Santa Barbara Car-Free: All Aboard!

Catch the train to the American Riviera for deals, discounts, and dazzling days.

WHEN WE TRAVEL TO A PLACE, we're often told to keep certain things handy, from a helpful app to a trusted guidebook to the phone number of a friend of a cousin of a co-worker. We want these items at the ready, in case we need to find a restaurant or a tour or a little local friendship, so we stow them in our phone or in our bag or in our noggin. But there's something a little special to keep close, in a pocket, perhaps, should you call upon the American Riviera before the final day in 2017. It's your Amtrak train ticket, for once you arrive in Santa Barbara via the train, you'll find that a number of deals will suddenly flower up, like so much bougainvillea up a red-tiled building, out of the seeming blue. But those deals aren't from nowhere: They're a part of the Santa Barbara Car Free 2017 program called "Take the Train," which gives travelers a host of perks when they show that "I arrived by the tracks" ticket. The ticket can be...

ON PAPER, A MOBILE DEVICE, OR AN E-TICKET, and the money-savers or sweet extras? Look to several hotels, from Beach House Inn to Cheshire Cat Inn, for "special offers," or the attractions and fun-dos around town, such as whale watching with the CONDOR Express and cycling wine-oriented tours with I Bike Santa Barbara. But will you hop onto the Coast Starlight to choo-choo into the stunner of a city or the Pacific Surfliner? That all depends upon the direction you're heading in from and the train you booked. Both bear romantic names, making an ultimate destination of Santa Barbara, one of our state's best-known romantic burgs, feel right. Even righter? Saving cash while you're there on some of the area's best, get-to-know-us stuff.

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