Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez mountains of Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara is the gem of the California Coast. It’s no wonder it’s deemed the American Riviera.

With a vibrant and rich cultural history, proximity to sweeping vineyards, epic surf breaks and a year-round temperate climate, there’s no wrong time to visit Santa Barbara. However, here are a few suggestions as to why we think fall is the best season to visit Santa Barbara.

Lush vineyards, flowing wine

The surrounding vineyards are lush with ripe grapes ready to be harvested, making autumn perhaps the best time to visit the local wineries.

sb vacation rental homes

The Central Coast is one of California’s premier wine regions and Santa Barbara and nearby towns boast wineries galore. Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is a popular neighborhood bursting with wine shops at every corner. Anytime of the day is perfect for wine tasting when you’re on vacation, but a wine tasting paired with a beautiful coastal sunset is one you’ll remember for many more years to come.

Exceptional sailing and whale watching

Santa Barbara Channel is one of the west coast’s best areas for whale watching nearly year-round. But the late spring into the early fall is a great time to catch humpback whales and even blue whales. You’re also sure to see plenty of dolphins and sea lions. The fall weather is still warm and sunny enough to enjoy an open water whale watching adventure. Check out our recommendations for sailing and whale watching trips in Santa Barbara.

Less crowds, more fun

The summer crowds have retreated, kids are heading back to school and the high season mellows out but doesn’t die. Fall is less crowded, but Santa Barbara is still brimming with life. You’re more likely to dodge peak pricing and less likely to have to wait to be seated for Sunday brunch, yet still able to enjoy great weather. Most of the beaches and well-known surf spots will be less populated, as will the town’s most popular attractions.

stearns wharf

We keep mentioning weather…

No, it’s not always sunny in Santa Barbara but the fall season tends to be sunnier than the summer – which is often prone to some foggy days and June gloom. Not too hot and not yet rainy or cold, the months of September through October average temperatures in the mid-70’s. By visiting Santa Barbara during the autumn season, you’re likely avoid the occasional rain in the winter months.

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Santa Barbara, consider booking your vacation rental home for the fall season now. With ideal weather and competitive rates, your Santa Barbara getaway will certainly be an autumn to remember.

<<Check rates and availability for Santa Barbara vacation rental homes in fall>>