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A hundred miles north of LA on the Southern Californian coast, Santa Barbara is a popular stop en route between LA and San Francisco. Known as the American Riviera, it has a warm, Mediterranean climate, beautiful palm-lined beaches and a sophisticated shopping and dining scene.
Thirty miles from the Santa Barbara coast is the Santa Ynez Valley, with five towns, over 100 wineries and the legendary Chumash Casino and resort. While gambling is heavily regulated throughout California, the Chumash Casino is built on the Native American Santa Ynez Reservation, which is exempt from US gambling laws.
For a spot of gambling, you can’t go far wrong at the Chumash Casino, with poker, roulette, blackjack and slot machines on offer. While you’re at Chumash Casino, see if you can catch some live entertainment in its theatre which attracts big-name acts such as Olivia Newton-John.
Aside from gambling, you could enjoy a top-notch meal at the popular restaurant or relax with some traditional Chumash therapies at Chumash Casino’s full-service day spa.
Aside from the Chumash Casino Resort, there are several hotels in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley with gaming facilities. Other accommodation in the Valley include roadside inns, family-run B&B and budget hotels in the small towns of Solvang and Buellton are all within easy reach of the Chumash Casino Resort.
A highlight of any trip to Santa Barbara is the Mission Santa Barbara, a mile north of downtown. This historic 18th-century pink-and-cream church was built by the Spanish missionaries who arrived here in the 1600s. The working church now houses a fascinating mission-era museum, a sacred garden and a Chumash art gallery.
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is also well worth a visit. Climb the 85-foot-high tower for a birds’-eye view of the city and out to the Pacific Ocean.
The Santa Ynez Valley is the heart of the Southern Californian wine country and has over 100 vineyards and wineries, many of which offer tours and tastings. For quaint B&Bs and inns, head to Solvang, a charming European-style town with a long Danish heritage and hotels near Santa Barbara’s casinos.