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Santa Barbara, California, USA is sometimes dubbed the Riviera of the West and is defined by its wide beaches and resorts, its legendary wineries and the mild Mediterranean-type climate and greenery. Only 100 kilometres from Los Angeles this city of barely 90,000 is vastly different from its big neighbour to the south, although its residents enjoy the sort of amenities and services such as can only be found in the big cities. The city lies between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Barbara is a major tourist destination and as such it is serviced by Santa Barbara Airport, Amtrak (both the Pacific Surfliner to San Luis, Obispo and San Diego and the Coast Starlight to Seattle and Los Angeles) as well as US highway 101 from Los Angeles and San Francisco in the north. The Greyhound buses ply the 101 to and from the city to Goleta, Carpentaria and LAX.
The city (and the region) got its name from Sebastian Vizcaino who in 1602, after surviving a storm in the Santa Barbara Channel on December 3rd the eve of Saint Barbara decided to give it the name Santa Barbara after the saint.
Some of the major sights in the city include the long list of museums, the Santa Barbara Mission on Laguna Street, a catholic mission built in the classic Franciscan Spanish Architecture, the Botanical gardens, Stearns Wharf which dates from 1872 and has been restored umpteen times, and of course, the beaches.
The city centre is cosy and compact enough to walk from one place to another, and on weekends, the State Street becomes a pedestrian walkway. But for the serious sightseer arriving through Santa Barbara Airport car rental is a very good option through Budget and Hertz. Within the city itself several other car hire options exist but for the visiting tourist your best option will be Anycarhire.com. With Anycarhire.com you get the opportunity to compare services regarding car hire in Santa Barbara and find out which cars will be available when you get to the town; this will take the guesswork out of your travel plans.
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