Skip to Content

Spring break energizes the economy after a soggy start to the year on the Central Coast

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Central Coast economy is hoping to get a boost from both sunshine and Spring break travelers but the rainy conditions have made the first quarter of the year a soggy one for the most part.

Rain and cold weather were factors to start the year, and there's still more rain in the advanced forecast for this weekend. In between, however, the business community has hoped for travelers to be on the move for vacations stays, shopping and dining out.

There was a spike during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in early February, with movie fans out at the theatres and out of towners spending a few nights.

This week, spring break travelers who are not skiing or going to resorts in Florida or Mexico, are coming to the Central Coast where temperatures will be in the upper 60's through low 70's for the first part of the week. Friday rain is in the forecast from a Pacific Ocean stream of moisture coming on shore.

One couple from Denver said the warmer weather was welcoming. "In Colorado we just got six or seven inches of snow, " said Katie Cameron who is expecting a child in June. "We're here on our "baby moon." The baby is due June 8th we are just getting away for the week to see some new stuff before we've got another little one to take care of."

Overall, spring break is an economic stimulus, especially if young people are part of the equation, although that can also mean more crowds that have sometimes been a safety concern. Recently thousands in San Luis Obispo were celebrating St. Fratty's Day, a spin off from St. Patrick's Day and the event had issues ranging from property damage to an evacuation at a dorm building at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Overall in Santa Barbara, locations including the Old Mission, the harbor, Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Skater's Point skate park, mountain trails, restaurants and retailers are all expected to see an economic spike.

Travel experts also said there is still a wave of returning travelers from the post-pandemic come back after many were on staycations mainly from 2020-2022.

This week especially has a sense of rejuvenation for many people with Easter coming on Sunday.

Dave Copeland from Diamond Bar was visiting with family members coming in from different directions in the state. "First and foremost family I enjoy being with my family and my grand kids I have eight. My children drove down, they did Monterey, San Francisco and this is the point where we were all supposed to meet, we are going to be here five days."

A family from Germany comes often to see friends in Carpinteria and said they enjoyed both the waterfront and the coastal hills. They were strolling the harbor area Monday morning.

This will also be a big travel week for Amtrak for both longer and  close-by day trips.

Melissa Cardenas came up from Fillmore and said, "I just thought it was a really nice day to be out, we actually took the train out here so something local but fun. "

The Central Coast is not the Florida, or Cancun scene with thousands of college students but it is a destination for spring breakers, that will be here in waves for almost a month.

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle
Santa Barbara

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content