Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

#11 in Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden picture1 of 3
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden2 of 3
bpperry/Getty Images

Key Info

1212 Mission Canyon Rd.

Price & Hours

$12 for adults; $8 kids 13-17; $6 for kids 2-12
9 a.m.-5 or 6 p.m. daily


Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

North of downtown, the 78-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a refuge for bored beachgoers and nature enthusiasts alike. Visitors walk on unpaved paths through what, at times, looks like unremarkable brush. However, what you see here is carefully designed. According to the official website, the garden is committed to protecting plants unique to central California's coastal region – indifferent to their individual beauty. And it's this diversity (along with Santa Barbara's stunning mountain views), which differentiates this botanical park from others.

Highlights of the garden include the historic Mission Dam and aqueduct built in 1807, an authentic Japanese teahouse and tea garden and a redwood grove. In all, there are almost 6 miles of paths to explore and more than 1,000 types of plants. Recent visitors praised the peace and quiet to be found at the garden, calling it a great place to recharge. Others recommended the attraction if you enjoy walking trails and warned that this is not your typical, landscaped botanic garden.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November to February and until 6 p.m. the rest of the year. Admission costs $14 for adults and $8 for children ages 3 to 17, with discounts for seniors and students available. Guided tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the weekends and 2 p.m. on Mondays and included with admission. Visit the garden's website for further details.

See all Hotels in Santa Barbara »

More Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara

East Beach1 of 14
Old Mission Santa Barbara2 of 14
Time to Spend
#1 East Beach

There are three major beaches in Santa Barbara: Leadbetter, West and East. While Leadbetter has the harbor and West Beach is home to the fireworks on the Fourth of July, East Beach is the best stretch to catch some rays without being mobbed by crowds. 

The shoreline may still fill up more on the weekends, but East Beach is a bit more removed from State Street and the downtown area than the other beaches, offering more space to stretch out or take a walk along the sandy shores. You may have to protect yourself from the occasional rogue volleyball though, as there are more than a dozen sandy courts here. 

Read more
Geri Lavrov/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara »

Explore More of Santa Barbara

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019

The Best Chicago Segway Tours

See all the top sights in the Windy City without breaking a sweat.

Marisa MéndezOctober 3, 2019

The Best Washington, D.C., Bus Tours

Here's everything you need to know about D.C. bus tours.

John RodwanOctober 1, 2019

How to Visit Vatican City: Tours and Things to See

This country within Rome has a lot to offer travelers.

Lyn MettlerSeptember 30, 2019