Local Attractions

The Santa Barbara area features a variety of accessible activities, some with a connection to our conference themes of eighteenth-century science and nature. We encourage those who are interested to stay through the weekend and join us for hiking and wine tasting on Sunday.


East Beach and Ledbetter Beach are most centrally located in Santa Barbara, close to the boardwalk and pier. Hendry’s Beach, also in Santa Barbara, offers dramatic cliffside walking and is dog friendly. On campus, a roughly 45-minute walk around the lagoon includes beautiful ocean views as well as a coastal bird habitat. Twelve miles south in Carpinteria, the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve features a short walk to a seal rookery, which should be populated with pups in February.


There are many nearby hiking trails  (20- to 40-minute drive to the trailhead) in the Los Padres National Forest. This website features good descriptions of and directions to a variety of options. A favorite is the Inspiration Point hike, a 3.5-mile, moderately steep hike that takes about two hours round-trip and features panoramic views of Santa Barbara.

We will meet Sunday at 10 a.m. for a short hike to the Goleta Butterfly Grove, where thousands of monarch butterflies migrate every winter. From SB/Goleta, take Highway 101 north to the Hollister exit and turn left (toward the ocean), then left again onto Hollister. After .6 miles, turn right into the parking lot across from Ellwood Elementary School. The grove is about half a mile from the parking lot. To coordinate rides, speak to Rachael.

Wine Tasting

In downtown Santa Barbara, the Urban Wine Trail highlights a variety of local wineries, mainly in the “Funk Zone.” On Sunday, we will meet first at Pali Wine Co. at 3 p.m. before walking to Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf. Please join us at any point along the route!

Old Mission Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Mission was founded Dec. 4, 1786, by Spanish Franciscan friars, and you can immediately see why they chose the spot with incredible ocean views and cool breezes.  The current mission dates from the early nineteenth century, after the original building was destroyed in an earthquake. It is still a working mission, the only one of the original mission chain to remain under Franciscan leadership since its founding. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.