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Enjoy shopping at one of the many farmers markets Santa Barbara has to offer.
Jay Sinclair
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  • States:
    California

Want to make the most of your time in Santa Barbara, California, while getting a taste of the local food scene?

Follow this four-day itinerary for plenty of outdoor adventures and visits to iconic attractions — fueled by fresh seafood, farmers market snacks and meals at restaurants with unforgettable views.

Day 1: Sea-to-Table

Take a trip to Channel Islands National Park for a day of kayaking through the caves. This is your chance to glimpse dolphins, whales and seals and take in the breathtaking natural surroundings of the Santa Barbara Channel. The channel is one of the nation’s richest sources of sustainably harvested, high-quality seafood, so plan for dinner at any of the local sea-to-table restaurants to experience the delicious continuum. Make sure to try uni (sea urchin). The local delicacy has a creamy texture and briny flavor.

Find freshly caught seafood straight from the Santa Barbara Channel on your table.

Find freshly caught seafood straight from the Santa Barbara Channel on your table.
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Day 2: Farm-Fresh

Start with a local, sustainable breakfast along State Street and then head to the hills of Montecito for a tour of Ganna Walska Lotusland, a stunning botanic garden. Once back in Santa Barbara, shop quaint gourmet shops and markets to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lush lawn of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Don’t miss strolling one of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Markets, held six days a week. For dinner, grab a seat at one of the many farm-to-table restaurants that celebrates the region’ bounty.

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the Santa Barbara Courthouse — the views are amazing.

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the Santa Barbara Courthouse — the views are amazing.
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Day 3: Harbor and City

Spend a relaxing morning with a cup of coffee and a light breakfast at one of the oceanfront restaurants along glittering Santa Barbara Harbor. Next, hop aboard a tour boat for a morning of whale-watching. Once back on land, check out any of the 26 tasting rooms along the Urban Wine Trail (most lie within walking distance of each other). For dinner, head to Santa Barbara’s hippest up-and-coming neighborhood, the Funk Zone, filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and even a craft distillery.

Drink and dine your way around Santa Barbara's hippest up-and-coming neighborhood, the Funk Zone.

Drink and dine your way around Santa Barbara's hippest up-and-coming neighborhood, the Funk Zone.
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Jay Sinclair

Day 4: Outside, Inside

Bask in the morning sun while enjoying breakfast at a beachfront restaurant. Next, explore the rich history of the Chumash Indians with a guided tour along the scenic Chumash Nature Trail. Continue your outdoor adventure with a visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo, where even the animals have an ocean view! For lunch, sample the specialties of the Santa Barbara Public Market. End your night with entertainment by catching a show at one of Santa Barbara’s many theatres, such as the Santa Barbara Bowl, The Granada Theatre or The Lobero Theatre.

With views like these, dining outdoors is a must in Santa Barbara.

With views like these, dining outdoors is a must in Santa Barbara.
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Jay Sinclair
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