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Planning Your Trip

Combining all the best elements of California, Santa Barbara features breathtaking beaches, cultural sophistication and opportunities to explore the outdoors. Whether you plan to hike, dine, shop or simply relax, here’s what to bring to this beachfront hotel.

Buildings overlooking a landscaped path and the ocean


The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a Mediterranean oasis at the edge of the Pacific. With natural beaches, lush landscaping, luxurious accommodations and a world-class spa at your disposal, you only need a few items to make the most of your journey.


  • Santa Barbara boasts mild to warm sunny weather year-round, so you can pack sparingly, with an added light layer for evening.
  • Sunscreen is a must — choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant formula to provide UV protection even while swimming.
  • Bring water-friendly sandals for the spa and pool, as well as your usual workout gear to take advantage of the fitness center, four tennis courts, yoga and Pilates classes, and more.


Santa Barbara abounds with nature and ways to enjoy it, whether hiking, biking, sailing, surfing, golfing, kayaking or horseback riding. Here’s what to bring.





  • Take hiking boots or sturdy running shoes to check out the amazing hiking trails, from Douglas Family Preserve overlooking Arroyo Burro Beach to the panoramic views 1,800 feet above the city at Inspiration Point.
  • Ocean temperatures are lower here in winter and spring, when surfers and other sea-goers tend to wear wetsuits. But you can happily wear your swimwear for ocean adventures through summer and early fall. 
  • Whether you’re heading for the tennis court, a hiking trail or out on the ocean, sun protection is essential. A dry bag will keep tech essentials, wallet and keys safe from the water.
Buildings overlooking a landscaped path and the ocean


Santa Barbara is a favorite escape from the bustle of cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is what insiders bring.






  • Casual sophistication defines California style. Don’t bring anything too stuffy or formal — think athleisure and sportswear for day, and relaxed eveningwear such as flowy dresses, sandals, button downs and dressed-up denim for night.
  • Pack light, while putting some thought into your accessories — stylish sunglasses, watches, jewelry and handbags can be rotated with your daily outfits to add impact.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are essential for strolling Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail and eclectic neighborhoods, like the Funk Zone and palm-lined State Street, on foot.

Don't Forget:

If your Santa Barbara itinerary is heavily weighted toward wine country, cheers. The region’s unique terroir produces some of the finest chardonnays, pinots and syrahs you’ll taste. If you’re planning to vineyard hop, pare down your suitcase by packing lightweight and light-colored separates in natural fibers that mix and match, flat or wedge heels, a light layer like a denim or cotton jacket, a water bottle for hydration, and sunblock and a sun hat for bright sunny days.

Reservations at the right places let you make the most of your time in Santa Barbara. Here is where you should book ahead, whether you’re arriving for a weekend getaway of wine tasting and hiking, or a summer vacation spent golfing, dining and relaxing at the spa.


Santa Barbara has world-class beaches and wine, but its food scene is equally impressive. Featuring talented chefs and stunning local ingredients, the city boasts excellent options all along the spectrum from holes-in-the-wall to five-star dining. Make a reservation for Angel Oak, the envelope-pushing steakhouse helmed by Chef de Cuisine Alexander Bollinger, whose menu of premium meats and seasonal vegetables is complemented by ocean views and a 12,000-bottle wine cellar. You’ll also need to reserve at The Lark, an artisanal foodie haven in a former fish market in the Funk Zone, and Bouchon, a favorite for local wines and exemplary California-style French fare.


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The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a renowned wellness retreat, designed to rejuvenate, relax and restore you at every turn. Your spa concierge will work with you to customize your perfect mix of treatments, from scientifically advanced Natura Bissé facials to full-body treatments that moisturize, detoxify and polish. If there’s one thing you must reserve, it’s the Hollywood Facial, an extraordinarily indulgent treatment for your skin. Follow it up with a glass of bubbly on the rooftop that overlooks the ocean for the ultimate in relaxation, Santa Barbara style.


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No reservation is needed to enjoy Santa Barbara’s abundant sunshine and beauty, but a bit of advance planning will make the most of your stay. At the resort, your concierge can arrange tee times for golf at the nearby Sandpiper Golf Club, as well as horseback riding, biking, hiking and other activities. Experienced surfers should head to Rincon Beach, where the sport’s best athletes have ridden the waves. Beyond the beach, Ganna Walska Lotusland is a stunning botanical paradise with more than 15 separate gardens. Advance reservations are required.


California’s central coast boasts some of the world’s finest cool-climate wines, most notably chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah. There are around 200 wineries in the Santa Barbara area where you can tour the vineyards, production areas and tasting rooms, but you can also sample the region’s finest wines on foot. The Urban Wine Trail gathers nearly 30 of Santa Barbara County’s finest winemakers all within blocks of the beach and downtown, so you can stroll and sip. Most do not require reservations but check with the individual wineries to confirm hours and information. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is also pleased to partner with many local wineries and vintners that offer complimentary tastings to our guests. Stop by the concierge for a full list. Salud!

Santa Barbara invites impromptu exploration. But when a couple’s retreat or family getaway calls for a roundup of the region’s finest experiences, these action-packed itineraries will set you on the right path.

Family Vacation Fun

Known as “The American Riviera,” Santa Barbara offers close proximity to nature at its finest — from spectacular sandy beaches to dolphin and whale watching in the Pacific Ocean to gorgeous gardens. Whether they are into watersports, museums or the great outdoors, there are activities and sights to please everyone in the family. Time to start planning your perfect week in Santa Barbara.  



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Overlooking the ocean

Perfect Weekend

The city is the perfect weekend getaway for relaxation, culture, good food and plenty of wine. Make sure to spend time on (and in!) the water, from boating to stand-up paddleboarding. And architecture buffs will want to see the historic sites and Spanish-influenced designs in the area. Get ready for a jampacked, but ultimately relaxing, 48 hours in Santa Barbara.



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