There's plenty to do and see at the Santa Barbara Harbor: visit the Maritime Museum, housed in the historic Waterfront Center building, dine at one of several restaurants, or take a leisurely stroll to admire the ocean views and boats. In the Waterfront Center’s hallways, look for photo exhibits of marine sanctuaries nationwide and of the harbor before...
There's plenty to do and see at the Santa Barbara Harbor: visit the Maritime Museum,
housed in the historic Waterfront Center building, dine at one of several restaurants, or take a leisurely stroll to admire the ocean views and boats. In the Waterfront Center’s hallways, look for photo exhibits of marine sanctuaries nationwide and of the harbor before and during its development. The Outdoors Santa Barbara visitor center, on the fourth floor of the Waterfront Center, has fantastic views of the harbor, Los Padres Forest in the Santa Ynez Mountains, and on a clear day, the Channel Islands.
Harbor facilities include boat slips, boat rentals, and marine specialty shops. The Sail Center offers a variety of cruises, including whale watching and sunset tours, on its accessible catamaran. Fishing is allowed along the breakwater, but casting from a wheelchair here requires skill. A two-mile section of the Cabrillo Beachway
trail travels east along the shoreline. From the start of daylight saving time in March and continuing throughout the summer, the yacht club opens its doors to the public for "Wet Wednesdays," where for a fee you can watch sailboat races and enjoy a barbecue.
Spanning two floors, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
has nearly 8,000 square feet of exhibit space. Interactive permanent and traveling exhibits explore aspects of the Central Coast's past and present relationship with the sea, including the lives of the Chumash Indians, the Channel Islands’ natural history, deep-sea diving technology, and offshore oil drilling. You can also view surfing and seafaring films. Ship models are scattered throughout, and you can virtually navigate a ship through the harbor. To reach the second floor, ask staff to unlock the elevator. Admission is free the third Thursday of each month.
All lots along Harbor Way have accessible parking, but some charge a fee, discounted for those with a disabled parking placard. If you have a placard, you can park behind the shops for free. If you park in a disabled space in the lot with the honor pay system, an envelope will be left on your windshield to mail back with your fee, because the pay area is not accessible.
Maritime Museum building restrooms have best access; another, by marina slip number 4, also has good access. Restroom by shops has a tight corner into stall and only has room for a front-approach transfer.