounding wine country. Use this itinerary to help you make the most of your 3-day adventure.

Day One: City Highlights

Devote your first day to hitting the highlights of Santa Barbara, starting with the city’s most iconic attraction: the Old Mission. Dating to 1786, this Franciscan mission features Spanish colonial architecture, a year-round rose garden, and an on-site museum featuring nine rooms filled with art, artifacts, and period recreations.

From here, head downtown to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which holds a collection of Victorian-era art along with sculptures, photographs, and other objects. The museum’s star attraction is the Portrait of Mexico Today, a mural created by Mexico’s famous David Alfaro Siquieros. To continue your exploration of art, check out some of the numerous galleries in the city’s Funk Zone neighborhood, which is equally known for its many local breweries and wine bars that showcase local treats. Finish off your day with dinner at Stearns Wharf, a pier chock-full of seafood restaurants with views over the harbor.

Day Two: The Natural World

Spend your day exploring Santa Barbara’s natural world. Start by learning about local ecosystems at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which chronicles the animals, birds, insects, and aquatic life in the area—there’s even a to-scale replica of a blue whale skeleton.

Then, hop over to the Santa Barbara botanic garden to take in Southern California’s rich plant life. The garden includes more than five miles of trails offering up gorgeous coastal views. After your visit, grab a few picnic supplies and make your way to the beach: Area options include the 15-acre Shoreline Park, full of grassy areas and viewpoints, as well as Leadbetter Beach, a popular sunbathing and surfing spot loved by locals that makes a great place to watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.

Day Three: Santa Ynez Wine Country

Finish off a 3-day trip by visiting the Santa Barbara’s celebrated local wine country. While there are plenty of wine-rich areas in the greater region to visit, each with its own appellation, the Santa Ynez Valley typically beckons most first-timers.

The town of Santa Ynez itself offers plenty of tasting rooms, as does Los Olivios to the north. Bicycle tours appeal to active travelers, but anyone planning on doing a lot of drinking is better off joining a tour with a hired driver. While in the area, stop in Solvang, just west of Santa Ynez. This town, founded by Danish-Americans looking to escape the cold of the Midwest, is full of half-timbered architecture that seems far more Californian than Scandinavian, plus all sorts of Danish shops, restaurants, and bakeries.

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29 Tours and Activities

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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour

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29
A beautiful, scenic tour of California’s Central Coast Wine Region perfect for any wine lover! This Santa Ynez wine tour features tastings are three local wineries, lunch in the Santa Ynez Valley*, door-to-door shuttle service and a knowledgeable guide for the day. Wineries visited will vary based on availability. Your guide will discuss local history and insights into the Santa Ynez wine region along the way. *Please Note: Lunch is not included on Saturdays or Sundays due to winery restrictions on weekends. There will be lunch options available for purchase at the wineries.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$169.00
From
$169.00

Small-Group Santa Barbara Wine Tour (MAX 7 GUESTS) to Private Locations
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Small-Group Santa Barbara Wine Tour (MAX 7 GUESTS) to Private Locations

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Tour Santa Barbara wine country with a private guide on this full day outing. Perfect for couples and small groups who appreciate exclusivity, this tour visits intimate, family-owned vineyards not typically open to the general public. Get the VIP treatment with tours of the cellars and vineyards, often with the owners themselves. You’ll never stand at a crowded tasting bar on this tour—it’s red carpet treatment all the way.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$193.47
From
$193.47

Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley
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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley

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The Vineyard Picnic Tour is an all-inclusive wine tasting tour featuring three wineries in Santa Barbara Wine Country, in the Santa Ynez Valley. Join in with other like-minded wine enthusiasts for a relaxing day among the vineyards, sampling wines, seeing the wine making process, and savoring a picnic lunch at one of the wineries. A catered picnic lunch, served at a winery, is included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$145.67
From
$145.67

Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

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203
Explore Santa Barbara by electric bike, covering plenty of ground on a morning or afternoon excursion. Ride your easy-to-use beach cruiser to key landmarks such as State Street and the Santa Barbara Mission as your knowledgeable guide shares the city’s history during this Santa Barbara bike tour. Have your camera ready as you glide along the renowned Pacific coastline. Numbers are limited to five people, ensuring personalized attention and a small-group experience.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$95.00
Price varies by group size
From
$95.00
Price varies by group size

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

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381
Eat delicious lunch food, drink great drinks and learn about downtown Santa Barbara on this 3.5ish-hour walking tour. Indulge your palate for a few hours with sipping, sampling, and savoring. You will enjoy food from 5-6+ local eateries, 1-2 wine tastings or 1 wine tasting plus another alcoholic beverage (depends on the day, it could be wine, beer or a cocktail). Go where locals like to go. This fun, informative and local walking lunch tour is sure to pleasantly fill you up and entertain the whole family. Great for a daytime activity and awesome way to learn about other places to eat and drink on your visit! TOURS CAN EASILY BE MADE PRIVATE - please email, call or text us for more information regarding private experiences. IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE WALKING OR HEALTH ISSUES, please let us know, we do occasionally offer slower paced tours or please consider a private tour experience to meet your comfort level.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$130.00
From
$130.00

Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour

Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour

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Avoid the stuffy minivans and tour buses that go from winery to winery; instead, enjoy the wind in your hair as you cycle around the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley on this charming cycling tour. Head out from Los Olivos and explore the parks, villages and rural landscapes of the Valley. Enjoy a pair of wine tastings and sample locally-grown, locally-produced food at local farms and vineyards.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$151.29
From
$151.29

Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to ONLY Private Vineyard Estates & Wineries
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Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to ONLY Private Vineyard Estates & Wineries

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Many wine tasting tours in the Santa Barbara region stop at large commercial wineries with crowded bars and cellar door tasting rooms. Avoid the crowds and savor a more intimate wine tasting experience on this tour around exclusive private estates and small-production wineries that aren’t open to the public. Sample premium wines in private tasting rooms and go behind the scenes with winemakers and owner-operators to discover the secrets behind their wines.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$189.13
From
$189.13

Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle
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Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle

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Our Wine Country Shuttle service allows you to experience 2-3 wineries at your leisure for the day. At each winery you can opt to purchase a tasting or enjoy wine by the glass or bottle. Food options will be available for purchase either at the wineries or in the quaint town of Los Olivos. If you want to explore the breadth and diversity that the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country has to offer this is the tour for you! Our incredible guides will offer interpretation & history about the Santa Ynez Valley throughout the day.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.00
From
$99.00

Santa Ynez Valley Wine by Bike Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine by Bike Tour

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After pickup from your hotel, set out in the morning by luxury van to the Santa Ynez Valley. On arrival, the winery staff will offer a selection of wines by the glass or bottle while your guide prepares your cycling equipment. Once you're fitted with a comfortable bicycle, you'll pedal to the second winery & enjoy a delicious lunch*. You'll pass by beautiful ranches & other points of interest, such as Summerset Farm & Dale's Nursery & the quaint town of Ballard. Cold beverages & water are provided throughout the day. Our two most frequented favorites on this bike tour are The Brander Vineyard & Rideau Vineyard. Each establishment offers vintages & award-winning selections. You'll gain insight into specific blends & selections from the winery staff, including managers & winemakers who may appear at private tours. *Lunch is not included on Saturdays or Sundays due to winery restrictions on weekends. There will be lunch options available for purchase at the wineries.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$189.00
From
$189.00

Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara
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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara

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Enjoy a picnic and some of Santa Barbara’s best local wines. Tour four vineyards, and sample a variety of wines at each one. See the wine-making process for yourself with a behind-the-scenes explanation from a winemaker. The best vineyards are selected depending on the time of year you visit, so you see a range of wineries with different atmospheres and strengths.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$166.63
From
$166.63

Santa Ynez Valley Cupcake and Wine Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Cupcake and Wine Tour

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This wine tour features a delicious sampling of cupcakes from a local bakery. Your group will be picked up by an air-conditioned shuttle in the morning. We will preview the day and head up to Santa Ynez Valley. Once there, you will enjoy wine tasting at three of the area's best wineries. Wineries visited vary based on availability. Your group will visit beautiful Los Olivos and enjoy an incredible cupcake and wine tasting. Your guides will cover local human history and insight into the wine region along the way. Included: - Pick Up from Your Hotel - Cupcake tasting - All wine tasting fees - you will visit 3 wineries of those listed - Deli-style lunch (Not included on Saturdays or Sundays due to winery restrictions on weekends. There will be lunch options available for purchase at the wineries.)
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$179.00
From
$179.00

Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara

Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara

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Relax and enjoy a wine tour with your family and friends. We work with 25+ wineries, so the route varies from day to day and is tailored to your group’s preferences. Choose up to four wineries from our list of small production and family-owned wineries, or simply tell us your wine preferences and we will do all the work for you. We visit estate wineries on this tour. *Please provide your email at the time of booking for important tour updates. *Gratuities are not included. Please tip your guide.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$375.00
From
$375.00

Exclusive Ghost Walking Tour at Santa Barbara

Exclusive Ghost Walking Tour at Santa Barbara

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Learn all about Santa Barbara’s wealth of history—including its many ghostly encounters and macabre events—on this small-group, after-dark walking tour. Meet your guide right downtown, and set off: you’ll visit key local landmarks like the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, City Hall, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and more. You’ll even visit what is supposedly the most haunted building in California—and may just encounter disembodied specters as you go.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$55.00
From
$55.00

Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure

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Make Santa Barbara your game board with a 3-hour scavenger hunt adventure for a team of 2–5 people. Use a smart phone to follow a series of locally-themed clues that lead to fun challenges with your friends and family. Trace a 2-mile route past historic monuments, seaside neighborhoods and hidden gems to get an insider's look at the city. Rack up points to compete against prior scavenger hunt teams, or simply enjoy the self-guided tour at your own pace, with plenty of stops to eat, drink and sightsee.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$20.52
Price varies by group size
From
$20.52
Price varies by group size

Wine Country Half-Day Bike Tour from Solvang - w/o Lunch

Wine Country Half-Day Bike Tour from Solvang - w/o Lunch

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Santa Barbara Wine Country is one of California’s most diverse wine-growing regions, renowned for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon exploring the vineyards, orchards, and olive groves on this half-day bike tour. Along the way, stop to sample a variety of red and white wines, as well as local olive oils and chocolates, and learn more about the region’s wine-making heritage.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$155.00
From
$155.00

Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by Bike

Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by Bike

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72
Ride through the towns and vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley wine region on this bike tour with transport from Santa Barbara. With a guide, you'll pedal a Rad Power E-bike or Specialized Sport bike to a winery and other spots for wine tastings, an olive-oil tasting, and an Italian-inspired picnic lunch. A bike tour allows you to enjoy better views of the scenery than from inside a car, and three different distance options are offered to suit your ability and preference.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$189.00
From
$189.00

Private Group Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Private Group Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

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9
Explore Santa Barbara's wine country on a private tour for just you and your group of friends or family. You'll visit four wineries for wine tastings of different varietals, plus enjoy a provided lunch. Up to 14 people can be accommodated with pickup and drop-off in Santa Barbara or surrounding towns.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$315.00
Price varies by group size
From
$315.00
Price varies by group size

Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food and Photo Tour
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Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food and Photo Tour

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Indulge your passions for food, photography and fun during this 3-hour, small-group, culinary and picture-taking tour in Santa Barbara. Dig into some tasty food and drink during stops at three different local eateries, a microbrewery, two wineries and a distillery in the city’s artsy Funk Zone. As you snack and imbibe, you’ll get helpful tips to capture high-quality food photography using anything from a smartphone to a high-end digital SLR. This small-group trip, limited to 14 guests, includes a guide and all food and drink.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.00
From
$125.00

Electric Bike Adventure in Santa Barbara Wine Country

Electric Bike Adventure in Santa Barbara Wine Country

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12
Explore the Santa Barbara wine region by electric bike on a self-guided tour from Los Olivos. Your package includes a Pedego Electric Bike with carrying satchel, wine trail map, and cold bottled water. With an electric bike, you can cover more ground without tiring, and switch on the motor when you need it. Staff are able to make recommendations and reservations to customize your itinerary to your interests.
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  • 1 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.00
From
$83.00

Private Winemaker's Wine Tour of Santa Barbara

Private Winemaker's Wine Tour of Santa Barbara

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3
Explore the Santa Barbara region's celebrated wineries on a full-day tour designed for couples and small groups. After a convenient pickup at your preferred location, spend the day being chauffeured between boutique wineries and tasting rooms, learning about the area's viticulture from an informative guide, and savoring private tastings. Enjoy a midday picnic on the grounds of a vineyard estate in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley.  
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$385.00
Price varies by group size
From
$385.00
Price varies by group size

Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country
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Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

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Visit wineries that are not open to the public on this exclusive wine tasting tour. Drive through the scenic Santa Ynez Valley and visit small, family-owned establishments where you’ll taste wines and visit barrel rooms, often with the owners themselves. There’s never any standing at a crowded bar with other guests—all tastings are seated and private.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$194.12
From
$194.12

Private Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Tour
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Private Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Tour

star-4
1
This is a beautiful, scenic tour of California’s Central Coast Wine Region perfect for any wine lover! This tour features tastings at three local wineries, lunch*, door-to-door shuttle service and a knowledgeable guide for the day. Your guide will discuss local history and insights into the Santa Ynez wine region along the way. Need a custom wine tour for your group? Our office is happy to help! If you want something special, let us know and we can build a custom profile for your wine tour. *Please Note: Lunch is not included on Saturdays or Sundays due to winery restrictions on weekends. There will be lunch options available for purchase at the wineries.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$329.00
Price varies by group size
From
$329.00
Price varies by group size

Authentic Funk Zone Tour
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Authentic Funk Zone Tour

star-4.5
2
The Funk Zone (a business, arts, and culture district located just moments from the beach) is one of Santa Barbara’s hippest and most distinctive neighborhoods—and this small-group walking tour makes it easy to discover its highlights. Meet right outside the train station, and come thirsty: you’ll sip the fruits of local vineyards at two different wine tasting rooms. Other stops include an ice cream parlor, plus artsy neighborhood landmarks.
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  • 3 hours
From
$125.00
From
$125.00

Private 10-hour tour to Santa Barbara & Solvang from Los Angeles - Hotel pick up

Private 10-hour tour to Santa Barbara & Solvang from Los Angeles - Hotel pick up

Swap the LA hubbub for Mediterranean cool and Danish calm without even leaving the state on this full-day tour to Santa Barbara and Solvang. Learn about Santa Barbara’s Spanish heritage as you stroll between palms and white facades, then discover Danish architecture and replica landmarks in the charming town of Solvang. Benefit from your private guide’s personalized attention throughout and enjoy hassle-free transfer with hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$729.72
Price varies by group size
From
$729.72
Price varies by group size