Bicycle Shop

Bicycle Bob’s

Bicycle Bob himself, Bob Zaratzian, is all smiles after being voted best in town for 31 years. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

After 31 consecutive years of being voted Best Of by Independent readers, “it means the very basic business philosophy we have has been working for a whole lot of years: Treat people with respect, be honest, and do what you can to improve their situation,” says Bicycle Bob’s owner Bob Zaratzian. “Every day, I look forward to being around people. Our staff is awesome and is great to work with. And the interaction with customers is rewarding on a daily basis. After 39 years in business, I see friendly/familiar faces everywhere we go. The connection to the people in our community is very rewarding.”

Runner-Up: Velo Pro Cyclery


El Capitán State Beach

“There are many great campgrounds in the Santa Barbara area, and to be voted best by our community and surrounding communities is an honor,” says Sergeant Scott Anderson, the Supervising Ranger who oversees El Capitán State Beach, among others. “One of the favorite parts of the job is the interaction with campers, young and old, from different backgrounds who often come from all over the country,” he adds. The beauty and serenity of the Gaviota Coast campgrounds are something special, and Anderson urges new campers and returning guests to come and experience El Capitán.

Runner-Up:  Refugio State Beach Campground

Dance Studio

Santa Barbara Dance Arts

“This award means more than years past, because I know that ALL the studios in town have worked tirelessly to get to the point where the pandemic is waning and where we get to start focusing on our passion,” says owner Alana Tillim of Santa Barbara Dance Arts, now in its 25th season. “All of us still here and bringing dance to our community are winners, but I feel this year is 1,000 percent dedicated to my staff who worked tirelessly to create a safe and creative haven for our kids, AND to our clients who keep supporting a woman-owned and family-centered business.” Looking ahead, Tillim says she hopes to grow the studio to have an even more inclusive and accessible program with its nonprofit partner, the Arts Mentorship Program.  

Runner-Up: State Street Ballet

Santa Barbara Dance Arts | Credit: Courtesy

Golf Course

Sandpiper Golf Club

A frequent winner for Best Golf Course, the gorgeous Sandpiper Golf Club in Goleta was established in 1972 as the county’s first resort course open to the public. Sandpiper is an inspiring 18 holes of seaside golf on an extraordinary terrain, with an acclaimed layout named by Golf Digest as one of the top 25 public golf courses in the U.S. Designed by renowned architect William F. Bell, the links-style layout has rolling fairways leading to enormous greens with ocean views from nearly every hole.

Runner-Up: Santa Barbara Golf Club (Muni)

Health Club

Santa Barbara Family YMCA

This award means a great deal to the Santa Barbara Family YMCA, says Executive Director Craig Prentice, reflecting on the special significance of being voted Best Of after all that his team has been through with the pandemic. “We have worked hard to keep our members safe and active during these difficult times. Winning Best Health Club affirms that we are meeting the needs of the community,” he says. The facility features a fitness center with advanced cardio and strength training equipment, group exercise classes (both indoors and outdoors), and swimming lessons for all ages. 

Runner-Up: Santa Barbara Athletic Club SWELL

Hiking Trail

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point never fails to, well, inspire, no matter how many times you crest that final turn to see the stunning view of the city below. A moderately difficult hike about 3.5 miles out and back, it takes a couple of hours and steadily climbs up close to 1,000 feet in elevation to do it — and at the end, all that sweat is absolutely worth it!

Runner-Up: Cold Spring Trail

Fitness Program

Killer B Fitness

“This award means that the Killer B Fitness community can’t be dismantled by a pandemic,” says owner Bob Wilcher. “It’s a way of life, and we understand that the benefits of regular exercise, including a strong heart, lungs, and immune system, are worth working hard for, no matter what’s going on in the world. The friendships that were made and strengthened during the past two to three years were invaluable.” He adds, “Regardless of what you think about the pandemic, there should be one thing that is clear. Regular exercise is something we should always do.” 

Runner-Up: RiseUp Fitness 

Martial Arts Studio

Paragon Academy

With locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta, John Sandoval of Paragon Academy says, “Our message to the community, especially our members, is we greatly appreciate your support. We all definitely have gone through some really rough times. Martial arts teaches problem solving, working through adversity, and discipline; with those life skills applied to our business and through your support, we were able to remain open and continue to offer you the best martial arts training in the county.” Sandoval says his favorite part of his job is seeing positive changes in students, staff, and coaches. 

Runner-Up: Santa Barbara Dojo (Martial Arts Family Fitness)

Outdoor Gear Store

Illustration by Ben Ciccati


Supplying just about everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors in functional, practical style, REI is our readers’ favorite once again as the best place to gear up to enjoy getting outside. Founded as an outdoor gear co-op in 1938 when a group of 23 climbing friends, united by their love for the outdoors, decided to source quality and affordable gear for their adventures, REI has evolved over the years into the go-to spot to purchase or rent high-quality outdoor gear and apparel.

Runner-Up: Mountain Air Sports

Pilates Studio

Core Sport

“We are most grateful for your recognition for the Best Of voting. As a wellness business, we are dedicated to our local community in providing a productive option to your health and well-being,” says Core Sport owner/Master Trainer Chanda Fetter. “We strive to address the needs of all families in their quest to be educated and productive in their workout needs. We know there are a lot of options out there for you to choose from locally and want to recognize your attention on our mission and services that have landed us as the BEST in what we do!” 

Runner-Up: Aligned Pilates Studio

Place to Get Athletic Shoes

Santa Barbara Running Company

Keeping your feet happy is one of the keys to success for runners, a fact that has fueled Santa Barbara Running Company since its 2003 founding by Joe and Monica DeVreese. Now located in Montecito, the family-operated specialty running store is filled with premium products for everyday running enthusiasts as well as beginners. Comprehensive gait analysis is just one of the services offered by Santa Barbara Running Company, who brand themselves as “runners helping runners.” They also offer a full collection of apparel, accessories, and nutritional supplements to keep you going, whether you’re on the road or exploring the trail.

Runner-Up: REI

Surf Shop

Channel Islands Surfboards

A homegrown company started in 1969 by Al and Terry Merrick, Channel Islands Surfboards has grown into a household name and the world’s most iconic surf brand. Now under the guidance of Al and Terry’s son Britt, who carries on the tradition of shaping high-performance boards for top surfers around the world, as well as loads of locals, the Funk Zone shop carries much more than boards. They have everything from wetsuits to beach towels, board shorts, bags, bikinis, umbrellas, and just about any other type of beach accessory you might need to ride the waves — or just enjoy watching.

Runner-Up: Surf n’ Wear Beach House

Swimwear Store

Bikini Factory

Since its founding in 1965 by Sally Yater, (who died in 2013 after passing the store to her longtime manager, Linda Meyer, a newbie who started in 1975), Bikini Factory has been our local go-to for custom-fit tops, bottoms, and one-piece swimwear. Our readers continue to sing the praises of this venerable shop, with comments like, “A wide variety of quality swimwear at reasonable prices,” “The owner is knowledgeable, very friendly, hires helpful staff, and has been a local merchant in Summerland for years,” and “So many choices that are unique: They have something for family vacation, girls’ trip, ‘Oops I gained 20 pounds during COVID,’ and more!”

Runner-Up: Surf n’ Wear Beach House

Yoga Studio

CorePower Yoga

With three locations in the Santa Barbara area, CorePower wins the top spot once again in this very competitive category of Best Yoga Studio. Working under the four pillars of welcoming everyone, community, balance, and practice, CorePower’s loyal following of satisfied customers enjoys a physically intense workout that is rooted in the mindfulness of yoga. “This award means so much to us,” writes Cara Ferrick, owner/director of CorePower’s Central Coast locations. “We want to thank the CorePower Yoga teachers, students, employees, and the entire Santa Barbara community for the support and recognition.”

Runner-Up: Yoga Soup

See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.