Santa Barbara, The American Riviera®

As residents know and our cruise ship visitors quickly discover, Santa Barbara, California is one of the west coast's most beloved cruise destinations. Santa Barbara offers a magic unlike anywhere else on Earth, a unique feeling that's more than wine and arts, more than sunshine and the crisp air off the Pacific, more than amazing food and natural beauty.

Santa Barbara is all of these things wrapped into the richness of a big city with the feel of a small town, a unique way of life that's both sophisticated and simple, refined and relaxed, the culture of Europe meets the spirit of the West Coast in what can only be described as The American Riviera®.

Seeing is believing, and once you see what Santa Barbara's all about, you'll be hooked forever. Foodies sip and savor their way through Santa Barbara's cuisine and award-winning wines, while film buffs delve into our deep ties to cinema. West coast cruise visitors delight in our Spanish-influenced architecture and the diversity of our arts and culture. The Historic City Tour, Museum Mile, and Theatre District are all must-see attractions.

But more than its attraction for any one interest, Santa Barbara creates the space and spirit to relax and explore, ever casual and always comfortable. Take a break from the ordinary, leave the world behind and open yourself to the singular emotional experience found only in The American Riviera®.

Passenger Amenities and Accommodations

For complete visitor information, please visit:

  • 161 Hotels, Resorts, B&B’s
  • 9,444 total hotel rooms
  • Visitor Information Center
  • Downtown/Waterfront Shuttle
  • Taxi Service
  • MTD Service
  • Santa Barbara Airport
  • Amtrak Service

Major Attractions / Shore Excursions / Activities

Great food, great shopping, great culture, all in a pedestrian-friendly, easy-to-get-around city. Your passengers won’t want to miss Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Historic Sites in city tours:  Old Mission Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara County Courthouse. El Presidio. Stearns Wharf. Casa de la Guerra. The Funk Zone.

Outdoor Activities in Santa Barbara County:  Whale Watching. Kayaking. Sailing. Surfing. Birding. Hiking. Biking. Helicopter Tours, SUP, beach yoga, Channel Islands National Park (known as the Galapagos of North America..

Culinary Cache:  220+ vineyards Countywide and 36 wine tasting rooms are accessible in walkable downtown along the Urban Wine Trail.

Arts & Culture:  With over 101 ways to experience art and culture — all just off Highway 101 — the Santa Barbara South Coast delivers unequivocal cultural enjoyment.

Shopping in Santa Barbara:  Loaded with shops and showrooms, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, State Street is definitely the main artery in town.

Suggested Shore Excursions

Santa Barbara offers a great diversity of choice for passengers looking for cruise ship shore excursions. For additional recommendations, please contact Visit Santa Barbara at 1-800-676-1266 or contact us at

  • City Tour highlighting Santa Barbara’s must-see's:
    Old Mission Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara County Courthouse. El Presidio. Casa de la Guerra. Stearns Wharf. Downtown State Street and The Granada Theatre.
  • Food & Wine:
    Eat like a locavore with locally grown and harvested food, and enjoy our award-winning wines along Santa Barbara’s Downtown Urban Wine Trail or in our extensive and beautiful Santa Barbara Wine Country.
  • Santa Barbara Channel Islands:
    Known as the "Galapagos of North America," the Channel Islands offer year-round whale watching, diving, and spectacular hiking and kayaking in the Painted Cave – the world’s largest and deepest sea cave.
  • Shopping in Santa Barbara:
    Great shopping abounds – stroll through quaint cobbled arcades amongst bubbling fountains, towering palms, and historic buildings to find a combination of local boutique stores and large retail stores.

Terminal/Port Specifications

  • Anchorage area: Approximately 0.5 miles offshore from Santa Barbara Harbor entrance, with a 150' depth.
  • Prevailing Seas: West-southwesterly with one- to two-foot swells.
  • Taxes & Fees: $7.00 per passenger for entire passenger manifest. Additional fees for City of Santa Barbara Police Department services as well as tender port through Sea Landing.
  • Embarkation/Disembarkation: By ship’s tender, about 10 minutes from ship to dock.
  • Channels: The Santa Barbara Harbor entrance is dredged to a minimum of -13' MLLW. The Federal Channel is 200' wide at MLLW. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains channel depths on a twice-yearly dredging schedule.
  • Tides: Santa Barbara is a tidal port with a mean tide range of 5'. The range between mean lower low water and mean higher high water is 5.2'. A range of 9' may occur at the time of maximum high and low tides. Vessel drawing 11' or less may enter the harbor and berth on any tide.
  • Port Facility Security Officer: Inge Courtois, PFSO at Sea Landing, Santa Barbara.
  • Facility Security: Sea Landing is a USCG-approved designated facility.
  • Oil Response Personnel and Equipment: Yes, via OSRV Clean Ocean moored 1 mile east of Santa Barbara Harbor; Oil response personnel and equipment on site; and USCG Cutter Blackfin on site.
  • Maximum Ship Length: 1200 feet
  • Anchorage: Yes
  • Cruise Ship Visits: Santa Barbara accepts cruise ship visits 7 days a week.

Photo Credits

  • Red Tile Roof photo NW Santa Barbara (top photo) compliments of Blake Bronstad
  • Santa Barbara Harbor Kayaks photo - compliments of Jay Sinclair
  • Santa Barbara Vineyard View - compliments of Blake Bronstad
  • Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden - compliments of Gabriela Herman

Contact Information:

Christopher Bell
Administrative Analyst & Public Information Officer
City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department

Tel: (805) 897-1962


Web Site:


Jocilyn Schumacher
Travel Trade Manager
Visit Santa Barbara

Visit Santa Barbara
500 E. Montecito St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Tel: (805) 966-9222x104

Fax: (805) 966-1728


Web Site: