If you’re looking for a housesitting opportunity in one of the most beautiful places in California, look no further than Santa Barbara. With its stunning beaches, Mediterranean climate, and endless activities, Santa Barbara is the perfect place to call home for a while. And what better way to experience all that Santa Barbara has to offer than by housesitting?
Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is an overwhelmingly dog-friendly town and an amazing experience for anyone who loves animals and enjoys spending time outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term opportunity, there are plenty of options available in this lovely city. So if you’re up for an adventure, read on to learn more about our favorite discoveries while housesitting in Santa Barbara.
Outdoor Coffee Houses
If you’re an animal lover, like me, then you know that when you’re petsitting, taking your furry friend with you wherever you go is the best way to live, assuming the pet is chill around other dogs and humans. Lucky for us, Santa Barbara has no shortage of great places to take our dogs and enjoy a fantastic cup of coffee. Here are some of my favorite spots that welcome pooches on site. Enjoy!
A local favorite for working or visiting with friends, Handlebar serves up superb coffee, tea, and artisan treats. The owners, Kim Anderson and Aaron Olsen, were inspired by European cafes when they were cycling professionally around the world. Beautiful Santa Barbara is where they decided to land. With plenty of outdoor space at all locations, your furry friends can come along too.
Lighthouse Coffee is a cozy coffee shop with plenty of tables, outlets and free Wi-Fi. Whether you’re here to study, work on your latest manuscript, or just walking with your pooch from Shoreline Drive, this place has what everyone needs! Great for the housesitting digital nomad.
Hustle and Grind
If you’re shopping along the famous State Street in Paseo Nuevo, Hustle & Grind Coffee Company is a good spot for a break. Their offerings include hearty breakfast toasts, soul soothing tea, and locally roasted CAJÉ coffee. We’ve also spotted water bowls outside for the doggies.
LOKUM is a must-see for anyone who loves Turkish coffee, hot tea and baklava. You get to indulge in 30+ varieties of sweet treats and crispy pistachio-filled pastries right in the center of town.
Santa Barbara, known for its beauty and ample outdoor resources, is filled with great options when it comes to canine recreation. From stunning nature trails along the coast to convenient downtown locations, there’s something for everyone here. Note that not every dog is well-socialized or comfortable around other dogs, so be sure to check with the owners on what’s best for them and their beloved pooch.
Douglas Family Preserve
The Douglas Family Preserve is your go-to spot for off-leash recreation. This 70-acre property is well-maintained, with hiking trails and spectacular views of the ocean. It runs along a very steep bluff, so be mindful if the dog you’re watching is a wanderer.
Dog Park at Sycamore Creek Park – Goleta
The dog park is located behind the police department and has a fenced, off-leash area with agility obstacles for pups to play in addition to plenty of shady spots. It’s a great place if you’re looking for something more active!
Arroyo Burro Beach
The dog beach at Arroyo Burro (known as Hendry’s Beach among locals) is one of the most fun beaches we’ve been to, like, ever! The dramatic cliffs behind you and salty ocean in front makes it a true paradise for active pups. Perks include self-service wash stations near the parking lot and ample signage for off-leash areas. This is a very popular spot on weekends – the number of dogs makes it so much fun. Be sure to check with the pet owners to see how socialized the dog is and if they’ve ever been to Arroyo Burro Beach.
This off-leash dog park not only has two fenced areas, but one is fully enclosed for smaller dogs. The main entrance sits right next to the dog area which makes it easy to meet other pet owners (or pet sitters) and enjoy a picnic together! There are also some grassy hills with trees that provide shade if needed during summer months.
Romero Canyon Dog Park
This rugged dog park is right next to Romero Canyon so it’s the perfect spot for off-leash play. You’ll see separate fenced areas for large and small breeds, and picnic areas to grill.
Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve – Carpinteria
One of our favorite parks for you and your pooch pal to explore along the coast. The trails lead to the bluff’s edge with views to Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery. Seals are present year-round and females give birth and wean their pups between December and May. We love that this spot has restroom facilities for humans, just in case. Maybe keep that doggie on a leash around the seals!
Hiking and Biking
We know that dogs are always up for a good adventure, and these two trails will give your pup plenty of reasons to join you on the trail. The 4-mile journey to Inspiration Point is popular among locals who enjoy running or mountain biking along this picturesque path. Up north in Goleta there’s Coal Oil Point which provides stunning views from its bluffs near UC Santa Barbara – not only does your pooch get an opportunity to explore nature but so do owners. Note that dogs are allowed throughout except in the protected dunes areas.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre paradise for those who love exploring nature. The full loop takes visitors through various gardens dedicated to native California plants, and then finishes with an Island View Trail that offers sweeping views from the nearby mountains all the way down into Channel Islands National Park. The park welcomes leashed dogs.
A visit to Santa Barbara would not be complete without indulging in Santa Barbara’s award-winning wines. Bring your pooch along to the many urban tasting rooms. The Funk Zone is the best place to start!
Santa Barbara Winery has a charming outdoor patio to enjoy. There is a pub cat on the premises so leashes on pooches are encouraged. Walk towards the beach to Kunin Winery or visit Municipal Winemakers located in a former dive shop.
Dogs are most welcome inside and outside at Pali Wine Company and they even keep a secret supply of dog treats in the back. If you’re documenting your dog’s adventures, be sure to use their #palipaws hashtag. The same goes for Municipal Winemakers (#dogsofmuni) who have hydration stations and dog treats for all sorts of customers.
Deep Sea Tasting Room is Santa Barbara’s only tasting room on the water. Enjoy learning about Conway Family Wines while basking in the panoramic views of the ocean. Dogs are welcomed on the outside patio.
Jamie Stone Wines is a dog-friendly winery that specializes in small production handcrafted wines. Located on the historic El Paseo outdoor plaza, their tasting room has an open air feel with fenced off areas for dogs to chill out and explore while their humans enjoy some wine drinks or bites from Grassini Family Vineyards’ boutique vineyard just downwind!
Take a day trip out to wine country and explore the many vineyards that allow dogs to roam the vineyards on the property. Los Olivos is an important stop, as it’s home for many wineries in this section of California! Most offer tasting rooms where you can samples some wines while your furry friend enjoys himself too.
Other dog friendly adventures
You won’t be surprised to learn that In Santa Barbara, you can take your dog sailing! Sunset Kidd welcomes dogs onboard the touring yacht anytime. Their cruises are limited to 15 people, and you’ll have a chance to see a variety of marine wildlife. On land, you and your pup can take a self-guided stroll along the Red Tile Walking Tour, where you’ll see the quintessential features of Santa Barbara’s Spanish architecture.
Santa Barbara loves its dogs, so if you’re involved in activities that don’t allow dogs, there are plenty of options for trusted daily dog care and boarding facilities, assuming that’s ok with the pet owners. Camp Canine is considered a “resort and spa,” providing daytime activities, overnight boarding, training, as well as grooming services. A popular boarding facility is Dioji, which is known for its canine supply store. You can also treat your pooch to exploring wide open spaces at SAM’s Doggie Dude Ranch, a 300-acre cattle ranch on the Gaviota Coast. The Bark Bus is an adventure walking daycare service that picks up your dog right from your door. They get a day of socializing and exercises at area beaches and hiking trails.
It’s no secret that Santa Barbara has amazing restaurants and plenty of them welcome your four-legged friends as well. Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, bistro fare or seafood, there’s something here to satisfy your appetite and pups too! And don’t forget – dogs get free treats with their humans at many Santa Barbara eateries
Renaud’s offers a chef-inspired French style menu with lots to choose from. Locals rave about the almond croissants and they are definitely worth trying while in Santa Barbara. There are covered areas on the terrace to enjoy some shade with your pooch.
The Brewhouse is a fun, dog-friendly american bistro and brewery that’s perfect for everyone! You’ll be able to enjoy quality food with your pup on their spacious patio.
Located on the harbor, Breakwater is a great, casual place to take your furry friends! With plenty of tables and an amazing view, this restaurant will make you both feel at home. Whether it be for breakfast or dinner they have something that’s just right – including some fantastic vegetarian options too.
As for sushi with your canine friend, Arigato Sushi is a friendly and welcoming restaurant that will make anyone feel at home. Located in the hub of downtown, ther offer great food, super-friendly staff members who go out of their way to ensure you’re happy during each visit.
State and Fig
This popular restaurant has a rotating seasonal brunch where you can enjoy bottomless mimosas and juicy burgers with your canine companion. For dinner, the big green patio is always popular – perfect for letting Fido tag along!
For a date or a night out with friends, this picturesque restaurant that makes you feel special as it is wined and dined with care. Dogs are openly welcomed on the outdoor patio, and Louie’s offers an elegant menu full of flavors to satisfy any human appetite.
Crushcakes & Cafe
Meet your new favorite café! Crushcakes is the perfect spot for you and your dog. Located a block off of main drag, this friendly little joint has plenty to offer both human patrons and furry friends alike with their delicious breakfast and lunch selections. Don’t forget to buy a cupcake to-go – that’s what they’re known for.
This downtown spot serves a fun and modern twist on Indian fare. They very much welcome dogs to the beautiful back patio. The atmosphere, food, and love to our four-legged friend make this a true experience.
If you’re in the Funk Zone, definitely check out Lama Dog Tap Room, a hip joint and a local favorite. As its name suggests, dogs are most welcome on the patio. The delicious food is made in a converted, old shipping container (called The Nook) and the bar area has over 20 revolving craft beers, wine, and a full bottle shop. Lama is the owner’s dog, a Tibetan Mastiff.
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting opportunity to housesit with your furry friend, Santa Barbara is the place for you. With so many world-class things to see and do, you’ll never be bored. Search the housesitting sites for great opportunities and come join us in paradise!
LAST UPDATED: January 4, 2023