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Santa Barbara Harbor

Santa Barbara, CA
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Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa Barbara California

Description

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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Photo Gallery

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Peaceful evening at the harbor.
Peaceful evening at the harbor.
Different varieties of palms line the harbor walkway.
Different varieties of palms line the harbor walkway.
Aaah, California...
Aaah, California...
The walk along the breakwater.
The walk along the breakwater.
Whale seats, and a little dolphin statue at the end of the breakwater!
Whale seats, and a little dolphin statue at the end of the breakwater!
The dolphin statue at the end of the breakwater.
The dolphin statue at the end of the breakwater.
At the end of the breakwater, there are rocks galore for kids to climb, and a great view of the pier!
At the end of the breakwater, there are rocks galore for kids to climb, and a great view of the pier!
At the end of the breakwater, a little cement path on the rocks leads to a beach...
At the end of the breakwater, a little cement path on the rocks leads to a beach...
View from that beach...
View from that beach...
The beach at the end of the little thin cement path that goes over the rocks at the end of the breakwater!
The beach at the end of the little thin cement path that goes over the rocks at the end of the breakwater!
The same beach- gorgeous views of the mountains!
The same beach- gorgeous views of the mountains!
The Condor Express takes you from Santa Barbara Harbor out to see blue gray and humpback whales!
The Condor Express takes you from Santa Barbara Harbor out to see blue gray and humpback whales!
Lovely golden-barked Coral tree at the harbor.
Lovely golden-barked Coral tree at the harbor.
Fishing boats at the harbor.
Fishing boats at the harbor.
Statue of boy riding a sea horse, at the harbor.
Statue of boy riding a sea horse, at the harbor.
View of the harbor as you leave by boat.
View of the harbor as you leave by boat.
Amazing pelicans at the harbor!
Amazing pelicans at the harbor!
So many pelicans at the harbor!
So many pelicans at the harbor!
Pelicans, such cute dudes.
Pelicans, such cute dudes.
Cabrillo Blvd, as seen from harbor.
Cabrillo Blvd, as seen from harbor.
Seals on buoy, as seen from harbor boat trip.
Seals on buoy, as seen from harbor boat trip.
Navy sailor guards USS Milius, which visited Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2011.
Navy sailor guards USS Milius, which visited Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2011.
Pretty bird in the harbor.
Pretty bird in the harbor.
The harbor on a magnificent day!
The harbor on a magnificent day!
Gorgeous October day at the harbor.
Gorgeous October day at the harbor.
The mountains are just amazing as seen from the harbor.
The mountains are just amazing as seen from the harbor.
Look at those mountains!!
Look at those mountains!!
Wow, Santa Barbara is incredible!
Wow, Santa Barbara is incredible!
Surfers at the breakwater.
Surfers at the breakwater.
The small waves.
The small waves.
A couple strolls along as water sprays up.
A couple strolls along as water sprays up.
Crazy wave by the seawall, on a high surf day.
Crazy wave by the seawall, on a high surf day.
A surfer catches a wave by the seawall on a high surf day.
A surfer catches a wave by the seawall on a high surf day.
Surfers at the breakwater.
Surfers at the breakwater.
Crazy high surf day, January 2017.
Crazy high surf day, January 2017.
Fun wave!
Fun wave!
I love these unusual waves!
I love these unusual waves!
Surfers battle crowds in order to get a wave on a high surf day in January.
Surfers battle crowds in order to get a wave on a high surf day in January.
Surfers flock to the end of the breakwater on high surf days.
Surfers flock to the end of the breakwater on high surf days.
Surfers line up to risk their lives getting into the water from the rocks, on a high surf day.
Surfers line up to risk their lives getting into the water from the rocks, on a high surf day.
A dad and son watch the water.
A dad and son watch the water.
Girls on Leadbetter Beach, as seen from the breakwater.
Girls on Leadbetter Beach, as seen from the breakwater.
Young surfers attempting to get in the water at the end of the breakwater, on a high surf day.
Young surfers attempting to get in the water at the end of the breakwater, on a high surf day.
Amazing, bright February day at the harbor.
Amazing, bright February day at the harbor.
California flag at the end of the breakwater.
California flag at the end of the breakwater.

Directions

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.

Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


Kathryn
01/15/2017 12:09
Going in two weeks, can't wait.

Sandy
03/07/2012 13:22
I'd like to be there!Beautiful!

Sharlene
02/08/2011 20:26
Looking forward to it

Vivian
11/05/2009 21:19
YAY! thumbs up for SB harbor!!!!!

Alyce
10/09/2009 13:29
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.

Aysha
10/01/2009 14:04
Lucky you!!! Go Santa Barbara!

Stephanie
09/09/2009 14:49
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!

Last Updated Mon, 13 Feb 2017 04:05:09 GMT