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48 Hours in Santa Barbara

santa barbara weekend planner

Are you visiting Santa Barbara for the weekend? Check out this itinerary of an adventurous fun-filled weekend featuring a few of our favorite activities and restaurants!


Breakfast: (8:00 am – 9:30 am)

Enjoy breakfast at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach. This local’s favorite is tucked away at Hendry’s Beach. The view from this restaurant on the beach is simply spectacular and so is the food!

Surf’s Up! (10:00 am – 2:30 pm)

Start your fun-filled weekend with a Full Day Surf Lesson along the Santa Barbara coastline! The Santa Barbara coastline offers several fun locations for introductory surfing lessons. Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s surfing trips are a great foundation to this exciting sport, focusing on the fundamentals such as reading waves, paddling, etiquette, catching waves and riding waves. Our knowledgeable instructors have over 25 years of experience and will use their skills to point out the finer points of catching waves during our beach lesson as well in the water. We choose surf sites based on the current swell and tide conditions and always find the best breaks for successful learning. This trip includes two sessions with a break for a deli-style lunch on the beach.

Explore the Mission (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

Take a drive up to the Queen of the Missions, the Santa Barbara Mission and tour the Sacred Garden, the Historic Cemetery, the Church and the museum. Self-guided tours take approximately 30 minutes and cost $5 for adults. Don’t forget to check out the Santa Barbara Courthouse, built in 1929, it isbeautifully decorated with grand arched ceilings, ornately tiled staircases and red tile rooftop. You can tour the working courthouse and also climb up to the top of the clock tower to see sweeping views of the city, mountains and ocean.

Snack: (5:15 pm – 6:15 pm)

Stop for cupcakes and coffee at Santa Barbara’s favorite cupcakery, Crushcakes! Nothing makes your afternoon and lifts the spirits more than a mouth-watering cupcake. Stop by the modern Crushcakes Cupcakery and cure an afternoon sweet tooth with any of the 19 flavors, including Cool Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Bliss. They make all of their cupcakes from scratch and even come in mini sizes so you can have your sugar fix with a little less guilt.

Romantic Sunset Kayak (6:30 pm – 8:00 pm)

An evening of paddling and watching the night sky! This twilight trip is a great way to end a full day. Meet you guide before sunset for a comprehensive kayaking lesson and then head out to sea in a single or double kayak to watch the colors change and stars appear. While the sky’s transition from day to night is reflected on the water, our guides offer astronomy myths, pointing out constellations and visible planets. You will tour the perfect distance before landing on the beach. A Sunset Kayak is a perfect way to see the American Riviera from a unique perspective.

Dinner and drinks: (8:15 pm – 10:00 pm)

Brophy Bros., affectionately known as “Brophy’s,” is nestled in Santa Barbara Harbor and has fresh, local seafood. Overlooking the harbor and beach, this dinner and drinks place is ideal. The view of the marina, great seafood and ambience are next to none.


Breakfast:(8:00 am – 9:30 am)

Come and see why Cajun Kitchen has been voted Best Breakfast in Santa Barbara year after year. The décor is fantastic, the service is great, and you just can’t beat the southern-style cooking.

Stand-Up Paddle boarding (10:00 am – 2:30 pm)

Try the Full Day Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) lesson which offers a fun and exciting experience to guests of all ages and skill levels. Stand Up Paddle boarding allows you to experience incredible views of the city, mountains and ocean while enjoying a great total body workout. The instructor will give a safety talk and paddling demonstration before hitting the water with you to coach you on your technique close to shore. Then head out to explore the local coastline and paddle past boats, through kelp beds and along the shoreline. Enjoy the wildlife such as harbor seals, sea lions, brown pelicans, sea stars and cormorants. Your guide will discuss the natural history and marine ecology of the area. The trip includes 2 sessions with a break for a deli-style lunch on the bench.

Wine tasting in the Funk Zone (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

You can’t come to Santa Barbara and not sample the local wine! The Funk Zone is the latest must-see spot in Santa Barbara, featuring all of the best local wines Santa Barbara has to offer. There’s even a new Corks n’ Crowns there that offers beer flights for anyone in your party who might already be wined out. The Funk Zone is home to countless tasting rooms and a few special wineries, making an afternoon of wine tasting Santa Barbara County’s best, fun and easy. Additionally, 5 of the many wineries located in the Funk Zone are also part of the Urban Wine Trail!

Dinner: (5:30 pm- 8:00 pm)

Enjoy inspired, fresh Mexican cuisine and award-winning margaritas across from the historic Arlington Theater in downtown Santa Barbara at Carlitos Café Y Cantina. Colorful umbrellas and a bubbling fountain accent the sun-filled patio while the dining room features lovely views and a cantina stocked with a fantastic collection of 100% Blue Agave tequilas. Add some lively Mexican and South American guitars and you have the markings of a fun-filled evening! Try the mango margaritas!

Have experience being in Santa Barbara for the weekend? What was  your favorite thing to do? Leave us a comment below!

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