Montecito, CA

A safe day to...

Travel to Montecito, California

Montecito is located in Santa Barbara County just outside the city of Santa Barbara. Montecito, which is actually Spanish for “little mountain,” was once home to Spaniards who arrived in the 18th century but quickly moved on farther west into Santa Barbara. Beginning in the late 19th century, Montecito began attracting wealthy families from around the US in search of land, a comfortable climate and lifestyle. Today, the Santa Barbara county as a whole remains to be one of the wealthiest in the country and Montecito is home to many celebrities. It’s no wonder the town attracts some big names: its city limits span from the lower foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains out to the coast providing many homes a stunning view of the ocean.

Support Montecito

While Montecito is known for its star-studded population and luxurious lifestyle, this does not make it immune to natural disasters. In December of 2017, Montecito was devastated by the Thomas wildfire which burned 404 square miles, heavily impacting Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The fire destroyed at least 1,063 structures and accrued over 2 billion dollars in damages. After the grueling and heartbreaking wildfire passed, much of the vegetation had been incinerated, leaving the area vulnerable to flooding and mudslides.

Washington Post explained, “[...] intense wildfires transform rich soil into a dense, water-repellent surface. To make matters worse, biologists have found that when rain hits the charred landscape, it can become even more dense and more water repellent.” No sooner than 3 weeks after the Thomas fire, Montecito experienced torrential downpours. The rain, paired with the charred soils’ inability to absorb it, led to flooding and deadly mudslides in the same location that was still reeling from one of California's largest wildfires.

Community Resilience in Montecito

Despite Montecito’s harrowing experience, the community has done an amazing job rallying together to help those most impacted and support resilience across the city. The visitors association hopes to dispel rumors that Montecito was completely destroyed or that it wouldn’t be a good time to visit after the impacts of the natural disasters. In fact, it’s more important than ever to visit, enjoy all that the city has to offer, and support them through tourism as they move past a series of rare and devastating events.  

People walking beach in Santa Barbara image by @ocvisual

Best Time to Visit Montecito

Visit Montecito anytime between mid-April and the end of September for the driest, warmest weather. However, Montecito is known for its pleasant weather year round, so if you’re looking for a less busy time to visit consider coming in the winter or early spring.

Travel Safely in Montecito

Terra Frma strongly believes that disaster prone towns and cities deserve to be visited and supported. Some of the most spectacular areas in the world happen to be disaster prone areas. If we stop visiting them, we stop seeing the world at its fullest. Just as you deserve to be resilient at home, you deserve to be resilient while traveling as well.

Travel safely to Montecito by taking these simple preparedness steps, which include packing smart and researching helpful resources ahead of time. 

Montecito is at risk for

  • Wildfire
  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami
  • Mudslides

Pack the following items

  • Disaster Deck
  • Vehicle Kit
  • Printed map of Santa Barbara County
  • On-Foot Kit in day pack for visiting beaches
  • Printed map of tsunami evacuation routes from Montecito
  • Printed map of tsunami evacuation route on foot and by car from your accommodations

Links to Resources in Montecito, CA

A Day in Montecito...

Clothes hanging outside shop, photo by Artificial Photography

Shopping in Montecito

Enjoy a luxurious dining and shopping experience while exploring the Coast Village Road and Upper Village areas. Take a look in the designer stores that dot the street, and grab a table at the nearest sunny patio for a cup of coffee for a lovely day.

Get Outside in Montecito

Butterfly Beach is located right in town for a long walk or to enjoy sunbathing and water activities. The widest part of the beach is located near Butterfly Lane where there is a stairway taking you down to the beach. At lower tides, you can even walk all the way to East Beach in Santa Barbara.

Where to Eat in Montecito

Cava is a vibrant restaurant that pulls influences from Mexico, Latin America and Spain with a focus on fresh seafood. You’ll find locals packing the patio to enjoy a sunny day and a bowl of fresh papaya salsa with grilled salmon or tostadas.

Where to Drink in Montecito

Montecito Wine Bistro offers locally sourced American fare at this farm-to-table bistro featuring a patio and a mostly Californian wine list.

Ty Lounge is located in the Four Seasons Resort Biltmore and offers a refined lounge experience touting exceptional classic and signature cocktails a large beach-view patio, and fire pits.

Where to Stay in Montecito

Wherever you stay in Montecito, we recommend you learn the safety procedures in place at your accommodation and print a map and highlight routes from your accommodation to the nearest designated safety shelter.

Sitting on beach reading map, photo by Paul Hughes

Coast Village Inn is bright and clean and only moments from beaches and shopping. With beach cruisers to ride, a heated outdoor pool and onsite restaurant, you'll never have to leave this boutique hotel.

Montecito Inn was built in 1928 by Charlie Chaplin and a small group of investors. Today, the Montecito Inn continues to serve guests in style with elegant accommodations, onsite dining, spa and pool and nearly a decade of Hollywood history. 

Inn on Summer Hill has wood accents in nearly every room, creating a warm and lovely space. Modern amenities, in-room fire places and private balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean make every guest feel special in this distinct AAA four-diamond inn.

The Grab + Go Box

No matter where you live or where you travel, the Grab + Go Box is your resource for practicing vital steps to outsmart any disaster. It is the only step-by-step product that prepares you before and guides you during any natural disaster. Interactive expert resources and wellness-focused guidance help build physical and emotional resilience in you and your family.

Terra Frma Disaster Deck for safe travel

Be Ready. Be Well.

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