36 Hours in Santa Barbara: Things to Do and See
1 p.m. Get out on the waterAfter years of drought, Cachuma Lake — Santa Barbara’s expansive, tentacled reservoir about 30 minutes out of town — is full for the first time in more than a decade.
Take Highway 154 over the San Marcos Pass to the Santa Ynez Valley to see the lake glistening between oak-covered hills.
The drive is part of the experience, with potential stops including the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park , where visitors can see centuries-old rock art by the Indigenous Chumash people, and the Tequepis Trailhead , for those who would rather hike than float.
At Cachuma Lake Recreation Area (admission $10), take advantage of the abundant water by renting a kayak (from $15 per hour) or boat (from $45 for two hours) from the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company .
Because the lake is a reservoir, swimming isn’t permitted, but the park has a pool and Hook'd Bar & Grill has picnic tables beside the lake with live music on weekends.