Flora and fauna have a long beautiful history in Santa Barbara. Scattered throughout the Santa Barbara South Coast, parks and gardens offer visitors their own pocket of paradise to spend the afternoon, take a stroll, or encounter breathtaking city views. While some parks and gardens are more well-known than others, these are the ten not so secret parks and gardens of Santa Barbara:
Opera singer Madame Ganna Walska created a Santa Barbara treasure in Lotusland, a world-class horticultural wonderland she planned, planted and developed with dramatic flair from the 1940s until her death in 1984. The 37-acre estate showcases rare species and exotic specimens in a series of themed gardens, including a Japanese garden, a cycad garden, a theater garden with antique statuary, a bromeliad and fern garden, and, of course, a lovely lotus pond, whose graceful namesakes bloom annually around July. Learn More
Please note that advance reservations are required.
With more than 5 miles of paths and 1,000 kinds of plants, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden — with its mission to conserve native flora — is a window to the natural environments of Southern California. Surrounded by a panoramic view of ocean and mountains, the garden trails take the visitor through arroyo, desert, canyon, and woodland areas. There is also a distinctive Manzanita section, a glorious expansive meadow, and a grove of towering redwoods. A demonstration garden provides inspiration for the home gardener, while the Japanese teahouse and garden offer a serene respite from the hectic modern world. Learn More
Named for the heiress who bought and donated the property to Santa Barbara some 40 years ago, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is a locals’ favorite — a quiet and colorful spot any season of the year. Occupying a city block, the garden is divided into separate, intimate “rooms” by trees and plantings. For lessons on planting in the Southern California climate, there’s a low-water demonstration garden, and walking paths meander throughout, leading from areas of meadow to lawns to a butterfly garden and the koi pond that delights children and adults alike with its denizens of turtles and ducks. A sensory garden extends the enjoyment of this botanical gem to the visually and physically impaired. Learn More