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Time to Plan Your Summer Staycation


Beautiful beach sunset filled wiht purle and pink sky over the ocean in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara homeowners craving a much-needed getaway are in luck. Even if their summer travel plans have been impacted by the pandemic, there’s always a summer staycation to refresh the psyche and explore favorite or even as yet unexplored activities within the area.

After all, there are plenty of valid concerns that could make anyone hesitant to travel for pleasure anytime soon. Included in that concern is the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against unnecessary travel.

“The idea of a staycation is to do all the things you would do if you were to travel somewhere but finding ways to incorporate those experiences within your own home,” says Catherine A. Sanderson, PhD, the author of The Positive Shift and chair of the psychology department at Amherst College in Massachusetts. “Re-creating those relaxing vacation vibes at home can help decrease stress and strengthen your mental well-being,” she adds. 

What is a staycation?

At-home vacations allow you to treat yourself in the comfort of your own city. Just like it sounds, a staycation is defined as an opportunity to disconnect and invest in luxuries and adventures found in your own neck of the woods. Those of us lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara have a plethora of things to choose from to decompress.

“My favorite thing to do is walk out my front door in a different direction,” says Dan Kieran, author of The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel. “Instead of giving yourself a specific amount of time to explore a place, reflect on where you are and try to get lost to achieve that travel feeling.”

He believes staycations are the future of travel and tourism, at least for the next year or so as people remain cautious and hesitant to fly to far-off destinations. So why not take this opportunity to figure out how to destress and have some much-needed fun right at home?

Summer Staycation Tips

  • Treat it like a destination trip
    The key to a good summer staycation is to pretend that you’re away. Take lots of photos, dress like you’re away and try things you’ve never done before or in a long time. Explore our fine city on foot or bike, try sleeping in a different room, pitch a tent in your own backyard. The possibilities are endless.

    Family enjoying their summer staycation riding their bikes in Santa Barbara
    How about exploring the new public art in town: A Kaleidoscope of Colors @ Paseo Nuevo Mall. The mall’s first public art collaboration with @mcasantabarbara is intended as a love letter to Santa Barbara. Artist Cassandra C. Jones’ 600-tile mural titled “Love Letters” is inspired by our local heritage, architecture, and surroundings. You’ll feel like you’re a world away when you see her thirty-six unique compositions; each one a vibrant work of art composed of collaged photographs printed on ceramic tile. The work comes together to create a larger kaleidoscopic image spanning two walls in Paseo Nuevo’s lower north court entrance.

  • Tour your hometown like a visitor
    For many people, researching a destination is a big part of the fun of travel. Santa Barbara welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Plan your summer staycation like they do by downloading a free copy of the Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine— which is chock full of information and insight — and includes free maps, brochures, and guides to make the most of your visit.

    Old Mission Santa Babara peeking out behind beautiful roses
    Make sure your agenda includes checking out some of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful museums that have reopened their outdoor areas for some physically distant, breezy fun. The list includes the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (with a Butterfly Pavilion), and many more. Also, don’t miss visiting the Old Mission Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Zoo, which has a new leopard named Kasha. Don’t forget your face mask!

  • Learn something new at home
    Mastering skills during leisure time is another well-being booster. Take that online course that you’ve been meaning to take for a long time. Consider the fall, 2020 classes offered at Santa Barbara Community College. Enroll today! Fall classes start on August 24. Visit edu/classes. Interest in language learning apps such as Duolingo and Babbel has surged during the pandemic, according to Forbes.

Or study the art of relaxing at home!

Woman relaxing on a lawn chair in her Santa Barbara backyard

  • This hobby is for the birds

Another activity that has become popular during the pandemic is bird watching. Santa Barbara is a bird-watching mecca with rare birds found at many city parks, including our Open Space Parks. City Beaches and the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge are excellent birding opportunities for shorebirds and the dense tree canopies of Stevens, Parma, and Honda parks provide bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. You can also grab your binoculars and see what’s in your own backyard. Visit to explore data and submit your observations.


  • Connect and find meaning

Looking for a sense of meaning or purpose during your summer staycation? Volunteering can be tricky right now, but local mutual aid organizations and nonprofits have opportunities to help out both in (socially distanced) person or remotely.

Locally, the County of Santa Barbara is in search of community members who would like to utilize their wisdom and talents by volunteering for various COVID-19 related projects.  Volunteer assignments are based on the skills, knowledge, and abilities of each individual volunteer and may include supporting emergency shelters, food distribution call centers, alternate (medical) care sites, or other emerging needs.

If you’re interested in volunteering, sign up by completing the Volunteer Registration Form found on the Santa Barbara County Public Health port: and emailing the completed form to You can also contact the Santa Barbara City CERT Spontaneous Volunteer Center, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at +1 (805) 564-5782 to sign up over the telephone.

Stay up-to-date on the local economy in the age of COVID-19 with the county’s Twitter page and local daily press conference Monday through Friday, 4:30 pm on CSBTV Channel 20, or on YouTube, CSBTV

READ: COVID-19 Information and Resources for Santa Barbara and Montecito

Here’s an idea! Plan your summer staycation in a new home in Santa Barbara or Montecito. There’s still time to make that happen. Here are some new home possibilities. Have a look, then give me a call or drop me an email and let’s talk. You can contact me at or by calling +1 (805) 886-9378. Start planning your summer staycation in your new home sweet home!


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