Why Being a California “Tourist” Is Still Okay

There’s a lot of negative talk around attractions and
experiences that are too “touristy” these days. And while we
understand the desire to venture off the beaten path, we sometimes
find that the road more traveled has better views. That
being said, being a tourist in a Californian town like Santa
Barbara is extra precious, because our most well-known sights and
landmarks are still relaxing, invigorating, and memorable. 

Here, we’re highlighting some of the most popular visitor
experiences in Santa Barbara, as well as can’t-miss attractions
that every tourist or traveler will enjoy checking out. 

Santa Barbara Trolley Tours

One of the most comprehensive ways to see the city of Santa
Barbara is to take an open-air train ride with the Santa Barbara Trolley Company. Pay
one fare and get access to the looping trolley for a full day. The
hop-on, hop-off style allows you enjoy the freedom of getting lost
in the attractions and sights that grab you for as long as you’d
like. If you stay on the bus, the tour runs for around 90
minutes—hitting a wave of memorable spots along the way. 

The tour highlights include Stearns Wharf and the Dolphin
Fountain, both of which are located a short walk from Hotel Milo.
The wharf is one of the best places to look out on the ocean, and
back at Santa Barbara itself. It’s also well stocked with
souvenir shops, wine-tasting operations, and amazing seafood
restaurants. Tours also visit East Beach, Andrea Clark Bird Refuge,
and the Museum of Natural History. 

Santa Barbara Beaches

We think it’s always been okay to be a California tourist,
largely because so many Californian tourists are actually locals!
Inland residents flock to the shores of coastal towns during sunny
months to enjoy the water and sun—and Santa Barbara is no
exception. Proudly, we have some of the finest coastal hangouts in
Southern California, each of which is well worth touring, hiking,
and relaxing on. 

Among the many examples, we have East Beach, and West
Beach—both vibrant and well-located spots are a short walk from
Hotel Milo. Another favorite is Butterfly Beach, which is
exceptionally clean, accented by nearby cliffs and hiking trails,
and a popular hangout from Santa Barbara’s celebrity locals. For
more examples, check out our guide to
Exploring The Beaches of Santa Barbara

Day Trips from Santa Barbara

When you visit Santa Barbara, you’re visiting a city and
county that breathes the vibrant air of the surrounding region and
landscape rich with flavor and experience. One of the most
“touristy” things you can do when visiting Santa Barbara—and
something we highly encourage—is to get out and enjoy
a Santa Barbara day trip
to one of the countless neighboring
areas. From going out on the water, to heading up into the Santa
Ynez Mountains, and then down into the surrounding wine
country—the options for day trips out of Santa Barbara are

One of our favorite examples of such an excursion, is taking the
family for a day horseback riding up in the mountains, and then
down to neighboring beaches. You can also take sailing or whale
watching excursions out on the nearby Pacifc Ocean. Santa Barbara
County offers a wide variety of wine-tasting, camping, climbing,
and wildlife viewing opportunities. 

Shopping & Eating

You should also be touristy in the most “you” way
imaginable. That means, if you love shopping, then spend your time
touring the shopping scene of Santa Barbara. We can get you started
with our favorite artful fashion boutiques, jewelry shops, gift
shops, retail plazas and pop-up flea experiences. For some more
examples, check out our
Essential Santa Barbara Shopping Guide

The same thought goes for indulging in exquisite local
cuisine—which Santa Barbara has plenty of. You may fancy
exploring the best tacos in town, or the most popular breakfast
spots. Our city is well-stocked from the casually delicious, to the
most decadent. For an example of one dining tourist niche, you can
check out our Guide
to Fine Dining in Santa Barbara

Discover more of Santa Barbara

Planning a visit to the American Riviera? Explore Santa Barbara
like a local and discover insider recommendations on the Hotel Milo Santa
Barbara blog

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Why Being a California “Tourist” Is Still Okay
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Why Being a California “Tourist” Is Still Okay