The Itinerary: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, often referred to as the “American Riviera,” is renowned for its stunning Mediterranean-inspired architecture, pristine beaches, and mountainous backdrops. Surrounded by vineyards and wineries, Santa Barbara is a wine lover’s paradise, with its diverse array of tasting rooms showcasing its renowned vintages. 

Whether exploring the extraordinary landscapes of the Santa Ynez Mountains or relaxing or taking in the cotton candy pink sunset skies on the golden beaches, Santa Barbara will steal your heart.

Here is our curated itinerary for a perfect day spent in Santa Barbara… 

6.30am – Wake up at Hotel Californian

Hotel Californian offers the best of both worlds, this urban seaside retreat is a few steps away from Santa Barbara’s palm tree framed iconic waterfront. It is also walking distance to the abundance of beautiful boutiques, restaurants and bars that Santa Barbara is beloved for.

The opulent Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is an ode to the city’s Spanish roots with beautiful intricate tiling, wrought iron accents, jewel hues, and rare custom furnishings from famed designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

During your stay, don’t forget to head to the rooftop and lounge on a terracotta hued chair by the pool with one of Hotel Californian’s delicious cocktails in hand. Take in the panoramic views of the sparkling azure water of the pool and the glitter of the Pacific Ocean beyond. This is the quintessential California dream.


36 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

10am – Whale Watching

Santa Barbara has been famed as a marine playground, thousands of visitors come from all over the world to experience its waters that are bursting with sea life. Over 100,000 sea lions have made their home in Santa Barbara as well as various species of dolphins and whales. 

Santa Barbara has been coined as a ‘Whale Superhighway’ as it is a fundamental migrain route along the West Coast for whales. Thousands of whales, including gray, humpback, blue, fin and orca whales pass through or stop and feed each year. In October 2023 The Santa Barbara Channel became a designated Whale Heritage Area, making it the second site in the entire U.S. and one of only seven sites in the world. 

Join Condor Express on one of its famous Whale Watching trips, there is no better way to spend the day than on a nautical adventure. Nothing can prepare you for the awe of when you spot your first gentle giant, we saw 15 humpbacks on our adventure. Watch as they roll in the seaweed on the surface, frolicking with one another and often closely tailing the boat. A truly magical experience that you will cherish forever.


301 West Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

2.30pm – Lunch at San Ysidro Ranch

Tucked in the leafy foothills of Santa Barbara, San Ysidro Ranch is an enchanting idyllic wonderland that is so beautiful that it has to be seen to be believed. The Ranch is like something from a fairytale with its 38 vine-covered cottages enveloped by perfectly manicured gardens where Monarch butterflies dance among the English roses and fluffy wild bunnies come out to explore at sundown.

With its citrus groves, olive trees, and the sweet smell of orange blossom and jasmine in the air it is hardly a surprise that San Ysidro Ranch has played a role in some of Hollywood’s biggest love stories.

San Ysidro Ranch has hosted pop star Jessica Simpson’s wedding to NFL player Eric Johnson, supermodel Lily Aldridge’s wedding to Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill and Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding to Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It hosted Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh’s midnight wedding vows in 1940 and was also the destination of John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon in 1953. 

Set inside a 19th-century citrus packing house, the Stonehouse Restaurant is beloved by locals and visitors alike and has been named #1 Restaurant in Santa Barbara by OpenTable. Under a canopy of sparkling fairy lights, on an oceanview terrace you couldn’t imagine a more romantic setting for a long and decadent lunch. Enjoy imaginative regional cuisine accented by freshly-picked herbs and produce from the chef’s organic garden. They even serve artisanal Hallstein Water from the Austrian Alps to drink and for ice, a rare delight in this neck of the woods.

If you are lucky, Claudia will be your server. She is a true ray of sunshine, preempting your every desire. If you ask nicely, you may also get a tour of the world-renowned wine cellar with Felicia the wonderful sommelier. The incredible cellar holds 12,000 exquisite wines curated from around the world. San Ysidro Ranch has been the proud recipient of Wine Spectator’s ‘Grand Award’ for ‘extraordinary commitment to wine service’, a prestigious distinction which has been bestowed on only 97 restaurants in the world.


900 San Ysidro Ln, Montecito, CA 93108, United States

4.30pm – Sunset Private Yacht Cruise

In Santa Barbara it is impossible to spend too much time on the water when there is so much to experience. A perfect way to end the day is with a sunset cruise on a majestic private yacht with Santa Barbara Sailing Center.

There are an abundance of yachts of various sizes to choose from, you will then be paired with a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain who will look after you beautifully as you explore the Santa Barbara coastline.

Cheer on thousands of dolphins as they chase the boat and wave at the layers of sea lions who are snoozing on the buoys. As the sun begins to set behind the palm trees and the cloudless sky is alight with deep pinks, amber and streaks of gold, take in the beauty of Santa Barbara in all its glory from the ocean.


302 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

8pm – Dinner at Lucky’s

After working up an appetite on the high seas, head to Lucky’s for some glorious comfort food. Lucky’s is an ode to the golden age of old Hollywood and has been honouring the classic American steakhouse since it opened in 2000.

It is adored by locals and reservations are highly recommended as it is guaranteed to be busy every evening. Lucky’s Montecito neighbours Oprah, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are also known to be regulars.

The succulent steaks are a marvel, especially when paired with Herbie’s Potato Skins which are served with lashings of sour cream and chives. The Plats Du Jour are a delight, a different dish each day of the week, from Chicken Pot Pie on Mondays to the Braised Special on Sundays. Every single dish is a winner, you will be counting your lucky stars all evening.


1279 Coast Village Rd, Montecito, CA 93108, United States