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Santa Barbara Travel Guide


Santa Barbara Introduction


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Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara, California, is all about the outdoors. The weather is comfortable year-round, and visitors as well as residents can ride bikes, walk along the beach or take lazy drives into the hills or through the outlying vineyards.  Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santa Barbara Geography


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Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara boasts a stunning setting. Sandy beaches and rocky coves stretch along one side, and the vineyard-draped peaks of the mountains rise less than an hour's drive away. Because of the shape of the coastline, the beaches actually face south, and the mountains rise to the north. This sometimes makes directions a bit confusing for visitors, who expect the coast to be due west, as it it in most of the state.  Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santa Barbara History


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The Chumash Indians made their homes along the Santa Barbara coast (and the Channel Islands) for about 13,000 years before the Portuguese explorer Joao Cabriho (Spanish name: Juan Cabrillo) claimed the area for Spain in 1542. The oldest human skeleton found in North America was discovered on Santa Rosa Island, about 30 mi/48 km from downtown Santa Barbara. After Cabriho's landing, a group seeking shelter there on the feast day of St. Barbara named the area after her when they survived a fierce storm. European settlement began in earnest when Father Junipero Serra, traveling with the Spanish army, established a royal presidio in 1782. The mission was founded four years later, although a large earthquake in 1812 destroyed it and most of the town. A larger mission was built in 1820 with its bell tower completed in 1833.  Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santa Barbara Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Santa Barbara's biggest attraction is the beach. If you're a sun worshipper, you may want to park your towel near Stearns Wharf and spend your first day there. Even if you prefer the shade, start your visit with a brief stroll along the waterfront.  Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santa Barbara Nightlife


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Santa Barbara's nightlife scene is rather sedate, but the city does have some lively bars in the downtown area. Along State Street, and within walking distance from each other, you will find a variety of sports bars (O'Malley's, for example), pubs (such as the James Joyce) and clubs (such as Eos Lounge). You will also find that the average patron age is younger than 30, as State Street draws the masses from local colleges.  Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santa Barbara Restaurants & Dining


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"Adventurous" is an apt description of the cuisine served in many of Santa Barbara's award-winning restaurants. Santa Barbara chefs are known for using fresh ingredients, such as locally caught fish and organically grown produce, and preparing them with a twist.   Click here to see the full Santa Barbara travel guide on Travel42 »

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