- Population 85,600
Resting on a narrow shelf between the Santa Ynez
Mountains and the Pacific Coast, Santa Barbara is one of Southern California's
foremost vacation areas. A scenic approach is by way of US 101.
Santa Barbara traces its history back to the earliest
days of Spanish settlement in Upper California. In 1602 Spanish conquistador
Sebastián Vizcaíno sailed into Santa Barbara Bay and named
it for the saint who held that birth date. A military fortress was established
in 1782; the mission was founded 4 years later by Father Fermín
Francisco de Lasuén.