Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is home to over 1,000 California-native plant species! The 78-acre garden has over 5 miles of easy trails winding through different sections of native plants, from herbaceous plants to succulents to redwoods.

The meadow is at the heart of the garden and is understandibly its most popular spot. With vibrant California poppies dominating the meadow in the spring, the views of the Santa Ynez Mountains are nothing short of spectacular. Cathedral Peak (3,333 feet) and La Cumbre Peak (3,985 feet) are the most prominent peaks visible from the garden.

A large assortment of stunning succulents grow around the garden in the Desert section and in the Dudleya Collection.

Mission Creek flows through the middle of the garden. The creek was dammed by Barbareno Chumash laborers in 1807 as part of the waterworks system designed by the Franciscan Padres at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The Mission Canyon Aqueduct provided roughly 485 gallons of drinking water per minute to the mission less than 2 miles downstream. The aqueduct was discontinued after flooding in 1913 and 1914, but it can still be seen winding through the garden.

On the other side of the garden by the Manzanita and Arroyo sections is an authentic Japanese teahouse featuring California native plants. The ShinKanAn teahouse is used for chanoyu tea ceremonies. Classes are available for new and advanced students. For those interested in Japanese tea ceremony and gardens but who do not want to take a class, volunteers are available to answer questions the second Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Be sure to venture across Mission Canyon Road to the Porter Trail for the Island View Garden. The gardens along the Porter Trail burned in the 2009 Jesusita Fire. Many native plants like ceanothus and cypress were lost in the fire, but some native plants are regenerating. The Island View Garden is just off the trail and features the Pritzlaff Conservation Center and great views of the Channel Islands.

Native plants can be purchased from the nursery, which is located near the entrances. A large assortment of hard to find plants is available including annuals, herbaceous and woody perennials, ferns, grasses, shrubs, succulents, and trees.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Winter
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Pros

California native plants. Authentic Japanese teahouse. Great views.

Cons

Crowded.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Features

Covered picnic areas
Family friendly
Guided tours
Potable water
Flushing toilets
Wildflowers
Big vistas
Historically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Arroyo Burro Beach County Park
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

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