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7 Cute Day Trip Ideas Near Santa Barbara You Need To Go On This Fall

Think hidden hot springs and tree swings.
Best Day Trips From Santa Barbara You Need To Take This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you get bored with routine. There’s only so much of the beach and coffee drinking spots that you can handle before the angst for adventure sets in. If you’re in the mood to travel but don’t want to go far, we’ve got just the thing to cure the blues. Here are 7 cute day trips near Santa Barbara you need to go on this fall.

Gaviota Hot Springs

Location: Gaviota Park Boundary, Goleta, CA 93117

Distance: 36 miles from Santa Barbara

Price: $2 for parking.

Hours: 8 am to sunset 7 days a week

Why You Should Go: You can soak in relaxing turquoise hot springs that feels like a jungle oasis.


Knapp’s Castle Trail

Location: You can find full directions here.

Distance: 11.5 miles from Santa Barbara

Price: Free

Hours: Open 24 hours

Why You Should Go: You can explore old castle ruins overlooking Santa Barbara and the mountains. There’s also a tree swing where you can soar over the city.


Santa Ynez Valley Wineries 

Location: Santa Ynez, California

Distance: 33 miles from Santa Barbara

Price: Varies by location

Hours: Varies by location

Why You Should Go: You can sip wine overlooking a gorgeous valley between two mountains. Sunset goals.


Hearst Castle

Location: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

Distance: 136 miles

Price: Tickets start at $8 per person for a guided tour

Hours: Varies by tour time

Why You Should Go: You can tour this stunning mansion and historic landmark once owned by the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst.



Location: Solvang, California

Distance: 34 miles from Santa Barbara

Price: Free to visit Hours: Open 24 hours; most shops close by 5 pm

Why You Should Go: This adorable Danish town is a piece of Europe in California! You can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, explore old European architecture, eat traditional pastries, and watch a performance at a star-lit outdoor theatre.


Channel Islands National Park

Location: Ventura, CA 93001

Distance: 69 miles

Price: General admission to the park is free. Camping is $15.

Hours: Open 24 hours.

Why You Should Go: This beautiful national park is known as the Galapagos of North America. You’ll have to take a ferry to get there but the beautiful views, hiking, and camping opportunities make it so worthwhile. Why not rent kayaks and explore the sea caves?


Los Padres National Forest

Location: 6750 Navigator Dr, Goleta, CA 93117

Distance: 8 miles

Price: Forest Adventure Pass Annual Pass—Costs $30 Annually

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm

Why You Should Go: You can explore trails with beautiful mountain wildflowers, waterfalls, and rugged cliffs. There are so many good hiking spots here with amazing views.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.