Things to do in Santa Barbara, USA: One day three ways

Penny-pinch

Enjoy the breakfast quesadilla at Metropulos (metrofinefoods.com, $8) then head off on the free self-guided Red Tile Walking Tour (santabarbaraca.com/podcasts), before exploring the 1782 El Presidio compound (sbthp.org, $5). Use the Downtown Shuttle (sbmtd.gov/maps-and-schedules/waterfront-shuttle.html, fare 50¢) to reach Stearns Wharf where you can enjoy ocean views over local wine at Pacific Deep Sea Tasting Room (conwayfamilywines.com, $10), followed by a crab sandwich from the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (sbfishhouse.com/shellfish-co, $12.95). After lunch, hire a bike from Wheel Fun (wheelfunrentals.com, $10) for a ride along the beachfront. In the evening, grab a craft beer at the Telegraph Brewing Company (telegraphbrewing.com, $5), with dinner from a food truck parked outside ($10). Finish the night with live music at Muddy Waters (facebook.com/pages/Muddy-Waters-Coffee-House/120932501253483, $7), before hitting the sack at Agave Inn (agaveinnsb.com, from $99).

Total: $167.45

Easy does it

Start the day with huevos rancheros at D'Angelo Bakery (25 W Gutierrez St, $11.95). Then it's time for a coastal kayaking excursion with Santa Barbara Adventure Company (sbadventureco.com/adventures/coastal-kayaking, $89 including picnic lunch). Back onshore, follow the Urban Wine Trail (urbanwinetrailsb.com), enjoying a vino at Kunin Wines (kuninwines.com, $10) in the city's entertainment "Funk Zone". See the day out with a sunset cocktail cruise aboard a Sunset Kidd Sailing Cruises yacht (sunsetkidd.com, $40). Have a seafood dinner at Santa Barbara FisHouse (sbfishhouse.com), perhaps the macadamia nut-rolled sea bass ($24.95). From here it's a short walk to the Harbor House Inn for the night (harborhouseinn.com, from $139).

Total: $314.90

Splash out

Breakfast at Scarlett Begonia (scarlettbegonia.net), a café within a beautiful garden courtyard. Its shrimp & grits involves sautéed prawns, poached eggs, paprika sausage and roasted capsicum ($16). Then join the Segway Mission Tour from the wharf to the historic Santa Barbara Mission (segwayofsb.com, $115). Enjoy lunch at stylish Bouchon, with dishes such as a shallot-glazed rack of lamb (bouchonsantabarbara.com, $38), before taking advantage of Santa Barbara Zoo's exclusive Backstage Pass (sbzoo.org/animals/meet-the-animals, $200). On a Tuesday afternoon you can join the executive chef of the Wine Cask restaurant at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market on State Street (sbfarmersmarket.org). Tell him which items you fancy, and he'll include them in an personalised dinner (winecask.com, $75 per person). Sated, it's time to head for the elegant Canary Hotel (canarysantabarbara.com, from $289).

Total: $733.00

The writer was a guest of United Airlines and Visit Santa Barbara.

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