This 2 hour (1.5 mile) easy walk along Santa Barbara’s beautiful waterfront will convey fascinating facts about the city’s rich and intriguing history; from the early Native Americans to the new chic Funk Zone. 

John Ummel, a long-time, retired local resident of Santa Barbara, started the tour in June of 2017.  John will relate stories of Santa Barbara’s past with a particular focus on events occurring in or near the ocean.  Hand-picked 11 x 17 old photographs help place you back in time.

The tour begins at the Harbor and ends at the Visitor Center with 12 main stops along the way.

Cost:  Free, though tips very much appreciated (cash only) with 15% donated to local charity.  

Reservations: Recommended. Please use the reservation system to view available dates and reserve a spot.  Don’t see a date that works?  Refer to #9 in the “FAQ” section.

Restrictions: Group size limited to 20. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please, no dogs.  Four (4) person minimum.

Duration/length/difficulty: Generally, the tour will last about two hours, with Q&A.  The tour route is about 1.5 miles on level ground.  We do walk across train tracks twice.  The tour guide walks at a normal pace.  Seating is available at some stops (the majority in the shade) however, one must be prepared to stand 5-8 minutes before moving on to the next stop.

When:  The tour is offered 2-3 times a week.  Usually, Friday tours are a 2pm (unless it’s a twilight tour which begins at 5pm) while all other tours are at 11am.  Check out the Reservations page for available dates.

Where to Meet: We will meet at the Harbor outside the entrance to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (113 Harbor Way).  Look for John wearing a red baseball cap. Please be there 10 minutes ahead of your tour start time!

Tour Route: From the Maritime Museum at the Harbor (113 Harbor Way) to the Visitor Center (1 Garden Street)

Start point: Maritime Museum (A)
End point: SB Visitors Center (B)

Parking/Transportation:  Paid-parking is available at the Harbor entrance from either self-pay kiosks (pay ahead of time with cash or credit card; put your receipt on your dash) or barcoded ticket dispenser (pay when you leave).  If you don’t mind a short walk, you can park for free in the parking lot next to the baseball field off Castillo Street, opposite Avania Inn.  Note:  Don’t be tempted to park in the Harbor’s free 90 minute spaces; you risk not getting back in time to avoid a ticket.

TIP:  Instead of parking at the Harbor, park your car in the lot behind the Visitor Center or directly across the street and take the shuttle from the Visitor Center to the Harbor.  That way, when the tour concludes you will be at your car.  The shuttle costs 50 cents (25 cents for Seniors) and exact change is required.  For the 11am tour, catch the shuttle in front of the Visitor Center between  10:30-10:40am; for the 2pm tour, around 1:30-1:40 and, for the 5pm tour, around 4:30-4:40. These are approximate times.  OR, you can simply walk from the Visitor Center to the Harbor which takes 20-25 minutes.


Electric shuttle
Shuttle Stop










Reserve your spot today!