Stearns Wharf
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Stearns Wharf
Stearns Wharf

One of the finest Pacific Coast piers, as they're usually called in California, is Stearns Wharf. Built in 1872 for cargo delivery and passengers, the pier has survived earthquakes, storms and fires. Today, an entire subculture of colorful characters hangs out on its wooden planks every day. Strolling the local landmark is itself worth a trip to Santa Barbara, for its natural history museum, small shops and fish & chips—leftovers of which assertive seabirds will nab.

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