Bursting with art, culture, and a rich gastronomic scene, Santa Barbara is a must-see destination, especially for folks who are taking a Pacific Coast Highway road trip. The only downfall of being behind the wheel is trying to avoid staring at the stunning views of the California coastline.
Budget Car Rental at Santa Barbara Airport
Because Santa Barbara has an agreeable climate, it's great to explore in a convertible; convertibles and more are offered at the car rental companies at the Santa Barbara airport. Avis, Dollar, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Hertz are just some of the companies to choose from at the airport, most of which offer at least 12-hour availability starting from between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time. Driving around the city is a blast, and it's even more fun in a budget rental that was booked using Skyscanner's handy tools. To save even more money, rent an economy or hybrid car.
Driving Around Santa Barbara
There are plenty of 24-hour gas stations along Highway 101, which are especially convenient for a quick stop for folks who are arriving or departing from Santa Barbara Airport. There are other stations on Hollister Avenue, though keep in mind that many are not open all day and typically close around 10 p.m. The airport is also about a 20-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara if traffic conditions are favorable.
Traffic is typically heavier closer to LA County, but Santa Barbara itself is a quite pleasant place to start or end a road trip. Be aware of potential congestion because Highway 101 closures. Drive with caution in the downtown area, being extra mindful of traffic cameras in and around Santa Barbara proper.
With the city's location at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the weather is fantastic year-round. There is ample parking throughout the city, and many parking lots are open 24 hours a day for an easy and affordable parking experience. Beach parking can be somewhat inconvenient, though the city offers their Waterfront Parking Services site to make things easier for visitors.
What to Do in Santa Barbara
Some of the best things to do in Santa Barbara include activities that range from relaxing terrace massages and picnics in the lushly landscaped Lookout Park to boutique shopping and superb wine tastings. The city is a diverse destination for every type of traveler, though a visit to Stearns Wharf is a must; try some steamy clam chowder served in a bread bowl at one of the restaurants there. Catch a live performance at the famous open-air venue, the Santa Barbara Bowl, or dine alfresco and discover the flavors of the culinary scene along the coast.
Santa Barbara is conveniently situated along the coast between other great Californian cities like San Diego, which is approximately 228 miles away, and San Francisco, which is about 332 miles away. Why not take a road trip?
A seamless car rental experience with Skyscanner means more time to relish in the Spanish Colonial splendor that characterizes Santa Barbara.