This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is located on the coast of California, north of Los Angeles. Santa Barbara was named after Mission Santa Barbara, an eighteenth-century Spanish mission built to convert local Native Americans to Catholicism. The city is best known for its Spanish architecture and stunning beaches. And the hostels in Santa Barbara are close to the shore.
There are several beaches in Santa Barbara. Shoreline Park is a great place to rent bicycles, have a picnic, and watch for dolphins and whales, while Ricon Point is one of the best places in the world for surfing. West Beach is the place to go for kayaking and to visit Stearns Wharf, where you can find many souvenir shops and seafood restaurants. East Beach also has a bike path and it holds an arts-and-crafts show every Sunday. Other outdoor places to explore are Lotusland, a huge botanical garden, and the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Make sure you take time to get out of your hostel and walk around and explore the city. There are many beautiful examples of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Spanish architecture -- the County Courthouse, the Casa del Herrero, and the Lobero Theatre. Mission Santa Barbara is further out, about a mile away from the nearest bus stop, but you shouldn’t miss it. During the Fourth of July or New Years you can watch an amazing waterfront fireworks show. Santa Barbara also throws a huge street carnival to celebrate the Summer Solstice. East Beach hosts the annual Sandcastle Festival in September and in October you can attend the Harbor & Seafood Festival.
The hostels in Santa Barbara are found within walking distance of the beach. You can choose whether you want to stay closer to West Beach and Stearns Wharf or closer to East Beach. There are many nearby places to find seafood and coffee and after dark you can visit one of the lounges or clubs in the area. The Greyhound station and the Amtrak station are also in close proximity. Santa Barbara is along the US Highway 101, less than two hours' driving time from Los Angeles.