Marina Beach Motel has been a cornerstone of the Santa Barbara community since we first opened our doors in 1976. We love Santa Barbara, and we love being able to share it and the best Santa Barbara activities with our guests. From first-time visitors to our regulars who visit with their families year after year, there’s something for everyone as far as Santa Barbara activities are concerned. Over the past 40 years, we’ve gotten pretty good at suggesting our favorites to guests–locals and tourists alike–so it’s only fair we share them with everyone. Here it is: our long-awaited, much overdue list of Top 10 Santa Barbara Activities.

10. Shopping

Downtown Santa Barbara features several world-class shopping centers. From local boutiques to major chains, you’ll find plenty to fill your prescription for retail therapy.

9. Attending Festivals

Santa Barbara serves as a hub for a multitude of cultures, which means the city hosts many cultural festivals annually. From the Maddonari Italian Street Painting Festival to the French Festival, spring and summer in Santa Barbara see lots of exciting events and visitors.

8. Exploring History

Santa Barbara and the rest of Southern California have a rich historical heritage stemming from Native Americans and Franciscan Catholic monks. The Santa Barbara Mission is one of the longest-standing, still functioning structures in the western United States, and Stearns Wharf is the oldest working wooden wharf in California.

7. Paddling

What better way to experience the Pacific Ocean than from the seat of your own boat? Canoe and kayak rentals are a popular way to catch the views while getting some fresh air and exercise. 

6. Golfing

Golf is one of the most popular Santa Barbara activities. The area includes five driving ranges as well as six public golf courses. Here, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sharpen your game (and maybe we’ll see you at the next Masters!). 

5. Hiking

Santa Barbara County offers day hikes for trail trekkers of all levels. With the beach to the west and mountains to the east, you won’t be able to find better views anywhere else. 

4. Surfing

Known worldwide as one of the best places to surf, Santa Barbara has plenty of beaches where expert surfers can catch waves or those new to the sport can take lessons. The surf culture of Southern California is still alive and well in Santa Barbara. 

3. Wining and Dining

Santa Barbara County is home to dozens of vineyards and wineries. From tastings to tours to trails, you could spend your entire vacation sampling local wine and never taste the same one twice. And don’t forget the annual Pinot Noir festival! 

2. Beach Bumming

Sometimes, the best vacation is the one where you do nothing but relax. Santa Barbara’s year-round beautiful weather is perfect for a trip to our beautiful beaches. Grab a towel and some sunscreen and head down to the beach to lie on the sand, read a book, and soak up the sun.

1. Biking

Marina Beach Motel offers guests free bike rentals. Use the bikes to get around Santa Barbara or as a fun activity. With so much to see and do, you want to get around fast–but not so fast that you can’t take it all in. Biking is the perfect speed to catch up with Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Visitor Center provides self-guided bike tours of the area and there are also plenty of trails for you to explore.