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Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara attracts students and surfers, as well as its famed well-heeled clientele, who come for its temperate Mediterranean climate and Spanish colonial architecture.
There are several budget hotels, motels and guesthouses in Santa Barbara. Head to State Street downtown, where the Santa Barbara’s one-star hotels, roadside inns and budget motels all offer a warm welcome, and most have free WiFi and parking, too.
Santa Barbara might be a playground for the rich and famous, but there are plenty of free or budget-friendly things to do from your one-star hotel. Watch the professional boarders at Skater's Point near Stearns Wharf, a beachfront skate park with a viewing area.
From your one-star hotel, visit the free Goleta Butterfly Grove, a scenic nature reserve which attracts Monarch butterflies. And if you’re a cowboy fan and want to see Clark Gable and the Cisco Kid’s vintage saddles. the Carriage and Western Art Museum in Pershing Park is a must visit.
Santa Barbara has many beautiful palm-lined sandy beaches. East Beach, at the southern end of State Street, is where the local crowd hang out. Book surfing lessons from one of the surf schools, or hire out a pair blades and cruise along the promenade. Dedicated surf riders should head to Rincon Beach in nearby Carpinteria, famous for its world-class waves.
After a day of surfing or sightseeing, head back to your Santa Barbara one-star hotel for a rest before taking on the city's nightlife. Downtown is packed with lively bars and casual diners. Thursday nights is college night, when the city's students descend on State Street to take advantage of the drink deals.
Use Expedia's search tool to find the best deals on one-star hotels, chain motels and roadside inns for your next visit to Santa Barbara.