Deals and Delights: Car-Free in the American Riviera

Going to Santa Barbara via Amtrak? Money-savers await.

Santa Barbara Car-Free

EARTH DAY EVERY DAY: Santa Barbara's ties to Earth Day are historic -- the April mind-the-planet happening has early roots in the red-tiled city -- but its devotion to changing up habits that could help the environment extends well past a certain day that falls during the fourth month of the year. Santa Barbara Car Free is a coalition that keeps the discounts, deals, and specials coming via dozens of local businesses. That is, of course, if you've taken the train to the American Riviera and have a ticket to show for your ride. It's an ongoing good thing that is good-thing-ing up the remainder of 2015, through New Year's Eve. Once you have that ticket and you start waving it around town you'll find a whole bunch of discounted doings to enjoy, like free admission at Casa Dolores (eye thousands of ancient objects made of clay, wood, and more at the museum) and a 2-for-1 wine tasting. There are also discounts on things that move, from bikes to boats, so save a few bucks on Santa Barbara Trolley Tours, fifty bucks off per couple at Segway of Santa Barbara, and thirty percent off at Wheel Fun Rentals of Santa Barbara (those charming surreys are symbolic of playtime close to the shore). So, you train it into town, only to save on other stuff that moves? Wise, very wise. But you could also.

SAVE ON YOUR AMTRAK TICKET: There are ways to purchase your train trip to Santa Barbara, and arrive at several stations within the county when traveling from the south, if you make your journey by Dec. 18. The Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin have the savings, as well as "associated thruway buses," and you can save 20 percent (15 percent when heading in from the north). This isn't the sort of dealie where you show up at the station to lay your cash down for a ticket -- you'll need to buy a few days in advance and bone up on all of the asterisks. But imagine saving dough on your train ticket, and then saving more dough, at businesses around town, once you reach Santa Barbara. We like when the Earth Day mindset lasts all year. Don't sweat it -- your car will be awaiting you back home as you train it, bike it, Segway it, yacht it...

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