Where to Stay in Santa Barbara: Top Picks for Every Traveler


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Santa Barbara, often referred to as the “American Riviera,” is a picturesque coastal city in Southern California that boasts a Mediterranean climate, pristine beaches, and a rich history. With its blend of charming Spanish architecture and vibrant urban atmosphere, Santa Barbara is a popular destination for travelers looking for a relaxing yet exciting getaway. Your visit will be made all the more memorable by choosing the perfect place to stay, with options ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly inns.

The city’s diverse neighborhoods offer unique experiences suited to different types of travelers. East Beach provides easy access to sandy shores and is ideal for first-time visitors. Downtown, on the other hand, is the place to be if you’re traveling on a budget or want to be close to the pulse of the city’s shopping, dining, and nightlife. For a more laid-back and exclusive experience, Montecito and Carpinteria offer stunning accommodations and family-friendly atmospheres.

With so much to see and do in Santa Barbara, it’s no wonder this coastal gem attracts visitors from around the globe. Whether you’re strolling along Stearns Wharf, admiring the historic Santa Barbara Mission, or exploring the exquisite gardens of Lotusland, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories during your stay in this captivating city.


Accommodation Types

Santa Barbara offers a variety of accommodation types to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. In this section, we’ll explore different options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and hostels.


Santa Barbara is home to diverse hotels, ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly options. Top hotels in the area include historic Spanish Colonial-style properties, contemporary establishments, and well-known brands such as Hyatt and Motel 6. Some popular hotels in Santa Barbara are Haley Hotel, Villa Rosa Inn, and Ramada by Wyndham Santa Barbara. Amenities at these hotels often include:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Swimming pools
  • Parking facilities
  • Quality dining options

Bed and Breakfasts

For a more quaint and personalized experience, Santa Barbara has several charming bed and breakfasts. Staying at a local B&B allows travelers to immerse themselves in the city’s history and culture while enjoying a cozy, home-like atmosphere. Bed and breakfasts often offer amenities like:

  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Private rooms with en-suite bathrooms
  • Personalized service from local hosts
  • Unique, often historic, settings

Vacation Rentals

Travelers looking to stay in a more private space with added amenities can opt for vacation rentals. Santa Barbara has a wide range of vacation rentals, including beachside homes, cottages, and lavish villas. These accommodations offer the following benefits:

  • Fully equipped kitchens
  • Multiple bedrooms for families or groups
  • Outdoor spaces, such as patios or balconies
  • Privacy and autonomy during your stay


Budget-conscious travelers or those seeking a more social experience may prefer to stay in one of Santa Barbara’s hostels. These shared accommodations provide dormitory-style rooms, common kitchen and lounge areas, and often hold events for guests to meet and interact. Hostel amenities can include:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Communal kitchens and common areas
  • Budget-friendly pricing
  • Social events and activities

Fun Fact or Interesting Story

Did you know that the luxurious and historic Kennedy Cottage at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara was where John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier spent their honeymoon in 1953?

Things to Do

While in Santa Barbara, don’t forget to explore its beautiful beaches, visit the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara, and enjoy the bustling nightlife of West Beach. With so many accommodation types to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay during your visit.

Budget Considerations


If you’re looking to stay in Santa Barbara on a budget, there are several affordable hotels that
can help you save on accommodations. With the Santa Barbara South Coast being the beautiful and alluring destination that it is, many assume that it also comes with a hefty price tag. However, there are 17 affordable hotels in the area that cater to budget-conscious travelers. Look for lodging options in Downtown Santa Barbara, as this area tends to offer more budget-friendly accommodations.

  • Orange Tree Inn: This budget hotel offers clean rooms, good breakfast, and friendly staff. The average price per night is $139.
  • Mason Beach Inn: Known for its convenient location and affordable pricing, this hotel is within walking distance of the train station.


In the mid-range category, you can find comfortable accommodations with a few extra amenities. Some options include:

  • Santa Barbara Inn: Featured as one of the best cheap hotels in Santa Barbara, this hotel offers both affordability and convenience, located within walking distance of various attractions.
  • Casa Del Mar Inn: This charming beachfront property provides guests with comfortable rooms and a serene ambiance.


For travelers looking to splurge, Santa Barbara offers plenty of luxurious accommodations. Montecito, known as the coolest place to stay in Santa Barbara, has a variety of upscale hotels.

  • Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara: This iconic hotel offers stunning views, world-class service, and luxurious amenities.
  • Belmond El Encanto: Perched on a hillside overlooking the city, this five-star property boasts a serene atmosphere, picturesque gardens, and boutique-style rooms.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Santa Barbara is often referred to as the “American Riviera” thanks to its Mediterranean climate, white sand beaches, coastal mountains, and Spanish-style architecture? Experience its beauty firsthand during your stay.

Things to do

While visiting Santa Barbara, don’t forget to explore nearby attractions such as Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Take a stroll along State Street or enjoy the breathtaking views from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. No matter your budget, you’re sure to find an unforgettable experience in this coastal paradise.

Nearby Attractions

Santa Barbara offers a variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most popular nearby attractions, including museums, beaches, and wine tasting rooms.


  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Located in downtown Santa Barbara, this museum features a diverse collection of artwork from various time periods and cultures. Visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, and photographs while learning about the artists and their inspirations.
  • Santa Barbara Maritime Museum: This waterfront museum showcases the rich maritime history of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. Here, visitors can explore exhibits about local shipwrecks, surf history, and even participate in interactive exhibits.
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum: For history buffs, this museum offers a glimpse into the past of Santa Barbara, as well as the Chumash Native American culture. Various exhibits and archives provide detailed information about the region’s rich history.


  • East Beach: A favorite for first-timers in Santa Barbara, this sandy beach offers picturesque views, picnic areas, and water sports equipment rentals. It’s perfect for those looking for a relaxing day by the sea.
  • West Beach: Known for its lively nightlife, West Beach is the ideal destination for those wanting to experience Santa Barbara’s entertainment scene. The beach offers various sports facilities and is situated near the trendy Funk Zone district.
  • Butterfly Beach: Located in Montecito, the upscale neighborhood of Santa Barbara, Butterfly Beach offers a more secluded and relaxing experience. With stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere, it’s perfect for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Wine Tasting Rooms

Santa Barbara is home to a vibrant wine scene, with numerous wine tasting rooms scattered throughout the city. Some popular options include:

  • Carr Winery: Located in the heart of Santa Barbara, this winery offers tastings of a variety of wines alongside a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process.
  • Deep Sea Wine: This wine tasting room is located on the picturesque Santa Barbara Pier, offering visitors a unique tasting experience alongside stunning ocean views.
  • Jamie Slone Wines: Situated in downtown Santa Barbara, Jamie Slone Wines offers guests a sophisticated tasting experience focused on small-lot, premium wines.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Santa Barbara’s annual International Film Festival attracts some of Hollywood’s biggest stars? The event, which takes place in early spring, showcases over 200 films from around the world and is a popular attraction for both locals and visitors alike. So, if you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara during this time, keep an eye out for some familiar faces!

With all these great attractions and more, Santa Barbara has something to offer everyone, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler.


Family-Friendly Options

Santa Barbara has plenty of family-friendly accommodation options that cater to families with varying budgets and preferences. This coastal city is well-known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant attractions, and pleasant weather, making it an ideal destination for family vacations. Here are a few options that you can consider while planning your trip.

Budget-Friendly Hotels

Santa Barbara offers various wallet-friendly hotel options suitable for both big and small families. The Santa Barbara Hotel Group provides four different lodging choices where you can choose between hotels located right on State Street, close to the train station, or a short walk away from the beach. These options are perfect for families looking for a comfortable stay without burning a hole in their pockets.

Mid-Range Options

If you’re looking for more amenities and a slightly higher budget, consider the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. This 4-star hotel is situated close to Santa Barbara’s city center, providing easy access to attractions and beach activities. They offer free Wi-Fi access and a range of family-friendly facilities to make your stay memorable.

Luxury Boutique Hotels

For families seeking a pampered experience, downtown Santa Barbara is home to several luxury boutique hotels. One such option is the Canary Hotel, where you can enjoy thrilling amenities like private balconies and a picturesque rooftop pool. It’s also conveniently located within walking distance to various downtown attractions.

Things to Do

When it comes to keeping your family entertained in Santa Barbara, the options are endless. A few must-see sights and activities include:

  • Visiting the Santa Barbara County Courthouse
  • Exploring the Old Mission Santa Barbara
  • Wandering through the State Street Underpass
  • Strolling along the lively Stearns Wharf

These attractions offer a glimpse into Santa Barbara’s history, culture, and natural beauty, ensuring that your family will have a fantastic time exploring the city together.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Santa Barbara is nicknamed “The American Riviera”? With its Mediterranean climate, pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and upscale boutiques, this coastal city truly lives up to its nickname, providing a blend of relaxation and excitement for anyone visiting the area.

Romantic Stays

Santa Barbara, a picturesque coastal city in California, is a sought-after destination for couples seeking romantic getaways. The city boasts numerous intimate and unforgettable accommodations that cater to every taste and budget.

One of the top romantic hotels in the area is the Simpson House Inn, nestled within a Victorian estate, providing a serene retreat filled with historic charm. Another option is the Santa Barbara Inn, which is located right on East Beach, giving couples easy access to beachfront walks and stunning ocean views.

For a luxurious and indulgent experience, the Bacara Resort is worth considering. It features multiple pools, a top-rated spa, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

For quaint bed and breakfasts, Santa Barbara has plenty of options:

Each of these inns offers cozy accommodations, personalized service, and close proximity to the downtown area, making them perfect for romantic stays.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Santa Barbara is often called the “American Riviera”? This nickname is primarily due to its Mediterranean-like climate, beautiful coastal scenery, and upscale ambiance.

Things to do

While staying in Santa Barbara, couples can enjoy a wide range of activities, such as:

  • Strolling along State Street, bustling with boutique shops and restaurants
  • Exploring the Old Mission Santa Barbara, a historic landmark with beautiful gardens
  • Visiting Stearns Wharf, a lively pier with stunning ocean views, eateries, and local shops
  • Wine tasting at various wineries and wine bars in the urban wine trail
  • Taking in the sunset at Butterfly Beach or Hendry’s Beach, both providing picturesque settings perfect for capturing memories together.

With so many options for romantic stays and activities in Santa Barbara, couples can easily create an unforgettable getaway in this charming coastal city.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Santa Barbara offers a variety of pet-friendly hotel options for those traveling with their furry friends. One of the popular choices is the Motel 6 Santa Barbara, which is located just a minute’s walk from the beach. This motel welcomes pets and features an outdoor pool and modern guest rooms with cable TV.

If you prefer a more upscale option, consider the Kimpton Canary Hotel, which charges no pet fee and allows big dogs and multiple pets. This hotel is not only pet-friendly but also offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and a pool.

Another luxurious option for pet owners is The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, which welcomes canines weighing up to 50 pounds for a $250 pet fee. The hotel provides pet amenities to ensure a comfortable stay for both you and your four-legged companion.

For a more budget-friendly option, you can stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara Downtown, which offers pet-friendly rooms, free Wi-Fi, onsite parking, and a 24-hour front desk.

During your stay in Santa Barbara, don’t miss out on the wide array of activities to enjoy with your pet, including:

  • Strolling on the beautiful beaches
  • Exploring the picturesque State Street
  • Visiting the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse and Old Mission Santa Barbara
  • Spending a fun-filled day at Stearns Wharf

Fun Fact: Santa Barbara is known for its Spanish-style architecture, earning it the nickname “The American Riviera.” This coastal city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for both you and your pet to explore.

Remember to always check with individual hotels for their specific pet policies and fees. With a little bit of research, you and your furry friend will be well-equipped for a memorable stay in beautiful Santa Barbara.

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