Santa Barbara Harbor
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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An idyllic scene is Santa Barbara Harbor at sunset when the lingering light catches on the white rigging of the yachts, and the tall palms are silhouetted in clusters against the orange sky. Fishermen pour into the bars to have a drink after a hard day at sea, while couples from town gather to meet friends under the modern-looking white sail shades sheltered by glass from the cold sea air.
Weekend mornings, joggers make their way along the breakwater, while families climb onto the rocks and dolphin sculpture at the end of it. Kids happily point at Stearn's Wharf, just across the water. Seals gather on a buoy and make their funny noises. Waves tumble over the sea wall, splashing unsuspecting people as they stroll along. Surfers flock to the beach at the end of the breakwater on high surf days.
At night, a lively bar scene emerges. Pale red lanterns light upstairs windows where pomegranate margaritas are served at Endless Summer Bar-Cafe. Live music wafts out the window. It's more appealing than the meat market bar scene on State Street. What a lovely view of the yachts and mountains you can enjoy from up there at the bar!
We sat one evening at the high wooden bar and talked to a sea urchin fisherman, who told us of his adventures at sea. Once while trauling for halibut, he caught a great white shark! He had to have a forklift at the harbor lift the shark out of the water and he appeared on the news! It was fun to talk to him and listen to his fisherman's tales! The live music, a talented singer-songwriter, was great to listen to. After our drinks, we stopped in the hall to look at the cute photos of navy sailors and blushing girls at the harbor in the 1920s when it was a naval station.
Also located at the harbor is the Maritime Museum. It is a fun place to visit because the exhibits are interactive: an amphibious seaplane you can steer, a surfboard you can pose on in front of a wave, a periscope you can look out and way more.
Los Banos del Mar Pool is at the harbor, across the parking lot. Summer swimming for kids is available from June 13-August 20 (except July 1-4 and July 9), 2011, Mon-Sat from 2:15-3:45 at the cost of $1 per child and $4 per adult.
You can take a catamaran trip on the Condor Express from the harbor. Blue whales and humpback whales abound in the summertime waters of the Santa Barbara Channel, and half-day excursions take you out to see them up close! Winter and spring bring California gray whales. Dress warm because it's very cold out on the water any time of year.
There are many wonderful places to walk from the harbor. To the west check out beautiful Leadbetter Beach with its tide pools and yellow cliff faces. Across the street is Santa Barbara City College, where lucky students walk around with the ocean always in sight. You can walk even further west to colorful Shoreline Park and enjoy views from the cliffs with all the other happy joggers. To the east stroll along West Beach Boardwalk while people whizz by on rollerblades and bikes. It's a fun Southern-California scene. You can walk to the pier or keep going along the boardwalk to Cabrillo Bike Path and all the way to East Beach and the lagoon.
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From Highway 101, exit at Castillo Street and head towards the ocean. Turn right at the end on Cabrillo Blvd/Shoreline Dr, and then turn left into the parking for the harbor. It's $2.00 an hour to park. For free parking, turn left on Cabrillo Blvd instead and park along the road. Then walk to the harbor.
Endless Summer Bar-Cafe, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara CA 93109, call (805) 564-4666.
Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara CA 93109, call (805) 962-8404.
Condor Express Whale Watching trips, Call (805) 882-0088.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|Going in two weeks, can't wait.|
|I'd like to be there!Beautiful!|
|Looking forward to it|
|YAY! thumbs up for SB harbor!!!!!|
|The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a nice museum with an interesting mix of local history information and exhibits about the Chumash Indian tribe and regional seafaring and surfing.|
|Lucky you!!! Go Santa Barbara!|
|We went on my nephew's boat from the harbor and then up to the private hope ranch beach area and back. Saw a sea otter - cool!|