Santa Barbara Babymoon Tips & Ideas from a Local

Are you planning a babymoon and considering different options on where to go? If you’re seeking a serene destination filled with picturesque landscapes, luxurious accommodations, and delectable dining options, a Santa Barbara babymoon should be at the top of your list!

I’m a local Santa Barbara Photographer who specializes in maternity, newborn, and family sessions. I have so many clients who have come to town for a babymoon in Santa Barbara, and to have maternity portraits taken while they’re here. They often ask me where they should eat while they’re here, about the best spots for shopping, and what there is to do in general. In the spirit of sharing all of our local goodness I thought I’d put together a guide, from the perspective of a local who knows what’s-what, with all of the best things that SB has to offer.

Let’s explore why this coastal gem is the perfect babymoon haven and discover the best places to stay, activities to indulge in, and where to savor culinary delights. Read along to find out why a Santa Barbara babymoon will be the perfect choice to relax and have some fun before your little one arrives!

What is a Babymoon?

If you’ve never heard of a babymoon, a babymoon is a special trip, a final getaway, before the exciting yet sleep-deprived days of parenthood begin. A babymoon is a retreat designed for expectant parents to savor a peaceful and intimate escape, creating precious memories before the arrival of their new little one. Babymoons have gained in popularity in recent years and Santa Barbara has become a top babymoon destination!

When to Take a Babymoon?

The most common time to plan your babymoon is during the last half of second trimester to the first half of the third trimester. This is typically the best time to travel while you’re pregnant because most women tend to feel their best between 16 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. It is recommended to avoid travel from the 37th week of pregnancy because it is too close to your due date.

What to Bring: Santa Barbara Style Babymoon

Southern California is known for great weather, and we know that we’re spoiled living here! Most of the year shorts, tee-shirts, tank tops, and maxi dresses will be all that you need to enjoy the So Cal sun. If you’re planning to visit in the late fall or winter you’ll definitely want to bring sweaters and layers. Even in the winter we don’t get many days under 60 degrees. In the summer the weather is typically between 70-80 degrees. It’s a very temperate climate which makes it such a perfect babymoon destination! The vibe is always ‘California Causal’ and there aren’t many places that require fancy attire.

How to get to Santa Barbara: Travel Scoop

If possible, you’ll want to fly directly into the Santa Barbara airport (SBA). It’s a small airport that is very convenient and easy to navigate. You’ll save hours vs. driving up from LAX. If you aren’t able to fly directly into Santa Barbara you’ll have to drive up from LAX, Burbank, or John Wayne. This is do-able but be prepared for LA traffic. You might want to stop in Malibu for a bite to eat and to give yourself a little break from the car.

Where to Stay

Belmond El Encanto

The El Encanto is a gorgeous hotel perched in the hills and would be an amazing place to rest and recharge during your Santa Barbara babymoon. This iconic resort offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, luxurious bungalows and amazing spa services. The restaurant on property is also fantastic.

San Ysidro Ranch

San Ysidro Ranch is a luxurious resort nestled in the Montecito foothills. They have a series of intimate cottages that are so private and serene. The Stonehouse, their onsite dinner restaurant, is set inside a 19th century citrus packing house and was recently named the #1 restaurant in Santa Barbara.

Ritz-Carlton Bacara

Nestled on the Gaviota Coast about 15 minutes north of town, the Rtiz-Carlton Bacara offers gorgeous grounds, spacious accommodations, oceanfront views. It’s a bit more remote than some of the other lodging options that I’ve listed, but if you’re ok with driving into town for activities, or want to go somewhere a little more private during your babymoon in Santa Barbara where you can just settle in and stay on the property, it’s a fantastic option.

Hotel Californian

Located in the heart of Santa Barbara, the Hotel Californian, is a stylish retreat with a modern feel. Local restaurants, activities, and even the beach are walkable from this hotel. It’s a more urban vibe on State Street near the Funk Zone.

Where to Eat


While there are so many amazing places to dine here, Bouchon is my personal favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. They serve delicious French cuisine in an intimate setting. Everything I’ve ordered has been simply incredible!

El Encanto

Even if you choose to stay at another hotel, making a reservation to dine on the terrace at El Encanto is a can’t miss. The views of the ocean from the Riviera are spectacular, and the food is delicious. It’s iconic Santa Barbara. You can snap a few sunset photos on the beautiful grounds to commemorate your Santa Barbara babymoon, too!

Rosewood Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach Bar at the Rosewood is a fun seaside place to stop for lunch during your Santa Barbara babymoon, with the best views around. It’s directly above the ocean and is a great place to relax, get a little sun, and take in the beautiful setting.

Santa Barbara Public Market

The Santa Barbara Public Market is kind of like a high end food court. There are many different restaurants with common seating areas so that everyone in your party can order what they like and then sit together to enjoy their meals. My personal favorite is the Thai spot, Empty Bowl. Their Tom Yum noodles are divine!

Relaxing Things to Do on Your Santa Barbara Babymoon

Hit Our Local Beaches

We have so many gorgeous beaches and you’ll want to see as many of them as you can while you’re on your babymoon in Santa Barbara! Make sure to check out a few while you’re here. Some of the most noteworthy are Butterfly Beach, Hendry’s Beach (there is a great little seaside café there, too!), East Beach, Summerland.

Have a Prenatal Massage

If you haven’t had a prenatal massage before, your Santa Barbara babymoon will definitely be the time and the place. The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara is fantastic and they offer a prenatal massage that is reason enough to come to SB!

Stroll Through the Cute Shops on State Street

Our local downtown shopping area is called State Street. It’s home to cute shops, great restaurants, and fun activities. It’s been converted into a pedestrian only walk way making it feel a bit European, and there is plenty of public parking nearby.

Romantic Things To Do on Your Santa Barbara Babymoon

Take Maternity Portraits

While on your babymoon in Santa Barbara, consider capturing this special (and fleeting!) time with maternity portraits while you’re here. The serene coastal backdrop provides the perfect location for a maternity session. Santa Barbara’s natural beauty and the relaxed atmosphere of your babymoon create a unique opportunity to create timeless keepsakes that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. I’m a local maternity photographer and you can take a peek at my Santa Barbara maternity sessions here.

Check Out Our Unique Architecture

The Old Mission Santa Barbara, often called the ‘Queen of the Missions’, is a beautiful place to explore. Situated on 15-acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the grounds include the beautiful mission church, historic cemetery, gardens and mausoleum. The Mission offers tours and lots of photo ops.

A courthouse might sound like a strange place to visit, but the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a must see! This iconic Santa Barbara landmark, designed in it’s Spanish-Colonial style, has so much to take in. Hand-painted murals, guided and self-guided tours, and the clocktower that provides expansive views of the city and the ocean are all things that you won’t want to miss.

Casa del Herrero, the house of the blacksmith, has been described as a time-capsule of the 1920’s and 30’s. Designed by George Washington Smith, the Casa is one of the finest standing examples of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture in America. Book a tour to visit the house and the expansive gardens.

A historic state park that preserves the site of the last of four military outposts built by the Spanish along the coast of California is El Presidio de Santa Bárbara. Two buildings of the original presidio have been restored, others have been reconstructed and archaeological excavations and additional reconstructions are continuing. 

Take In Some Local Culture

An annual five day festival called ‘Fiesta‘ by locals celebrates the city’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. This is so much fun! If you’re in town during the first week in August, you’re in luck!

Want to take in some culture during your Santa Barbara babymoon? We have several gorgeous and historic theatres in town including The Granada, The Arlington, Lobero Theatre, The New Vic, and The Riviera Theatre. If you enjoy seeing live shows and concerts check out the schedule of events for the season.

The Santa Barbara Zoo isn’t the biggest or fanciest zoo that you’ll ever visit, but it might be the most charming! Hop on for a ride on the zoo train, have lunch by the elephants, and enjoy ocean views. The best part is that you can take it all in over just a few hours. When my kids were little we had a membership and would go weekly!

Nestled in nature, and with a super-cool whale skeleton greeting you upon your arrival, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located along Mission Creek in the Mission Canyon area. The museum has ten indoor exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history including astronomy, birds, insects, geology, mammals, marine life, paleontology, plant life, and the Chumash Indians.

Click here to see what will be going on while you’ll be in town for your babymoon in Santa Barbara on the local Calendar of Events.

Adventurous Things To Do on Your Santa Barbara Babymoon

Rent Electric Bikes

Take a low effort spin around the coastal bike path, Stearns Warf, and the pier on an electric bike. You can cover some ground and see the sites without breaking a sweat! Wheel Fun Rentals is highly recommended and in a convenient location near the beach.

Explore Nature

Lotus Land is a lush garden tucked back in the hillsides of Montecito. Tour reservations are required, but it’s worth the effort if you enjoy nature and architecture.

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is another local must-see for nature lovers. There is so much to see in these gardens…even Redwood Trees!

The Douglas Family Preserve is a public park in SB, but it’s not your average park! The Preserve is located on the mesa above Arroyo Burro Beach. The property spans 70 acres of undeveloped ocean-front land, and represents the largest area of coastal open space within the city limits of Santa Barbara. It’s an awesome spot for hiking and views.

Get on the Water

There are so many ways to get on the water in during your Santa Barbara babymoon. If you’re the adventurous type, rent a kayak! You can paddle around the waterfront and you might even get to see some dolphins or a sea lion. Pro-tip….if sit in the back and let your partner do the paddling!

Rent a boat or take a water taxi. You can also learn to sail or charter a sail boat with a captain. Sailing is classic Americana, and there’s no better place than Santa Barbara to try it out.

If you’d rather enjoy the water while staying dry you can check out the pier. Our pier, called Stearns Warf, is one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic landmarks. Check out the sea center museum, grab a seafood lunch, and take a stroll in the sun. It’s such a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Make it Memorable – Take Your Maternity Photos While You’re Here!

If you’re considering having your maternity photos taken during your babymoon in Santa Barbara I’d love to recommend some of the prettiest and most picturesque locations in the area. From the beautiful beaches to our stunning local parks, there are just so many great locations for portraits during your Santa Barbara babymoon!

So there you have it—a babymoon in Santa Barbara, a magical journey before the chaos of diapers and late-night feedings. Coastal serenity, your toes in the sand, great meals, and luxurious accommodations. Capture this time in your lives with maternity portraits amidst the stunning backdrops that Santa Barbara offers. Whether it’s a sunset cruise, exploring State Street, or savoring delectable bites at Bouchon, each moment becomes a cherished memory. Your babymoon in Santa Barbara is not just a getaway; it’s an opportunity to make to the first of what are sure to be many beautiful family memories.

Take a look at some of my favorite featured Santa Barbara sessions here, and enjoy your trip!

Santa Barbara Babymoon Tips & Ideas from a Local

Also, if you live in the Minneapolis area, check out the post my friend Brittany wrote about her favorite Minneapolis Baby Stores!

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I'm Daniele Rose, your custom portrait photographer. You'll find me capturing emotive and timeless images of newborns, babies, children and families. I would love to chat with you about documenting your most special family moments!

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  1. I’ve never been to Santa Barbara, but seeing all these amazing places and recommendations makes me want to hop on the plane immediately! I can see why this would be a fun place for a Babymoon.

  2. Christina says:

    This is such a thorough post, and these images are absolutely stunning!

  3. I love how detailed this guide is! The Belmond El Encanto looks amazing!

  4. Stacy says:

    OHMYGOSH!!! Give yourself the gift of a Babymoon!! This post is perfect along with the images!

  5. Ashlie says:

    OOH, this is such a great destination for a Babymoon! There is so much great information in this post and your pictures are stunning!

  6. Molly says:

    I wish we had taken advantage of the babymoon idea before our twins arrived! You’ve captured Santa Barbara so beautifully- now I want to plan a trip LOL. Great post!!

  7. The babymoon is such a great idea! These images in Santa Barbara are stunning.

  8. Alison Bell says:

    What fun shots! The bike and lifeguard stands are my favorite!

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