There are vacations, and then there are escapes. Along the gently rolling California coast is a seaside paradise known as Santa Barbara. Unlike its fast-paced neighbors of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Santa Barbara is a town of charm and tranquility nestled in the American Riviera. The sun-splashed stucco city is a seaside escape where mountains meet the ocean. Known for its world-renowned vineyards, golden valleys, arts and culture, and exceptional culinary scene, Santa Barbara is a haven for exploration and adventure. Santa Barbara has near-endless amount of activities and experiences that make it hard to plan a day trip itinerary. Here are 5 cruise shore excursions to experience the best of Santa Barbara.

When thinking about taking a perfect romantic cruise, most folks think about the Caribbean, Hawaii, or maybe even the Mediterranean but we love cruising on the west coast! That’s why we’ve decided to put together our picks for the top five most romantic cruise ports in California, Mexican Riviera, and British Columbia. Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii … I’m not counting you guys this time.

 
When your cruise pulls into Seattle's famous port, you will have so many shops and restaurants that you can access within minutes at the Pike Place Market. But there are many more fun things to see and do so that you get to fully experience all that Seattle has to offer.
 

Juneau has rightly earned its reputation as being the go-to destination for Alaskan adventure. The town is nestled into one of the country’s largest and most pristine wilderness areas in the Northern hemisphere. Whether you’re exploring ancient glaciers, setting sail on the fishing trip of a lifetime, taking a helicopter tour of the region, experiencing an authentic Alaskan seafood dinner fresh from the ocean, or taking in the wildlife of the incredible region, Juneau isn’t just a destination, it’s an experience. The lush rainforest and iconic glaciers make it a thrilling destination for outdoor experiences. When spending the day in Juneau, don’t miss out on these top cruise shore excursions.

Thanks to its location on the Inside Passage's southern edge, Ketchikan is an incredibly convenient stop for Alaskan cruise vessels. But it's not just convenience that makes Ketchikan an unforgettable port of call. Not only is Ketchikan surrounded by phenomenal rainforest scenery, it's also home to incredible architecture and many fantastic cultural institutions.

Vancouver is the gateway for most Alaska cruises since it serves as a foreign port and so you can spend more time heading to Alaska, whereas Seattle cruises must stop in Victoria. The city is a cosmopolitan destination with a large Asian and South Asian population and offers a variety of cultural tourism opportunities as well as eco-tourism in Vancouver itself as well as the mountains just outside the city.

Ensenada, Mexico has the fortune of being just far enough away that it avoids some of the security concerns towns closer to the Mexico/US border face but it is still close enough to be a perfect cruise ship stop. Whether you are coming through the Panama Canal, Hawaii, or simply a quick 3 or 4-day cruise from Los Angeles, Ensenada is probably on your itinerary if you are sailing from California. Here's why I enjoy visiting Ensenada, Mexico and you probably will too!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a fabulous cruise port that is safe for American visitors and offers a wealth of cultural, eco-tourism, and foodie excursions that you won't want to miss. 

Cabo San Lucas might be Mexico, but it has been a playground for Americans looking to have fun for more than 100 years. Fishing, golf, food, tequila, and eco-tourism await cruise guests here. 

Only 22 miles from the cruise terminals at Long Beach and San Pedro, Catalina Island is a popular stop for cruise ships traveling to Mexico and Pacific Coastal cruises. With a combination of natural beauty popular with divers and natural beauty to explore on land as well as quaint shops, restaurants, and historic gardens, this is a cruise destination that you won't want to miss.