Stearns Wharf is Santa Barbara’s most visited attraction. It was named after local lumberman John P. Stearns and is California’s oldest working wharf. Construction of the pier was completed in 1872, and the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California’s South Coast for over a quarter-century. Today, this historic landmark is an ideal destination for shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. The dramatic views are just a bonus!
To learn more about what to do at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara and other local attractions, access our free Vacation Guide!
How to Spend the Day at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara
Embrace the Sunshine and Fresh Air
One of the best parts about visiting the American Rivera is the beautiful weather. Stearns Wharf sits right on the water, so it’s the ultimate place to spend a fun day outdoors! No matter how you prefer to soak up the sun, Stearns Wharf is sure to have the perfect outdoor activity for you. Activities include:
- Boat tours of the Santa Barbar Harbor
- Whale Watching
- Catching a California sunset from the pier
- Pier fishing
Shop ‘til You Drop
In the mood for a little retail therapy? You’re in luck! There are plenty of specialty shops to explore at Stearns Wharf. Old Wharf Trading Company is the largest general merchandise store on the pier, and you’ll find the best souvenirs here. Nature’s Own Gallery offers an amazing selection of seashells, unique jewelry, candles, and interior design items. You can even satisfy your sweet tooth at Mother Stearns Candy Company. They carry hundreds of varieties of old fashioned candies. Then, pick up a Te-shirt to remember your experience at Topside Resort Wear, the largest clothing store on the wharf.
Grab a Bite to Eat
A day of adventuring is sure to work up an appetite! Luckily, Stearns Wharf’s restaurants boast some of the best food (and views) in all of Santa Barbara. If you’re searching for fresh, local seafood, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is your go-to. They serve Alaskan King Crab, shrimp tacos, lobster rolls, steamed mussels, and more! The Harbor Restaurant is home to the best steak on Stearns Wharf. They’re praised for their impressive cuts of sirloin, filet mignon, and prime rib. Finish with dessert at The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company. They hand-make 32 flavors of gourmet ice cream and sorbet. Additional eateries include:
- Longboard’s Beach Bar and Grill
- Moby Dick’s Restaurant
- Char West
Discover the Wonders of Ocean Life
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is a highly interactive marine education facility that the whole family will enjoy. It offers you close encounters with marine animals such as sharks, rays, sea stars, and sea urchins. You can also gaze at the fascinating jellyfish and octopus exhibits.
Sip Local Wine
The Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room is the home of Conway Family Wines in Santa Barbara. The tasting room features 360-degree views of the Santa Barbara Harbor, Pacific coastline, Channel Islands, and the Riveria. You can enjoy a glass of wine, purchase a bottle, or try a seasonal, handpicked selection of wines with a tasting flight.
Come Home to the Cheshire Cat Inn
When it’s time to book your trip to the American Riviera, look no further than the Cheshire Cat Inn! Our bed and breakfast is just a 10-minute drive from Stearns Wharf and has everything you need for a memorable getaway.
We take pride in providing luxurious amenities, including original fireplaces, sitting areas, and plush, king-size beds. Enjoy fantastic views of the gardens or mountains right from your private balcony. When you stay at the Cheshire Cat Inn, you’ll never have an empty stomach. Every day we serve morning breakfast, wine tasting with hor’s d’oeuvres, and evening cookies. So, what’s stopping you? Check our availability and book your stay today!