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Where to Watch The Sunset In Santa Barbara

May 25th, 2020 by Megan Peterson

Santa Barbara is known for its dreamy beaches, exceptional weather, rich gastronomy, and relaxed atmosphere. Although it’s occasionally overshadowed by cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara offers a splendid mix of culture, cuisine, and topography, which merit a place on your travel wishlist. After spending a day tasting wine at one of the many wineries in the region, exploring the trendy nooks and crannies of the Funk Zone, or mingling with wildlife at the Santa Barbara Zoo, there’s no better way to end the day than by watching the sun go down. Here are a few picturesque places to watch the sunset and bask in the evening glow of Santa Barbara.

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Where to Watch The Sunset In Santa Barbara 0

Butterfly Beach

This west-facing beach is one of the most popular spots to enjoy sundown over the water and for good reason. You can let your dog off the leash, squish your toes in the sand, and watch the sky melt into a technicolor daydream. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a dolphin or two making the rounds during an evening swim. 

Stearns Wharf

A Santa Barbara icon, Stearns Wharf was completed in 1872 and is now California’s oldest working wharf. If you like your sunsets with a side of entertainment, head down to the waterfront area and stroll along the boulevard at dusk. Be sure to grab a few scoops of ice cream before heading to Stearns Wharf to drink in sunset over the Pacific. Word on the boardwalk is that sunsets and ice cream pair very nicely.

Read next: A Guide to a Day in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone

Ellwood Mesa

Tranquil trails, eucalyptus groves, and monarch butterflies, are just a few of the treasures you’ll see in this nature preserve in the Goleta area of the city. The Monarch Reserve is a hot spot from November through February when the butterflies migrate to California. A popular destination for hikers, joggers, bikers, and horseback riders alike, you can catch sunset over the bluff from Ellwood beach or one of the hiking trail lookout points.

TV Hill

Nicknamed for the local KEYT-TV station that sits at 730 Miramonte Drive, this panoramic vista yields stunning views of the mountains, shoreline, and downtown Santa Barbara down below. Head towards the TV station and stake out your vantage point of choice in the surrounding area.

Read next: Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Inspiration Point

The name says it all although you’ve got to be game for a moderate 3.5 mile hike if you want to watch the sunset from the top of Inspiration Point. Hikers often spell out messages using rocks once they reach the end-point in order to inspire fellow hikers. Then there are the equally thought-provoking coastal views along with the side effects of endorphins coursing through your veins. We’ll let you decide which facet of arriving at this lookout point deserves credit for the name.

One Thousand Steps Beach

This beach has a rocky coastline and is a bit less user-friendly. However, it has high visibility and you can often see all the way out to Channel Islands National park. Fewer tourists and crowds make this an intimate spot to revel in the splendor of a coastal sunset.

Whether you’re a Santa Barbara native or are just passing through, taking the time to appreciate a sunset will be sure to leave you feeling grateful for the beauty the city has to offer.

Read next: What to Eat in Santa Barbara

Photo by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash

Megan Peterson

American content writer in Italy. Her hobbies include getting dressed up to go to art museums, hopping on trains to cities she's never been, and talking to herself in a mixture of English and Italian.

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