Montecito & Santa Barbara Travel Guide

20 08

Hiya! Since spending 2 months in Montecito/Santa Barbara I thought it would be appropriate to share all of our favorites spots, what we liked to do and my favorite hotels. I’ve been there numerous times throughout the years as I have family there but this time I really got a feel for the area.

The weather is perfect, the food is incredible, especially the seafood being right on the ocean and there are so many things to do with the entire family. Here are my favorites…


Our Rental Home – since we were in the area for 2 months we opted for a house rental. We luckily found a gem of a home in the best location. It was a 3 bedroom + office cottage with a peak-a-boo ocean view. If you want more details about this property, email Jessica here: [email protected]

Rosewood Miramar Beach – This property is located on the beach in Montecito. It opened not long ago in 2019. It has a TON of activities for kiddos, beautiful grounds as well as a nice beach.

San Ysidro Ranch – If you’re looking for charming, this is THE hotel. San Yasidro is one of my most favorites places I’ve ever stayed. The property is lush with little cottages throughout. Every time I come to the area I make sure to go here for at least a dinner or brunch. This trip we took the family for Father’s Day brunch. It was perfection.

The Biltmore (formerly the Four Seasons) – Unfortunately this hotel is currently closed BUT once it opens, make sure to check it out. It sits right above Butterfly Beach. Stunning!

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara – I’ve stayed here a few times with Luke and friends. It’s a loverly property located just north of downtown Santa Barbara on the ocean.


Juice Ranch – we probably we here 100 times LOL Great place for smoothies and THE best avocado toast.

Oat Bakery – Holy sourdough bread! GET READY! Everything is made with the healthiest ingredients like oats, chia seeds and flaxseed. Everything is organic and made in small batches. Try the charcoal sourdough!

Helena Ave Bakery – One of our favorite lunch spots with the fam. My go-to menu items are: Shaved Broccolini and Quinoa, Farmers Market Bowl and Yogurt & Granola (SO good).

Lucky Penny – The best spot with kiddos located in The Funk Zone (great area). Pizza and salad are YUM – loved the Italian Chopped Salad!

On The Alley – If you’re looking for an easy spot by the water, this is great! It is right by the fish market and on the harbor with all of the boats. Fish tacos!

Rori’s Ice Cream – Homemade ice cream, yes please! We would walk down to the Montecito location from our house rental. Try the strawberry! FRESH!

Dune Coffee Roasters – By far our favorite spot for coffee, toasts and Ford loved the croissants 😉 We such a big fan that we bought coffee to take home with us.

Stonehouse – This is the restaurant at San Ysidro Ranch which I mentioned above. Its a very nice spot, charming AF and a great place to celebrate something – Birthday, Anniversary, etc.

Santa Barbara Public Market – It’s a premier food hall featuring local food and drink spots. We ate from the Mexican and Greek restaurants.

Santo Mezcal – We randomly walked in for an early dinner and it was SO good. Loved the ambiance. Think hip upscale Mexican! The ceviche and fish tacos are a must. It is located just a few blocks from the ocean and right next to the MOXI museum.

Lucky’s Steakhouse – Probably the most classic iconic spot in the area. Old school steakhouse with martinis the size of your head. It’s SO good! I went there with my 93 year old Grandpa so ya get it 😉

Honor Bar – If you’re looking for quality, consistent food, Honor Bar is THE spot. The service is incredible and it’s overall on of my favorite spots.

Local – Love this outdoor setup. Great to grab a cocktail and have dinner. We’ve had almost everything on the menu and it’s all SO good!

Bettina – One word, PIZZA! You will not be disappointed.

Merci – This is a great lunch place and perfect for grab and go!

Panino – The best classic sandwich shop around. We would order here frequently for lunch.


Butterfly Beach – This by far was out favorite beach. We could walk from our rental which was a plus. It was quiet, beautiful and perfect for the kiddos to play.

Lotus Land – Hands down my favorite place we visited. Trust me, GO! Recognized as one of the most breathtaking public gardens in the world, Ganna Walska Lotusland is home to over 3,400 different types of plants, including at least 35,000 individual specimens, and a captivating estate history that seamlessly comes to life as you wander from garden to garden.

Santa Barbara Zoo – Ford loved the zoo. It’s a fairly small and manageable for toddler. There’s a train that runs through the entire property – our favorite! Must-see exhibits include giraffes, penguins and gorillas. Buy your tickets online before going!

Farmers Markets – Our weekly farmers market outing is something we’ve been missing since moving out of California. Santa Barbara’s did not disappoint. There’s literally one every day of the week except Monday. Food is incredible!

MOXI (kid’s museum) – I had a friend tell me this was a must go for Ford and she was right! It’s an interactive kids museum with SO many things for them to play with. I took him in the morning and had lunch in the Funk Zone after (Helena Ave. Bakery).

Shoreline Park – This is the park for the entire family. It’s breathtaking as it sits above the ocean on cliffs. There’s a great playground, yoga classes and walking paths. On Thursdays the public library brings books for the kiddos to read. So fun!

Fish Market – If you love seafood, you NEED to head over to the fish market to get some goodies for dinner. We went multiple times a week!

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