Stearns Wharf is named after its creator, local Santa Barbara businessman John P. Stearns. The wooden construction was finished in 1872 and for many years served freight shipping needs. Nowadays, the wharf is home to independent shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and ice cream parlors.
A particular highlight for families is the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, where children (and adults!) can admire manta rays, small sharks, and more. To see the wharf from a different perspective join a guided kayaking tour of the waterfront.
Things to know before you go
- The wharf is wheelchair accessible but can be uneven in some sections. Visitors with limited mobility may prefer to drive to the end of the wharf.
- The wharf is made up of wooden planks with gaps in between—high heels are not recommended!
- Fishing is free along the wharf.
- The boardwalk is pet friendly, but dogs must be on a leash.
How to get there
Stearns Wharf leads out into the ocean from the bottom of State Street, Santa Barbara’s main thoroughfare. Visitors can walk or cycle along the boardwalk, or drive to the end where there is a parking lot (free parking for 90 minutes). Two shuttle bus routes pass the wharf—the waterfront route that follows the beaches and the downtown route which heads along State Street.
When to get there
Stearns Wharf is open to the public 24 hours a day. The individual shops and restaurants have varying opening times, but most are open in daylight hours. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is open Wednesday through Monday, 10am-5pm.
Explore State Street
Home to shops, restaurants and galleries, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, State Street is the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Any visitor to the city is sure to pass by the street during a visit to the city, whether to eat in one of the many excellent restaurants, shop for souvenirs or stylish clothes, or watch a show at the New Vic Theatre.
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Pismo Beach
- Things to do in Santa Monica
- Things to do in Los Angeles
- Things to do in San Luis Obispo
- Things to do in Long Beach
- Things to do in Paso Robles
- Things to do in Anaheim & Buena Park
- Things to do in La Jolla
- Things to do in Palm Springs
- Things to do in San Diego
- Things to do in Yosemite National Park
- Things to do in Sausalito
- Things to do in Nevada
- Things to do in Arizona
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
- Funk Zone
- Santa Barbara Cruise Port
- Santa Barbara Waterfront
- Leadbetter Beach
- Santa Barbara County Courthouse
- Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)
- Shoreline Park
- Santa Barbara Zoo
- Old Mission Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
- Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG)
- State Street