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Five Paths to Bliss in Santa Barbara

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Five Paths to Bliss in Santa Barbara
A feeling of calm naturally washes over you in Santa Barbara, on California’s Central Coast, which has been dubbed The American Riviera® for its sparkling seas and breathtaking landscapes. In sync with the sun and the sea, life here moves at a slower rhythm. Days are spent exploring the coastline by boat, by bike, or on foot—with breaks to unwind at a spa sanctuary, on the beach, or by the pool. Whichever path you choose, they all lead to one state of mind. Here’s how to bliss out in Santa Barbara.
Sponsored by Visit Santa Barbara
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    Hit the Beach, the Trail—or Both
    One of the great joys of coastal living in Santa Barbara is the proximity to both mountains and sea. It’s completely within the realm of possibility to pair a morning hike with an afternoon spent at one of Santa Barbara’s seven splendid beaches, including Leadbetter (pictured). And there are plenty of options for day hikes, too: trails of varying degrees of difficulty reward with sweeping vistas of land and sea.
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    Trade Four Wheels for Two
    Ditch the car and do as locals do: Hop on a beach cruiser and hit Cabrillo Boulevard, a bike path which runs parallel to the beach, or head into the mountains for challenging rides for road cyclists and mountain biking trails. Wheel Fun Rentals supplies bikes as well as scooters, mopeds, and roller blades. Around town, take advantage of Santa Barbara’s trolley system as well as the Downtown-Waterfront Shuttle, which stops along State Street and the Waterfront area.
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    Soak Up the Pacific
    There are few better days in Santa Barbara than ones spent out on the ocean. The opportunities for adventures with a salty sea breeze include kayak excursions with Santa Barbara Adventure Company; whale watching on an ecofriendly, high-speed catamaran, the Condor Express; and sunset sails on the Sunset Kidd, a 41-foot private sailing yacht. A good place to get oriented is the Santa Barbara Sailing Center, which offers rentals, tours and guided instruction for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing, as well as boat rentals.
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    Find the Sanctuary That’s Right for You
    Visitors to Santa Barbara are spoiled for choice when it comes to where to check in for the night. You’ll find quaint neighborhood inns with whitewashed walls, red tile roofs, and climbing bougainvillea tucked into some residential areas, while downtown hotels offer contemporary style and convenience. The iconic beachfront resorts that line Santa Barbara’s coastline are the epitome of luxury—and a favorite of the Hollywood elite.
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    Channel Your Inner Zen
    There’s something about just being in Santa Barbara that encourages a sense of relaxation and inner calm. But why stop there? Santa Barbara is world-renowned for its resort spas, such as the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (pictured) and its holistic practices in general—the city is a haven for yoga studios, and instructors can provide one-on-one sessions as well. Other local gems include Float Luxury Spa, which is set in a private villa, and Santa Barbara’s underground Himalayan Salt Caves, the largest in North America.