When recommending things to do in Santa Barbara, we almost always suggest a hike to enjoy our warm weather, ocean breezes and numerous mountains and hills. And after a long walk, there’s nothing more soothing than taking a dip in a natural hot tub. For where to soak and how to get there, here are a few of the best Santa Barbara hot springs. (Word to the wise: clothing is unofficially optional at most California hot springs).
Gaviota Peak is a popular summit about 10 miles west of the city in the Santa Ynez Mountains. About a 6.5 mile hike round trip, it’s well worth the remarkable views of the ocean and coastline. A short walk off the trail, with markers to lead the way, the hot springs offer a few blue, tingling hot oases to rest your muscles.
Located in the 3,000 square-mile Los Padres National Forest, Little Caliente Hot Springs is a popular natural excursion for Santa Barbarans at just an hour drive east of the city. A series of succeeding pools move down a hillside with quaint rock borders where hikers and campers relax. Located in a canyon, the springs are accessible by a strenuous 7-8 mile hike, or 1 hour drive that leads closer to the springs.
No more than a fifteen minute drive from Hotel Milo, Hot Springs Canyon has been a sought after natural attraction since the mid-1800s. Once argued over for real estate purposes, it is now an open valley where several trails lead to peaks, lookouts, and of course, hot springs. Hikes can range from one to five miles roundtrip with variations in difficulty. Follow the above link for directions to these frothy blue hot springs near near Santa Barbara.
Just a ten-minute drive from Hotel Milo, you can take the Montecito Hot Springs Trail for a fun hike that features the ruins of an old traveler’s resort, natural towering trees, coastal views, and of course some hot springs. Follow this in-depth guide on how to get from the trailhead to the springs for your refreshing soak, and don’t be afraid to wander off trail for some bouldering and exploring along the way.