Santa Barbara boasts a great number of wonderful and unique gardens and parks which contribute its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They offer amazing views, unique plants, walking and cycling trails, open space, playgrounds, campsites, sports and many other facilities. We hope to help you choose the perfect one.
1. Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
This is an incredibly beautiful, peaceful and relaxing garden offering a huge botanical collection of many different plant species as well as walking paths, picnic areas and a great pond it the center. There is some wildlife, too. You can enjoy looking at some ducks swimming casually in the pond, or you can look for some turtles in it. Go to a butterfly garden where plants are deliberately placed as food for them and enjoy the wide range of colors or just sit on the grass and listen to the various birds chirping up in the beautiful trees. It’s a perfect place for kids, too.
- Name: Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
- Address: 1500 Santa Barbara St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
- Price: For Free
2. Casa del Herrero
This historic house museum and garden is one of the gems of Santa Barbara and you mustn’t miss the tour around it. Enjoy the Spanish colonial style architecture of the house with a collection of furniture and decorative items dating back to the 13th century and huge, lovely gardens and orchards. Take in the amazing sights of landscaped gardens with a variety of old plants, rose and succulent gardens as well as fountains. And yes, do not take the kids with you, this might not be the right place for them.
- Name: Casa del Herrero
- Address: 1387 E Valley Rd, Montecito, CA 93108
- Good for Kids: No
- Smoking: The Casa is a Smoke-Free Zone
This remarkable collection of various exotic plants was created by Madame Ganna Walska, a renowned Polish opera singer who spent 43 years forming this huge estate. Today it is a botanical garden open to the public. It is actually a series of stunning gardens with specific names, such as Japanese, blue, aloe, butterfly, theater or Shakespeare garden. There are different plants from all over the world from the beautiful colorful flowers to the desert cacti and some priceless rare species. All around the estate, there are wonderful mysterious garden paths. Nowhere in the world will you find such a remarkable place, so don’t miss the tour with highly knowledgeable docents, when you come to Santa Barbara.
- Name: Lotusland
- Address: Cold Springs Rd, Montecito, CA 93108
- Opening hour: 10.00 a.m. – 13.30 p.m.
4. Alameda Park
One of the oldest parks in Santa Barbara consists of different sections. There are beautiful botanic gardens with rare and unique trees, gazebos and a turtle pond in one section where you can go if you need a peaceful place to enjoy the nature and relax. Another section offers picnic sites, a big wooden castle and a huge playground called Kid’s World. It is one of the largest playgrounds offering everything your child needs. The park also provides two beautiful event venues.
- Name: Alameda Park
- Address: 1400 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Good for Kids: Yes
5. Elings Park
This huge park is situated on a hill offering great views of the mountains, ocean and shoreline, depending on where you stand. It’s peaceful, and extremely well maintained. Lots of various activities like hiking, biking, paragliding, hang-gliding or horse riding are going on. There are also different sports fields and camping sites. At one part of the park there is a big event venue with a stunning view of the city, mostly used for weddings.
- Name: Elings Park
- Address: 1298 Las Positas Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
- Activities: Horse Riding, Camping, Hiking, Biking, Paragliding
6. Shoreline Park
If you are looking for a park perfect for family picnics, then this is the right one. It is located on a steep coastal cliff overlooking the Leadbetter Beach and provides stunning views of the mountains and coastline. Very often you can get a chance to watch the whales from up there. The whole park is perfectly maintained with nice grass and palm trees. Kids really love the playground there, and you can enjoy together at picnic sites with barbecues. You can also enjoy looking through the small merchant booths offering a variety of local arts and crafts for sale.
- Name: Shoreline Park
- Address: Shoreline Drive and La Marina Drive, Santa Barbara
- Good for Kids: Yes
7. Chase Palm Park
If you are one of the active tourists, you should go to this wonderful park on the Santa Barbara Waterfront. It is perfect for you and your family to enjoy the best outdoor time in the city. On one side of the park there are beautiful fountains, creeks, a lagoon, snack bar, the famous carousel and a shipwreck playground. On the other side adjacent to East Beach there is an oceanfront bike path lined with wonderful palms. There are nice picnic areas in the park as well as event facilities. When you finish running, playing or relaxing, a cool down dip in the sea is just a step away.
- Name: Chase Palm Park
- Address: 236 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
- Good for Kids: Yes
Santa Barbara parks and gardens will become places you want to visit over and over again. They are interesting, exciting and welcoming with infinite fun possibilities for the whole family!
Have a good trip and travel!