The road trip possibilities for a CISL San Diego or San Francisco student are endless! From crazy Las Vegas to relaxing wine tasting in Napa, there is always something fun to do in beautiful California. Today we are looking at one of the most stunning places in the state: Santa Barbara. It’s good enough for Oprah (she has a home here), so it’s definitely good enough for us!

Santa Barbara is in between San Diego and San Francisco, so it’s the perfect place to stop during a road trip . . . although you might want to plan for a longer stay: after seeing Santa Barbara, which many call “The American Riviera,” few want to leave!

What’s there to do in SB? Let’s take a look at some of the highlights. To prepare you for this super Californian city, we have included some California slang words, which are in bold. The definitions are at the end of this article.

Students Fun Beach California Boat Sailing

Highlights of Santa Barbara

The beach (of course)

Rent bikes and ride along the beach, take a romantic stroll, surf the waves, chill on the sandy beaches, rent kayaks, hit up one of the bars or burger joints . . . Santa Barbara beaches offer something for everyone!

San Diego Beach Sunset Surf

Outdoor Activities

The mountains surrounding Santa Barbara are a hiker’s dream, and if you’re extra adventurous, check out the mountain climbing excursions led by certified guides in San Ysidro County. Local companies also offer horseback riding, surf lessons, and paragliding: click here for more information.

Wine tasting

Not all of California’s incredible wines come from Napa: Santa Barbara is a well-known viticulture region with winemakers producing award-winning, beautiful wine. Book a tour with one of the companies and enjoy a buzz from some of the best wines California has to offer.

Road Trip Car Wine Vineyard

The Old Mission Santa Barbara

Learn a little about California’s history by visiting the Santa Barbara mission, which was founded in 1786 by the Franciscan order. The mission is one of many that line the coast of California. Click here to learn more about this important piece of California history.


A Danish city in California? Stranger things have happened. This anomaly is a city founded by Dutch settlers and yes, there are wooden shoes on display. (We’d be bummed if there weren’t!) Click here for more info on Solvang and the other historic buildings in Santa Barbara.

California Palm Trees

Cali slang

Do you know the meanings of these CA slang words?

Chill (verb): relax

Also used as an adjective (“Your dog is so chill”).

Hit Up (phrasal verb): to visit something.

Also, in reference to a person, to call someone. Example: “Hit me up after you finish work.”

Buzz (noun): slightly drunk; the effect of the first drink

Also used as an adjective. “I’m buzzed.”

Bummed (adjective): upset or disappointed

Also used as a phrasal verb when something/someone disappoints someone. “The movie was sad. It bummed me out.”

Cover photo, surfer photo, vineyard photo, and palm tree photo from Shutterstock.