Happy Summer! We’ve been spending a lot of time lately enjoying the natural beauty of the Goodland. With its distinct laid-back, country vibe, Goleta is home to some of the area’s best surf spots (and nightlife, thanks to the students attending UC Santa Barbara!), as well as orchards, farmland and horse ranches.

Here are some local insider tips to help you plan your next trip to the Goodland.

And if house-hunting is on your list, give us a call!

Sunset Elwood Bluffs

Goleta, California was originally a sleepy agricultural farmland back in its day, and it housed academics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Today, Goleta is a hip and abundant community in Santa Barbara county with amazing real estate options. While it has retained its place as the home of academics the Goodland (as it’s known to locals) has grown up. There are 16 direct flights out of the Santa Barbara airport (located in Goleta, Ca) aka SBA each day. With the airport and flight options, it’s so easy to get here.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Goleta, know that there are great accommodation options. First up is The Kimpton Goodland hotel, a hip hotel with tons of Instagrammable spaces everywhere you look. Alternatively, if you and your nearest and dearest are a big group, stay on a cliff-front Airbnb that looks onto the beach on Austin Rd. Other Goleta hotel options are: The Ritz, a classic luxury staple, Hilton Garden InnBest Western Plus South Coast Inn or Pacifica Suits.

Photo credit: https://www.sblandtrust.org/

Three Days in Goleta, California

Goleta – Day One 

The first stop is to check in to your hotel or Airbnb. Get settled, have a drink, and then get ready to head out. Your first must-do is the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. This is where the monarch butterflies come as part of their migration during the winter months. Who wouldn’t, after all? Even butterflies know when a place is gorgeous! 

Then it’s time to hit happy hour at the bar at the Goodland. Indulge in a cold cocktail or three to get you ready for a fun evening.

Another option for a pre-dinner drink includes the Ritz if you chose to stay there instead. For dinner, if you’re staying at SB Beach Club, go to the Santa Cruz Market and get everything you could ever need to make authentic tacos. No kitchen? No problem! Go to some favorites — Goleta Sushi House or Nikita Ramen…they both serve incredible food. After dinner, chill out in the bar at The Goodland or take a quick swim if you want to work off dinner. Then off to bed…tomorrow’s going to be a busy day!


Goleta – Day Two

The first stop is Fairview Gardens for some fresh fruit, at the farmstand. For all you animal lovers, it also has a bonus — an alpaca and a goat!

After breakfast, you can see Goleta on bike by borrowing some bikes from the hotel, rent them from Isla Vista Bicycles.

While on your ride, grab a donut, croissant, or pastry from Anna’s Bakery, as well as a ½ bottle of champagne and some OJ. Can you think of a better breakfast? Be sure to head to Goleta Beach. Once there, it’s time to break out the goodies you bought earlier and toast your fabulous life and your fabulous trip.

We recommend a tour of the university wetlands before having a late lunch of shawarmas and curly fries at the notorious IV market. SO good!

coconut cake
Jane’s famous coconut cake (with crème anglaise)

It’s been an active morning, so do what we did and chill out for a while with some drinks, apps, and pool time. For a dinner to die for, go to On the Alley and have the salmon salad, then walk over for coconut cake at Jane’s.


beer  beer

Goleta – Day Three

If you want to venture further afield, get an e-bike dropped off and set off on an adventure! Bike out to Cajun Kitchen and feast on apple sausage and eggs. Next, if you’re feeling energetic, organize a surf lesson with iSurf at Campus Point. Once you’re done, you can rehydrate with beer at  M Special, which offers an assortment of locally made beer and food trucks.

We can recommend Draughtsmen and Captain Fatty’s. Then it’s time to go more upmarket at either Angel Oak or Ca’Dario. A must-eat at Ca’dario is the bresaola, and, share the brown butter ravioli as an app (not a main) and get the cioppino — perfectly balanced with a hint of saffron, and totally delicious.

Lake Los Carneros
Lake Los Carneros

Other ideas in Goleta are to walk/run around Lake Los Carneros. It’s a beautiful and relaxing way to spend your last morning.

Happy exploring!