Santa Barbara County, California, USA

Santa Barbara County, California, USARanching Heritage

  • Published Monday, December 10, 2012
  • Updated on Thursday, May 9, 2013

Santa Barbara County is steeped in a rich ranching and farming heritage that dates back to the original Spanish and Mexican Land Grants. This grant system helped create vast stretches of rolling, verdant pastures and extensive private ranch lands that stretch up the magnificent Gaviota coast and have come to represent the pristine, quintessential landscape of Santa Barbara.

For countless generations these historic cattle and horse ranches have remained vital and productive enterprises.  Families by the names of Hollister, de la Guerra, Chamberlin, Vail, Rickard, Hvolboll, Dibblee, Bixby, Buell, Janeway and Sedgwick (to name but a few) were stewards of these magnificent open coastal lands, and farmed and managed them with a reverence and respect that assured their preservation.

More than fifteen hundred ranches and equestrian estates grace the Santa Barbara coastline from Carpinteria to Gaviota and range in size from several acres to many thousands. In addition to the numerous large-scale cattle and horse ranches, there are also agricultural lands devoted to avocado and lemon orchards.

Santa Barbara enjoys a unique lifestyle and its idyllic Mediterranean climate has made it world renowned. The Santa Ynez mountain range is a spectacular backdrop to the city and helps frame the gracious palm-lined boulevards and historic, red-tile courtyards, plazas and buildings that have rightly earned the city its reputation as the American Riviera. The community offers an abundance of outdoor activities ranging from hiking, cycling, sailing, fishing and trail riding to long, carefree walks on untamed beaches and rounds of golf on championship courses. The city is graced by a gentle climate due to Santa Barbara’s unique east-west coast line that makes it a truly year-round sporting community.

The unique nature of Santa Barbara has proven appealing to business and entertainment industry titans, as well as to anyone who seeks a rural setting that affords privacy, seclusion and security. Ease of access is assured with the completion of the newly renovated local airport. It is truly extraordinary that less than ninety miles north of the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, pristine ranch lands framed by miles of weathered fence lines continue to exist and recall a bygone era of serenity and permanence.

Time honored traditions of daily roundups and annual spring branding continue to be at the heart of these ranch properties and remain strong images of constancy and hard work. While Santa Barbara remains deeply rooted in its past, the calm, rural nature of its beauty, the city’s charm and its relaxed pace of life, plus its many cultural venues and highly respected educational facilities make Santa Barbara the perfect mix of urban and rural sophistication.

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