Located in the Waterfront of the Santa Barbara's Harbor, the visitor center offers one of the best views of the city, beaches, harbor, mountains, wharf and islands. In 1999, the Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center opened to share a wealth of information with its visitors about the Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the Los Padres National Forest, and the city of Santa Barbara. Stepping inside the visitor center there are interpretive displays about Chumash culture, Spanish explorers, Missionaries and American Ranchers. A spectacular mosaic tiled floor showing the Channel Islands and the Marine Sanctuary, the Rainbow Bridge legend and flowers native to the islands.

An underwater kelp forest mural greets visitors who are curious about the marine life that inhabits our park and marine sanctuary. Garabaldi, tiger sharks, sea stars, lobster, abalone, and urchins are just a few of the species found in the kelp forest mural. Numerous free brochures and reference materials about the forest, park, sanctuary and the city of Santa Barbara are available for the visitor. A computer screen displays websites of all four agencies for ease in accessing updated information.

The outside deck has several interpretive displays about the park, the sanctuary and the forest. A telescope is setup for viewing wildlife and the visitor will find comfortable benches to sit and enjoy the spectacular views from the fourth floor deck. The friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions regarding outdoor activities in the area including hiking, camping, diving, kayaking, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, tide pooling, all types of boating, and backpacking.

The Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center is open 7 days a week Sunday-Friday 11am-5pm and Saturday 9am-3pm.