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.

Aloha from California’s BBQ Capital

Talk about a win-win situation! Residents of the Central Coast can now fly directly to beautiful Hawaii via the Santa Maria Public Airport…And now residents of Hawaii have a straight shot to California’s BBQ Capital!

Indeed, as reported in the Santa Maria Times, “Visitors to the Santa Maria Public Airport will be noticing a little more ‘island style’ starting today after Allegiant Air announces it will begin flights to Honolulu, Hawaii on Nov. 17…Andrew Levy, president of Allegiant Travel Co., said Santa Maria’s location and its already active service to Las Vegas played a big role in securing the Hawaiian service…’We believe we’ll be able to pull people from all over the area. We think it will be a good route.’” 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

California’s Central Coast Highlight: May Events, Part 1

During the first few weeks of May, the four regions of California’s Central Coast offer so many wonderful events to enjoy. Here are just a few:

The Steinbeck Festival in Salinas looks at the life of the native-son novelist with tours of sites that played parts in his works and literary lectures (5/3 – 5/6). Ventura Music Festival features national and international performers in concert at historic and architecturally significant venues (5/3 – 5/12). Marina hosts the annual Festival of the Winds—the one time each year when hang gliders and giant kites might just outnumber raptors and songbirds along the coast (5/12). Carnival rides, two concert stages, a beer garden, music, activities and a celebration of small-town life are among the highlights of the Fillmore May Festival (5/17 – 5/20). The 30th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival celebrates the finest in food and wine, embracing all that defines Paso Robles Wine Country (5/18 – 5/20). Renowned as “California’s Strawberry Coast,” Oxnard’s nationally recognized California Strawberry Festival draws 60,000 visitors, who come to sample strawberry foods and browse for fine arts and crafts (5/19 – 5/20).

To find more events held throughout California’s Central Coast, visit TourTheCentralCoast.com.

California’s Central Coast, Historical Missions

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg

Between 1769 and 1823, twenty-one missions were built throughout California. Eleven are located in the Central Coast—the largest concentration of California missions—and many are still active churches. Why not take a road trip and see them all? Here is a list of California’s Central Coast missions by region: Continue reading