Santa Barbara by far is one of the most beautiful counties in California. Its location puts it on the map just west of Ventura. Its southern location gave the county a population size of almost 400,000 in the year 2000. In 2006, the population jumped to over 421,000. Its largest city is Santa Maria and that is where a lot of its recreational activities can be found. The county seat, Santa Barbara, is also quite popular.
13,000 years ago, the lands that would one day make up the area for Santa Barbara County were discovered by Native Americans. A mission was formed in 1786 in the Santa Barbara area and when the county was eventually formed, it took its name from the mission.
The politics in Santa Barbara County have been divided for years in the northern and southern parts of the county. Its north location of the Santa Ynez Mountains are focused on agriculture and oil while the southern part is based upon tourism with the people there working mainly white-collar jobs. The county is, however, is leaning towards the democratic side, and has been for years. In 2006, there was a proposition to split the county, but that never came about.
When you visit, the county there is numerous activities for both kids and parents alike to enjoy. The California State Fair is an annual event with carnival rides for the kiddos and fair treats for everyone to enjoy.
If the outdoors is what you crave then Santa Barbara County has what you need. There are various campgrounds to spend the weekend at. Santa Barbara County also has numerous beaches, National Forests, marinas and parks to walk, run, go biking, or boating or just admires the beautiful surroundings. Cachuma Lake, Rincon Beach, and the Santa Barbara parks are all available for you to enjoy rain or shine.
Museums and libraries are also a large part of what makes Santa Barbara County so special. You can visit the South Coast Railroad Museum in Goleta, the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, or the Santa Maria Children’s Discovery Museum.
Santa Barbara County is home to several colleges and universities for all of your educational needs. The University of California-Santa Barbara is located here as is the Santa Barbara City College and the Allen Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. For those who want to visit the library for their learning resources there is the Santa Maria Library, the South Coast Library, and the Santa Barbara Library. There are even student programs available about air pollution.
The geography of Santa Barbara County is mountainous and it has coastal plains too. The cities are vast within the county. There is Hope Ranch, Mission Canyon, Santa Ynez, and Buellton. There are two wilderness areas in the county. They are the San Rafael Wilderness and the Dick Smith Wilderness. At Big Pine Mountain in San Rafael, tourists and residents alike will enjoy the highest elevation in the county.
The air quality in Santa Barbara is far better than any other county in southern California. This is because of the winds that sweep through from the Pacific Ocean. Federal standards for the ozone are far beyond expectation here too. Visibility is better, here as smog and haze is not experienced.
Santa Barbara County is also wine country. The movie Sideways actually showcased the wine region north of Santa Barbara. Today people travel for the wine and stay for the scenery. The wine grapes from this region actually command the highest prices and what are made from them are delicious tasting wine selections.
Santa Barbara County has everything and more for the single gal and the extended family. You can taste wines, enjoy camping, and have your home all within the same community. The mountains and beaches are there plus year round activities that can be hiking around to taking on the carnival rides at the local fair.