Located two hours north from Los Angeles on the longest east-west trending section of coastline on the West Coast is the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, a.k.a., "The American Riviera." The perfect spot for a Southern California Coast vacation rental, Santa Barbara is nestled in the gorgeous Ynez Valley and flanked on the south by the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara's climate - with 300 days of sunshine, annual rainfall of 15 inches, and average yearly temperature of 64 degrees - is reminiscent of its European counterpart. This stellar weather is linked to its east-west orientation, an alignment that moderates the ocean currents as they pass by. Also, mountains to the north and the Channel Islands 20 miles offshore also mitigate the weather. Whatever the reasons, the climate is great, making the area a magnet for vacationers seeking the perfect environment for outdoor activities.
But Santa Barbara isn't just about the weather. Though, like the French Riviera, it has a reputation as a playground for the wealthy, the average income for residents of Santa Barbara is only slightly higher than average California income. Families won't need a yacht or a limousine to enjoy the city's Zoological and Botanic Gardens, or the Museum of Art. Take the "Red Tile Walking Tour," a self-guided tour of many landmarks. (Factoid: A city ordinance makes it mandatory for buildings to comply with the dominant Mission theme of adobe architecture and red-tiled roofs).
There's also Santa Barbara's historic Stearns Wharf, California's oldest working wharf. Built in 1832 to serve cargo and passenger ships, the wharf is home today to shops, restaurants, and the Ty Warner Sea Center, an interactive marine facility that puts you up close and personal to the nearby marine life! And when you're done exploring, pull up a chair at one of the 283 eateries in the area that serve everything from Mexican to, of course, seafood. Considering Santa Barbara's wonderful climate, it's no surprise that there's plenty to do outdoors!
Right near your Santa Barbara beach cottage, there are four beaches in the area: East Beach, West Beach, Leadbetter and Butterfly. Hikers can choose from trails overlooking the ocean, trails starting at the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains and in the Ynez Valley, and trails along the beach. Or, sign on to cruise where you can watch the sunset or whales frolic. Golfers: Santa Barbara has six public, 18 hole golf courses, four of which are within a half-hour of the city. Each exploits some natural feature of the area - ocean, mountain, or river - and all enjoy year-'round play afforded by the climate. And don't forget: Santa Barbara is wine country! There are a number of wineries within blocks of Downtown Santa Barbara where you can take a tour or tempt your palate with a tasting. A stay in a Santa Barbara vacation rental any time of year promises lots of fun in a year-'round great climate!