Situated out in Santa Barbara County in the southern part of the state of California, Santa Barbara is one of the Golden State's most beautiful coastal cities. Renowned for its Mediterranean style architecture and outstanding beaches, this city stretches out across over 40 square miles and is home to around 92,000 people. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Santa Barbara RV Parks

Santa Barbara RV Parks
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Santa Barbara was first incorporated back in 1850, but the area has been inhabited for thousands of years. With a thriving performing arts district and a lot of special tourist locations like the Santa Barbara Harbor, the Mission Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and more, Santa Barbara has a lot to offer to visitors of all ages and is also the host location of several exciting annual events like the Fiesta, the Santa Barbara French Festival, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Summer Solstice Parade.

Santa Barbara, like many other cities all along the Californian coastline, is a popular spot for vacations and road trips. If you're planning a journey down to Santa Barbara, there are lots of great RV parks and campgrounds to choose from in the local area. Find out more about the best RV parks in Santa Barbara down below.

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2.Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
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Situated just north of the main city and beaches, nestled snugly among the mountains and valleys, sits Rancho Oso RV and Camping Resort. By far one of the top rated RV parks in Santa Barbara, Rancho Oso RV and Camping Resort has received a lot of 5-star reviews from happy campers in the past and continues to be a leading player in terms of RV parks in this part of California. Offering breathtaking mountain and forest views all around, this historic RV camp is set on over 300 acres of land and has history dating back to the mid-19th century.

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort is a very popular place to stay for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, with lots of good hiking and biking trails in the local area, as well as plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities. You can even visit this RV park with your own horse and house it at the large on-site pasture or covered corrals. Downtown Santa Barbara is only half an hour away from this RV park, which features speedy Wi-Fi, a general store, laundry machines, a great restaurant, a hot tub, a swimming pool, pet-friendly facilities, a mini golf course, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a game room, and a play area for young children.

3750 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, Phone: 805-683-5686

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3.Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park

Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
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Beloved by guests of all ages, Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park is located out on the coast in the eastern side of the city. It offers mind-blowing views of the ocean and is mere minutes from some of the best beach spots in Santa Barbara, making it a wonderful spot to stay if you're visiting Santa Barbara to explore the inner city and relax on the local beaches. This is a family owned RV park as well, with a very friendly management team who strive to ensure that every guest has the best possible stay and leaves with a lot of happy memories.

Guests will fall in love with the managers' dog, Moe, and are encouraged to bring their own pets along as well. The park, which is walled off from the road to reduce the sound of road traffic, features full hook-ups with 30/50 amp power, basic cable TV, and free wireless internet. It also comes with private bathrooms, very clean shower facilities, big rig friendly sites, a well-equipped laundry room, picnic tables, and good access to local grocery stores and RV suppliers. There are just over 30 RV sites at this location too, so it's got a quiet, calm atmosphere that will definitely appeal to travelers looking for a little escape from crowded places.

516 S Salinas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, Phone: 805-966-9954

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4.Rancho Santa Barbara

Rancho Santa Barbara
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If you're looking for an RV park right in the center of Santa Barbara, offering the ability to simply step out of the gates and walk around to various beaches, restaurants, shops, museums, and more, Rancho Santa Barbara could be the perfect spot for you. It's got one of the best locations of any RV park in Santa Barbara and offers a very warm and friendly welcome to all guests.

The fun thing about this RV park is how it features a lot of organized activities and special events designed to create a community vibe and bring people together. You can make a lot of new friends here, or you can simply make the most of the on-site amenities and enjoy some privacy too. Rancho Santa Barbara lets you enjoy your vacation however you like, and features a lot of fun amenities and activities including arts and crafts sessions, live concerts, pet-free facilities, game nights, and more.

333 Old Mill Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110, Phone: 805-967-6632

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3 Best Santa Barbara RV Parks

Attraction Spotlight: Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara is located northwest of Los Angeles about 95 miles. Perched on the shores of the Pacific Ocean with a backdrop of the Los Padres National Forest; Santa Barbara is surrounded by beauty. Located just a few blocks from Hwy. 1 in downtown Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art which is houses over 27,000 pieces of art. Known as one of the best art museums on the West Coast, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is actually more than a museum. It houses a library, an auditorium, a children's gallery, a café, shop and an off-site educational facility.

The museum showcases a variety of artworks including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and photographs.

The museum is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016. In honor of this celebration they have highlighted 31 pieces of art that includes paintings and sculptures that date back to antiquity. This wide range of art boasts names such as Claude Monet, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and others. The collection is diverse and has pieces from virtually every art period: impressionist, classical, medieval, renaissance, baroque, romantic, realism, expression, and more. A stroll through this collection will be well worth your time.

There is also a smaller collection of photographs by numerous artists. This collection is set up in honor of Karen Sinsheimer, former curator of photography for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Tours of the gallery are available and included in the price of admission. This is an opportunity to explore the works of art with someone who is well versed in the artist, the medium, the history and everything that surrounds the artwork. It allows for discussions, questions and a true exploration of the pieces that interest you the most. Tours must be reserved ahead of time.

Currently showing at the museum is the Puja and Piety collection. This collection focuses on the complex relationship between aesthetics and spiritual practice, or puja, as seen in three distinct religions: Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist. These are the three religions that are native to India. Each one has similar, yet different displays of art in a multitude of mediums. There are 160 pieces that span history from the first century to modern day. The pieces represent symbols of worship that were created for temples, shrines, and other such places of worship. There are paintings, terra cotta, sculptures of bronze and stone, chariots and other impressive pieces.

Fearing Library

The Fearing Library, named after Constance and George Fearing prominent figures in Santa Barbara, is home to thousands of written works on art history with a focus on the art of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Contemporary art and Fine Art Photography. It is also home to art dictionaries and other reference materials, art journals and periodicals, and the Art Gallery exhibition catalog.

While the library is set up to serve the staff and members of the Museum, it is available to the public as well. There is also an online catalogue.

The Fearing Library is included in the major renovation project going on at the Museum and is closed until further notice.

Family & Community Events

The museum is host to many events throughout the year. Two of them are the Summer Art Camp and After-School Programs. Various types of art are available to experience throughout the summer months. The final art camp for summer 2016 is titled "Silk, Sand & Stone: Materials and Myth in Indian Art". So you can see your kids will be exposed to new forms of art and new cultures.

First Thursdays is a free program where families can join in to create their own special art. Teaching artists will be on hand to help with these special projects.

Studio Sundays (2nd Sunday of the month) is a free event open to the public to come and participate in art projects right on the front steps of the museum. There will be a variety of mediums to work with such as clay, wire, wood, paper, etc.

The Teen Program is set up for teens to volunteer in helping younger students experience art from a variety of mediums. Your teen needs to be between the ages of 15 and 18.

There is a cooperative program between the museum and the local schools. The museum offers a series of art education programs to the schools starting with kindergarten and going through high school.

The museum hosts a program entitled, “Art Talks”. It is a series of public talks about a particular artist, collection, or other topic pertinent to art and the museum. These programs are open to the public. You can buy season passes or buy just one for the specific talk you are interested in. No matter how you do it, you are sure to learn something about art that you didn't know before you participated in the Art Talk. Some of the interesting current titles include: “Art & the Antique”; “Introduction: Emulation and the Antique”; and “Images of Empire and Individuals: Roman Art from Caesar to Constantine”.


The museum is happy to host a variety of travel opportunities to explore different lands, art history, art works, and artists. Upcoming trips include a cruise on the Adriatic and Aegean Seas with stops at six world heritage sites; a cruise on the Black Sea; a trip on the Eastern & Oriental Express; a trip to Oaxaca delving into its ancient civilization; springtime in Japan; and many more options. The website details each trip and has an option to register.

Museum Store

The museum's store is filled with gifts and keepsakes that are reminders of the artwork at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Also available are children's gifts, learning toys, and a variety of books about art and art history. Handmade jewelry and other handcrafted, custom products are available. The store is located in the lower level of the museum.

Museum Café

The café serves up delicious artisan menu items including salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta and sweet treats. Now operated by Fire & Ice Events, the café celebrates the art of food. The café is open for lunch and early dinners.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara

1130 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, Phone: 805-963-4364, Fax: 805-966-6840

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Attraction Spotlight: Santa Barbara Presidio Historic State Park

The Santa Barbara Presidio Historic State Park in Santa Barbara, California is a 5.5 acre park established to preserve the last Spanish Presidio with two of the historic buildings and other rooms open to the public as well as exhibits at the Visitor’s Center.


The Presidio, or Spanish fortress, was founded in Alta in 1782 and is the last fortress that was ever used by the Spaniards. This site is considered the birthplace of Santa Barbara. In 1966 The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) developed a strategy for a private-public effort to develop the presidio into a state historic park. Although each building is deeded to the State of California, SBTHP has been granted the ability to reconstruct and managed the property.

Reconstruction began in phases throughout the 1980’s. Reconstruction involved archaeological research and extensive documentation. This research led to the founding of the Presidio Archaeological Lab and Presidio Research Center. Thousands of artifacts were excavated from the site and many are curated into exhibits in the visitor’s center and other properties in the park.

The Santa Barbara Presidio HSP is comprised of El Cuartel and Canedo Adobe, the only original fortress buildings still on standing. The chapel, Comandancia and Padre’s Quarters which were built after the presidio established are also available for touring. Orchards, gardens, and reconstructions are also at the park to be explored and are outfitted with period furnishings. Many other buildings are a part of the campus but not related to the Presidio including the former Santa Barbara School of the Arts campus, several other adobes and homes, and several restaurants.


The Canedo Adobe is where visitors to Santa Barbara Presidio HSP will find the Visitor’s Center and Gift Stop, La Tiendita. Exhibits at the Visitor’s Center explore the history of the park and presidio from it’s establishment in 1782 through present day.

Nihonmachi Revisited: Santa Barbara’s Japanese American Community in Transition 1900-1940- This exhibit highlights the Japanese American community in the Santa Barbara area and Japan Town which was located on the historic state park site during the early 20th century. This exhibit is comprised of locally donated photographs and histories, and ceramics that were reconstructed from excavated artifacts found at the site.

Memorias y Facturas- Visitors to this exhibit will learn what life was life for the residents of the Santa Barbara Presidio from 1781-1810 while the site was being used as a Spanish Fortress. Visitors will see 52 requisitions and invoices for goods at the presidio and Spanish artifacts that were excavated on site.

Other Attractions

Aside from the Caneda Adobe there are many other sites and ways to enjoy the Historic State Park Campus.

The Presidio Research Center- Developed in 1986 to curate the research materials and artifacts excavated at the Presidio site. The center’s research program focuses on the history and preservation of the Presidio during Spanish and Mexican colonial era in California, the neighborhood surrounding the Presidio, and other historic preservation projects in Santa Barbara. The Collection at the Presidio Research Center is comprised of more than 3,000 paper artifacts, microfilm, maps, photographs and video tapes. There are also more than 1000 artifacts that have been excavated on site and are exhibited through curated historical and artistic exhibitions.

Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens- Purchased by the SBTHP in 2007, this restaurant site was the last Chinese operated business in Santa Barbara. The restaurant was opened in 1946 and is now used for programs related to Asian American history in the region.

Casa de la Guerra- This historic adobe home has its own hours and admission separate from Presidio. The adobe was built by Jose de la Guerra between 1818 and 1828. Jose was a comandate at the Presidio fortress and his home served as the political and cultural cener of Santa Barbara. The Guerra family occupies the home until the mid 20th century and was restored by the Santa Barba Trust for Historic Preservation in the 1990’s.

Programs and Educations

Most visitors at Presidio Historic State Park do self-guided tours of the campus however, school and community groups are welcome to register for docent lead tours. In addition to the Presidio being a vast educational resource, the Education Department also hosts 9 annual programs to immerse visitors and the community in the history of Santa Barbara.

· Early California Days

· Founders Day

· Presidio Pastimes

· Asian American Neighborhood Festival

· Asian American Film Series

· CASA Day Camp

· Dia de los Muertos

· Una Noche de Las Posadas

Lectures are also offered that are open to the public and lead by artists, historians, archaeologists and other community members with the history of Santa Barbara and the Presidio.

123 East Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara, California, Phone: 800-965-0093

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Attraction Spotlight: Old Mission Santa Barbara

Founded in 1726, the Old Mission Santa Barbara in California opened its doors to the community back in 1820. Since then it has grown into a historical and cultural landmark in the heart of Santa Barbara. It was the tenth of 21 Californian missions that took place, and was founded by the Spanish Franciscans. The mission includes by a church, an active parish, a gift shop, a museum, a mausoleum, a cemetery, and a community of Franciscan friars. The architectural style depicts the Spanish Colonial era and was designed by Antonio Ripoll. The mission has been named the “Queen of the Missions.”

Tours of the Mission Santa Barbara

There is so much in-depth detail to Santa Barbara that its vivid history is best explained by an experienced tour guide who knows the entirety of the grandeur and hidden gems of both the mission and Santa Barbara. The highlights of the tours include the magnificent architecture of the church façade and convent. There is also a self-guided tour that allows visitors to set a personal pace while taking in the sites of the historic mausoleum, sacred garden, museum, and mission church. The Docent Guided Public Tour takes 60 minutes to complete and is led by friendly and knowledgeable experts. There is also a chance to get a peek into the history of the mission as well as its system, including the Franciscan friars and Alta, California. Finally, there are additional tours, including a private tours, art and architecture tours, the docent guided tour + Huerta Garden, and the Mission Treasure Tour, which lasts 90 minutes.

The Santa Barbara Mausoleum

A treasured landmark of Santa Barbara, the mausoleum is of great importance to Santa Barbara, but also to Mexico, Spain, California, and way beyond. The mausoleum has been renovated and restored, including the columbarium, which holds cremated remains. The mausoleum acted as a final resting place for citizens and Franciscan friars who came here to meet their end and were laid to rest in the early Santa Barbara years.

2201 Laguna St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA, Phone: 805-682-4713

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