Sharapova’s Santa Barbara: Exploring the American Riviera with the Tennis Icon
Sharapova's Santa Barbara: Exploring the American Riviera with the Tennis Icon - Hitting the Beach in Montecito
No trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without a visit to nearby Montecito, the ultra-posh community that's home to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. And one of the best ways to experience Montecito like a local is by hitting its world-famous beaches.
With its Mediterranean climate and sweeping ocean views, Montecito is quintessential California dreaming. Miles of sandy shores dotted with palm trees and beach cottages beckon you to dive into the refreshing Pacific waters or simply sit back and soak up the sun.
Start your beach adventures at East Beach, situated right along the Montecito coastline. The wide sandy stretch is perfect for everything from surfing and swimming to beach volleyball and picnicking. Early birds can catch remarkable sunrises as the sky lights up in brilliant oranges and pinks. Later in the day, East Beach draws families who build sandcastles, play catch, and splash around in the gentle waves.
A special highlight is the viewing platform right on East Beach, which offers stellar views of the historic Biltmore Hotel. Dating back to the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style property epitomizes Montecito's old-world charm. Gaze upon the hotel's iconic clock tower and red-tiled roof as you listen to the ocean waves.
Nature lovers should also carve out time for a peaceful stroll along Butterfly Beach. True to its name, you'll spot brilliant orange monarch butterflies fluttering about, along with plenty of shorebirds. The scenic path hugging the beach takes you past luxury homes, allowing you to experience Montecito's exclusive ambiance.
At Butterfly Beach, you may even spot harbor seals playing in the waves or sea lions basking on the sand. The northern tip rocks around Channel Islands National Park, home to diverse marine life. So bring your binoculars and camera to capture Santa Barbara's incredible ecology.
The sand at Butterfly Beach is also perfect for beach yoga or simply finding your own serene spot to unwind. Some regulars even claim Butterfly Beach has healing properties, thanks to its tranquil atmosphere.
After a rejuvenating visit to the beach, head to Coast Village Road, Montecito's main street lined with high-end boutiques, art galleries, and gourmet eateries. Grab an acai bowl, fresh juice or coffee before you continue exploring this American Riviera gem.
What else is in this post?
- Sharapova's Santa Barbara: Exploring the American Riviera with the Tennis Icon - Hitting the Beach in Montecito
- Sharapova's Santa Barbara: Exploring the American Riviera with the Tennis Icon - Wining and Dining at San Ysidro Ranch
Sharapova's Santa Barbara: Exploring the American Riviera with the Tennis Icon - Wining and Dining at San Ysidro Ranch
Nestled in the lush Montecito foothills, San Ysidro Ranch has long been a hideaway for Hollywood elite and discerning travelers alike. This luxury retreat offers beautiful accommodations amid 500 acres of gardens, citrus groves, and oak trees. Yet one of the property’s main highlights is its renowned food and wine program. San Ysidro Ranch provides the ultimate culinary experiences to rival Santa Barbara’s best restaurants.
The Plow & Angel Bistro is the ranch’s signature restaurant, helmed by talented Executive Chef Matt Johnson. The seasonally inspired California cuisine focuses on farm-fresh ingredients sourced from local purveyors as well as the property’s own organic gardens. You’ll find neat touches like housemade charcuterie, brick oven pizzas with creative toppings, and duck confit atop perfect pappardelle pasta. Don’t miss their famous burrata appetizer, paired with heirloom tomatoes and basil oil.
For fine dining, book a table at The Stonehouse restaurant, which has earned numerous accolades. Settle in beside the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and windows framing sublime valley views. Then indulge in Chef Johnson’s tasting menu, which showcases regional ingredients like Santa Barbara uni, farmer’s market produce, and proteins cooked over a wood-fired grill. Standouts include the grilled Spanish octopus and dry-aged ribeye cap painted with bone marrow butter.
The Stonehouse also hosts exclusive wine dinners where vintners showcase limited-production bottles. Additionally, San Ysidro Ranch’s sommelier can arrange private tastings and food pairings showcasing great Santa Barbara County and Central Coast varietals. Don’t miss their extensive wine list with over 500 labels.
Beyond the on-site restaurants, San Ysidro Ranch can also arrange bespoke picnic lunches to take along on your Montecito explorations. The gourmet to-go menu includes lobster rolls, smoked salmon BLTs, and cheese and charcuterie spreads. Or enjoy an intimate breakfast or lunch brought right to your guest cottage bungalow.
When you need a break from touring Montecito’s beaches and boutiques, the poolside Ty Lounge at San Ysidro Ranch beckons. Sip California wines, craft cocktails, or local brews while snacking on flatbreads, salads, and tacos. Don't forget to try their signature drink, the Cuba Libre TY, given a gourmet twist with rum, lime, spiced syrup and ginger beer.