Planning your trip to Santa Barbara, CA? Known for our stunning beaches, vibrant cultural scene, and beautiful Mediterranean-style architecture, Santa Barbara offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re planning for your vacation to include a relaxing beach day, a wine-tasting tour, or an adventurous outdoor excursion, packing the right items will ensure you make the most of your vacation. Here’s a quick guide on a few specific items we recommend adding to your Santa Barbara packing list – and where to get them in town if you forget!

Swimsuits and Flip Flops

Santa Barbara is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in California. Pack a couple of swimsuits so you can alternate between beach days, and don’t forget your flip flops for easy, comfortable walking on the sand and around town.

Forgot to pack it? Stop by one of Santa Barbara’s many surf shops to pick up a new suit and sandals, such as Channel Islands Surf Shop or Surf N Wear Beach House. 


Whether you’re hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains, biking along the coastline, or enjoying a morning jog on the beach, comfortable and breathable activewear is a must. Pack moisture-wicking tops, shorts or leggings, and supportive athletic shoes to stay active and comfortable.

Forgot to pack it? Downtown Santa Barbara is full of activewear stores for men and women, including lululemon, Vuori, and Dryworld Brands. 

Hat and Sunglasses

With plenty of sunshine year-round, a wide-brimmed hat and a good pair of sunglasses are essential. These will protect you from the sun while adding a touch of style to your beachwear and city strolls.

Forgot to pack it? Head over Hats Unlimited or Sunglasses Hut to find the perfect style.


Santa Barbara’s sunny climate makes sunscreen a non-negotiable item. Bring a high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

Forgot to pack it? You can find sunscreen at local convienence stores or surf shops, or you can stop by Sephora or Blue Mercury to browse higher end brands. Both are located downtown, in or near Paseo Nuevo mall.

Beach Bag or Daypack

While most of our rentals are equipped with a travel wagon, cooler, and other beach necessities, a versatile beach bag or a daypack is perfect for carrying your essentials. Use it to pack towels, sunscreen, snacks, and other beach gear, or for storing water, maps, and a light jacket when exploring the city and hiking trails.

Forgot to pack it? REI is our recommendation for versatile daypacks that can be used for hiking and more. For beach bags, check out the Riviera Towel Company, who offers several straw, jute, and canvas options. They also have a beautiful selection of Turkish towels and accessories!

Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is key, especially when you’re out in the sun. Bring a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste and keep yourself refreshed throughout the day, plus many places in Santa Barbara offer water refill stations.

Forgot to pack it? You can find reusable water bottles at convienece and grocery stores, but we also recommend REI for the largest selection.

Reading Book

Relaxing on the beach or lounging by the pool is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Pack a book or two from your reading list to enjoy during your downtime. A good read complements the serene environment perfectly.

Forgot to pack it? The Book Den (one of California’s oldest bookstores) is located downtown, while Chaucer’s Books on upper State Street carries over 150,000 titles.

Yoga Mat

Santa Barbara’s natural beauty provides the perfect backdrop for a peaceful yoga session. Bring a lightweight, travel-friendly yoga mat so you can practice yoga on the beach, in parks, or even at your Santa Barbara vacation rental, embracing the tranquility of your surroundings.

Forgot to pack it? You can visit Yoga Soup’s studio shop to pick up a mat or even sign up for a class while you’re in town!

By adding these essentials to your Santa Barbara packing list, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy all the city has to offer – from its scenic beaches and outdoor activities to its laid-back, luxurious vibe. And don’t forget to review the amenities already available at your vacation rental! At Haller Coastal Homes, we do our best to outfit each property with items you will need and enjoy during your stay.