Length 6.7 km (4.2 miles)
Photos courtesy of Flickr CreativeCommons (except one)
Santa Barbara is one of my favorite cites: it's not too big, has a beautiful waterfront, an enchanting, prosperous little downtown, pleasant, lushly landscaped neighborhoods, beautiful beaches and is lined to the north by a ridge of rugged hills.
Santa Barbara is the beach town that all other beach towns should be. The beach is open to the public for its entire length: no high-rises, no condos, no disheartening search for a tiny access road. The businesses are all tastefully designed, with no tacky business strips and barren parking lots. There are bicycle lanes that are actually used, and trees everywhere. Consider yourself lucky if you are planning to spend some time there.
|View of town from pier, photo by michellerlee|
This route has a bit of all of that. I hope you like it!
We'll start in the heart of downtown, at the corner of State Street and Carillo (don't confuse this with Cabrillo, the beach drive). We'll head down State Street towards the southeast, running to the beach.
|Along State Street, photo by michellerlee|
Just cruise on down the street, past the shops, cafés, theaters, plazas. What a great downtown.
|State Street landscaping, photo by Kaizer Rangwala|
As I mentioned, the wide beach, with its lagoon and hundreds of sable palms goes on forever, and you could turn left here and just run, first along the wide beach, then along cliffs.
But we'll explore the area here a bit. First, let's run straight out onto Santa Barbara's really cool pier, Stearns Warf. Just head straight out onto the wooden pier, past the seafood restaurants and aquarium. It's fun to watch the anglers and the fishing boats unloading.
|Stearns Warf, photo by michellerlee|
When you get to the marina, just keep the water on your left side, with the parking lot to your right. You'll run a half a kilometer along the docks full of bobbing yachts.
|In the Santa Barbara marina, photo by GibZilla|
|Harbor pelicans, photo by Vagues Solaires|
At Shoreline Drive, turn right to head back towards the center of town. There is an athletic field across the street. It belongs to the Santa Barbara City College campus, on the hill to your left. Unfortunately, you can't easily cut through there, so we'll run back along Shorline Drive until you see Pershing Park on your left, just before Castillo Street.
Cross the street and cut through the park. Then run northwards up Castillo, past the baseball fields on the left and the row of motels on the right. The whole neighborhood to the right is full of very nice motels and bed-and-breakfasts, which is where I was staying.
In a few blocks you'll come to an ugly spot where the street goes under the railroad and US101, but soon you'll come back out the north side.
|Along De La Vina, photo from Google StreetView|
Run the five blocks northwards back to Carillo Street, where you turn right and run the last two blocks back to State Street.