Coastal California in Santa Barbara

I was recently involved in a wonderful gathering just outside Santa Barbara called the Photo Field Trip. Over 300 photographers and creatives came together for an amazing time at El Capitan Canyon campground, where we stayed in tents, yurts, and cabins. The campground was just a short bike ride from the beach, where we were able to find endless surfers and picturesque rocky shores.

El Capitan Canyon Beach

Bicycle on the Beach in Santa BarbaraWalking El Capitan State Beach

While it rained during our photo conference, I was fortunate enough to have booked a few extra (sunny) days in Santa Barbara to explore the area. A friend suggested a few roads with local spots and I thoroughly enjoyed her recommendations. I also took the opportunity to explore the ranches and mountains in the surrounding Santa Barbara area. I even chased the sunshine to the top of a mountain to witness a stunning sunset from above the city.

Gorgeous Landscape of Santa Barbara

Donkey in Santa Ynez

My last day in town was spent wandering historic downtown Santa Barbara. I ended up at the beach where I walked the pier and met some of the kindest people. The day was so completely relaxing and just what I needed. I then ventured up to San Ysidro Ranch, a place that had been on my “dying-to-see list” for a little over a year. The iconic lavender field was worth a thousand words and somehow was even more than I imagined! My first trip to Santa Barbara definitely didn’t disappoint and I cannot wait to return to this beautiful place to continue exploring all it has to offer.

Front Door in Santa BarbaraScenes from Downtown Santa Barbara

Hotel at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa BarbaraResting Bird in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Coastline

Exploring San Ysidro Ranch in Santa BarbaraPottery at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara

Lavender Fields at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara


El Capitan Canyon Campground
11560 Calle Real,
Goleta, CA 93117
+1 866-352-2729

Hotel Indigo
121 State St,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
+1 805-966-6586

The Details

  • An afternoon stroll through the lavender fields at San Ysidro Ranch is not to be missed when in Santa Barbara.
  • For those wanting to explore the countryside, I recommend heading north toward Santa Yenz and Los Padres National Forest.

Sawyer Baird is a Fine Art wedding photographer capturing her photographs with film.

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