Last Updated on May 16, 2023

Traffic on California’s 101 South highway was at a merciless gridlock due to a combination of an accident and road construction. GPS estimated we’d be stuck for hours heading home from a getaway in Paso Robles to San Diego.

That’s when I looked at my husband and said, “we can’t do this. We’re not far from Santa Barbara, so why don’t we just stay there for the night?”

Often referred to as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is serendipitously tucked between the Pacific beaches and foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. With an ideal climate, glamorous reputation, palm-studded promenades, and Mediterranean architecture, Santa Barbara is picture-postcard perfect.

Castillo Inn At the Beach

King room at Castillo Inn at the Beach in Santa Barbara.
King room at Castillo Inn at the Beach in Santa Barbara. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Santa Barbara is filled with charming boutique hotels. Being that we were in town on a Friday night, there was concern we wouldn’t find a vacancy. Thanks to our trusty booking aps, we were able to land Castillo Inn in Santa Barbara, a lovely property just a two-minute walk from West Beach and Santa Barbara’s picturesque Stearns Wharf and harbor.

This ended up being a great choice.

Castillo Inn in Santa Barbara provides a mix of value, comfort and convenience, and features 21 guestrooms with refrigerators, flat screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and daily newspapers. Front desk staff are incredibly friendly and helpful with restaurant suggestions, activities and information about the local area.

Parking is plentiful and complimentary.

Rooms choices include standard or deluxe two queens or one king beds along with a suite offeringtwo bedrooms and a kitchen, ideal for a family. Guests can also select a king room with jacuzzi tub and patio.

Guestrooms and bathrooms are simple, yet tastefully decorated, and include plantation shutters, a writing desk and sofa. Beds are extremely comfortable.

Location is Everything

Santa Barbara Marina.
Santa Barbara Marina. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Any time you can park your car and walk to the best a town has to offer, that makes a stay even more enjoyable. A home base at Castillo Inn in Santa Barbara will enable you to easily explore all the nearby gems on foot.

Stearn’s Wharf, built in 1872, is California’s oldest wooden working wharf, a two-minute walk away and a hub of activity and entertainment. A variety of delightful shops and restaurants can be found here. In addition, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center features interactive exhibits and displays focused on marine life and ocean conservation.

The wharf is also a popular spot for fishing and sightseeing, and visitors often spot sea lions, dolphins, and other marine wildlife from the pier.

Santa Barbara’s beaches including East, West and Hendry’s beaches. West Beach is another two-minute stroll from the inn. With its long stretch of soft sand and gentle waves, it’s a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding.

The beach is patrolled by lifeguards ensuring the safety of its beachgoers.

This stretch of sand also sports a long and lovely promenade perfect for a scenic walk or jog, especially when the sun disappears behind the Santa Ynez Mountains and the sky transforms into a stunning hue of multi-colors.

West Beach includes several sand volleyball courts where you’ll often see lively pickup games happening with family and friends who also utilize the on-site picnic tables and grills.

State Street is Santa Barbara’s main drag lined with shops, restaurants and cafes – a great place to people-watch and take in the town’s vibrant atmosphere.

Other activities that would require a drive, but are not far away include the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Santa Barbara is known for its wine country, and many wineries in the area offer tastings and tours. Some popular wineries include the Santa Barbara Winery, Sanford Winery, and Fess Parker Winery.

With its location just 95 miles from Los Angeles and 215 miles from San Diego, Santa Barbara is a great destination for a weekend getaway. The charming city offers a unique blend of natural beauty, culture and history and a stay in a boutique inn provides that unique and intimate lodging experience fitting this endearing town to a “T.”

Book your stay at Castillo Inn at the Beach in Santa Barbara.

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