Cristal's Blog


June 9, 2022

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Biking, Hiking, Surfing, Sailing and More

Getting outside is essential in Santa Barbara. The golden ridgeline of the Santa Ynez Mountains cascade into the Pacific which means both land and water adventures are abundant here. Plus, our perfect Mediterranean climate boasting over 300 days of sunshine invites residents to play outside all year long. Start the day with a hike. Go rock climbing or hop in an ATV and take an open-air tour. Hang ten or SUP to your heart's content. Sail away and breathe in the salty ocean air. On any given day, you’ll find pick-up beach volleyball games, people sea kayaking from Stearns Wharf to the Harbor, people boarding boats for a whale-watching excursion or planes for the ultimate sunset tour. The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor adventure in Santa Barbara.

a guy catching a wave on his surfboard in Santa Barbara

Image courtesy of Santa Barbara Surf School

Water Sports

Santa Barbara’s breathtaking coastline is known as the golden state’s premier destination for on-the-water fun. And for good reason.

The Paddle Sports Center offers guided tours that bring you up close and personal with sea lions and dolphins. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards, and boogies there and set off on your own adventure. 

Some of the most beautiful views in the world can be found in Channel Islands National Park. Allow the experienced guides of the Santa Barbara Adventure Company to take you on a guided exploration of the caves via kayak. The pros there will also share some of their favorite snorkeling spots.

And for the surfer in you, many local outfitters offer daily surfing classes including the Santa Barbara Surf School. Hang ten on beginner, intermediate, or advanced surf breaks. A guided sailing lesson or class from the Santa Barbara Sailing Center is another great way to get out on the water.

There’s a reason why the Santa Barbara Channel is one of the west coast’s best places for whale watching. Its nutrient-rich water is home to hundreds of species of marine life as well as a wide variety of seabirds. Santa Barbara Sailing’s 50-ft. catamaran, the Double Dolphin silently slips through the waves to see whales and other aquatic animals without disturbing them.

Two women on horseback  with a view of a canyon in Santa Barbara

Image courtesy of Circle Bar B Riding Stable

Land Adventures

Channel your inner adventurer for an epic adventure on land.

Circle Bar B Riding Stable is the oldest public horseback riding stable on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast. For more than 70 years, guests have enjoyed the coastal mountain paradise of this California dude ranch, located on more than 1,000 private acres in Gaviota.

If you’re into biking, try one of the mountain biking tours on our local backcountry trails from Cal Coast Adventures Santa Barbara. Or rent a bike there for a cruise along the boardwalk on your own. The company’s most popular adventure is an electric bike tour of Santa Barbara. You can also Segway through Santa Barbara thanks to Segway of Santa Barbara & Things 2 Do Rentals.

How does a winery tour and tasting sound? Maybe you just want to relax and explore the richness of Santa Barbara by tour. Then head to Captain Jack’s Santa Barbara Tours and allow the experts to customize an adventure for you.

Rock climbers don’t have to go far in Santa Barbara to find a great spot. Lizard’s Mouth, referred to as the Rock Playgrounds, is considered the crown jewel of the area by enthusiasts offering secret caves, and dozens of boulders to climb. The network of trails just off the side of the road leads to any number of climbs.

Hiking trails in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas feature some amazing vistas. If you’re looking for a moderate hike, head for Seven Falls, a classic Santa Barbara front country hike starting at Inspiration Point and ending with a splash when you play in the pools.

There are about a half-dozen good ATV/Quad riding options in Santa Barbara County and Enjoy The Mountain is the place to start. Another great way to see the American Rivera is on a three-wheeled buggie and thankfully, SBBoogies can get you going.

A couple soaring above Santa Barbara on a parasail at sunset

Image courtesy of Santa Barbara Parasail

The Sky's The Limit

There’s no doubt that Santa Barbara is one of the most scenic places in the world. Imagine seeing all that beauty from the sky?

With Santa Barbara Parasail, you’ll soar 1,000 ft in the air and take in the incredible views of the Channel Islands. Ages 5 and over are all welcome.

Above All Aviation the only FAA-approved scenic flight tour in Santa Barbara and San Ynez, offers a truly unique airborne perspective of the region, from beautiful downtown to The Channel Islands National Park. You can even incorporate a stop at a vineyard in the San Ynez Valley for a wine tasting.

If you live in Montecito, Hope Ranch, or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, then you know the great outdoors are calling. So is real estate. If you are looking to move, call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at My knowledge, contacts, and experience can be invaluable to home sellers and buyers alike.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch