Santa Barbara ’s prime location on the coast makes it a great spot for deep-sea fishing and whale-watching. With its proximity to the feeding grounds of the blue and humpback whales, Santa Barbara is one of the best spots to go whale-watching in the state.
If you’re looking for a whale-watching expedition or a dinner cruise, check out the Condor Express (Harbor Way, 805/882-0088, www.condorcruises.com , adults $50–100, children $30–50). In the summertime, they can take you out to the Channel Islands to see the blue and humpback whales feed; in the winter, the captain sails into the path of migrating gray whales.
The boat is a sleek modern speed demon with posh amenities and lots of outdoor deck space that can seat almost 70 people. Whale-watching cruises depart almost daily all year long; call to purchase tickets in advance.
Captain Don’s (219 Stearns Wharf, Ste. G, 805/969-5217, www.captdon.com ) offers whale-watching and pleasure cruises with a fun pirate theme. Pleasure trips include a quick 30-minute ride around the Santa Barbara Harbor that’s geared toward fun for the kids or a 90-minute sunset cocktail cruise that includes rum drinks with your ticket.
Whale-watching cruises leave several times each day, heading out to the Channel Islands in the summertime and the Channel itself in winter.
If you want to go fishing, give WaveWalker Charters (691 Camino Campana, 805/964-2046, www.wavewalker.com ) a call. This private six-passenger charter boat rents for $700 for a three-quarter day—expensive unless you bring five friends along to split the cost! Bait and all tackle are included with the charter, but a fishing license is not. Call for more information about what you can fish for when.