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Where to Take Instagram-Worthy Photos Around Santa Barbara

Looking for an amazing spot near Santa Barbara to take your Instagram to the next level? Here are 5 sweet spots to meet all of your photo shoot needs.

Is your Instagram feed looking a little dry? Don’t get me wrong—UCSB is a very photogenic campus; but like most of us here, you have probably already taken enough photos of Campus Point and Coal Oil Point. If you’re ready to spice it up, check out these 5 picturesque places (outside of campus but around SB) for both a good time with friends and Instagram-worthy shots.

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1. Goleta Pier

Distance from campus: About 1 mile

Every Gaucho’s Instagram has a pier picture, and Goleta Pier is a great choice—the lighting is superb any time of day! Located just about a mile from Henley Gate, the pier has picnic benches and a restaurant (Beachside Bar Cafe), making it a perfect spot for celebrating a friend’s birthday or snapping some food pics.

2. Ellwood Canyon Farms

Distance from campus: About 6 miles

Ellwood Canyon Farms is located in the heart of the “Good Land” of Goleta Valley. Your drive through area will give views of fields and mountains, and row after row of avocados, lemons, and other in-season fruits and vegetables. This trip is a real opportunity to capture a behind-the-scenes look at Santa Barbara’s bustling agricultural economy. There’s usually no traffic except for tractors and trucks, so if you’re in need of a good drive and a beautiful chance to get non-beach outdoor photos, then this is your new favorite place.

3. State Street

Distance from campus: About 10 miles

What’s an Instagram feed without State Street’s iconic and colorful Spanish-tiled stairs? Visit on a Tuesday afternoon to experience Santa Barbara’s rich community of farmers and traders in the weekly Farmers Market, with its array of organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables and stands featuring homemade jewelry. State Street is also home to McConnell’s Ice Cream—the perfect way to indulge in SB’s pride and joy when it comes to dessert. Walk all the way down State and you’ll reach another Instagram-worthy pier. With all these options, getting that perfect shot shouldn’t be too hard.

4. Funk Zone

Distance from campus: About 11 miles

The Funk Zone, in downtown SB, is known for its wine tasting, restaurants, and overall trendy culture. It’s usually for people 21 and older, but that doesn’t stop people of all ages from swinging by during the daytime, grabbing a bite, then taking a quick snap in front of the Funk Zone’s many artsy murals. Stop by Brass Bear Brewing and you can catch a fun stand-up comedy show featuring local comics!

5. Solvang

Distance from campus: About 35 miles

This one isn’t exactly close to SB, but it’s too pretty to not include in this list. Known for its Danish-style architecture and a number of restaurants and bakeries featuring traditional Danish cuisine, a trip to Solvang is definitely one to share with friends and family (even if only through your Instagram). Walk down Main Street to admire the old-timey town feel, or drive a couple of minutes to see ostriches at Ostrichland USA, an ostrich farm where you can observe, feed, and capture photos of the big birds. Solvang also has a year-round Christmas store, so if you’re feeling nostalgic for the holiday season and want to highlight it in your feed, you know where to go. Solvang is a great way to capture pictures with a European vibe.

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