Back To School Daytrip In Santa Barbara

The nationwide migration back-to-school this fall is upon us. For many college students, they have returned to the college towns that they call home. Although the sweet sounds of summer have ended, the students in Santa Barbara are lucky enough to have a never ending summer on California’s Central Coast! As a student at UC Santa Barbara herself, Limon Content Writer Intern, Sophie Ludgin, has put together the perfect guide to ensure a smooth transition back to Isla Vista and Downtown Santa Barbara.

UCSB: Isla Vista

Sands Beach

Sands Beach is an ultimate Gaucho favorite, as it is more of a hidden gem than better known beaches on campus and off of Del Playa Drive. For the best beach day, grab your towel, sunscreen (or tanning oil), and refreshments. Many students enjoy bringing games such as spikeball, beach volleyball, or beer dye. Sands is the furthest beach from campus, so plan to either bike or skateboard with your friends. The beach lies next to Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve and features soft sand and lush shrubs. 


Located in the heart of Isla Vista, Freebirds is one of the best places to get a bite to eat before classes, coming back from the beach, or just hanging out with friends. The quick-style Mexican cuisine offers a simple menu of make your own burritos, nachos, bowls, and their famous ‘quesarito’. With friendly workers and a lively atmosphere, Freebirds is a great place to grab a bite to eat. 

Lizard’s Mouth

Take a 30 minute drive high into the mountains behind Isla Vista and discover Lizard’s Mouth, a rock formation overlooking Santa Barbara and the Pacific. The viewpoint features an overlook of mountains and downtown, while being surrounded by a bountiful ecosystem of wildflowers and trees. For a true UCSB experience, head up during sunset with a picnic and your friends! 

SBCC: Downtown Santa Barbara

State Street

Located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, SBCC students are just steps away from enjoying everything that one of the best areas downtown has to offer! With coffee shops, clothing boutiques and restaurants, State Street is full of things to do. The lively environment surrounded by Spanish style architecture provides for an instagram aesthetic-worthy day.

One of my favorite hidden spots is Scarlett Begonia, located right off of State Street. Try the lemon ricotta pancakes, topped with blueberry compote and fresh flowers!

Butterfly Beach

This quaint and peaceful beach is the perfect place to have a getaway from classes on the weekend (and it’s not too far away either). Located in Montecito across from the Four Seasons Hotel, take a drive with your friends to this picturesque beach for a day full of tanning, relaxing, and fun. 

Stearns Wharf

Built in 1872, Stearns Wharf is the oldest working wooden wharf in California and one of the gems of downtown Santa Barbara! Although it originated for cargo and ship movement, it is now home to restaurants, shops, and the Santa Barbara Sea Center. Walk to the end of the pier and turn around for an amazing view of downtown and the San Rafael mountains!

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