About GoletaThis attractive beach community has been called “the jewel in the crown” of the Santa Barbara coast. It is renowned for its typically sunny weather, while the fog that shrouds its well-to-do neighbor is rarely in evidence. The town happens to be the geographic location of both the University of California campus and the airport that serves the nearby city. Seals are rare on Southern California beaches, but you’ll find them here.
The 9-acre Coronado Butterfly Preserve and the Ellwood Main Monarch Grove, for which it serves as a gateway, are among the best locales to see the beauteous orange and black insects. Massive numbers of monarchs fly up to 3,000 miles to roost in the coastal eucalyptus trees; birds and wildlife also thrive here. The best viewing is between December and February. Note: The parking lot is a half-mile walk from the butterfly grove.
Bird-watching is a prime activity at Lake Los Carneros, a public park once part of a private ranch owned by the Stows, a pioneer agricultural family. The adjacent Rancho La Patera preserves the family home and gardens, which include a collection of exotic trees and a grove of redwoods; phone (805) 681-7216. Another popular local outdoor attraction is Goleta Beach County Park, notably its 1,450-foot pier, a hit with fishermen; the catch includes bass, halibut, perch, mackerel and bonito.
The Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention and Festival is an annual celebration of Appalachian folk music and a showcase of local talent held every October. Offered the same month, the California Lemon Festival is a family-friendly event featuring everything from arts and crafts to pie-eating contests.
Visitor Centers Goleta Chamber of Commerce 5662 Calle Real Suite 204 Goleta, CA 93117. Phone:(805)967-2500
ShoppingOld Town Goleta, centered on Hollister Avenue just off US 101, once the only commercial district to serve the area, is a vibrant mix of mom-and-pop businesses, antique dealers, high-tech businesses and a low-budget multicultural restaurant scene. The Camino Real Marketplace, at the intersection of Hollister Avenue and Storke Road, offers big-box chain stores, along with the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings.
Things to Do South Coast Railroad Museum
Horseback Riding Circle Bar B Guest Ranch
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.