Main Content

Great Outdoors Month: 5 Ways to Celebrate In Santa Barbara


Cyclers enjoying the great outdoors in Santa BarbaraThe U.S. Forest Service has named June the official month to celebrate the Great Outdoors. With the goal of connecting people to nature through good times, the U.S. Forest Service has put together several ways to celebrate. From National Fishing and Boating Week, and the Great American Backyard Campout, to National Marina Days and the National Get Outdoors Day of Service; all designed to get people outside enjoying nature.

Of course, those of us lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara and Montecito don’t need to wait for a special month to celebrate the great outdoors. We have many options when it comes to connecting with Mother Nature all year long.

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is the northernmost gate of the Southern California Kingdom. Blessed with a year-round, Mediterranean climate and topography that allows for surf sessions and mountainside hot spring soaks in the same day, the greater Santa Barbara region is a certifiable Garden of Eden for anyone who loves the great outdoors. 

Read: Santa Barbara Recognized As One of the Best Small Cities in the Nation

Bordering the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is home to one of the world’s most vibrant surf communities. Wave riding legends like Tom Curren, Kelly Slater, and Shaun Tompson all keep homes in the area for its proximity to cobblestone point breaks that dot the coastline. The same stretch of ocean is also home to the Channel Islands, considered by many to be the Northern Hemisphere’s answer to the Galapagos Islands. The islands comprise America’s least visited national park, thanks to the quick, though often bumpy, boat ride required to get there. But the lack of crowds is a blessing for the savvy souls in the know about this paradise. 

In a nutshell, Santa Barbara is nirvana for outdoor junkies, especially during the summer months. Here are some of the amazing adventures the whole family can enjoy in and around Santa Barbara:

Father and Son (and/or Daughter) Surf Lessonsdaughter getting up on a surf board and catching a wve in Santa Barbara with her father and brother in the background.
Has anyone in your family ever wanted to learn how to surf? Surprise them by booking a surf lesson with the Santa Barbara Adventure Company. The kids can spend quality time in some of the gentler Santa Barbara waves with dad (and/or mom) with knowledgeable and friendly guides while enjoying professional instruction and a delicious lunch. All equipment is included, and instructions include a comprehensive briefing focusing on the fundamentals of reading the water, paddling, etiquette, catching waves and riding. A surf lesson is a perfect way for kids to bond with family members and nature while enjoying a memorable day.

Mountain Biking
When the ocean goes flat like it typically does every summer season, plenty of other options abound for outdoor adventure. The surrounding hills, canyons, and mountains offer some of Southern California’s best-kept secrets, especially for mountain biking enthusiasts. Trails meander through the foothills and canyons of Santa Barbara and snake their way up and down Santa Ynez Mountain range and the Los Padres National Forest. Many of them are open to mountain bike riders. Ranging from wide and easy to narrow and hair-raising, the network of trails around the region is seemingly endless. Just make sure you remember your trail bell, as much of the dirt in the region is of the mixed-use variety — with hikers, bikers, and even horseback riders all sharing space.   

Trail Running
The coastal mesas of the region and the many canyons and foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountain range provide endless opportunity for a trail run. Soak up coastal scenery and wildlife with mellow and mostly flat routes at places like Elwood Mesa or crank up the effort/reward factor and test your fitness against the steep switchbacks and stunning views of one of the mountain trails like Tunnel. Further, though not technically trail running, Santa Barbara is also home to a host of beach run options. Make sure the tide is dropping and head out to places like More Mesa, the Gaviota Coast, or Montecito and enjoy a barefoot jog along the beach. Your soul will thank you, even though your calves will most likely be whining with pain the next day.  

Hike Inspiration Point
This is one of Santa Barbara’s many great hiking trails. Bring some water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat for this 3-mile round trip hike. The trailhead is located at the end of Tunnel Road, just 10 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara. The hike is moderate; crossing creeks and climbing through the chaparral. The elevation gain is about 800 ft., and when you reach the summit you will be treated to amazing panoramic views of the coast.

Family Mountains to Shore Bike RideParticipants of the mountain to the shore bike ride stopping to catch a breathtaking view of Santa Barbara.
Feel the wind in your hair as you descend almost 4000 ft. through the Santa Ynez mountain range. Fully guided by expert staff and including a delicious picnic lunch, this ride is truly breathtaking and covers 13-15 miles of Santa Barbara’s best scenery. It’s for all skill levels and is a great opportunity for the whole family to share an adrenaline rush.

Whale Watching
Explore the Santa Barbara channel and catch a glimpse of some amazing marine mammals. Summer is a great time to whale watch in Santa Barbara, with humpbacks migrating now through the end of September. You’ll also see dolphins, sea lions, and harbor seals. Santa Barbara’s eco-friendly Condor Express gives you a unique opportunity to see Southern California marine wildlife from a completely different angle. Since 1973, the Condor and more recently the Condor Express have been a part of the Santa Barbara waterfront; cruising the Santa Barbara Channel.

Read: Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

Kayak and Camp at Channel Islands National ParkKayaking in the great outdoors around the Channel Islands
Explore Santa Cruz Island on an incredible overnight trip. The island offers world-class sea cave kayaking, amazing hiking vistas and serene tranquility found few places on Earth.  Let Santa Barbara Adventure Company take care of the details while you relax and enjoy the scenery.

Read: Ready for a Channel Islands Cruise?

This bounty of outdoor opportunities, coupled with a culture that prioritizes working to live rather than living to work, has helped turn Santa Barbara into a year-round outdoor playground. Don’t you want to live in a year-round playground? Test the waters (pun intended!) during Great Outdoors Month. Then call me at +1 805.886.9378 or email me at and I’ll find you the perfect home in any of the upscale communities of Santa Barbara where you can celebrate the great outdoors this summer and all year long.


Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me
Trigger Page Preview Option Popup
Page Preview Save

Enjoying Cristal's blog & listings? Please spread the word :)