With Valentine’s day around the corner, love is in the air, and there is no better way to celebrate than surprising your significant other with a drive up the coast for a weekend stay in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is a city fit for every couple - whether you like to spend your days being active, lunching in Montecito with a glass of Sancerre, or simply working on your tan, this quaint city has something for you. This is the ultimate guide for the best romantic spots in Santa Barbara - and it’s guaranteed to win you some points.
So you’ve decided to surprise your better half with a weekend in Santa Barbara? The first order of business is to book your hotel room; Santa Barbara has some of the best hotels in the world, and we listed our favorites for a romantic getaway below to wow your Valentine.
Most Romantic Hotel:
San Ysidro Ranch
Address: 900 San Ysidro Ln., Montecito
Located in the Montecito hills with its ranch-like charm, San Ysidro Ranch wins in our eyes for most romantic hotel. Located in the foothills of Montecito, you’ll find that the Ranch offers privacy and tranquility. This makes it the perfect setting for a one on one getaway - allowing you to give your full attention to your plus one. The cozy cottages look like they are straight out of a storybook. Each is equipped with antiques and artwork from all over the world, stone fireplaces and private patios with outdoor rainfall showers. These secluded cottages scream romance. With multiple award winning restaurants, a state of the art Spa, and access to 17 miles of hiking trails right off the lot - San Ysidro Ranch has something for every couple and a weekend stay here will be enough to impress your date without even leaving the hotel. *If you need any more convincing that this is the place for you, just casually mention that John and Jackie Kennedy spent their honeymoon on the Ranch* - yeah, that should do the trick.
Most Romantic Wine/Cocktails:
Miramar Beach Bar
Address: 1759 S Jameson Ln, Montecito, CA 93108
For sunset drinks we highly suggest going to the Rosewood Miramar Hotel and sitting outside at the Miramar Beach Bar. This “bar” is situated right above the beach at the hotel and has incredibly breathtaking views of the ocean. Most tables have a personal fireplace if you get a little chilly and allows you an opportunity to snuggle up with your date. Open all day but we suggest going during sunset for pre-dinner drinks in order to ensure those romantic vibes.
Folded Hills Tasting Room
Address: 1294 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
If you are one of those wine savvy couples and wine tasting counts as an activity for you (or you just enjoy a nice daytime buzz) Folded Hills winery is a must. Folded Hills is a family-run and organically grown winery out of the San Ynez Valley. If you’re looking for a quick day trip, it’s only about a 40 minute drive to walk their grounds and do a wine tasting. But if you’d prefer to stay in town and not worry about driving, Folded Hill’s has the first and only wine tasting room in Montecito, located right in the lower village. Pro Tip: Rent the cute yellow bikes from Rosewood Miramar and bike less than ten minutes to the tasting room.
Most Romantic Dinner Spots:
Address: 9 W Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Coined as a ‘California French’ cuisine, Bouchon is one of the most romantic and delicious dinners you can have in town. The combination of the fabulous menu, the French farmhouse interior and dimmed lights, along with the impeccable local wine list; this is one of those restaurants that was literally made for a special date night. It’s definitely a splurge and reservations in advance are needed but this is a true gem in Santa Barbara. Located in Downtown Santa Barbara, Bouchon might not have as much hype in comparison to the typical Montecito fine dining spots but trust us on this one - this is the ultimate dinner spot for a romantic weekend. Besides, didn’t the French practically invent romance??
Sushi Bar Montecito
Address: 1295 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara
Sushi Bar is somewhat of a hidden gem; those who get it, get it and those who don't.. well you get the point. Located in the Montecito Inn, Sushi Bar might not be your first thought when it comes to romance, but if you are a more laid back couple that enjoys good sushi without all of the drama then this is your spot. Sometimes impressing someone isn’t all about candlelit dinners and 50 year old bottles of wine. Instead, being in the know and scoring a reservation at an exclusive (and very expensive) spot like Sushi Bar is all you need to impress. This Omakase spot is a very intimate setting with only 10 seats in the entire restaurant. 17 courses are served with each seat set up against the chefs cutting boards so you can ensure you and your date are entertained the entire time. This is for the couple that recognizes fine dining but doesn’t care for the extensive romantic vibes.
Pro Tip: Being that this restaurant was made to impress, they have a special Valentines Day Dinner featuring a one-night-only menu that’s definitely worth fighting to get in for or booking out in advance for next year.
Most Romantic Activity:
Spend an afternoon at Butterfly Beach
Address: 1260 Channel Drive Montecito, CA
Located in Montecito, Butterfly Beach is a local favorite and definitely worth visiting with your special someone. The perfect romantic Butterfly Beach Day: Rent bikes and ride the Cabrillo bike path down to butterfly beach. Pack your beach day essentials and a homemade picnic (think romantic aka charcuterie - if bikes interfere with this, remember charcuterie always takes precedence) and spend the day watching the locals dogs run in and out of the water while your crush gets tanner by the minute.