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Winter in Santa Barbara

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Winter in Santa Barbara

Hi Folks. I am currently in Ireland and not looking forward to the impending winter gloom so I was thinking of spending the winter months in a central coastal area. My choices are narrowed down to the Monterey area, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. I understand that it is the rainy season from November to April but all things relative (being from Ireland), the sunshine and warmth would counter the raindrops.

So, I humbly ask:

What's the weather really like during the winter? (I have the stats from weather.com but was hoping for a local report)

Is there much to do in the area from December to April?

Would you recommend the area to a 40-year-old, whose criteria is a walkable, crime-free (or almost crime-free), plenty of coffee/book shops community?

I will also post these questions on the Monterey and SLO forums.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Vacaville...
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1. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Just bumping this up so you get more responses...

Vacaville...
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676 posts
28 reviews
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2. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Just bumping this up so you get more responses...

Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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3. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

I've been to Ireland a few times and you have a "soft" rain. : )

The more northern you go in CA you can find colder weather. The three towns you have chosen are great. But some years are not as bad as others for extreme weather. My sons went to college in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo. Santa Barbara wins hands down, and it is closer to LA, but they still like LA coastal living better.

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4. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Thanks to "thechick" for bumping and CAnative for your input. I was curious on why Santa Barbara wins hands down. I've been there a couple of times but never in San Luis Obisbo. It was a bit disheartening yesterday looking for accommodation in these 3 areas and short term rentals appear to be difficult to find (according to craiglist discussions). My best option is to find a share, where I could rent out a room.

I know that all 3 areas are expensive but which one is the most liveable? Ideally, to live within a walking distance of the beach/town without breaking the bank is the goal.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Boyh San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara are very walkable. I would eliminate SLO because it is not on the beach.

For the Monterey area I think Carmel is nicer than Monterey.

For me SBA either SBA or Carmel would be great, there advantages:

SBA - warmer & sunnier

Carmel - closer to San Francisco & Yosemite

Pacific Grove...
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for Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey County
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6. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

If you opt for the Monterey area, look into Pacific Grove. It's a very pretty town with gorgeous coastline and is much quieter and quainter than Carmel. We've got a bookstore/coffee house combo, as well as a few other coffee shops. Too bad you're not coming in the spring--we need a house sitter!

Santa Barbara
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7. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

If I recall my natural history, there' s a relatively warm ocean current that flows south along the coast of southern California - it comes close to shore south of Point Conception which is about 50 miles north of Santa Barbara. In part that's the reason the weather is warmer here and the ocean is not tropical warm but swimable for most in the summer and early fall. Hearty souls or those with wet suits swim year around in southern California.

In general, Santa Barbara is very pleasant over the winter (we're always hoping for rain! as the next drought is always around the corner) - with mostly sunny days and somewhat chilly evenings - rarely does it frost. It's a Mediterrean climate just like - think Greece, Italy, Lebanon, etc. We've been known as a winter resort practically since founding.

If you do decide to stay north of SB, you might try one of the smaller towns around San Luis that are located on the coast - Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Cambria are all very sweet, intimate communities and not as pricey as Carmel. I don't know how many bookshops they have but I'm sure all have one or two and a scattering of coffeehouses. All are walkable but for convenience and seeing more of California all would require a car. Santa Barbara has a pretty usable bus system(and bike paths ) if you are just getting around town and UCSB - I don't know about the rest. All of the towns mentioned are close to wonderful hiking trails into spectacular natural areas.

San Luis, Monterey/Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara are college towns so have plenty of cultural events through the winter months. The wildflowers usually start to bloom in southern California in early spring say about March. If you would like some really warm weather you might plan a visit to the low desert of Palm Springs.

reno,nv
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8. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Hi

I've spent time in all of the areas you mention.

I must be one of the few people on earth not to care for Monterey and would not stay there except it is relatively close to San Francisco

Add San Francisco proper to your mix and I would write somthing different than the following.

San Luis Obispo is not that great. While a college town, it is not my kind of place either.

Now,Santa Barbara...

I had reason to be near the airport on Christmas day one year there and I spent it on the beach enjoying 70 degree (F) weather.

In some ways this is one of the best places you could possibly stay, except it will be expensive.

Easy day trips via car from here to all over Southern California and its cultural attractions. 1.5 hours to Los Angeles.

The air can be just wonderful to breathe near the ocean.

University of California @ Santa Barbara is there.

amazingly I would not want to spend JUNE in Santa Barbara as the fog rolls in and stays for quite awhile.

Now if you were to stay near San Francisco, there is some great stuff there too, but a bit chillier than Santa Barbara. Redwood City, CA near San Francisco has a wonderful climate as do the towns nearby.

If I were you, I would take an aerobics class or two and you might meet some nice people.

Take lots of money for hotels etc!

California, USA
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9. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Is your first name Stephen? I digress...

Santa Barbara is beautiful. You will breathe fresh air, take long walks, eat incredible meals, take in a concert (or two), shop, read, and coffeehouse to your heart's content. Do a web search for the Arts and Letters Cafe in Santa Barbara proper.

The weather is gorgeous year round. What more could you want?

By the way... winters in Ireland are truly magical. I would never attempt to escape the Emerald Isle if I lived there.

California, USA
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10. Re: Winter in Santa Barbara

Check out the B&B's. We have quite a few and they seem quite popular. Much more affordable than local hotels or inns.