More Santa Barbara Style
Illustration of Santa Barbara

Illustration: Clayton Junior

More Santa Barbara Style

Dazzling beaches, quirky cafes, leafy hideaways—part two of our insider guide to Santa Barbara's special places completes our selection of unmissable experiences.

October is the perfect month to enjoy Santa Barbara, as the summer heat moderates, yet the sun is still high in the sky. Add a touch of glamour to the California Riviera experience with the Belmond El Encanto More Luxury package—and truly indulge at this acclaimed boutique hotel.

Secret beach in Santa Barbara
  • HAVE A SECRET BEACH TO YOURSELF - Frankly, there are no secret beaches in Santa Barbara, but More Mesa is the least accessed because it’s fairly remote. Located east of Goleta Beach and west of Hope Ranch, there are 150-foot cliffs at your back and the sparkling Pacific in front of this narrow strip of sand.
  • CAFFEINATE YOURSELF - Vices & Spices is a small neighbourhood spot that has been brewing teas and making coffee for 40 years. This isn’t the pretentious crowd with their fancy caramel/soy/mocha/goat milk concoctions. This is under the radar, a quiet environment for people who are serious about their caffeine. It sells 50 different bulk teas as well as spices such as fenugreek.
  • WATCH SIDEWAYS - The quintessential Santa Barbara movie is the wine-loving Sideways, not so much for the characters’ indulgent behaviour, but for the film’s portrayal of the county’s stunning beauty. Myriad movies have been shot here, including Seabiscuit and It’s Complicated, and many TV shows.
Santa Barbara's best surf spot, Rincon Point
  • GO SURFING - Rincon Point is still one of the best surf spots, with a long, long right break, and it hosts the oldest surfing competition in Santa Barbara. The swells are bigger and better in the winter months, but summers are fine for novice to moderate surfers.
  • GO TO JOE’S CAFE - It serves some of the stiffest drinks in town, which is exactly why it is so popular. There’s an old-school feel to the place that harks back to its 1928 origins, making it one of the oldest bars in town. Intriguingly, it is also one of the only places in Santa Barbara to have a neon sign in the front.
  • TAKE A WALK IN ALICE KECK PARK MEMORIAL GARDENS - This park-like garden was once the site of a private residence turned hotel. Alice Keck Park donated 4.6 acres to the city to make a garden in perpetuity, with a large grass area, many native plants, a turtle and koi pond, gazebo, and paths with beautiful mountain views.

In case you missed it, discover more things to do in Santa Barbara with part one of our exclusive guide >

by Michael Cervin