Sunny Santa Barbara might just be the best city to visit in all of California. It’s a small city with great beaches, a friendly atmosphere, and many enjoyable diversions. Say goodbye to big city stress and enjoy a quieter life on the coast. It’s staggeringly easy to both get to the city and get around once you’re here.
Getting Around: The city is incredibly bike-friendly and even walkable if you’re staying somewhere central. Public transportation is very reliable. You can drive to the city or take a train or bus from LAX and be at the beach in under 3 hours.
Beyond the beaches and mountain backdrops, Santa Barbara is a hub for shopping and fine dining. From the boutiques and breweries of the trendy Funk Zone district to the zoo, there is no shortage of things to do and see.
Los Angeles and San Francisco certainly dominate the general perception of California, but when I think of the qualities that have brought so many people to the state in the past century, Santa Barbara is the place that comes to mind. It embodies the best things about California. So if you’ve ever been taken with the romantic appeal of the Golden State, Santa Barbara is the place to visit.
An unforgettable trip requires great accommodations. Here is a list of the best 10 Vrbo rentals in Santa Barbara that fit the bill. Each is no more than half a mile from a beach (most are significantly closer) and at most a short drive or bike ride to the city’s charming center.
If, staring out the window of this luxurious home, the ocean which roars just beyond a grassy lawn still doesn’t feel close enough, open the retractable window wall and let the sea breeze in. This stunning home has three bedrooms all with private bathrooms. Additional sleeping space comes in the form of a sofa bed in the home’s library.
The house sits on a bluff which has been turned into a grand and grassy outdoor space complete with grill and such a variety of fruit trees that something is always in season. Bikes are provided to get you to all of the city’s amenities in minutes. Steps a block and a half away take guests down to the beach.
Guests staying at Bluewater Retreat enjoy incredible access to the beach and amenities of central Santa Barbara. The house is just across the street from Shoreline Park, a palm-lined green space on the coast, and adjacent to one of the city’s two main public beaches. Enjoy views of the harbor, whose restaurants and shops are just a mile away.
Large bay windows in the living room show just how close the water is. The master suite has a beautiful bathroom complete with a vintage jacuzzi. Another highlight is the wooden deck facing the park. It offers a spacious place to dine or simply take in the ocean breeze. On the other side of the home, the backyard has a hot tub and additional outdoor space.
This Santa Barbara home is a harmonious combination of excellent location and elegant design. A Mediterranean-style villa in the center of the happening Funk Zone, this home gives easy access to the city’s delights both on and off the water.
From the rooftop deck, you’ll get amazing mountain views as well as confirmation that the beach really is just two blocks away. One of the bedrooms has one queen bed, the other two queens, so this home can comfortably accommodate four to six guests. Each has an ensuite bathroom.
One block from Santa Barbara’s sandy East Beach, this pleasant cottage is a great place from which to explore what may well be California’s finest city. In addition to the beach, the home is located quite close to bike rental shops. The zoo is just 5 minutes away on foot. The Funk Zone is also 5 minutes away for those who make the effort of picking up a bike.
The home has two queen bedrooms, making it a great option for a pair of couples or a family with one child. Great for anyone who wants a great location without sacrificing the comforts of home.
Campanil, a neighborhood in western Santa Barbara, is home to many fine homes including this one, named after the local beach a short walk away. It sits on an acre of land next to Douglas Preserve and Elings Park, meaning lots of green space overlooking the sand and blue water. The owners (and many other locals) recommend checking out the Boathouse, a restaurant on the waterfront.
The size of the property translates to a large, secluded backyard well-suited for barbecuing with the family. There’s plenty of room for a family or multiple couples — each of the four bedrooms has a queen or king-size bed.
Only two houses and a set of steps separate this four-bedroom villa from the waters of Mesa Lane Beach on the western edge of Santa Barbara. What’s more, the hiking paths and verdant foliage of Douglas Nature Preserve spill into the backyard. It is a single-story home with a modern, open-plan kitchen/common area. The backyard has a grill, hot tub, and ping pong table. There’s room for everyone to get their own queen or single bed, plus a king bed for two and a futon to round things out.
Be advised that the steps down to the beach number above 200. The wooden staircase is sturdy and fitted with handrails. In part because of this, the beach tends to be less busy than others.
Santa Barbara is obviously a beach town, but not every home has seamless beach access on the level of this classic craftsman home. The open-plan kitchen and living space, what with its river rock. fireplace and comfy chairs, is almost as conducive to relaxation as the beach itself. The outdoor seating area is a great alternative for those keen on sun and ocean breeze.
The home has two king bedrooms, a queen, and a very cozy upstairs living room with a twin bed and futon. It is just east of Santa Barbara proper but is still quite close to the small city’s center by bike, car, or bus.
Santa Barbara becomes your oyster when you stay at this second-story studio in the heart of the city. The wrap-around patio not only provides significant extra space but also has views of the creek just across the road and the mountains beyond.
The beach is just one and a half blocks away so there’s no need to worry about parking or even locking your bike. There is a workspace, full kitchen, and a fold-out bed for additional guests, making the home a great example of a totally livable studio.
Located in a quiet neighborhood, this single-story home is a good base for a small group ready to discover everything Santa Barbara has to offer. Enjoy quality time with friends or family in the hedge-enclosed backyard, the very picture of suburban life in California. Step out straight into the yard from either of the two queen bedrooms. The other bedroom (which has two bunk beds) has a view of the deck. The open-plan main area has a kitchen, workspace, and common areas.
Downtown is a short trip away by car and a slightly longer (but more pleasant) journey by bike. The house is one and a half blocks away from the quiet Mesa Beach, accessible via a long but reliable staircase.
Another great option just up the road from Arroyo Burro Beach (known by locals as Hendry’s Beach), this suburban home is a great place for a family or group of friends to have some quality time together in a wonderful atmosphere. Highlights include the beautiful backyard garden and proximity to three parks as well as the beach (which is half a mile down the road). The interior is lovely too, with new appliances and tasteful decorations.
The home has four bedrooms: a twin, a double, a queen, and a king. Perhaps best of all, it comes with complimentary bikes to help you get around town. Considering its location, size, and amenities, this home offers great value for a small group.
To discover the best things to do in Santa Barbara, check out: