Biking & Surrey Cycling
A relatively flat, palm-lined 2-mile coastal pathway, perfect for biking, runs along the beach. More adventurous riders can pedal through town (where painted bike lanes line many major routes, including one up to the mission). These routes and many more are outlined in the Santa Barbara County Bike Map, a free and comprehensive resource available at the visitor center or by calling Traffic Solutions at tel. 805/963-7283.
Wheel Fun Rentals, 23 E. Cabrillo St. (tel. 805/966-2282; www.wheelfunrentals.com), rents well-maintained beach cruisers, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, and an Italian four-wheel surrey that seats three adults; rates vary. It's open daily from 8am to 8pm.
The Santa Barbara Sailing Center, 133 Harbor Way at the Santa Barbara Harbor (tel. 800/350-9090 or 805/962-2826; www.sbsail.com), rents sailboats from 21 to 50 feet in length, as well as paddle boats, kayaks, and motorboats. Both skippered and bareboat charters are available by the day or the hour. Sailing instruction for all levels of experience is also available. Coastal, island, whale-watching, dinner-cruise, and adventure tours are offered on the 50-foot sailing catamaran Double Dolphin. Open 9am to 6pm spring and summer; 9am to 5pm fall and winter.
At the Santa Barbara Golf Club, 3500 McCaw Ave., at Las Positas Road (tel. 805/687-7087; www.sbgolf.com), there's a great 6,009-yard, 18-hole course and a driving range. Unlike many municipal courses, the Santa Barbara Golf Course is well maintained and presents a moderate challenge for the average golfer. Greens fees are $30 to $40 Monday through Friday for 18 holes and $40 to $50 on weekends. Optional carts rent for $28.
The 18-hole, 7,000-yard Sandpiper, at 7925 Hollister Ave. (tel. 805/968-1541; www.sandpipergolf.com), is a scenic oceanside course that's rated as one of the top public courses in the U.S. It also has a driving range. Weekend greens fees are $159, and the cart fee is $16.
The foothill trails in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara are perfect for day hikes. In general, they aren't overly strenuous. Trail maps are available at The Travel Store, 12 W. Anapamu St. (at State St.; tel. 800/546-8060); at the visitor center; and from Traffic Solutions (tel. 805/963-7283).
One of the most popular hikes is the Seven Falls/Inspiration Point Trail, an easy trek that begins on Tunnel Road, past the mission, and skirts the edge of Santa Barbara's Botanic Garden (which contains some pleasant hiking trails itself).
The paved beach path that runs along Santa Barbara's waterfront is perfect for in-line skating. Wheel Fun Rentals, 23 E. Cabrillo St. (tel. 805/966-2282; www.wheelfunrentals.com), rents skates and all the requisite protective gear. It's open daily from 8am to 8pm.
Whale-watching cruises are offered between late December and late March, when Pacific gray whales pass by on migratory journeys from their breeding lagoons in Baja California, Mexico, to their Alaskan feeding grounds. Shoreline Park, west of the harbor, has high bluffs ideal for land-based whale-spotting. Sea excursions are offered by both Captain Don's Harbor Tours (tel. 805/969-5217; www.stearnswharf.org), on Stearns Wharf, and the Condor (tel. 888/77-WHALE [779-4253] or 805/882-0088; www.condorcruises.com), located at 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in the Santa Barbara Harbor.