A trip to Santa Barbara, California isn’t complete without a trip to Stearns Wharf. Stearns Wharf is Santa Barbara’s top tourist attraction that features shopping, dining, and beach recreation. Built in 1872, it’s the longest deep-water wharf between San Pedro and San Francisco. Here are some of the best things to do during a day at the wharf.
Admire the wildlife at the Sea Center
The Sea Center is an aquarium featuring native California sea life that educated visitors on protecting marine wildlife. Shark Cove is one of the highlights of the Sea Center where you can touch docile coastal sharks and see baby sharks still in their eggs. If you want to visit even more touch exhibits, there’s also the intertidal wonders exhibit where visitors can feel tide pool animals.
Cruise through the harbor
Celebration Cruises dock their 42-passenger yacht right out of Stearns Wharf and they offer sunset, private, whale watching, and coastal cruises. Their claim to fame is their $99 private charters where you provide your own food and drinks while a captain takes your party out onto the Pacific. Their ever popular sunset public cruises are the perfect activity for a romantic getaway.
Eat excellent seafood
Naturally, most of the restaurants on the wharf serve excellent seafood. The Harbor Restaurant has one of the best views of the ocean and is perfect for date night. They have an extensive wine list and dinner items like fresh oysters and their seafood towers. If you’re looking for a more laid back vibe, Char West is a small takeout restaurant right on the dock that serves great fish and chips. Longboard’s Beach Bar and Grill has an outdoor patio and a more relaxed vibe that locals like to frequent. If you’re in the mood for a specialty cocktail, Longboard’s is the place to go.
Shop ’til you drop
There are several shops at the wharf that you’re bound to browse as you’re walking around. Stop at the Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room to sip California wines and purchase your favorite while you admire 360-degree degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Mother Stearns Candy Company is a favorite for adults and kids where you can buy any candy you can think of including old fashioned favorites. There are also several clothing and souvenir stores to shop at.
Stearns Wharf is a fun place to spend a day or two during a trip to Santa Barbara. If you’re looking for a place to stay close to all the fun, Cheshire Cat Inn is just two miles directly down State Street to Stearns Wharf.