Day 6: A Walk on the Wild Side

There is nothing quite as inspiring as reaching the pinnacle of a hiking trail that yields the beauty of the city, the great Pacific, and the Channel Islands. Here in Santa Barbara we have a variety of magnificent hikes. Try Cold Springs Trail, an approximately 3-mile loop, just outside of Montecito. Another Quintessential hike is the appropriately named Inspiration Point hike through Mission Canyon. This is a great hike to take for a sunset. If you prefer something with a little less elevation gain, familiarize yourself with our local flora, by taking a walk through the Botanic Gardens. Long sweeping paths take you through diverse areas such as majestic redwood forests and high desert scapes. Now that you have explored some of the more rugged terrain in the area, itís time to hit the waves. Try surfing, kayaking, boogie boarding, or body surfing. Several shops around town rent the necessary equipment, as well as provide expert instruction. If you prefer to be on top of the water, as opposed to in it, we recommend a whale-watching excursion. The Santa Barbara Channel is home to a wide variety of sea mammals, including whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions. and also a migratory path for gentle giants such as gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales and the occasional transient orca whale pod.If all of this activity leaves you hungry, we suggest that you try some of Santa Barbaraís more casual eateries, with no less excellent food. Los Arroyos has some of the best Mexican food around, with mouth-watering chile rellenos. For fresh gourmet deli foods, including wraps, soup, sandwiches, grilled items, etc., Pierre Lafond is sure to please, with three locations around Santa Barbara and Montecito. For a little insight into where some of the fresh seasonal produce that you have been sampling from area restaurants is coming from, try to catch The Farmersí Market. Stand after stand of ripe fruits, some quite exotic, colorful, flavorful vegetables, fragrant flowers, live music, and sunshine combine to make this a most pleasurable experience. Now enjoy an evening meal at a restaurant where you may recognize the chef from the Farmersí Market, who only hours before was gathering fresh, local ingredients for tonightís menu. We suggest the Louieís, a bistro style restaurant that defines excellent dining in Santa Barbara. At the end of a splendid week of touring, tasting, relaxing, shopping, our journey ends where it began, at the beach, watching the sun quietly slip below a glowing western horizon. Although we have given you a multitude of options to explore, there are many hidden treasures throughout the area just waiting to be discovered. We hope that you enjoy your magical journey through this Pacific Paradise that is Santa Barbara..