Top Things To Do in Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara Waterfront

Looking for the top things to do in Santa Barbara, CA? A two-hour drive from Los Angeles, North on the 101 Coast Highway, brings you to Santa Barbara’s Waterfront, a wonderful place to visit! The historic Stearns Wharf boasts casual and fine dining, shopping, and the Ty Warner Sea Center, which is great for family fun. The Maritime Museum is housed in the former Santa Barbara Naval Reserve Center, and has a working periscope, dive equipment displays, local maritime artifacts, a children’s learning center, and a rooftop visitors center with a great view of the harbor. Sea Landing, off the marina, offers tour boats, sport fishing, and rentals. Here are some of the stops we’ll make and the highlights of what we’ll see on the tour.

For the complete Santa Barbara tour on your phone please visit Santa Barbara Waterfront

Santa Barbara Waterfront

santa barbara waterfront map

Santa Barbara’s waterfront is a great place for family fun.

walking on stearns warf

You can spend the day visiting Sterns Wharf – shopping, eating at its restaurants, and fishing.

The Santa Barbara Harbor

The Santa Barbara Harbor also has shops, restaurants, and the Maritime Museum.

breakwater by santa barbara pier

You can even take a walk on the breakwater.

picture of santa barbara harbor boats

Various boat and land tours originate from the waterfront area.

 picture of ty warner sea center

Explore the Ty Warner Sea Center on the wharf.

see inside the sea center

It’s great for kids of all ages. Make sure to check out the touch tank.

jelly fish in tank

Crawl through a tunnel inside a 1500-gallon tide pool surge tank, and view live jellyfish…

brown octopus in tank

…and an octopus, among other activities.

santa barbara maritime museum

Across the water you’ll find the harbor, with boat tours, the breakwater, and the Maritime Museum – another great place for the kids.

the Naval Reserve Center

Originally built as the Naval Reserve Center, and completed shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor,

what the museum has to offer

the museum offers multiple hands-on activities like the virtual sport fishing exhibit, the pilot house,

the working periscope

and the working periscope.

picture of santa barbara pier from the side

Plenty of dining opportunities are available on the waterfront, from casual to elegant. The wharf offers the historic Harbor Restaurant, originally built in nautical style, including a ship’s helm and mast, lanterns and anchor lights, a chronometer, and portholes.

picture of the harbor restaurant

Hardwood remnants of the lumber ship “Beulah” and the 1833 clipper ship “Star of India” were also part of the design. Before 1973, although service and cuisine were of good quality, eating there was like dining below the decks of a large vessel…

a walk on the pier

…because the only windows were scattered portholes in the wall. The restaurant had no views of the harbor or the mountains.

picture of inside of the harbor restaurant

It was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it in 1973, and great views from virtually every table now exist.

picture of Sambos Restaurant

For early breakfast to late lunch, visit the original Sambos Restaurant on Cabrillo Boulevard, near the harbor.

outside of Sambos

Opened in this location in 1957, Sambo’s became a chain of restaurants in 1976.

sign at Sambos

Come visit the waterfront of Santa Barbara for great fun, beautiful surroundings, and pure adventure.  Download the tour now to preview your route, decide where you’ll want to spend more time, and then use it as you walk along the waterfront with a personal guide on your phone.

picture of boat next to pier

For more great guides check out our Santa Barbara Tours