10 Ways to Savor Spring in Santa Barbara
Spring is in full bloom, the days are getting longer, and Santa Barbara’s broader travel reopening is well underway. Our four inviting hotels are here to welcome you—the pools are open, bikes are at the ready, and our gardens are as lush and vibrant as after in the wake of winter’s rains. Whether you’re looking for a last-minute family getaway idea or simply seek to embrace the season of renewal by getting back on the road, now is the time to plan your spring break. We’ve put together a shortlist of 10 ways you can savor this spring in Santa Barbara.
1. Linger Longer & Save: We are participating in Visit Santa Barbara’s 3rd Night Free promotion, which is in its final months. The deal is valid at our beach hotels, Inn by the Harbor, Lavender Inn by the Sea, and Brisas Del Mar Inn at the Beach, through the end of May. And we’ve extended the offer for bookings through June 30th at our downtown hotel, Best Western Plus Encina Inn & Suites. So, treat yourself to an extra night of vacation on us when you book two nights!
2. Take a Spin: Our beach hotels are stocked with a fleet of beach cruisers, which are available to our guests at no charge. Nothing beats the free-wheeling feeling of fresh ocean breezes on your skin as you pedal along the waterfront Cabrillo Bike Path from the Harbor down to East Beach. We particularly love the longer scenic cruise to Butterfly Beach, looping back through Montecito and the Bird Refuge.
3. Wine Taste in the Funk Zone: Our beach properties are all located in easy walking distance to the vibrant Funk Zone neighborhood, where there’s a big concentration of wine tasting rooms. The wineries have ample outdoor patio seating for safe al fresco sipping—and you can’t beat the selection of Funk Zone eateries, which include some of Santa Barbara’s best.
4. Dine at Live Oak Café: Our hidden gem of a restaurant at the Best Western Plus Encina is a favorite of local foodies. That’s because Chef Molly works serious culinary magic with fresh, seasonal produce and sustainably sourced ingredients. Visit Live Oak Café for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to sample her signature dishes like the Lemon Zest Brioche French Toast, Pacific Rim Bacon Fried Rice, and Live Oak Burger. Take note that her desserts made daily are so popular, they often sell out.
5. Step Back in Time: The Encina is walking distance to the majestic Mission Santa Barbara, which is known as the “Queen” of California’s 21 historic missions. Pack a picnic so you can sit in the Mission Rose Garden after taking a self-guided tour and capturing photos of one of our most beloved local landmarks.
6. Hit the Trails: Santa Barbara abounds with hiking trails offering peace, quiet, and epic views. You can access front country trailheads just a short drive from all of our hotels. Encina guests are closest to Inspiration Point, while beach property guests might want to venture towards Montecito to trek Cold Springs Trail or Rattlesnake Canyon.
7. See Wildflowers: Wildflowers are popping up everywhere, from the mountains and beaches to the wine country. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is one of the loveliest environments to see native blooms. You can also head for the hills of the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area in the Santa Ynez Valley for a more remote wildflower viewing experience.
8. Pamper Yourself: ‘Tis the season for renewal and that’s what self-care is all about. Our Sweet & Salty Package includes a one-hour Salt Cave Meditation at Salt Santa Barbara, where you can reap the benefits of breathing in fine pink Himalayan salt particles, known for their healing properties. Halotherapy dates back to the medieval period and is good for the respiratory system in addition to providing pure relaxation.
9. Go Wild: Kids of all ages (and their grown-ups!) will enjoy witnessing the more than 500 creatures who call Santa Barbara’s Zoo with a view home. The Zoo has implemented safety measures to protect guests, staff, and the animals, and it’s a must-do for families. Our Explore & Adore Package includes Zoo passes, as well as a McConnell’s Ice Cream gift card and locally made snacks.
10. Whale Watch: This is peak Pacific Gray Whale migration season in the nutrient rich Santa Barbara Channel, and several of our local outfitters offer whale watching cruises daily. Between the fresh salt air, Channel Island views, and marine life sightings (dolphins, seals, and sea lions are also known to steal the show!), this invigorating experience is one for the memory books. Our Whales & Tales Package features a whale watching tour on the Condor Express, a premier high-speed catamaran, which is currently limited to 50% capacity for guest safety.