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Santa Barbara - Activities

Santa Barbara Activities

Like any self-respecting Californian beach city, Santa Barbara offers 'awesome' swimming, surfing, kayaking, sailing, jet skiing and jet boating, and if that isn't enough, you can go whale-watching on a state-of-the-art high-speed catamaran operating from Santa Barbara Harbor and the Channel Islands.

Of Santa Barbara's several beaches, the biggest and most popular is East Beach, the long sandy stretch between Stearns Wharf and Montecito. But there's also Butterfly Beach, at the east end of East Beach, where Armani swimsuits and Gucci sunglasses abound; and West Beach, between Stearns Wharf and the harbor, which has calm water and is popular with families and tourists staying in nearby motels. On the other side of the harbor, Leadbetter Beach is a good spot for surfing and windsurfing.

There are some excellent hiking trails around the Santa Ynez foothills, most of which cut through rugged chaparral and steep canyons and offer spectacular coastal views. There are also hiking trails all over the Los Padres National Forest, as well as camping, horseback riding and mountain biking. You can hire bikes in Santa Barbara for cycling along the Cabrillo Bikeway on the beachfront between the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and Leadbetter Beach, and along the Goleta Bikeway, which continues west to UCSB.

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