Road Trip:
Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

Same delivery & return locations
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Traveling is always an adventure, and there's no better way to experience the beauty of southern California than by taking a road trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. This scenic drive offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and opportunities to explore charming towns and indulge in a wide range of outdoor activities. Santa Barbara has something for everyone, whether you're a beach bum, a nature lover, a foodie, or an art enthusiast. From water sports to hiking and biking, shopping and dining, and annual festivals, we'll show you the best of Santa Barbara and help you plan an unforgettable trip. So buckle up, and let's hit the road!

History of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, often referred to as the American Riviera, is a coastal city in Southern California with a rich history. The first Europeans to arrive in Santa Barbara were Spanish explorers in the mid-16th century. However, it was not until the late 18th century that Spanish missionaries established the Santa Barbara Mission, which served as the cornerstone of the city's development. The mission's influence can still be seen today in the city's architecture, which features red tile roofs, whitewashed walls, and intricate wrought iron details.

During the mid-19th century, Santa Barbara experienced a period of growth as it became a hub for the ranching industry. The city's economy also benefited from the discovery of oil in the region in the early 20th century. Today, Santa Barbara is a thriving city with a population of over 90,000 people. It is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, numerous museums and galleries, and a wide range of restaurants and shops. Its stunning natural beauty, including the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Channel Islands National Park, continue to draw visitors from around the world, making it a beloved destination on the California coast.

Santa Barbara view

What Kind of Car You Should Rent to Get to Santa Barbara

Considering the diverse attractions Santa Barbara has to offer, it's essential to select the right vehicle for your journey. If you're planning to explore the city's beaches and coastal areas, a convertible or a sedan would be perfect for enjoying the sunshine and ocean breeze. For families or groups of friends, an SUV or AWD provides ample space and comfort. Remember that Kyte offers a wide range of vehicles to suit your needs, from economy to luxury options.

How to Get to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles

Getting to Santa Barbara couldn't be easier. Simply take the 101 N all the way to Santa Barbara!

The Route from Los Angeles International Airport

Kyte makes picking up your rental car easy and convenient. If you're arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you'll get an Uber ride from the curbside to your Kyte. Although not located on airport property, the handover location is just a 5-10 minute Uber ride away at Grand Avenue Courtyard, 1960 E. Grand Avenue, El Segundo, CA 90245. Once you've booked your trip, detailed instructions for your handover will be available in your Kyte App.

To begin your journey from LAX to Santa Barbara, take the 105-E to I-405 N. Exit onto US-101 N and follow this highway to Santa Barbara. The total distance is about 95 miles, and the drive should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Scenic Alternative

For those who prefer a more picturesque journey, there's a scenic alternative route to Santa Barbara. To take this route, head west on I-10 to CA-1 N in Santa Monica. This will lead you along the beautiful California coastline, offering stunning ocean views and opportunities to stop at iconic beach towns like Malibu and Ventura. Continue on CA-1 N until you reach Oxnard, where you'll merge onto US-101 N for the final stretch to Santa Barbara. This scenic route covers around 100 miles and typically takes about 2 hours to complete.

Safety Tips for Driving From Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

To ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip, follow these essential safety tips:

    • Stay alert and focused on the road, avoiding distractions like texting or using your phone while driving.

    • Take breaks as needed, especially during long drives, to prevent fatigue.

    • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and follow the posted speed limits.

    • Monitor the weather and adjust your driving style accordingly, especially during rain or foggy conditions.

Attractions in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a coastal gem on the southern California coast, renowned for its year-round sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and stunning mountain landscapes. Visitors to Santa Barbara can indulge in a wide range of activities or simply just relax and soak up the sunshine.

Paddle boarder in Santa Barbara harbor

Water Sports

Santa Barbara's moderate climate and consistent waves make it a popular destination for surfers from around the world. Rincon Point, located just outside the city, is considered one of the best surf spots in California and is known for its long, peeling waves that break over a cobblestone reef. Experienced surfers can also catch waves at Leadbetter Beach, located just west of the Santa Barbara Harbor. The beach offers consistent surf conditions, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

In addition to surfing, Santa Barbara's coastline is also ideal for other water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and sailing. Stand-up paddleboarding has become increasingly popular in recent years and is a great way to explore the calm waters of the harbor or the nearby Channel Islands. Visitors can also rent kayaks and explore the sea caves at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains or take a sailing excursion to enjoy the stunning sunset views along the coast.

Hiking and Biking

The Santa Ynez Mountains offer an extensive network of trails for hiking and mountain biking, ranging from easy to strenuous. The Inspiration Point trail is a popular hike that offers sweeping views of the coastline and the Channel Islands. Rattlesnake Canyon is another favorite destination for hikers and features a waterfall at the end of the trail. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Cold Spring Trail offers steep inclines and rugged terrain, as well as breathtaking views of the city and coastline.

Cyclists can also enjoy the scenic beauty of Santa Barbara on the Cabrillo Bike Path, a 4-mile route that runs along the waterfront from East Beach to Shoreline Park. The flat, paved path offers stunning views of the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, and it's an easy ride for cyclists of all levels. In addition to the Cabrillo Bike Path, there are also numerous mountain biking trails in the Santa Ynez Mountains, ranging from easy fire roads to technical singletrack.

Shopping and Dining

State Street in downtown Santa Barbara is a vibrant hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Visitors can wander along the tree-lined street to explore a wide variety of shops, from boutique clothing stores to artisanal food markets. The street is also home to numerous galleries showcasing the work of local artists, as well as theaters and cinemas offering a diverse range of cultural experiences.

Just a few blocks away from State Street is the Funk Zone, a popular neighborhood known for its trendy wine-tasting rooms and craft breweries. The area has experienced a revitalization in recent years, with old warehouses and factories being transformed into chic restaurants and bars. Visitors can spend an afternoon sampling local wines or craft beers, and then indulge in a meal at one of the many eclectic restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. With its mix of old-world charm and modern amenities, State Street and the Funk Zone offer a unique and memorable experience for visitors to Santa Barbara.

Annual Festivals in Santa Barbara

Throughout the year, Santa Barbara hosts a variety of festivals and events that showcase the city's vibrant culture. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, held annually in late January to early February, is one of the most renowned film festivals in the United States. The festival features screenings of over 200 films from around the world, as well as Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors. The festival also hosts a variety of events and parties throughout the city, making it a hub for entertainment and cultural exchange.

The Summer Solstice Celebration is a beloved annual event that takes place in mid-June, celebrating the longest day of the year with a colorful parade and street fair. The parade features a variety of costumes and floats, as well as live music and performances. The street fair offers a range of food vendors, arts and crafts, and activities for all ages. Another popular event is the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, which celebrates the city's Spanish heritage with a week-long series of events, including a rodeo, a parade, and traditional dances and music performances.


Taking a road trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara is an experience that offers a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of all that LA has to offer. The scenic drive offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and the charming towns along the way provide a unique opportunity to connect with the local culture. So, pack your bags, grab some snacks, and hit the road for an unforgettable adventure with Kyte that's sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Dock view