Before taking your Santa Barbara RV rental downtown, it's worth checking the local traffic and where to park. Santa Barbara is a relatively small city, and while there is the occasional traffic jam during rush hour, it's nothing compared to the likes of Los Angeles. In addition, several parking lots in the city allow oversized vehicles, including Leadbetter, Harbor West, Palm Park, and Garden Street.
Santa Barbara has a long history, and campers can learn more about the city's past at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The mission was founded in 1786 by Spanish missionaries trying to convert the indigenous Chumash-Barbareño peoples to Catholicism. The tenth of California's 21 missions, the Old Mission Santa Barbara is the only one to be continuously managed by Franciscan Friars. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mission, including the mausoleum, before picking up a keepsake at the gift shop.
Keep your whole crew happy with a day out at the Santa Barbara Zoo. This compact 30-acre zoo is home to hundreds of animals from around the world. There are dozens of endangered critters on show, including Amur leopards, California condors, and western lowland gorillas. If you want a truly memorable experience, book an animal encounter and get up close to capybaras, Humboldt penguins, and Masai giraffes.
Santa Barbara is known for its seemingly endless coastline, and one of the best spots to appreciate it is Arroyo Burro Beach County Park. Shadowed by Santa Barbara's bluffs, Arroyo Burro Beach is a superb spot for surfing, swimming, and birdwatching. Arroyo Burro is also one of the best places to walk your dog, and the adjacent Douglas Family Preserve lets dogs play in the waves without a leash.