Day 5: Sand and Sun

Santa Barbara is known for its Mediterranean-like beaches, each one of them having its own distinctive personality. One of our favorites is Butterfly Beach in Montecito, just across from the beautiful Biltmore Hotel. If you look long enough, there’s a good chance you will see a pelican diving and dolphins frolicking just offshore. For a quintessential Southern California experience, try East Beach, located close to downtown on Cabrillo Blvd. Volleyball courts line the South end of the beach, the East Beach Grill is centrally located, while Skaters Point, a “gnarly” skateboard park is at the opposite end. Running the length of the beach is a roller-blading, bicycling, running, walking, strolling-friendly paved trail. Just across the street from the beach is the wonderful Chase Palm Park. This playground has much to offer, including a beautifully restored carousel, snack bar, small amphitheater, grassy green fields, and “ship-wreck” playground, complete with water-spouting whales. For a family beach experience or for those interested in learning to surf, we suggest Santa Claus Lane beach, which is just a 10 minute drive south and has the perfect break for beginners. For surf rentals and lessons call A-Frame Surf shop at 684-8803, which is right on the beach. They have everything you need from equipment to swimwear and surfing fashion. Ahhh. The sun has set, your skin is glowing from a relaxing day in the sun. Now it is time to come out and play under the stars. Santa Barbara has an abundant and diverse nightlife, offering a full menu of performing arts, theater, dance, hip clubs and bars. The County Bowl offers world-renowned musicians in an intimate amphitheater. The Lobero Theatre and the Ensemble Theatre offer the best plays in town. State Street offers everything from rock, reggae, soul and jazz. For dancing and live music, check out Rocks and Soho, while Elements and Epiphany offer a more sophisticated restaurant/bar environment. The Brewhouse offers live music Wednesday thru Saturday.