Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
Santa Barbara, the Queen of the California Missions, was founded in 1786. The current Mission was built in 1812 after an earthquake destroyed the last one. There was a large earthquake in 1925 and the entire center of town had to be rebuilt. It is now almost entirely a Mediterranean architecture. Santa Barbara has been a paradox for dog lovers. Most locals think it is dog-friendly, while visitors have their doubts. Due to a political "situation" Santa Barbara for many years was the main holdout in California about allowing dogs on outdoor patios. Recently this problem has been relaxed and dogs can find patio dining here as well as in the rest of the state. In addition, the beaches of Santa Barbara are not as pet-friendly as those south of here in Ventura County, but they are more pet-friendly than the beaches of Los Angeles 90 miles to the south. Today, Santa Barbara is dog-friendly in most respects.
Santa Barbara is home to many dog-friendly resorts and hotels. The San Ysidro Ranch is an upscale resort. The good news for dog lovers is this place is very dog-friendly. The bad news is it can cost $600 per night. They do have a Privileged Pet Program and even dog massages. For a more moderate but still high budget hotel with dog-friendly perks and doggy room service try the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort located right in town. The Best Western Beachside Inn, the Blue Sands Motel and the Secret Garden Inn and Cottages are also dog-friendly. For someone looking for a pet-friendly suite hotel for a long stay there is an Extended Stay America. Santa Barbara has a large number of pet-friendly vacation rentals as well.
In Santa Barbara you can find a number of dog-friendly attractions. Explore Chumach Painted Cave State Historic Park and see Chumash Native drawings from the 1600s. Leashed dogs are welcome. You can tour the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden with your dog as well. Or explore the Stearns Wharf which is California's oldest working wharf. There are shops and patios for food available to you and some of the stores will allow your dogs. If shopping is your thing, then explore the downtown State Street Shopping Area with your dog. There are a number of pet-friendly stores here including the world headquarters of Big Dog Sportswear, a famously dog-friendly chain. You can also shop with your dog at the La Cumbre Plaza Shopping Area.
Today it is easy to find dog-friendly restaurants in Santa Barbara. This was not always the case as the city health department parted ways with the Santa Maria Branch of the health department and with most of the state and stopped dogs from sitting on patios at restaurants in town. Now finding dog-friendly patios is not such a challenge. The Brewhouse Restaurant at 229 West Montecito Street has handcrafted brews and a menu of comfort foods for you - and a menu for your dog as well. Another extremely dog-friendly restaurant is the Summerland Beach Cafe in Summerland just south of Santa Barbara. This restaurant is set in a Victorian house with a large outdoor dining area. Summerland Beach, right across from the restaurant, is a dog-friendly beach as well.
There are a number of dog-friendly beaches in the area. Summerland Beach, 8 miles south of town, is one. Leashed dogs are allowed in Rincon Park and Beach on Bates Road in Santa Barbara, Arroyo Burro Beach and Goleta Beach County Park. There are a number of off-leash dog parks in and around Santa Barbara. The Douglas Family Preserve is an entire park where off-leash dogs are allowed.
Nearby Santa Barbara are Ventura and Ojai, the quaint Dutch town of Solvang and San Luis Obispo and Cambria.