A Travel Price Comparison for California Santa Barbara vs. Redwood National Park for Beaches, Hiking, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a pristine, affluent, and scenic coastal town. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is a monumental, grand, and impressive park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include beaches and hiking.

Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Santa Barbara. Although Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park are popular destinations, Santa Barbara has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Barbara is famous for its historic missions, pristine beaches, world-class surfing, and scenic hikes that are full of coastal views. It is also well known for The Old Mission Santa Barbara. Redwood National Park is famous for being the home of the world's tallest trees.

How is Santa Barbara different from Redwood National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Redwood National Park and Santa Barbara. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is well known for its museums and landmarks. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its historical sights.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Santa Barbara. The city is famous for its missions, with Mission Santa Barbara being the most iconic. Also visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Redwood National Park. There is little in the form of museums, but you can visit the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center on the south side of the park and see exhibits about Yurok culture and the area's ecology.


Is the Food Better in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is well known for its restaurant scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Santa Barbara is an experience not to be missed. The city is best known for its fine dining, particularly if you enjoy seafood. The scallops, oysters, clam chowder, and sea urchin (when available) are all world class. Head for a waterfront setting for the best views and some of the freshest seafood.

While Redwood National Park is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. There are no dining or grocery options within the park but there are some options just outside the park.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Nightlife?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for nightlife.

Santa Barbara has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. For the best nightlife in the city, head downtown to State Street. This is where you'll find the most active bars and biggest crowds. There's a large student population in town, so you'll find much of the nightlife scene is focused on the younger population.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Redwood National Park The laid back setting offers little in the form of nightlife.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Resorts?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is well known for its resorts. However, Redwood National Park is not a resort destination.

There are plenty of resorts in Santa Barbara to choose from. Many people enjoy the luxurious vacation rentals around Santa Barbara, but there are also a number of high end resorts including the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, and Hotel Californian.

Redwood National Park is not a resort destination.


Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is a coastal town with a few options for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Redwood National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Santa Barbara has a few snorkeling spots. Snorkeling areas not far from town include Refugio State Beach and Tajiguas. You'll see a few fish, beautiful rocks, and anemones that are unique and impressive.

Redwood National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Beaches?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is an amazing coastal town to visit for the beach. Also, Redwood National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for its beaches.

Santa Barbara offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The city is famous for its pristine, sandy beaches. Whether you want to enjoy world class surfing or enjoy a gentle ocean setting, Santa Barbara has many options.

Redwood National Park is a good option for a beach vacation. The park runs along the Pacific coastline and there are 70 miles of coastal trail in the park. Beaches are rugged and sandy and favorite sections include Gold Bluff Beach, Crescent Beach, and Enderts Beach, which has great tidal pools.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for its Old Town?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is a good destination for its historic old town charm. However, Redwood National Park does not have a historic old town.

Santa Barbara offers a nice historic old town area. The city's downtown "Old Town" is a high end, pedestrian-friendly area with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Redwood National Park does not have a historic old town.


Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Hiking?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

If you're looking to go hiking, Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park both have amazing trails.

People visit Santa Barbara specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Just outside of town are countless hiking opportunities that offer spectacular ocean views. Popular hikes include Inspiration Point, San Ysidro Trail, and Cold Spring East Fork.

Many people visit Redwood National Park specifically for its hiking. Hikes range from coastal trails to world-renowned hikes through the redwoods. You'll feel humbled in the presence of these grand and majestic trees. Several of the most well-known hikes include Fern Canyon, the Cathedral Trees Trail, and Redwood Creek Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is an amazing coastal town to visit for its shopping areas. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for shopping.

Santa Barbara is a world class destination for shoppers. The city is famous as a high end shopping destination. Head to State Street for a palm tree lined street with local boutiques.

Shopping in Redwood National Park can be found for those interested. You'll find park stores at the visitor centers if you want to pick up a small gift or souvenir.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Families?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park.

Santa Barbara is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has some nice family-friendly activities including a zoo, some cool museums, and even whale watching. There are also many beautiful beaches where everyone can run around and play, as well as parks and other outdoor settings. For animal-lovers, there are wildlife centers and sea life opportunities.

Redwood National Park is a very family-friendly destination. There are plenty of kid-friendly hikes in the park and the kids will love exploring the varied landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Less than a mile long, Fern Canyon is the perfect hike for little kids and it's not-to-be-missed. Cathedral Trees Trail is three miles, and also a highlight of any trip to the park.


Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Couples?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is an amazing coastal town to visit for couples. Also, Redwood National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Santa Barbara is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. The town is a stunningly beautiful destination with beautiful beaches, excellent shopping, and nice resorts that make for a great honeymoon or romantic trip.

Redwood National Park is a great coastal town if you're traveling as a couple. There are historic lodges that make for a romantic getaway. You can fill your days with hikes through magical landscapes and breathtaking settings surrounded by the impressive redwoods.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is renowned for backpackers. However, Santa Barbara is not a good coastal town for backpackers and budget travelers.

Redwood National Park is a very popular park to visit for backpackers. There are miles of backcountry trails that let you can explore the park in relative peace and solitude. This is an amazing way to experience the park, but do make sure you purchase a permit in advance.

Santa Barbara is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. The city isn't really known as a budget friendly destination, but there are a couple of hostels in the area. There's also a large student population with a fun nightlife scene.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Students?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is well known for students. However, Redwood National Park is not popular with students.

Many students visit Santa Barbara. With a major university right in town, there's plenty of student life that international students or locals can enjoy.

Redwood National Park is not popular with students.


Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is a good destination for its public transit. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Santa Barbara, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. Transit options include buses, trolleys and water taxis.

Public transit is quite limited in Redwood National Park. There's no public transportation within the park.

Is Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park a more walkable city?

Santa Barbara
Redwood National Park

Santa Barbara is well known for its ease of walking around. However, Redwood National Park is not particularly known for its walkability.

Santa Barbara is a very walkable destination. The downtown area is very pedestrian-friendly and best explored on foot.

Redwood National Park is not a very walkable coastal town. The park is large and spread out, so you'll need a car to get around.

For even more information, also check out Is Santa Barbara Worth Visiting? and Is Redwood National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Redwood National Park or Santa Barbara?

How long in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

In either Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Redwood National Park than Santa Barbara because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Santa Barbara, and 3-5 days is enough time in Redwood National Park.

Families should spend more time in Santa Barbara than Redwood National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Santa Barbara, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Santa Barbara than Redwood National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Santa Barbara that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Santa Barbara than Redwood National Park if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Santa Barbara.


  • How many days in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santa Barbara 2-3 
    Redwood National Park 3-5

One day in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

In Santa Barbara, you'll find shopping and museums. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the grand destination of Redwood National Park. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.


A weekend in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Barbara. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town. It offers something for everyone.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Redwood National Park. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Five days in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Santa Barbara is a fun place to experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the impressive destination of Redwood National Park. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This park offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A week in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

You'll find food and shopping around the affluent destination of Santa Barbara. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find around the beautiful park of Redwood National Park. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Redwood National Park or Santa Barbara?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Barbara is $162, while the average daily cost in Redwood National Park is $111. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Barbara $88
    Redwood National Park $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Barbara $176
    Redwood National Park $88
Compare Hotels in Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park

Looking for a hotel in Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santa Barbara


Hotels in Redwood National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santa Barbara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Barbara $42
    Redwood National Park $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Barbara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Barbara:

  • Private Transfer from Santa Barbara Cruise Port to Los Angeles: $94
  • Private Transfer from Santa Barbara Port to Los Angeles Airport: $94

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Prices for flights to both Redwood National Park and Santa Barbara change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Barbara $46
    Redwood National Park $33

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Barbara $27
    Redwood National Park $33

Tours and Activities in Santa Barbara

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santa Barbara are as follows:

  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Santa Barbara CA: $15
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Goleta Isla Vista CA: $15
  • Solvang City Self Guided Audio Tour: $20
  • Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Solvang Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Santa Barbara Trolley Tour: $30
  • Santa Barbara Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Santa Barbara Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Make your own Chocolate Bark & Factory Tour: $45
  • Santa Barbara Highlights Private 2-Hour Driving Tour: $51
  • The Haunt: Solvang Ghost Hunting Tour: $55

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Barbara $12
    Redwood National Park $11
Typical Alcohol Prices in Santa Barbara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Santa Barbara:


  • Camping
    $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Barbara

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Santa Barbara:

  • Paranormal Pairing: Wine Tasting Walk with Ghost Storytelling: $105
  • Private 6 hour Wine tour of the Santa Ynez Valley: $149
  • Solvang Valley Small Group All-Inclusive Wine Tour : $185
  • Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour: $194
  • All-Inclusive Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley: $199
  • Wine Tasting Tour in Santa Ynez Valley (All-Inclusive & Full-Day): $215
  • ‚ÄčAll-Inclusive Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara: $219
  • TACO TOUR & WINE TASTING Funk Zone Santa Barbara: $225
  • Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country: $235
  • Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to Private Estates & Wineries: $235
  • Small-Group Wine Tour to Private Locations in Santa Barbara : $235
  • Santa Barbara Wine Tour Experience - Authentic and Boutique : $240


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park, we can see that Santa Barbara is more expensive. And not only is Redwood National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Redwood National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Redwood National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Santa Barbara would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santa Barbara than you might in Redwood National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Barbara Expensive? and Is Redwood National Park Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Santa Barbara and Redwood National Park. Most visitors come to Santa Barbara for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Redwood National Park because of the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

Santa Barbara is a little warmer than Redwood National Park in the summer. The daily temperature in Santa Barbara averages around 65°F (19°C) in July, and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

In July, Santa Barbara usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Santa Barbara gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 0.1 inches (3 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Santa Barbara 65°F (19°C) 
    Redwood National Park 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Santa Barbara as well as Redwood National Park. The autumn months attract visitors to Santa Barbara because of the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Redwood National Park this time of year.

In the autumn, Santa Barbara is a little warmer than Redwood National Park. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Santa Barbara in October average around 62°F (17°C), and Redwood National Park averages at about 55°F (13°C).

Santa Barbara usually gets less rain in October than Redwood National Park. Santa Barbara gets 0.5 inches (13 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Santa Barbara 62°F (17°C) 
    Redwood National Park 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park in the Winter?

Both Redwood National Park and Santa Barbara are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Santa Barbara this time of year.

In January, Santa Barbara is generally a little warmer than Redwood National Park. Daily temperatures in Santa Barbara average around 52°F (11°C), and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 48°F (9°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Redwood National Park. In January, Santa Barbara usually receives less rain than Redwood National Park. Santa Barbara gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 6 inches (152 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Santa Barbara 52°F (11°C) 
    Redwood National Park 48°F (9°C)

Should I visit Santa Barbara or Redwood National Park in the Spring?

Both Redwood National Park and Santa Barbara during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Santa Barbara for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty. Furthermore, many visitors come to Redwood National Park in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

Santa Barbara is a little warmer than Redwood National Park in the spring. The daily temperature in Santa Barbara averages around 57°F (14°C) in April, and Redwood National Park fluctuates around 50°F (10°C).

Santa Barbara usually gets less rain in April than Redwood National Park. Santa Barbara gets 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain, while Redwood National Park receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Santa Barbara 57°F (14°C) 
    Redwood National Park 50°F (10°C)

Typical Weather for Redwood National Park and Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Redwood National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 48°F (9°C) 6 inches (152 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 49°F (10°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Mar 55°F (13°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 50°F (10°C) 5.3 inches (135 mm)
Apr 57°F (14°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm) 50°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 53°F (12°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Jun 62°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 56°F (13°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm)
Jul 65°F (19°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 57°F (14°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Aug 67°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Sep 66°F (19°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.9 inches (23 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.5 inches (13 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 57°F (14°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 52°F (11°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm)
Dec 52°F (11°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 49°F (9°C) 6 inches (153 mm)