santa barbara courthouse jay sinclairPhoto: Jay Sinclair

Where?

Santa Barbara, California

Why now?

Located at the base of the Santa Ynez mountain range just 95 miles north of LA, the south-facing beaches and token Spanish architecture has earned Santa Barbara the moniker of the “American Riviera.” The red roofs, white stucco walls and surrounding greenery will transport you to a colonial Spanish village that rocks the laid-back vibe southern California has become famous for.

When to go?

With a unique microclimate that boasts 300-plus days of sunshine a year, there isn’t a bad time to visit. Head here in October to beat those wintertime blues, or opt for a spring visit between April and early June to avoid the throngs of tourists who flock here in the summer months.

Who to take with you

While Santa Barbara is infamous as a prime location to tie the knot, we suggest taking on the town with your go-to girl gang. Whether you’re taking a dip at Butterfly Beach or cruising through the hills with the music blasting, you’re sure to make memories worth toasting to.

Most likely to bump into?

Sandy-haired surfers, aspiring DJs, honeymooners and throngs of locals all heading down State Street for a night out.

Don’t miss

Head down to the Funk Zone for a night out amongst local hotspots or go for a stroll in the garden at the foot of the Mission to surround yourself in the intoxicating aroma of 1,500 varieties of roses. For the adventurous spirit, hike up to Lizard’s Mouth at sunset to see the unparalleled view of the Santa Ynez valleys washed in a deep golden haze.

An essential to bring with you

Good vibes and a great playlist – think top down, cruising along the coast with your chicest shades kind of music.

How to get there

Fly into Santa Barbara airport or opt for the larger LAX and rent a car. The drive north along the 101 is well worth it for the stunning oceanside views.

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