We all wish to visit places that offer unmatched fun experiences in their unique way, and the golden city of Goleta is right there to give you the perfect American dream experience.
Goleta is an exciting place for a weekend getaway with lots of natural attractions and scenic locations.
Encompassed by water, the incredible city of Goleta features many activities to make your vacation memorable, from parklands to beaches, historic museums, wildlife, outdoor recreational venues, and other fantastic things.
Whether you’re traveling alone or with the entire family, you’ll find something thrilling to do in Goleta, CA.
Notable things to do in the city of Goleta include watching migrating Monarch butterflies at Coronado Butterfly Preserve, engaging in a Brewery tour with Rockstar Trolley, or spending the day at Goleta Beach.
There are also many restaurants and beer pubs in the city where you can grab fine wine and eat tasty dishes.
Interested in all Goleta has to offer? Here’s a list of the Best and most fun things to do in Goleta, CA.
Things to Do in Goleta, CA
1. Learn about the History of Railroading at the South Coast Railroad Museum
Are you a history enthusiast? Would you love to learn about new histories and add to your knowledge in Goleta? Then, you should include South Coast Railroad Museum on your bucket list.
South Coast Railroad Museum is a historical museum in Goleta. It contains information on the evolution of railway technology and the local history of railroading.
Currently home to the Goleta Depot, South Coast Railroad Museum is a preserved Southern Pacific Railroad train station that now serves as a museum.
The museum contains information on the relevant role of the railroad in American rural communities.
The museum is open to both adults and kids. So whether you wish to explore the area alone or on a guided tour, You’ll enjoy spending time here.
South Coast Railroad Museum currently features on the National Register of Historic Places, so make sure to include South Coast Railroad Museum on your literary list.
Location: 300 N Los Carneros Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
2. Horseback Riding at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables
If you are searching for something adventurous and fun to do in Goleta, A visit to Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables will suffice. It is a state-of-the-art ranch with many fun activities for family and friends.
The ranch has homestyle dining that gives guests the perfect home experience and a large pool for swimming activities.
Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables also features a jacuzzi, and if you need body massage and treatment, there’s a Spa service at the ranch to tend to your body needs.
The one thing that keeps visitors returning to the ranch every year is their horseback riding. The scenic horseback riding at the farm is always lovely and fun-filled.
If you’re not in the mood for games or outdoor fun, you could pick a book at their library or relax at their bar with fine wine.
You could also opt for something less tasking, like taking a walk in their coastal mountain paradise or a warm-up in front of their fireplace.
You’ll enjoy every inch of your time here, so don’t forget to plan a trip to Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables.
Location: 1800 Refugio Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
3. Eat at Jane at The Marketplace, Goleta, CA
Unlike the name, ”Jane at The Marketplace” is a family-owned restaurant in Goleta, CA.
If you’re a lover of good food, you mustn’t leave Goleta without visiting ”Jane at The Marketplace”. The restaurant belongs to Jane Moody, a loving and hospitable who loves traveling and eating good food.
The ambiance of the environment at the restaurant is warm and cozy. Their menu contains many mouth-watering dishes that would keep you glued to the spot.
Whether you desire meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’ll enjoy eating at Jane at the Marketplace.
Their inexhaustible menu includes meals like hearth sandwiches, grilled filet mignon, plates of grilled duck breast, and puttanesca.
If you’re lucky to visit during the weekend, you can try their brunch menu with meals like goat cheese pancakes, Chinese bay scallops, and Idaho trout salad.
Location: 6940 Market Pl Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
4. Ice Skating at Ice in Paradise
Ice in Paradise is one lovely spot you’ll enjoy visiting if you’re a fan of ice skating. It is a state park for ice skating activities and other recreational events.
Owned by a non-profit organization, Ice in Paradise is the best place for indoor fun lovers in Goleta, CA. Many tourists around the globe come here every year because of the fun at the rink.
The skating rink is open to skaters at all levels, whether you’re a professional or a newbie in skating. Newbies can also attend skating classes where they’ll learn under the guidance of skilled skating instructors.
They can also opt for youth hockey classes to learn the fundamental skills required to succeed in skating.
Make you prioritize a visit to Ice in Paradise on your bucket list, and don’t forget to come in warm outfits.
Location: 6985 Santa Felicia Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
5. Golfing at Sandpiper Golf Club
Are you a lover of golf? Do you desire a place to showcase your golfing skills?
If yes, Sandpiper Golf Club is the perfect place to showcase your golfing prowess.
Sandpiper Golf Club ranks as one of the best golf courses in Goleta, CA.
Located in Santa Barbara County, Sandpiper Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course suitable for golfers of all levels; this waterfront is around 7,000 yards with a great natural environment.
Since 1972, the golf course has maintained its green grounds and rolling fairways.
Golf players from across the nation converge at the course, so if you’re lucky, you may see one or two famous golf players here.
Sandpiper Golf Club also features tournaments such as The LPGA Tour Santa Barbara Women’s Open, The PGA Tour Tournament Player Series, and the PGA Tour Qualifying round.
The course is vast with lots of golfing facilities. If you love golfing, ensure you visit Sandpiper Golf Club before leaving Goleta.
Location: 7925 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
6. Sightseeing at Arroyo Hondo Vista Point
One of the best places to go sightseeing in Goleta is Arroyo Hondo Vista Point; this scenic location lies on the California highway just off Southbound 101 on the northern end of Goleta.
Arroyo Hondo Vista Point lies above the waters, with scenic bridges over its beach. The view of the concrete arch of the bridge is captivating and worthy of snaps.
There’s also a vast campground for guests to set up tents and campfires if they wish to spend the night. Due to its steep and tricky hike, visitors should ensure to bring footwear to avoid cuts.
There’s a thrilling sight of rock formation around the beach area caused by ground deformation and uplift centuries ago. The rocks form and create an oceanic wonder that will leave you stunned.
The views at Arroyo Hondo Vista Point are lovely and Worthy of snaps. So make sure you come with your camera to capture the scenic sites in the area.
Location: 15550 El Camino Real, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
7. Enjoy Lovely Scenery at RockStar Trolley
A visit to Rock Star Trolley is one of the best and most fun things to do in Goleta, CA. Voted as the ‘Best Trolley Company’ in Santa Barbara, RockStar Trolley is a beautiful place for a sightseeing tour with family and friends.
There are numerous unique open-air trolleys at the site to make your visit entertaining and memorable.
A Series of trolley events takes place throughout the year, so make sure you don’t miss out on any during your time of visit.
The different trolley events in the region include Brewery Tour, which features wine tasting at three breweries, and Christmas Lights Tour during festive seasons.
Location: 217 W Gutierrez St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States
8. Eat Quality Dishes at Kyle’s Kitchen
The joy of the vacation experience is the opportunity to visit new locations and meet new people, but all these won’t be worthwhile if you go touring on a hungry stomach. So a visit to Kyle’s Kitchen is one of the best things to do in Goleta, CA.
Kyle’s Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant famous for mouth-watering dishes in Goleta.
The restaurant received several awards for its unique mission and vision. In addition, Kyle’s kitchens stand out as part of the very few socially responsible businesses that give out a portion of their proceeds to help cater to kids with special needs.
Their menu combines tasty and healthy, featuring meals like a Grass-fed beef patty topped with bacon ( firefighter), cheese, ranch, earth burger with a handmade veggie patty, and seared ahi tuna Burger.
Patronizing Kyle’s Kitchen helps drive the restaurant’s mission to cater to people with special needs.
Location: 5723 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
9. Dine at The Bistro
The Bistro is a restaurant in Santa Barbara with ocean views and mouth-watering dishes. Situated in the Ritz-Carlton lies The Bistro, managed by chef Umit Kaygusuz who collaborates with reliable food channels to create fantastic dishes.
Couples looking for something romantic can sit out in their ocean-like environment and have a romantic dinner. The restaurant also features a wood-burning fireplace and a hotel swimming pool.
Guests who wish to spend the night can book a room at the hotel in the area.
The atmosphere at the restaurant is cozy, and their menu features lots of mouth-watering dishes like brick-oven pizzas, seasonal salads, and Bistro signature burgers.
The restaurant is open to serve you meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other signature meals at the restaurant include crab cake sliders, California Florentine, and seafood paella.
Location: 8301 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, United States.
10. Outdoor Fun Experience at Silver Peak Wilderness
Do not spend all your time sleeping and lavishing indoors in Goleta, CA. Instead, go out and explore all the city of Goleta offers.
Founded in 1992, Silver Peak Wilderness is an outdoor location within the Los Padres National Forest. Tourists flock to the area to engage in diverse, fun activities. For example, hiking lovers would enjoy hiking on the trail, and you could also go horse riding in the area.
If you need to spend the night, Silver Peak Wilderness features a campground where you can relax and spend all night.
If you feel tired and need a place to relax or take a walk, you’ll enjoy walking in the area. Other notable attractions in the area are steep canyons, impressive waterfalls, coastline, and a beautiful array of flora and fauna.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy visiting Silver Peak Wilderness as this is one the best places to spot trees like big leaf maple gray pine and California sycamore.
The park is open to people of all ages and makes you bring your kids along to this fantastic location.
Location: Big Sur, CA 93920, United States
11. Sightseeing at Goleta Point
If you need a place to take a stroll with friends while also enjoying lovely sights, then make sure you visit Goleta Point before you leave the city.
Goleta point, famously called Campus Point, is a small peninsula in Goleta city.
The area is the perfect place for hikers in Goleta. In addition, Goleta point is a mini- refuge for different species of shorebirds, and if you’re up for some adventure, you can try walking through the beach cliff.
The sounds of crashing waves make it a thrilling and fantastic venue.
The area is one of Santa Barbara’s best surf breaks, though the wind direction influences its conditions.
Goleta point is perfect for a weekend getaway, so make you include it on your bucket list.
Location: Goleta, CA, United States
12. Visit Rancho La Patera & Stow House at Goleta Valley Historical Society
What better way to have fun in Goleta than to learn about the city’s history and people? No place contains more records on the historical past of Goleta than Rancho La Patera & Stow House at Goleta Valley Historical Society.
Goleta Valley Historical Society is an organization responsible for preserving the historical establishment and sites in Goleta city.
Rancho La Patera & Stow House is a dual-purpose center. First, the center serves as a historic ranch and museum showcasing the regional heritage of Goleta.
Visitors engage in guided tours where they get to spot gardens, the Visitor Interpretive Center, and exhibits in the History Education Center. The garden at Rancho La Patera & Stow House is spacious and suitable for picnics and social gatherings.
Rancho La Patera & Stow House is always open, with exceptions only on days of important events. Tourists flood the location every year so make sure you join the host of others who have fun at Rancho La Patera & Stow House.
Location: 304 N Los Carneros Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
13. Sunbathing at Goleta Beach Park Near Santa Barbara County
Of all the fun things to do in Goleta city, sunbathing at Goleta Beach Park Near Santa Barbara County is one experience you mustn’t miss out on in Goleta, CA.
Goleta Beach Park is a country-run Park in Santa Barbara. The park features a walking and biking trail, a grass park, a volleyball court, and a sandy beach.
If you’ve ever fancied sunbathing at the park, here’s an opportunity. Grab your towel and lay under the charming sun to get that tan you’ve always fancied.
The bike trail is a beautiful spot to ride as the path runs down to Santa Barbara and beyond.
The park also features a fishing pier that extends to about 1500 feet and is suitable for a long walk with fantastic views of mountains on the adjacent side. Or you may opt to fish at the pier if you’re a fan of fishing.
Spending time at Goleta Beach Park is always exciting because there is something for everyone at the park.
Lovers of water sports can engage in kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. The warm atmosphere at the park also makes it a perfect venue for picnics, and there’s Beachside Bar Cafe to grab fine wine and eat tasty meals.
Location: 5986 Sandspit Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
14. Admire Monarch Butterflies at Goleta Butterfly Grove
Thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate to Goleta from November to February and gather at Goleta Butterfly Grove.
Goleta Beach Park is a secured grove open from sunrise to sunset. Visitors planning to visit Goleta Butterfly Grove should schedule their visit for mid-day because that’s the best time to spot butterflies flying overhead.
Even if you’re not a lover of butterflies, you could walk to Ellwood Mesa, adjacent to Goleta Butterfly Grove, and enjoy quality time.
The area is best to take a walk as there are lots, and the site features natural terrain surrounded by tall trees.
If you’re lucky, you can catch the sight of whales when they breach the water surface and enjoy birds ascending into the air.
Location: 7559 Palos Verdes Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
15. Attend the Annual Goleta Lemon Festival at Girsh Park
You can’t be in Goleta and not attend the most significant festive celebration in Goleta, CA.
Goleta Lemon Festival, popularly called California Lemon Festival, is an annual event in Goleta.
Slated to hold every September at Girsh Park, Goleta Lemon Festival features a fantastic family atmosphere, food and drinks, and many other fun-filled activities.
Join the locals and participate in different contests, including a pie-eating game.
There are many exciting things for guests and locals during the events like live musical performances, Rock climbing, face painting, and so much more for everyone to enjoy.
Make sure you plan your trip with a visit to the Goleta Lemon Festival on your itinerary list.
Location: 7050 Phelps Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
16. Go Bowling at Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond
Are you a fan of Bowling? Would you love to join other bowlers and engage in a competitive bowling game?
If so, then Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond is the perfect place for you.
Owned by the world-leading Corporation in bowling entertainment, Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond is one of the best places to visit in Goleta, CA.
Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond is a bowling alley with 24 lanes, a restaurant, and an arcade room for gamers; this entertainment center has all it takes to make your stay in Goleta memorable.
Guests can participate in various promo events and win discounts and price slashes on some amenities at the site.
You could grab snacks at their restaurant and a bowling court for practice if you feel famished between the games.
Location: 5925 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
17. Explore Refugio State Park and Beach
A visit to Refugio State Park and Beach is one of the best and most fun things to do in the city of Goleta.
Refugio State Park and Beach have palm trees lined along the coast to give the park an attractive look. The park is perfect for outdoor fun, and tourists flood the area annually.
Fun activities available at the park include hiking along the trails, coastal fishing, sunbathing, and camping.
If you wish to spend the night, the area is open for camping, so make sure you bring your blanket, socks, and every other thing you’ll need to spend the night.
Visitors can also go on kayaking tours and enjoy the beautiful scenery at the park. Don’t forget to come with your camera to capture every moment of your trip.
Location: 35 Refugio Beach Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
18. Wine Tasting at The Foley Food & Wine Society
If you desire a place serving mouth-watering dishes and fine wine to complement each meal, then you’re lucky because Foley Food & Wine Society offers both.
Foley Food & Wine Society treats its guests with fantastic wine and delicious dishes. In addition, they offer wine tours where visitors can sample different wines in the tasting room.
New wines are added to their menu every month, so their list of wines is inexhaustible. Foley Food & Wine Society members get free access to a glass of wine and discounts on wine purchases.
Location: 8301 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, United States
19. Spend a Day at the Coronado Butterfly Preserve
Coronado Butterfly Preserve is home to eucalyptus groves, native habitat, and wildlife; This Preserve is another groove where migrating Monarch butterflies gather in Goleta.
The preserve is an open space founded by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara in 1998 to preserve coastal resources.
Coronado Butterfly Preserve spans over 9.3 acres of land mass and is currently one of the best tourist venues in Goleta.
Lovers of hiking will enjoy hiking along the trail and exploring the woodlands. Diverse bird species and wildlife avail at the preserve, so if you’re in luck, you’ll spot wildlife in the area.
Coronado Butterfly Preserve connects to other locations, such as Santa Barbara Shores County Park and Devereux Slough.
Location: 495 Coronado Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
20. Purchase Local and Organic Produce at Fairview Gardens
Stopping at Fairview Gardens is one of the best and most fun things in Goleta, CA.
Fairview Gardens is an organic farm in Goleta. Unfortunately, Fairview Gardens is one of the few existing farms yet to lose its charm to urbanization.
The farm opens on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so ensure to stop by and shop for farm produce at the farm.
Picnic tables are also available at the farm for family and friends to sit and enjoy a good bonding time.
Location: 598 N Fairview Ave, Goleta, CA 93117, United States