Road Scholar : Home
Exploring Santa Barbara

Program Number: 20991RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/30/2013 - 10/4/2013;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Price starting at: $898.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 8; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Dinner    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

From the first contact between white Europeans and the indigenous Chumash at the turn of the 17th century to today’s fashionable hotspot of culture, cuisine and the arts, get to know the Franciscan mission turned waterfront city of Santa Barbara. Home to inspiring architecture, robust agricultural resources, wonderful museums and an enviable waterfront, Santa Barbara is not only a fascinating detonation to explore, but also a charming and beautiful one as well.


• Gain an overview of Santa Barbara's character from its waterfront, historical landmarks, viticulture, stunning architecture and cultural diversity.
• Taste some of the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County within blocks of downtown and the beach.
• Visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum overlooking the harbor and discover the rich maritime history of the central coast.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles on city streets, garden grounds. Some stairs unavoidable.

This is a FLEX program that includes a more flexible schedule with ample independent time and several meals on your own.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Santa Barbara

The “American Riviera” — so-called for its mild, Mediterranean climate — lies along a south-facing stretch of scenic coast between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains and was home for millennia to the ancestral Chumash people. Today Santa Barbara is a leading center for education adorned with the trappings of the Spanish Mission period.

Hotel in the heart of downtown.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Santa Barbara
  Santa Barbara, California 4 nights
 Hotel Santa Barbara
Type: Hotel
  Description: Step outside the front doors of the Hotel Santa Barbara and discover a tempting variety of world-class shopping, fine dining, cultural venues, superb entertainment and great beaches. The location in the heart of downtown on State Street makes the hotel the perfect starting point for your exploration.
  Contact info: 533 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101 USA
phone: 805-957-9300
  Room amenities: Guest rooms are decorated in butter yellows and soft blues, an eclectic California-meets-French Provincial style designed for warmth and comfort. All rooms are air conditioned and non-smoking, and include: High speed wireless internet access; premium pillow-top mattresses; down feather and non-allergenic pillows; extended cable TV & HBO; voice mail; hairdryers & makeup mirror; room safe; iron & ironing board; bottled water; individual climate control; writing desk & chair; and in-room coffee maker. Starbucks coffee is served in the building.
  Facility amenities: This gracious 4-story hotel is a smoke-free property with 75 rooms. A Continental Breakfast is available to guests every morning from 7:00 to 10:00AM in the lobby. You'll find a fresh array of pastries, bagels, assorted cereal, hard boiled eggs, seasonal fruit and yogurt. You may make your own waffles or the staff will gladly prepare them for you. Beverages include apple and orange juice, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Ask for your free morning newspaper at the front desk. In addition to breakfast, seasonal fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea are available 24 hours. A safe deposit box is available at the front desk. The hotel provides dry cleaning and laundry services at a charge. WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS: Free Wi-Fi is accessible in every guest room and in most of the public areas. PARKING: Valet parking is available to all hotel guests at a rate of $7.00/day.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Based upon availability For reservations, call 1-800-549-9869.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Based upon availability For reservations, call 1-800-549-9869.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program registration takes place between 4:00-5:00PM in the hotel lobby.Orientation and introductions will take place before dinner. You will be staying at Hotel Santa Barbara that night.
  End of Program:
Please make your travel arrangements so you can join us for our final class on Friday morning, which will end at approximately 10:30AM. You will be staying at Hotel Santa Barbara the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On the enclosed Participant Information Form, please indicate to us the name of your roommate/traveling companion. Also let us know if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
Valet parking on site @ $7/night
To Start of Program
  Location:  Santa Barbara, California
  Nearest city or town:  Ventura
  Nearest highway: Highway 101 passes through Santa Barbara.
  Nearest airport:  Santa Barbara Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Santa Barbara, California
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

LAX to Santa Barbara by Shuttle Van


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-247-7919
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$96 p/p one-way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


About 2 hours or more for one-way trip between LAX and Santa Barbara 




About 100 miles from LAX to SB hotel


Roadrunner Shuttle provides door-to-door passenger van service from LAX to the hotel in Santa Barbara, but at a higher price than Santa Barbara Airbus. Advance reservations are required. Prices are subject to change so call or visit their website for current rates and to book a reservation. Local Phone: (805) 389-8196.


Santa Barbara/ Amtrak Station to Hotel Santa Barbara


From Train Station




Yellow Taxi
phone: 805-965-5111


Per Person/One Way:


Estimated at $10 one-way per ride from Amtrak station to hotel
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 minute by car; about a 7-minute walk 




0.3 miles from Amtrak Station to Hotel SB


The hotel is an easy 3 block walk from the Amtrak Station located at 209 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Both the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner Amtrak trains stop at Santa Barbara. For Amtrak information and reservations, call 800-872-7245. Amtrak website: Taxis are available at the train station for those who prefer a ride to the hotel. You may also call Yellow Taxi at 805-965-5111 or SB Checker Cab toll-free at 888-511-1110; local phone: 805-964-6666.


From Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) to SB Hotel


From Airport




Yellow Cab
phone: 805-965-5111


Per Person/One Way:


Estimated $35 per ride, one-way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


About 15 minutes depending on traffic 




About 9 miles from Santa Barbara Airport to the hotel


Travel options from Santa Barbara Airport to the hotel in Santa Barbara consist of car rentals, taxi service or the MTD #11 public bus. Alternate taxi service: SB Airport Taxi (not affiliated with airport) 805-895-2422, SB Checker Cab at 805-560-8284, or SB Yellow Cab at 805-965-5111. MTD Bus information: 805-963-3366 or Also consider taking a short commuter air flight from LAX to SB Airport via United Express.


Los Angeles/LAX to Santa Barbara


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Santa Barbara Airbus
phone: 800-423-1618


Per Person/One Way:


$50 for one passenger, one-way ($46 if prepaid 24 hrs in advance)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


About 2 hours or more for one-way trip between LAX and Santa Barbara drop-off location 




99 miles from LAX to SB hotel drop-off point


Advance reservations preferred but not required. Bus picks up at LAX terminals and departs LAX approx. every 2 hours from 9am to 10pm. Bus departs SB for LAX about every 2 hours from 4am to 6:20pm. Website: (for schedule, exact fares & reservations) Bus drops off/picks up at Hotel MarMonte, 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd., SB 93103, about 2 miles from hotel. For taxi service to hotel, call Yellow Cab at 805-965-5111. Also consider the benefits of renting a car at LAX.

Driving Directions
  From Highway 101 Northbound to Hotel Santa Barbara Exit at the Garden Street off ramp. Turn right onto Garden Street and drive two blocks to Cota Street. Turn left onto Cota Street and drive three blocks to State Street. Cross State Street and immediately turn left into the parking lot behind Hotel Santa Barbara. A valet attendant will assist you.
  From Highway 101 Southbound to Hotel Santa Barbara Exit at the Carrillo Street off ramp. Turn left onto Carrillo Street and drive four blocks to State Street. Turn right onto State Street and drive four blocks to Cota Street. Turn right onto Cota Street and immediately left into the parking lot behind Hotel Santa Barbara. A valet attendant will assist you.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals
(Monday, September 30)

Note: Participants should be able to walk 2 miles/day and at least 8 blocks at a given time, with limited seating available.

 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Check into Hotel Santa Barbara after 3:00PM.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet, which we'll review during our orientation session before dinner.

ORIENTATION: We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and any other administrative issues as well as answer your questions.

CROSSING POINTS: Participants introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.

NOTE FOR ALL MEALS FOR THIS PROGRAM: Menus are contracted well in advance with a variety of dining facilities and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals for the participants.

Since meals are served in a group setting, it is difficult to adjust to individual dietary requests. If you are unable to eat what is on the regular menu, a vegetarian alternative is available, if not already part of the menu.

Since alternative meal arrangements have to be made in advance, please indicate your need for a vegetarian entree on the enclosed Participant Information Form. If you have other dietary concerns, you can order (at your own expense) from a different menu.

 Evening: Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.
Accommodations: Hotel Santa Barbara
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introductory Lecture/Santa Barbara Courthouse/Architectural Walk
(Tuesday, October 1)

Note: Docent tour of the Santa Barbara Courthouse involves walking on flat, paved surfaces. Schedule also includes an architectural walk, which covers approximately 8 blocks in downtown Santa Barbara.

 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at Hotel Santa Barbara
 Morning: CLASS: An Historical Lesson: 450 Years of Santa Barbara History

From the arrival in 1602 of frigates under the command of Sabastian Vizcaino to the eventual settlement efforts by the Spaniards who came to stay in 1782, this class starts in the peaceful world of the indigenous Chumash who occupied the region which became Santa Barbara County. Through the era of Spanish government followed by a period of Mexican rule, later toppled by Colonel John Fremont and his soldiers who took Santa Barbara for the United States in 1846, the instructor explores the development of Santa Barbara as a region in which Chumash, Spanish, Mexican and North American influences merged together, forming a unique blend of language and culture.

FIELD TRIP: Guided walk of Santa Barbara Courthouse

The Courthouse is the jewel in Santa Barbara's architectural crown. A bonus is the must-see view of the city from the top of the 85 foot clock tower.

 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Architectural Walk

Experience Downtown Santa Barbara on a guided walk that focuses on architectural styles, significant and historic buildings, aesthetics, past and present building usage, and landscape history. A captivating blend of Spanish Mediterranean and Moorish influences form the foundation of Santa Barbara's internationally renowned architectural style.

 Dinner: Dinner on your own. Experience the Santa Barbara dining scene.
Accommodations: Hotel Santa Barbara
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Santa Barbara Mission/Guided Walk at Lotusland
(Wednesday, October 2)

Note: Docent tour of the Santa Barbara Mission involves walking on flat, paved surfaces and uneven terrain. At Lotusland, docents interpret the garden and its history on a 2-hour walk.

 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at Hotel Santa Barbara.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Santa Barbara Mission

Our first stop is the Santa Barbara Mission where we will enjoy a private, guided walk. Founded in 1786, Mission Santa Barbara was the 10th of the California missions to be built. Its beautiful hilltop setting and majestic views have earned it the appellation, "Queen of the Missions".

 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP CONTINUES: After lunch, we will visit Lotusland, a unique, 37-acre estate and botanic garden situated in the foothills of Montecito to the east of the city of Santa Barbara. Knowledgeable docents will interpret the garden and its history for us on a two-hour guided walk. The gardens were created over four decades by Madame Ganna Walska, an opera singer, who owned the property as a private residence from 1941 until her death in 1984.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own. From our central hotel location there are lots of options within a short walk.
Accommodations: Hotel Santa Barbara
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Fairview Gardens/Waterfront/Wine tasting
(Thursday, October 3)

Note: Walking on uneven terrain will be encountered during our guided walk of Fairview Gardens.

 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at Hotel Santa Barbara
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens

The same qualities that lure visitors to the Santa Barbara area also make for a bustling agricultural industry. We'll visit one of the oldest organic farms in CA to see and taste what's in season.

 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant using fresh, local ingredients
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Santa Barbara Waterfront

After lunch, ride the Downtown-Waterfront Shuttle, which provides frequent service along State Street and the Waterfront area. Shuttle buses and bus stops are marked with blue and black sailboat symbols. The shuttles travel on State Street from Sola Street to Stearns Wharf and along Cabrillo Boulevard.

Visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, which overlooks the harbor, and discover the rich maritime history of the central coast. Located in the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center, the Museum's structure was formerly known as the Old Naval Reserve Center, which was built by the Federal Government's Works Project Administration (WPA) program during the late 1930s through the early 1940s.

HANDS ON: Wine Tasting at the Santa Barbara Winery

Taste some of the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County within blocks of downtown and the beach. Santa Barbara Winery is part of the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, and offers both novices and aficionados the opportunity to learn about and taste wines of many different varieties and styles crafted from Santa Barbara County's best vineyards.

 Dinner: Dinner on your own. Choose from a wide variety of restaurant options or follow the group leader to a local favorite.
 Evening: 1st Thursday is an evening of art and culture in downtown Santa Barbara. On the first Thursday of each month, participating galleries and other art-related venues will offer free access to art in a fun and social environment.
Accommodations: Hotel Santa Barbara
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Independent Departures
(Friday, October 4)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at Hotel Santa Barbara
 Morning: CLASS: The Story of Santa Barbara’s Flying A Studio

Hear the fascinating story of the "Flying A Studios", California's first movie studio which was built in Santa Barbara in 1910. The famous Flying A Studio dominated the pivotal time in movie history when entertainment transitioned from the old days of vaudeville and live show business to the new world of silent films. Over a thousand Western movies were filmed in the Santa Barbara area during a brief golden period before the movie industry moved south to Hollywood.

HOTEL CHECK OUT: This concludes the program. We hope you have enjoyed our Santa Barbara program and will join us for other rewarding adventures in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara Visitors Bureau
Because Santa Barbara offers a wide range of activities, we suggest that you contact the Visitors Bureau for tourism information.

Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau

500 Montecito St.

Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Phone (800) 676-1266 or (805) 966-9222

Send an email to or vist their website. For additional information, visit

  Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd.

Phone (805) 682-4711

The museum features exhibits on regions, geology, minerals, native wildlife and marine life. Call or check the web site for current hours, admissions fees and exhibit information. For additional information, visit

  Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
1212 Mission Canyon Rd.

Phone (805) 682-4726

A "living museum" spanning 65 acres, the Botanic Garden consists of more than 5 miles of trails that wind through the garden's 1000 plus examples of native California plant life from habitats including the deserts, the Sierra Nevadas and the Channel Islands. Call the Garden or check the website for current hours and admission fees. For additional information, visit

  Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State St.

Phone (805) 963-4364

The SB Art Museum is known for its American and Asian collections, and is also home to important works of photography, modern art, prints and drawings. Major touring exhibits are featured throughout the year. Call the Museum or check the website for current hours, admission fees, and exhibit information. For additional information, visit

  Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
500 Ninos Dr.

Phone (805) 962-5339

The Santa Barbara Zoo is home to 160 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. More than 500 animals are exhibited in open, naturalistic habitats. Call the zoo or check the website at for current hours and admission fees. For additional information, visit

Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Sideways in Neverland: Life in the Santa Ynez Valley, California

Author: William Etling

Description: Etling has lived in "the West of legend, with Danish pastry" since 1966. These columns from the Santa Barbara News-Press have nothing to do with wine, little to do with movies and everything to do with an enchanting landscape and its residents, past and present. Michael Jackson, Fess Parker, Ronald Reagan and Matt LeBlanc are among those residents, but surfers, cowboys, artists, veterans and settlers get the most affectionate treatment. Though this is not truly a guidebook, Etling tips readers to wildflower fields, surfing spots, cave paintings and museums.

Santa Barbara Style

Author: Kathryn Masson (author) & James Chen (Photographer)

Description: This volume is packed with photographs of incomparable beauty that introduce the reader to Santa Barbara's exquisite architecture and historic heritage. Kathryn Masson was a member of Santa Barbara's Historic Landmarks Commission, serving for six years as chairman of both the Landmark Designation Committee and the Awards Committee, as well as on the board of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. She is co-author with Patricia Gebhard of Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

Aged in Oak, the Story of the Santa Barbara County Wine Industry

Author: Otis L. Graham, Jr. (Author), Kirk Irwin (Photographer), UCSB Graduate Program in Public Historic Studies

Description: Produced by the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association, this is a history of over 200 years of grape growing and a current tour of the most dynamic premium wine growing region in California. The volume is filled with maps and 80 color photos, and is an engaging and well researched exploration of the region's viticultural and wine making evolution from Mission days to present.

Channel Islands National Park

Author: Susan Lamb (Author) & George H. H. Huey (Photographer)

Description: The five remarkable islands of Channel Islands National Park preserve a part of California many visitors thought had long vanished. This isolated maritime sanctuary of natural and human history is a short boat ride from the urban cities of Southern California. The environment provides a serene habitat for many species of birds, marine mammals, wildlife, and plants - plus archeological sites that mark nearly 13,000 years of human presence.

Santa Barbara Sunset: Montecito Moon

Author: Lori M. Geraghty (Author), John Wardlaw (Author), John Molony (Photographer)

Description: A collection of beautiful images of the Santa Barbara area at sunset and at night under moonlight. The author adds inspirational words to go along with each photo. Hardback book with high quality printing to bring out the best photo quality.

The Rock Paintings of The Chumash: A Study of a California Indian Culture

Author: Campbell Grant

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