With year-round warm weather and tons of great markets and deli’s in town, Santa Barbara is the ultimate picnic destination. Whether you’re looking for a shady park or a day on the beach, we’ve got you covered for the best places to head with a packed lunch for stellar scenery:
The most obvious, but nonetheless charming spot to picnic in Santa Barbara is the beautiful Rose Garden, located right across the street from the Old Mission. With a sprawling lawn, a gorgeous collection of roses and the best views of the Mission in town, this is the perfect place to lay down a blanket and enjoy an afternoon of sunshine. Added bonus: dogs are welcome to play off-leash and there’s plenty of space, even on crowded days.
Franceschi Park is an easily missed but worthwhile stop on any trip to Santa Barbara. Known to locals as having one of the absolute best views of the city, it’s the spot to come for a quiet picnic amongst native flora and fauna. The property has an interesting history in SB as well, so don’t forget to peek around the old estate while you’re there!
The Botanic Garden is a must-see for nature lovers and anyone who wants to spend an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Santa Barbara. Located in the foothills of Mission Canyon, the garden includes giant Redwoods plus much more! Entrance is $12 for adults, so pack a lunch and plan to stroll for hours if you like!
We would be remiss not to include at least one Santa Barbara beach on this list, and with many park benches and public grills, Leadbetter is one of the best. You’ll often find birthday parties and family gatherings here on the weekend, so join the fun and bring a picnic to enjoy a perfect SB afternoon.
Alice Keck Park is one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved nature spots and an excellent choice for a picnic lunch. Located just up from the heart of Downtown SB, the park features a man-made pond filled with koi fish and visited by little turtles. A favorite among children, the grounds are well maintained and have plenty of quiet corners to relax and enjoy the sun.