Santa Barbara, California

Best Places to Retire in California


Santa Barbara (population nearly 100,000) is an historic and charming city on the Pacific Ocean, about 90 miles up the coast from Los Angeles on highway 101. It is located on the slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and faces south across a broad sandy beach and onto the ocean. The coastline in this area is protected by the Channel Islands, which are from 10 to 30 miles offshore.

The city had its beginnings in the middle 1500s when Spanish explorers first visited the area. Explorers later named Santa Barbara Channel after the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Saint Barbara, which is December 4th, the date of their landing. Finally, in 1782, after a number of visits to the area, a small garrison established a fortification, and five years later Mission Santa Barbara was established.

The history of Santa Barbara and that of the Mission were nearly synonymous for more than 100 years. The Mission continued to grow, baptizing thousands of Chumash Indians and expanded beyond the mountains with the founding of Mission Santa Ines.

Today Santa Barbara offers an outstanding lifestyle. It is a city with a many amenities, but it has also retained much of its small town charm. The lifestyle is relaxing, and the sun shines year-round. It has many recreation choices, excellent colleges and universities, good healthcare, great shopping, including over 100 galleries and museums, a great many outstanding restaurants, art, live theater, dance, symphonic and choral music, and much more. There is world-class golf, horseback riding, off-shore fishing, hiking and bicycling, all the water sports, including SCUBA and whale watching. Santa Barbara County is also wine country, with more than 100 wineries. All this, and some say the area has the most ideal climate in all of the US!

Arts & Culture

Center Stage Theater is a n intimate black box theater with weekly performances

Ensemble Theatre Company was founded in 1979 and is housed in a 140-seat theatre in the Presidio District. Lobero

Theatre is a premiere performing arts venue featuring dance, jazz, lectures, classical music and opera.

Opera Santa Barbara is a professional company founded in 1994.

Santa Barbara Symphony —

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is a professional ensemble that has been performing since 1978. It offers a subscription series.

West Coast Chamber Orchestra —

Santa Barbara Choral Society is a semi-professional community chorus with 100 voices.

State Street Ballet is a professional dance company.

Mission Santa Barbara, established in 1786, was the 10th mission in California.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road —
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History —
Santa Barbara Museum of Art —
Santa Barbara Blues Society —

Santa Barbara Public Library System — Government/Departments/Library/


Santa Barbara County Parks Department provides information on all of its facilities.

The City of Santa Barbara has a great many parks and recreation facilities, including several beaches, tennis courts and a municipal golf course.

Los Padres national Forest encompasses nearly 2 million acres of the coastal mountains, From the Big Sur Coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles County. The Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing for steelhead trout on its 400 miles of streams, or for bass in one of its many lakes and reservoirs. It also has many miles of coastline. There is hunting and shooting, trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding

Santa Barbara Zoo —

Santa Barbara County has more than 24,000 acres of vineyards with over 100 wineries.


Santa Barbara Business College, 5266 Hollister Avenue is an accredited business college that was founded in 1888. It began expanding in the 1980s and now has four campuses. The three newer locations are Santa Maria, Bakersfield and Ventura, which opened in 2003.

Santa Barbara City College is a community college, established in 1909. It is regarded as one of the state’s premier community colleges.

University of California, Santa Barbara has a picturesque 989-acre campus situated right on the Pacific coast. Enrollment there is about 20,000 students. UCSB offers more than 200 majors, degrees and credentials, including its Graduate Division.

Westmont College is a Christian based liberal arts institution with an enrollment of about 1,350 students. It has a 111-acre campus in Santa Barbara and a full-time faculty of over 80 members.

Antioch University’s Santa Barbara campus opened in 1977 and enrollment has reached several hundred students. The downtown campus offers more than 60 courses per quarter with a faculty of over 50 full-time and part-time instructors.

Senior Programs

Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens is a non-profit established by the California Department of Aging as the Area Agency San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Santa Barbara City College offers a lifelong learning curriculum through its Continuing Education Division.


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is an acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of over 600.


Santa Barbara Airport is a full-service commercial airport with direct flights to destinations such as Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Salt Lake City.


The average temperatures for January are a high of 67 degrees and low of 42 degrees, and he averages for July are a high of 79 and low of 57 degrees. Santa Barbara County averages 16 inches of annual precipitation, and most of it occurs between December and March. 


Santa Barbara News-Press —

Property Taxes

Santa Barbara County Assessor’s office —

State Taxes

Franchise Tax Board —

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency

California Department of Aging —


Carpinteria – 11miles
Ventura – 27 miles
Oxnard – 37 miles
Port Hueneme – 40 miles
Ojai – 41 miles Simi
Valley – 64 miles
Malibu – 65 miles
Santa Clarita – 77 miles
Burbank – 91 miles
Santa Clarita – 77 miles
Santa Monica – 92 miles
Los Angeles – 95 miles

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