Santa Barbara

Often called the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara, an old Spanish mission town, is sandwiched between the Pacific Coast and the mountains of the Santa Ynez Valley. The sky is so blue it’s almost purple, the beach is lined with palm trees, and the lush, green foothills are dotted with beautiful, Spanish-style homes. Nicknamed the “South Coast” due to its south-facing coastline, Santa Barbara boasts views from sunrise to sunset and is home to countless celebrity estates (including those of Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe, to name a few) and palatial properties. With a Mission revival style of architecture adopted throughout the city, there is a distinct aura in Santa Barbara. The ordinances passed against billboards and outdoor advertising add to its unique clutter-free atmosphere. Explore the famed Santa Barbara mission and other national historic landmarks, or plan your trip for late June and attend the Summer Solstice Parade, drawing more than 100,000 for the city’s most festive event. State Street brings you into the center of town, essentially an impeccably clean outdoor mall with high-end shops, world-renowned art galleries and open-air restaurants, cafes and bars. The city’s historic buildings and Mission District are also located nearby. Adventure junkies can take advantage of beach and mountain sports like surfing, horseback riding and fishing. Foodies have their pick of the finest restaurants, authentic Mexican taquerias and fresh fish and farmer’s markets. And intellectual folk can shop for arts and antiques and go wine tasting in the valley. The weather is also spectacular, with temperatures during the day averaging between 65 and 80 degrees, making it the perfect getaway anytime of year.