Culture / Travel

72 Hours In Santa Barbara — Your Guide to Exploring the Best of the American Riviera

The Best Hotels, Restaurants and Things to Do In This Coastal California Wonderland

BY // 08.04.23

Often dubbed the American Riviera, Santa Barbara brings a signature coastal California cool unique to its fellow West Coast counterparts. The elegant Spanish-inspired architecture, lush mountain scenery juxtaposed with the Pacific coastline and hospitality weave a warm welcome to travelers looking for classic, laid-back California elegance.

With a nonstop flights from Dallas directly into Santa Barbara’s quaint airport available and plentiful easy options from Houston and Austin to nearby LAX, the sun-soaked beach town could make for an ideal for a sojourn away from the intense Texas summer heat.

But what should you do in a long Santa Barbara weekend? This is your guide to spending 72 hours in Santa Barbara:

The classic, glamorous design of Rosewood Miramar Beach sets the tone for a super luxury getaway in Santa Barbara.
The classic, glamorous design of Rosewood Miramar Beach sets the tone for a super luxury getaway in Santa Barbara.

Staying at Rosewood Miramar Beach

Rosewood Miramar Beach is an ultra-luxury oasis ideal for kicking back between busy weekend activities. Just a few minutes away from Santa Barbara proper, the Montecito hotel sits on a peaceful little patch of Miramar Beach in a true celebration of the waterfront.

A classic architectural showpiece modeled after the work of famed architect Paul Revere Williams, the white columns and black and white checkered marble floor make staying at this resort a memorable Santa Barbara experience.

The accommodations are luxury cottages surrounded by fine art and fragrant blooms.  Yes, you’ll have plenty of space of your own.

Let's Rodeo Houston!

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  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024

In between exploring the coastline, Rosewood Miramar Beach can make for an ideal home base for luxury, wellness and doting service during a jam-packed Santa Barbara getaway. 

What To Do In Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara area boasts an overwhelming amount of things to do. From exploring the wine country to catching waves at the beach and checking out cute town squares. 

To start the day, hike amidst the blooms and leaves at Santa Barbara’s Botanic Garden. Stroll through redwood trees and cliffside meadows for some scenery while you sweat.

After a stroll down the charming Stearn’s Wharf, take a kayak tour to see the coastline from a different vantage point.

With a bustling wine and food scene, arts, seaside activities and more, Santa Barbara offers a warm welcome to travelers looking for classic, laid-back California elegance.
With a bustling wine and food scene, arts, seaside activities and more, Santa Barbara offers a warm welcome to travelers looking for classic, laid-back California elegance.

For a unique shopping trip, peruse the main street of Summerland. This nearby town is lined with antique shops and high home decor finds for that quintessential California Coastal aesthetic.

End the day at the Funk Zone, an industrial artsy area with tasting rooms to sample some of the 200 wineries in Santa Barbara County. Continue on the official Urban Wine Trail throughout the town if you dare.

Santa Barbara Restaurant Picks

An important element that defines the food scene in Santa Barbara is an appreciation for the surrounding organic farms, small boat fisherman and sustainably harvested ingredients that goes into this foodie paradise.

While venturing into Santa Barbara proper, breakfast at the adorable Jeanine’s is a must before the day’s adventures. Snag a spot at The Lark for dinner for an innovative culinary treat with local ingredients. But you can find even more near your home base.

A stay at Rosewood Miramar Beach does not just guarantees luxury accommodations. This resort also boasts some of the area’s very best restaurants.

Caruso's at Rosewood Miramar Beach is a Michelin-starred masterpiece of a restaurant.
Caruso’s at Rosewood Miramar Beach is a Michelin-starred masterpiece of a restaurant.

The culinary jewel of Rosewood Miramar Beach, Caruso’s, offers an impressive journey through mastermind Chef Massimo Falsini’s Italian roots and attention to the tiniest of details. Falsini’s commitment to hyper-local ingredients and his strong friendships with neighboring purveyors yield vibrant, soulful dishes that have earned Caruso’s one-star and Green Star MICHELIN guide acclaim.

Ama Sushi, the hotel’s Edomae-style kitchen, offers a curated selection of Japanese food and a distinctive omakase experience.

The classic luxury continues at Rosewood with the cozy, wood lined library-like Manor Bar, a perfect place for a festive drink to kick off (or end) an elegant evening. And each day can begin with fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes surrounded by hand-painted De Gournay wallpaper in the hotel’s Revere Room.

Yes, getting lost in the wonders of Santa Barbara is easy. The American Riviera is something else. Something California cool.

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