Santa Barbara has long been an oasis for Los Angelenos seeking respite from big-city life. The attractions begin at the ocean and end in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The waterfront here is beautiful, with palm-studded promenades and plenty of sand.
In the few miles between the beaches and the hills are downtown, Mission Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. For spectacular views of the city and the Santa Barbara Channel, drive along Alameda Padre Serra, a hillside road that begins near the mission and continues to Montecito.