Santa Barbara Receives Travel Awards and Accolades

Wine Tasting by Bike in Santa Barbara

It appears to be the unofficial travel editorial awards season and Santa Barbara is the proud recipient of a variety of notable mentions and magazine highlights. The callouts are exciting testaments to both travel writers’ and readers’ love of this favorite coastal destination.

The Los Angeles Times audience voted Santa Barbara the Best Getaway in the 2012 Travel and Entertainment Readers’ Choice Awards! This was followed by two more editorial accolades, including:

  • Departures Magazine: World’s Most Bikeable Wine Regions – This mention talks about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—the section of city located between the Pacific and Highway 101 that has given rise to a variety of artisan winemakers, galleries and boutique hotels—which is home to the Urban Wine Trail. Made up of 17 Santa Barbara County tasting rooms all within blocks of each other and the beach, the Urban Wine Trail provides the perfect path to enjoy some quality pours mixed with easy pedaling or a ride in a pedicab!
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine: Best Hotels in California – Two of Santa Barbara’s esteemed hotel properties proudly made this list. The San Ysidro Ranch, which is a 500-acre property offering 27 rooms and 14 vine-covered cottages in a secluded setting near downtown Santa Barbara, was JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s choice as a honeymoon spot. Additionally, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was chosen for its Spanish Colonial style and dream-like coastal expanse along Montecito’s waterfront.

Santa Barbara and other Central California gems continued their time in the spotlight with this month’s issue of the Wine Enthusiast, which ran the article, California’s Highway 1, The Wine-Lover’s Route. From the Urban Wine Trail to the Sideways highlights of the Santa Ynez and Solvang valleys, the article takes the reader on a virtual tour of some of the Central Coast’s best tasting rooms.

Pick up your copies today or read the articles online! For updated information on Santa Barbara happenings, news and events and special offers, make sure to follow Santa Barbara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or check in with us on FourSquare!

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Feast of Lanterns in Pismo Beach

Images: Feast-of-lanterns.org

If you’re looking for a dose of culture along California’s Central Coast you’ll find it in Pismo Beach from July 25-29. Based on a long tradition, the Feast of Lanterns is an affair that was born from the area’s Chautauqua Assemblies (a movement focused on cultural and educational activities including speakers, music and art).

Pismo Beach’s event history runs deep, but the event welcomes all types of visitors who love fun new experiences. Join in on the festivities, including delicious food banquets, parades and dancing.

Check out the Feast of Lanterns Schedule for more information.

Agritourism is a Summer Must-Do in Paso Robles

By Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California

Barbeques, pool parties, fun in the sun. To many Americans these are iconic summertime experiences.  And while summer in California is filled with lazy days on the beach and fun splashing poolside, the Golden State holds so much more for summer travelers. As visitors learn more about California and its diverse offerings, more and more choose to head out of the cities to explore many expressions of the California lifestyle. This hunger for all things California forecasts a big boom for agritourism in Paso Robles this summer.

Californians are free-spirits, trend setters and innovators, but are also in touch with their roots. The curiosity about how food is grown and the desire for new experiences attract visitors to enjoy farmers’ and ranchers’ lands and livelihoods. Visit California, the state’s official tourism marketing board, sees agritourism as a valuable sector that supports the local and state economy by providing jobs and revenue. Continue reading

Shakespeare Under the Stars in Beautiful Paso Robles Wine Country

by Sasha Irving

Summer memories are made at the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival! This annual festival is the perfect way for all ages to experience classic Shakespeare plays and our warm Paso Robles nights!

The 2012 season featuring The Tempest runs from July 12 to July 28 at the beautiful River Oaks Amphitheatre. Considered by many to be Shakespeare’s final and finest play as well as his farewell to the art of theatre, The Tempest has magic, mayhem, comedy, romance and more!

The exiled magician Prospero, aided by her feisty sprite Ariel, casts spells, commands the elements, and conspires for vengeance. Meanwhile, drunken sailors, beautiful young lovers and strange creatures of the land lead everyone to an unexpected resolution – full of laughter and grace and forgiveness. Continue reading

Culture 101: Santa Barbara’s Quick Guide to Over 101 Cultural Pursuits

Culture 101 in Santa Barbara

Or maybe “quick” is the wrong word because, really, culture has been imbedded in Santa Barbara since long before the Spanish settlers arrived. Dating back to the Chumash Native Americans and their basket weaving, wall painting, jewelry and intricately designed canoes, it would seem that the Santa Barbara South Coast gave rise to a love of art and culture over 13,000 years ago. Continue reading

Santa Barbara Encourages Car-free, Care-free Family Travel this Summer

Santa Barbara's family-friendly vacation activitiesIt’s not easy to find that perfect family destination. Planning the summer vacation can be a challenge when trying to cater to kids of all ages, interests of all levels and budgets of every size. But there’s a town at the southern tip of California’s Central Coast that might have everything you’re looking for, including less time spent in the car, standing in line or asking, “Are we there yet?” Welcome to Santa Barbara, where the perfect family vacation is all within reach… and within walking distance.

With gas prices on the rise, families are looking for more economical means of travel and what better way to see the sights, relax and arrive in style than by train! Santa Barbara county hosts nine Amtrak stations—Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc, Surf, Guadalupe and Santa Maria. Enjoy coastal views, comfortable seats and some car-free travel. This summer, you can save 20% with the Santa Barbara Car Free Special Amtrak California Discount Offer! Coming from the other coast? The Santa Barbara Airport offers over 30 daily departures via five major airlines. Continue reading

Travel App, Central Coast’s Santa Cruz

When you’re traveling through California’s Central Coast, you’ll want easy-to-access information on everything the coast has to offer. Many cities and counties in the four central coast regions offer up-to-the-minute information accessible to visitors via mobile applications. And now Santa Cruz has one too!

Want to have Santa Cruz in the palm of your hand? Plan your trip anytime and anywhere using their Visit Santa Cruz Travel app available on iTunes and at the Android Marketplace. The Visit Santa Cruz app is also available via the mobile CVC website, and by scanning a Microsoft tag in the 2012 Official Santa Cruz County Traveler’s Guide. Continue reading