Explore Santa Barbara County
About Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County has a long south-facing stretch of the Central California coastline with a Mediterranean feel. It’s no wonder that the city of Santa Barbara is known as The American Riviera. East of Santa Barbara you’ll find the cities of Carpinteria, quiet little Summerland, and ritzy Montecito. There are several great beaches along this stretch and some get few visitors compared to others. Santa Barbara’s western neighbors are the cities of Isla Vista and Goleta near the University of California, Santa Barbara. West of the urban areas the shoreline thins out and the beaches feel remote. This section of the Santa Barbara coast has several state parks, including El Capitan State Beach, Refugio State Beach, and Gaviota State Park, each with a campground. The northern coast of Santa Barbara County has beaches near Lompoc, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Maria, and Guadalupe. Near Guadalupe and just north of the county border with San Luis Obispo County are large sand dunes in vehicle recreation areas, wildlife refuges, and natural areas. Offshore are three islands in Channel Islands National Park that are part of Santa Barbara County. These islands, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa, are all accessible by cruise boats that leave from Ventura Harbor in nearby Ventura County.