7 Reasons to Visit Montecito, California

Montecito is having a moment right now with many celebrities choosing to call it home (I’m looking at you Harry and Meghan, Katy and Orlando, Oprah and Stedman to name a few). Montecito is a coastal town that an easy 90-minute drive from Los Angeles. Despite the high profile residents and hefty real estate price tag, it is effortlessly cool and California-chic.

Monetecito is perfectly nestled between the mountains and the ocean, with charming boutiques, restaurants, and cafés, lining both sides of the main road. This idyllic Californian town is literally a slice of paradise and the perfect spot for an ’emptynestcation’ weekend away with friends!

Montecito is where Prince Harry and Meghan live. And Oprah.

Here are 7 reasons to visit Montecito, California

1. Montecito is Nature’s Playground

Montecito is situated between the mountains and the beach, making it a nature lover’s paradise. The neighborhood offers an abundance of outdoor activities and I’ve taken some of the most stunning hikes ever around the hills of Montecito. If cycling is your thing, the winding roads are perfect for mountain biking, and don’t forget the world-class surf just down the hill on Hammonds Beach.

Hiking in the mountains of monetcito

2. San Ysidro Ranch: The Essense of Montecito

The elegant San Ysidro Ranch and the Stonehouse Restaurant is known as ‘Hollywood’s hideaway’ and is simply seeping with history. Since 1893 celebrities, writers, and politicians have chosen ‘The Ranch’ (as it’s known to locals) to bask in the exquisite natural beauty and discreet pampering.

San Ysidro Ranch
San Ysidro Ranch

The ranch has forty-one cottages scattered across the lush hillside on this 550 acre property, which was originally a citrus farm in the early 1800s. Each cottage has its own private, gated entry, enclosed gardens and cottage-side parking, so it’s perfect for a low-key getaway.

3. Montecito Microclimate

Montecito’s unique position between the mountain and the coast, provides a microclimate with a perfectly calm and even temperature all year. The skies are typically clear and sunny most days, and since the coast is in close proximity providing a gentle ocean breeze, it rarely feels uncomfortably hot.

Montecito microclimate - the Countrymart is great for shopping

4. Montecito Country Mart

Montecito Country Mart is an enclave of boutiques, restaurants and convenience stores ranging from Caffe Luxxe and the Mate Gallery, to the U.S. Post Office. There’s plenty of parking and coffee shops and it’s fun to just wander around the lovely open air spaces and check out the boutiques.

5. Santa Barbara Adjacent

If you need a break from the peace and tranquility of Montecito for a while, you’re in luck – Santa Barbara is just a 10-minute drive and is filled with museums, wineries, restaurants and cultural experiences.

6. Montecito’s ButterFly Beach

Butterfly Beach feels like a private beach since you need to walk through a brightly painted tunnel underneath the 101 freeway to reach it. There’s plenty of open space to relax, and the beach is usually filled with paddle boarders, surfers or people walking along the ocean.

butterfly beach in montecito california

On a clear day you can see the Channel Islands that are located about 20 miles west, and if you’re lucky you might see some dolphins and whales playing in the waves. When it’s low tide you can walk all the way to Santa Barbara’s East Beach, although you have to time it perfectly if you want to walk back! It’s calm, peaceful, and easy to keep a low profile.

7. Montecito Wine Tasting

Some of the finest California wines are produced in Santa Barbara County, and there are lots of beautiful tasting rooms to relax and taste award-winning wines after the beach or before dinner, all within blocks of downtown and the beach.

Wine tasting in santa barbara california. Don't foget to taste the spritzers, too.

Despite the high-profile residents of Montecito, there’s still very much a laid-back, private and small-town vibe. I didn’t bump into Harry and Archie at the beach, however if I had it would have been no big deal.

Part of the allure and magic of Montecito is for people to have this be their escape… a sanctuary. And there’s an unspoken agreement that this special sanctuary is to be honored and respected. Remember, it’s not spelled Mountecito, or Mantecito or Montacito, or even Montecitto.

Montecito is perfect for a day trip OR a weekend trip from Los Angeles.

Have you had the opportunity to visit Montecito, California?

Let me know in the comments below and join me on Instagram and Twitter!



About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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