El Presidio de Santa Barbara

Visiting El Presidio is like stepping into a time machine and being transported back over 230 years.

In 1782, by order of King Carlos III, Spain built the El Presidio de Santa Barbara to serve as a strategic military outpost, one of four constructed along the Alta California coast. A seat of Spanish governance, the presidio guarded the coast -- from the Pueblo of Los Angeles to the northern limits of today’s Santa Barbara County -- against foreign invasions. It also defended the mission and settlers. Constructed of sun-dried adobe bricks, the presidio consisted of an outer defense wall and a quadrangle of rooms, together with a church, enclosing a central plaza.

This historic site contains two original sections, including the El Cuartel, the second oldest building in California, and Canedo Adobe, where the Visitor Center is located. There is an excellent walking self-guided tour that explains the various parts of the Presidio, with an abundance of interpretive exhibits.



123 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara

Managed By

California State Parks

Distance from UCSB

10.6 mi (biking)

How To Get There

Bike, Bus, Drive, Walk

Things To Do

Historic/Cultural Interest, Viewing, Walking

Fun Facts

The state beach is named for Spanish Army Captain José Francisco Ortega, who obtained the area as a land grant in the late 1700s.

Other Information

The park has an excellent on-line brochure.

Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

Although not on public land, the nearby Casa de la Guerra is very interesting and included in the Presidio admission price. This is the original adobe home of the fifth and last Presidio comandante, Jose de la Guerra.

Best Time To Visit

All Year

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