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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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30 Tours and Activities | All Santa Barbara Tours

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Private Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

Private Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

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155
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

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327
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.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$115.00
From
$115.00
Taking safety measures

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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$83.00
From
$83.00
Taking safety measures

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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5
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 Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure

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2
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

Private All-Inclusive Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Private All-Inclusive Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Enjoy the personalized attention and flexible itinerary that come with booking a private tour of Santa Barbara's world-class wineries. Leave the driving and navigation to your guide and enjoy being free to imbibe as much as you like during the four winery stops, from Solvang to Los Olivos. Through tours and tastings, learn about what makes this area of the world perfect for wine production and relax in one vineyard with a 3-course gourmet lunch.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$288.79
Price varies by group size
From
$288.79
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Group Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Private Group Wine Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country

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8
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$315.00
Price varies by group size
From
$315.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

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

Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour

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17
Santa Ynez Valley is known for producing excellent California central coast wines, and this tour offers a laid-back escape with tastings at three local wineries. Enjoy peace of mind with safe transportation to and from, learn about the region's history, and stop in the quaint town of Los Olivos to shop for handmade goods.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$139.00
Price varies by group size
From
$139.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

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

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10
Cupcakes and wine—a winning combination. On this full-day tour, visit three Santa Ynez Valley wineries where you’ll enjoy tastings and education about wine production. You can also choose to break up the wine stops with an olive oil tasting, a visit to a lavender farm, or a shopping pit stop at Los Olivos General Store.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.00
Price varies by group size
From
$159.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

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

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2
This guided cycling tour is a great way to explore the Santa Ynez Valley, while also getting some fresh air and leisurely exercise. Travel from Santa Barbara by luxury van, then set off by bike after your first wine tasting. Pass by local farms and ranches, take part in two more wine tastings, and pause for a picnic lunch.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$162.38
Price varies by group size
From
$162.38
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

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

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1
The ultimate way to explore wine country, this tour includes a private guide, door-to-door transportation, lunch, and tasting at three Central Coast wineries. Your guide will discuss local history and insights into Santa Ynez wine region along the way, and can help you select which wineries to visit based on your interests. You can also choose to break up the trip with stops at an olive grove, a lavender farm, or souvenir shopping.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$325.84
Price varies by group size
From
$325.84
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle
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Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle

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5
Discover the wineries of southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley with the convenience of a full-day wine shuttle service. Skip the hassle of driving yourself with this economically priced shuttle that also provides special access to winery specials such as wine tasting discounts and bites that pair well with wine. Choose from three winery stop options in both the morning and afternoon, and have free time in Los Olivos.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.00
From
$99.00
Taking safety measures

Join-In Social Wine Tour from Santa Ynez

Join-In Social Wine Tour from Santa Ynez

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2
Enjoy a social, fun day in Santa Ynez wine country in this join-in wine tour. You will make new friends and taste world-class wines from Santa Barbara. You will be pick up at your hotel in Buellton, Solvang, Santa Ynez, or Los Olivos and along with other travelers visit 4 small family owned boutique wineries. The groups will be no more than 8 people in order to keep them intimate. You will meet passionate winemakers, hear their stories, and see the beautiful sights of Santa Barbara wine country. You will also enjoy a tasty picnic lunch at one of the beautiful wineries overlooking vineyards. At the end of the day, you will be taken back to your hotel for a well deserved nap from a fun-filled day. Depending on the tour, you maybe tasting wines where Miles and Jack from the movie Sideways went tasting. Pick ups 10:30 -11:00 am Taste & lunch 11:00 am - 3:00 pm Drop offs at hotels 3:30 - 4:00 pm Bottled water and light snacks included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$235.00
From
$235.00

Exclusive Ghost Walking Tour at Santa Barbara

Exclusive Ghost Walking Tour at Santa Barbara

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8
Welcome to the city of Friendly Ghosts! A perfect way to end your evening is with a docent-led ghost tour. Our 1 hour and 30-minute walking tours have curated content from first-hand accounts. You'll hear stories from as far back as the Old Spanish Days and from the different cultures that have called Santa Barbara home. This tour is a traditional history and ghost/legend walking tour. Your guide has a diverse background as being once a tour guide on the Queen Mary and now a docent Old Mission Santa Barbara. This tour is organic and enchanted and not script-based. Each tour is unique and filled with imagination and at times encounters with visiting ghosts. Our ghosts do not come to stay...they return (many times during your tour) for a sentimental holiday. Are you ready to see a side of Santa Barbara that most visitors miss?
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$55.00
From
$55.00
Taking safety measures

Private Party Bus Tour in the Santa Ynez Valley

Private Party Bus Tour in the Santa Ynez Valley

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2
Come explore the Santa Ynez Valley and some of its best wineries on this 5-hour private party bus tour. Including hotel pickup and drop-off, travel on a comfortable party bus through Santa Barbara’s wine country. Stop at three wineries to hear about each wineries’ unique wine making process. Along the way, enjoy a 3-course picnic lunch, and sip on a bottle of Champagne. Your group can have up to 14 people.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
From
$245.20
From
$245.20

Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara
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Private Guided Wine Country Tour from Santa Barbara

star-5
2
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$375.00
From
$375.00
Taking safety measures

All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley

All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley

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29
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$145.67
From
$145.67
Taking safety measures

Small Group Winery Tour of Santa Ynez Valley

Small Group Winery Tour of Santa Ynez Valley

Grapeline was voted America's top rated wine tour on USA Today and has more than 3,000 5-star reviews across five California wine regions. Rather than having a rigid daily itinerary, Grapeline varies its tours to give guests a "best of" experience, accounting for gust requests, winery events, weather, and many other factors. Since 2002, Grapeline has committed to do one thing and one thing only - be the best wine tour company in the U.S.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$113.10
From
$113.10
Taking safety measures

Santa Ynez Wine Tour from Santa Barbara

Santa Ynez Wine Tour from Santa Barbara

star-5
1
Grapeline is America's top rated wine tour, with more than 3,000 5-star reviews across five California wine regions and voted "Top Wine Tour Company" in USA Today. Rather than having a rigid daily itinerary, Grapeline varies its tours to give guests a "best of" experience, accounting for guest requests, winery events, weather, and many other factors. Since 2002, Grapeline has committed to do one thing and one thing only - be the best wine tour company in the U.S.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$132.31
From
$132.31
Taking safety measures

All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara

All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara

star-5
14
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$166.63
From
$166.63
Taking safety measures

Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by Bike
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Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by Bike

star-5
62
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$161.54
From
$161.54
Taking safety measures

Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour

Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour

star-5
32
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$151.29
From
$151.29
Taking safety measures

Authentic Funk Zone Tour
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Authentic Funk Zone Tour

star-5
1
This authentic walking tour of the Funk Zone allows you to step into our hippest neighborhood with a local guide, to explore our hidden gem tasting rooms, as well as Santa Barbara's rich history which includes winemaking and art. This 2.5 hour tour includes: (2) Wine tastings at local winery tasting rooms that capture the spirit of this eclectic part of Santa Barbara (1) Gourmet Ice Cream tasting....made from scratch in Santa Barbara at our most famous ice cream shop and creamery -Fascinating historical insights about the artsy Funk Zone (full of murals and galleries), as well as our waterfront, wharf, the Channel Islands, and Santa Barbara's unique architecture *Tour meeting point is the Santa Barbara Amtrak Station 209 State Street, parking lot side of the ticket office.
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  • 3 hours
From
$125.00
From
$125.00