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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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

Santa Barbara Celebrates Its Earth-friendly Side with Ecotopia in March and April

Year-round climate perfect for producing savor fruits and veggies? Check. The ocean on one side and beckoning mountain trails on the other? Check. A community that’s long been committed to sustainability and is the proud founder of the first Earth Day celebration? Check!  It’s no secret that Santa Barbara’s South Coast is an Earth-lovers paradise. As a local with a bent for sustainability and all things eco, I’m looking forward to celebrating Santa Barbara’s green scene in March and April during Ecotopia—two months of recognizing the area’s unique sustainable aspects—because, when you live in a place as beautifully bountiful as SB, celebrating the Earth takes more than a day.

Follow Ecotopia on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and FourSquare for weekly updates or use my quick guide to making the most of Santa Barbara’s inviting Earth-friendly activities while lowering your carbon footprint at the same time.

  1. As a seafood lover, an occasional trip to the weekly Santa Barbara Fish Market (Saturdays in the Harbor from 7:00am – 11:00am) is a must. Fishermen are encouraged to harvest sustainably and the local catch means less oil and gas to transport. If you’d rather dine out, look for Ty Warner Sea Center’s Sustainable Food Program Member stickers on storefront windows. Continue reading

California’s Central Coast Visitors Guide & Map for 2012, Just Released

The 2012 Central Coast Visitors Guide & Map for the Central Coast Tourism Council (CCTC) has just been published by Striker Media Group. This beautiful 84-page guide covers four spectacular regions of California’s central coast: Channel Islands Region; Santa Barbara Region; San Luis Obispo Region, and Monterey Bay Region.

You can view and download this guide and map from the CCTC’s website. They are also available at California Welcome Centers throughout the state and eight international California Tourism offices. And, if you take a road trip along the coast (one of the most beautiful in the world), you will come across the guide and map at area Visitor Centers, Chambers of Commerce and local attractions.

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s New Exhibit

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is getting some press about their new jellyfish exhibit opening March 31, 2012.

Whether you’re a sea creature fanatic or just appreciative of California wildlife, this exhibit is sure to please. Everyone will look forward to “The Jellies Experience” after reading a bit more from the article ‘What’s New on the Central Coast‘ by Christine Delsol, sfgat.com.

CBS Los Angeles Reports on the Spectacular Ventura Wine Country Trail

vineyard Tour the Ventura County Wine Trail

(credit: Desiree Eaglin)

Next time you are headed up or down Highway 101 and you see the off-ramp for Ventura, add some time to your trip to explore this fantastic destination!
http://cbsloc.al/tGxs97

Humpbacks Give Kayaker a Close-Up Encounter Off Santa Cruz

Whales Breaching by Kayaker in Santa Cruz

Local Santa Cruz photographer Paul Schraub, on assignment for the Santa Cruz County Convention and Visitors Council, captured this photo of spy hopping whales in the Monterey Bay on Tuesday. (Paul Schraub/Santa Cruz County CVC)

While working on a new marketing campaign Tuesday, a photographer for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council captured this amazing image.

Paul Schraub was off the Seabright State Beach shoreline when he shot the photo of two humpback whales breaching next to a kayaker.

Christina Glynn explained, “The photo shoot was commissioned to bring attention to Santa Cruz as a unique location for meetings, retreats and the conference market.” Whale watching is just one of the unique opportunities available when booking your next event within such a biodiverse ecosystem as the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. Schraub was aboard a small boat operated by Pacific Yachting and Sailing out of the Santa Cruz harbor.

Whales have been observed being particularly active in the past week feeding on an abundance of anchovies off the coast.